Diabetes mellitus in cats and dogs

Diabetes mellitus in cats and dogs

Diabetes is one the most common endocrine disease in pets. When your pet eats, the portion ingests daily digested and separate in several nutrients and other substances or molecules to be absorbed into his system. What interests us when it comes to diabetes is the glucose (sugar) present in the food.

 

It is the insulin that allows glucose to enter cells. Without it, the cells can not use sugar to produce energy, although there is many in the blood of the animal. This hormone produced by the pancreas is necessary to life. We talk about diabetes when insulin is produced in insufficient or inappropriate for the needs of the animal.

 

This explains in large part why diabetic animals showed an increased appetite. The cells are « fasting » while a message is sent to the body to increase food intake. The animal still lose weight because the sugar can not be used. The fat reserves and muscle (protein) will be used to offset the « fast of cells. »

 

The amount of too high blood sugar will be eliminated by the kidneys, thus in urine. But it is also accompanied by a large amount of water. Then will be more frequent and abondant urination. If the animal pees into the house, the urine may seem tacky as it contains sugar. The animal will also tend to consume more water to compensate for these losses.

 

The diagnosis of this disease in animals is rather simple. Following a comprehensive examination of the animal, blood must be draw and tested to detect if the amount of sugar is too high. A complete blood test is essential since it allows us to eliminate any defect or illness. It especially allows us to see if prolonged hyperglycemia has damaged other organs such as the liver.

 

A urinalysis is also recommended. The latter allows to detect the presence of glucose in the urine, but also to see if the animal has a concomitant urinary tract infection. This is often the case since the sugar in urine promotes bacterial growth, and infection in a diabetic animal makes the control of the disease more difficult.

 

Diabetic patients will be throughout their lives. In cats, there are very few cases of remission, but better not count on it. At the beginning of treatment, several adjustments are often necessary to obtain the ideal dosage of insulin that will allow your pet to maintain a good quality of life. A dietary change will also be advised. A well-controlled diabetic animal can live a normal and enjoyable life.

 

If you have a diabetic dog, it will have a high chance of developing cataracts and vision loss, despite all the good care you provide him. This change is inevitable and unfortunately does not reflect the efforts made in the treatment of your pet.

 

Catherine Lapierre, Certified Veterinary Technician

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