Diabetes in Animals

by Rachel Bhan


Animals also produce insulin in the islets of langerhans in the pancreas to facilitate the sugar in their blood to enter the cells. This produces energy for metabolism. But like humans in animals also may have the disorder to producing insufficient insulin or resistance to insulin in their system.

Canine Diabetes is commonly an endocrine disorder, which is seen in cats, dogs and other animals as well. Animals also can have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes just like us. In Type 1 diabetes the pancreas are not able to produce insulin. This is seen in all dogs who have diabetes and approximately 50% of diabetes cats and the remaining 50% of cats have Type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of Feline Diabetes

The feline diabetes symptoms consists of weight loss, increased appetite and hunger, frequent urination leading to excessive thirst and decreased appetite (in some cases). There is breakdown of body fat since glucose is not available to produce fuel for the body. The beta cells break down the fat to produce energy thereby leading to the production of ketones. This causes ketoacidosis, which may prove to be serious. The breath of the animals smells like the pungent odour of acetone.

The complications resulting from canine diabetes include hypoglycemia, which may occur due to insulin overdose, poor appetite. It is also seen in the case of feline diabetes. The signs of hypoglycemia in case of diabetes in animals are dullness, sleepiness, weakness, seizures, etc. The pet should not be left unattended if is suffering from hypoglycemia. You can try giving your pet some food mixed in karo syrup or rub the karo syrup onto the gums of the pet if it is very weak. Then take the pet to a veterinarian. The pet may be hospitalized since it needs to be monitored for a day or so. Intravenous dextrose is given to the animal.

Cataract formation, loss of vision especially in case of dogs, nerve damage, are some of the complications that develop in diabetic animals. There are cases of feline diabetes symptoms like hind end weakness. This is caused de to nerve damages and can be cured by regulating the appropriate levels of blood glucose. However, veterinarians can restore the pets vision by removing the cataract from the eye lens. Diabetes ketoacidosis in animals leads to diarrhea, dehydration, nausea, vomiting and neurological disturbances.

Treatment for Diabetes in Animals

Treating diabetes in animals requires primarily insulin dosages as prescribed. This is applicable for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in pets. Just as humans go to diabetologists, owners must always consult a veterinarian in case their pets have diabetes. Canine diabetes diet, exercise and regular blood sugar monitoring is essential in the treatment of diabetes of dogs ad other animals. Dogs require intermediate acting insulin such as NPH twice/day. Cats use ultralente and PZI, which are long acting insulin and is taken twice daily.

Controlling the glucose levels in pets can go a long way in helping them to live a long healthy and joyous life.


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