Diabetes in dogs is a complex disease caused by either a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to insulin.
After a dog eats, his digestive system breaks food into various components, including glucose-which is carried into his cells by insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. When a dog does not produce insulin or cannot utilize it normally, his blood sugar levels elevate. The result is hyperglycemia, which, if left untreated, can cause many complicated health problems for a dog.
It is important to understand, however, that diabetes is considered a manageable disorder-and many diabetic dogs can lead happy, healthy lives.
What Type of Diabetes Do Most Dogs Get ?
Diabetes can be classified as either Type 1 (lack of insulin production) or Type II (impaired insulin production along with an inadequate response to the hormone.)
The most common form of the disease in dogs is Type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas is incapable of producing or secreting adequate levels of insulin. Dogs who have Type I require insulin therapy to survive. Type II diabetes is found in cats and is a lack of normal response to insulin.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs ?
The following symptoms should be investigated as they could be indicators that your dog has diabetes:
– Change in appetite
– Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption
– Weight loss
– Increased urination
– Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath
– Urinary tract infections
– Cataract formation, blindness
– Chronic skin infections
What Causes Diabetes in Dogs ?
The exact cause of diabetes is unknown. However, autoimmune disease, genetics, obesity, chronic pancreatitis, certain medications and abnormal protein deposits in the pancreas can play a major role in the development of the disease.
Which Dogs Are Prone to Diabetes ?
It is thought that obese dogs and female dogs may run a greater risk of developing diabetes later in life (6-9 years of age). Some breeds may also run a greater risk, including Australian terriers, standard and miniature schnauzers, dachshunds, poodles, keeshonds and samoyeds. Juvenile diabetes can also be seen and is particularly prevalent in golden retrievers and keeshonds.
Diabetes Treatment for Dogs and Cats
Treating diabetic pets
Pets with type 1 diabetes are given insulin injections and may need changes in diet, and may need to lose weight. Pets with type 2 diabetes do not need insulin because they can usually be controlled with diet, weight loss, and oral medication (Glipizide).
Some pets with type 1 diabetes can be treated with insulin, diet, and weight loss so that they no longer need insulin.
Ultimately your pet’s veterinarian will recommend the best types of insulin your pet will need. Below is a list of the more common types of insulin pets use that are diagnosed with diabetes:
– Regular crystalline insulin, which has a rapid onset and short duration of action, perhaps only a few hours
– Intermediate-acting insulin, such as NPH (Isophane), which has an intermediate duration of about 12 hours (Vetsulin Insulin) (ProZinc can last up to 24 hours)
– Lente insulin, which has an intermediate duration of 12 hours, but lasts as long as 24 hours in some pets
– Ultralente insulin, which is long-acting, usually as long as 24 hours, but it may be only as long as 12 hours in some pets. Insulin can be mixed to combine a rapid and a longer-duration product in a single bottle.
Why is insulin injected ?
Insulin is a protein that is destroyed by stomach acid when it is swallowed. Instead, insulin is injected under the skin and is picked up by the blood and circulated throughout the body.
A pharmaceutical company is developing a form of insulin that is inhaled as a mist. The mist reaches the capillaries in the lungs and is carried through the body. Until this form of insulin is ready, pets will continue to be given insulin injections.