Did you know that nationally diabetes is estimated to affect between 0.2% and 1.0% of companion animals? In the US, it is estimated that 1 in 300 adult dogs, and 1 in 230 cats have diabetes. November is designated National Pet Diabetes Month as a way for early detection, to raise awareness of the disorder, promote vigilance, and to help pet owners recognize the symptoms of diabetes in cats and dogs.

What is Diabetes?

Pets who have the disease diabetes cannot produce or use insulin correctly, preventing the conversion of food into energy. Diabetes is an endocrine disorder that impedes the body's ability to process sugars at the cellular level, and it can have damaging and far-reaching effects on the muscular, neurologic, and circulatory systems. As in humans, diabetes often goes undetected in pets until more severe symptoms manifest, and so it has been dubbed "the silent killer."

Symptoms

Watch for these symptoms of diabetes in your cat or dog:

  • Excessive drinking and urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Depression and lethargy
  • Messy coat and dandruff
  • Loss of muscles and weakness
  • Weight loss

Risk Factors

Dogs  Middle-aged or older dogs typically are more susceptible to diabetes. Pre-determining factors are genetics, certain breeds, un-spayed females, and dogs with a history of obesity.

Breeds that are at a higher risk are Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Dobermann Pinschers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Pomeranians, Terriers, and Toy Poodles.

Cats 

Diabetic risk factors for cats are older age, neutered males, obesity or inactivity, and insulin resistance.

Diagnosis 

If you notice these symptoms in your pet, see your vet as soon as possible. A simple urine test can detect whether your cat is pre-diabetic or diabetic.

Because untreated diabetes can lead to blindness (in dogs), loss of neuromuscular function in the hind limbs (in cats), and other debilitating conditions, early diagnosis is essential to helping your pet live a longer, healthier life.

Management of Diabetes

At this time, unfortunately, there is no cure for diabetes in your pets. With proper monitoring and management, your pet can enjoy a healthy, active life with a normal life expectancy.

The most common management approach for diabetes of your animal is a modified diet, low in carbohydrates and high in protein, and daily insulin injections. Your vet can recommend the proper foods for your pet and can train you to administer insulin injections. Injectable medications can be a little intimidating, but the procedure is rather simple, and with a veterinarian’s guidance and a little practice, most pet owners can master it easily. With diabetes, early intervention gives your cat and dog the best chance of a better life.

At Animal Care Center, we can take good care of your Affenpinscher dog. Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming, and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.