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Diabetes in Dogs - What Pet Parents Need to Know

At Spring House Animal Hospital in Ambler our vets are seeing increasing numbers of dogs with diabetes. There's no cure at the moment but treatments are available. Today, we discuss signs that your dog may have diabetes and how it can be treated.

Types of Diabetes in Dogs

There are two types of diabetes seen in our canine companions. Neither of these conditions can be cured, however both forms of this chronic illness can be managed effectively. 

Insulin-Deficient Diabetes

This form of diabetes occurs when the dog’s body isn’t producing enough insulin due to a damaged or poorly functioning pancreas. Insulin-deficient diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in dogs.

Insulin-Resistant Diabetes

This form of diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces some insulin, but the dog’s body isn’t utilizing the insulin properly. Insulin-resistant diabetes is more common in older, obese dogs.

How do dogs get diabetes?

The cause of diabetes in dogs is unknown however, several factors can increase your dog's risk of developing diabetes. Dogs most at risk of developing diabetes include those who are:

  • Being treated for other conditions with steroid medications
  • Suffering from Cushing's disease or other autoimmune disorders.
  • Unspayed female dogs
  • Overweight or obese

What signs of dog diabetes should I watch for?

Make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible if your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms of diabetes. Early diagnosis is the key to successfully managing this disease in dogs. The early signs of diabetes in dogs include:

  • Frequent urination (polyuria)
  • Drinking more water than usual
  • Excessive appetite (polyphagia)
  • Unexplained weight loss

As the disease becomes more advanced symptoms may become more severe and include:

  • Visual impairment or blindness
  • Lack of energy
  • Joint stiffness or weakness
  • Dull coat
  • Vomiting

How can my dog's diabetes be treated?

If your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, your vet will prescribe medications and ongoing treatments that will allow you to manage your dog's condition. Ongoing treatment for diabetes in dogs typically involves:

  • Daily insulin shots
  • Regular daily exercise to help avoid spikes or sudden drops in glucose levels
  • A special, vet-recommended diet
  • Close monitoring of your dog for changes in symptoms and overall health
  • Regular veterinary examinations

Left untreated,  diabetes in dogs can lead to serious and life-threatening side effects such as blindness, enlarged liver, urinary tract infections, seizures, kidney failure and ketoacidosis.

Early diagnosis and treatment are important for successful treatment outcomes. Regular wellness checks at your vet's office gives your vet an opportunity to watch for early signs of diabetes and begin treatment before the condition becomes more severe.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog is showing symptoms of diabetes, veterinary care is essential. Contact our Ambler vets to book an examination for your pup.

Caring for Pets in Ambler

Spring House Animal Hospital welcomes new and existing clients to our veterinary clinic.

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