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You might be overwhelmed when hearing about diabetes in dogs and cats. It’s serious, right? After all, you probably know some people with Type I or Type II diabetes and know it’s a disease that requires vigilance and ongoing treatment. This is also true of diabetes in our canine and feline pals. However, the disease is generally quite manageable with the right knowledge and tools. Here’s our guide to diabetes in dogs and cats.
What Is Diabetes?
Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes is a disease in which a pet has an absolute shortage of insulin. Type II (insulin-resistant) diabetes occurs when the body’s cells don’t respond correctly to produced insulin. Both types of diabetes prevent the body from properly converting glucose into energy. This results in hyperglycemia. Type I diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in dogs and it’s estimated that anywhere from 0.5% to 2% of cats are diabetic.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs and Cats?
Diabetic cats and dogs experience an increase in thirst and urination. While diabetes can occur in pets of a healthy weight, it’s more common in overweight animals. Some diabetic pets also have an increase in appetite, weight loss, elevated blood glucose and glucose in their pee.
If left untreated, pets will experience more severe symptoms, such as anorexia, fatigue, depression, throwing up, cataracts, repeated infections, depression, collapse, coma or death. This is why it’s important to contact your veterinarian as soon as you notice any changes in your pet’s behavior or health. Early detection and treatment is crucial for your animal living a long happy life. Your pet might even be able to be cured over time.
What Is the Treatment for Cat and Dog Diabetes?
Your veterinarian will suggest the best treatment plan for your pet based on their type of diabetes and the severity of the disease. This will generally require daily insulin injections and regular vet appointments to test your pet’s condition. You can also ask your vet how to use an insulin monitor at home to keep tabs on your animal’s blood glucose levels. Your pet might also benefit from diabetes support.
Obesity is a huge risk factor for diabetes in animals, so it’s likely that your veterinarian will recommend a change in diet. They might suggest a diabetic cat food or diabetic dog food. We like high-protein dog food and cat food because it helps with weight management.
Exercise is also super helpful when trying to get your pet to lose weight. Here are some suggestions for getting your overweight pet up off the couch:
- Go for a walk or run. Even some cats enjoy a nice stroll. Outfit them with a cat harness and let then choose where the walk takes you. Runs are terrific exercise for large or high-energy dogs too. Try using a dog harness since it pulls at the neck less than a collar. And you can click here for leashes ranging from 5-40 feet.
- Break out the laser pointer. Cats love ‘em and they require so little effort on your part. We recommend the CA&T Diamond Laser Cat Toy because it plays with your cat while you’re free to make dinner, do paperwork or watch a movie.
- Play fetch, or, if you don’t have the energy, grab an All for Paws Hyperfetch Ultimate Throwing Toy. It throws the tennis balls for you!
Know that diabetes doesn’t have to be a death sentence. With proper care and monitoring, your pet can live a normal lifespan! Some pets are even able to beat diabetes. Do you have a diabetic cat or dog? Let us know on Facebook!