Diabetes mellitus is a serious medical condition that can affect our pets much like it affects humans. It occurs when the body is unable to produce or properly utilize insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. This results in high blood sugar levels, which can cause a wide range of health problems.
Diabetes in pets can occur at any age, but it is more common in older pets. Dogs are usually diagnosed between 7-10 years of age and cats most frequently develop diabetes after the age of six. Obesity, especially in cats, is a leading risk factor in the development of diabetes.
The symptoms of diabetes in pets can be subtle at first, but they tend to become more severe as the disease progresses. Some of the most common symptoms of diabetes in pets include increased thirst and urination, weight loss, lethargy, and a decrease in appetite. Pets with diabetes may also experience vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to pancreatitis, cataracts, skin infections, heart disease and urinary tract infections.
If you suspect that your pet has diabetes, it is important to take them to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. Your veterinarian will perform a physical exam and may recommend blood tests to check your pet's blood sugar levels. In some cases, they may also recommend a urine test to check for the presence of glucose.
While there is no cure for diabetes in pets, it can be managed with proper treatment. The most common form of treatment for diabetes in pets is insulin therapy. This involves administering insulin injections to your pet on a regular basis to help regulate their blood sugar levels. Your veterinarian will work with you to determine the proper dosage and schedule for your pet.
In addition to insulin therapy, there are other steps that you can take to help manage your pet's diabetes. For example, it is important to maintain a consistent feeding schedule and to feed your pet a balanced, low-carbohydrate diet. Regular exercise can also help to regulate blood sugar levels and promote overall health.
Diabetes is a serious medical condition that can affect pets of all ages and breeds. While it cannot be cured, it can be managed with proper treatment and care. If you suspect that your pet may have diabetes, it is important to take them to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. With the right care, pets with diabetes can live long and happy lives.
Pet owners who would like to discuss their pet's health with one of the doctors here at Family Pet Health can schedule an appointment by calling 615-907-8387.
About Family Pet Health, PLLC - Family Pet Health is located at 3307 Manchester Pike in Murfreesboro. The practice, owned by Dr. Amy Shirley and her husband Michael, is a small and exotics animal veterinary hospital. They provide a full range of veterinary services including exams and vaccinations, lab work and diagnostics, surgeries and referral services. All of their staff members are Fear Free certified and have undergone extensive training on recognizing signs of fear, anxiety and stress in their patients. Learn more at www.familypethealth.com.