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Common Conditions - Articles of Interest - Pets Get Diabetes Too

Pets Get Diabetes Too

Diabetes mellitus is a common disorder in both people and pets due to a combination of lifestyle and other predisposing factors. In dogs and cats, diabetes cannot be cured but there are various ways to monitor and treat diabetes so that diagnosed pets can live a normal, happy life.  

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is caused from a lack of insulin stopping your dog or cat from absorbing sugar (Glucose) from the foods they eat. The unused sugar builds up in the bloodstream and cannot get used by your pet’s cells.

What are the risk factors of Diabetes?

There are risk factors that can contribute your pet's chance of getting diabetes.

In dogs, obesity, genetics, and age (middle aged to older dogs) can all contribute to the development of diabetes. Certain breeds can be pre-disposed to this disease such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Toy Poodles, Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Pomeranians and Daschunds, just to name a few.

In cats, lifestyle appears to be an important factor in the development of diabetes. Obesity, physical inactivity, age (older cats) and being indoors can be a risk factor.

Signs of diabetes in pets:

Clinical signs, such as your cat or dog vomiting, will vary with the severity of the disease but can include the following:

  • increased thirst and increased urination
  • increased appetite with variable weight changes
  • may be depressed and lethargic
  • may be vomiting
  • may have sweet 'acetone' breath
  • may be dehydrated, and
  • may develop cataracts in the eyes.

How is Diabetes diagnosed?

There are various symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats. The good news is that diagnosis is usually straightforward. A simple blood test will determine if there is an increased level of glucose or ketones, which is the acid produced when fat is broken down because the body cannot use glucose.

In addition, urine tests and further blood tests can help determine the severity of the effects the disease is having on the body. Diabetic pets can be further divided into those suffering 'simple' diabetes mellitus or those with a more serious condition called diabetes ketoacidosis.

How do you treat Diabetes?

Now that diabetes has been diagnosed, how is it treated? Diabetes cannot be cured but with careful monitoring by you and your veterinarian, daily insulin injections, modified diet and weight management your pet can live a normal happy life.

If you have any further questions regarding diabetes in dogs and cats or any other health problem, always feel free to speak to your local Greencross Vets. Overall, with treatment, most diabetics can look forward to a happy, healthy life.


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