Our veterinarians are seeing increasing numbers of dogs with diabetes. While treatments are available for diabetes in dogs, there is no cure. Today, we look at some of the most common symptoms of diabetes in dogs.
Types of Diabetes in Dogs
As with people, there are two types of diabetes in dogs. Neither of these conditions can be cured, however, both forms of this chronic illness can be managed effectively.
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.
This form of diabetes occurs when the pancreas is producing some insulin, but the dog’s body isn’t using the insulin properly. Insulin-resistant diabetes is common in older, obese dogs.
Why has my dog developed diabetes?
The cause of diabetes in dogs is unknown however, several factors increase your dog's risk of developing diabetes. Dogs most at risk of developing diabetes include:
- Dogs being treated for other conditions with steroid medications
- Dogs suffering from Cushing's disease or other autoimmune disorders.
- Unspayed females
- Overweight dogs
What are the symptoms of diabetes in dogs?
Make an appointment to see your veterinarian 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/blindness
- Lack of energy
- Joint stiffness/weakness
- Dull coat
How is diabetes in dogs treated?
If your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, your veterinarian 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 once or twice a year can help your vet to spot the early signs of diabetes and begin treatment before the condition becomes more severe.