November is National Pet Diabetes Month! Diabetes mellitus is a condition that affects the concentration of glucose (a type of sugar) in your pet’s blood. Diabetes is caused by a shortage of insulin (a hormone produced from the pancreas), or when your pet’s body has trouble properly using the insulin it has made.
There are two types of diabetes mellitus in pets: Type I DM and Type II DM.
- Type I: The body doesn’t make enough insulin and requires insulin therapy for the remainder of the pet’s life. Most common in dogs.
- Type II: The body has some insulin being produced, but it is not enough or something is interfering with its ability to be used by the body. Most common in cats.
Dogs at risk:
- Dogs that are 7-9 years old
- Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Miniature Schnauzers, Keeshonds, Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Doberman Pinschers, Labrador Retrievers, Pomeranians, and Terriers.
Cats at risk:
- Cats that are 8-13 years old
- Cats with genetic tendencies, insulin-resistant disorders or conditions (such as chronic pancreatitis or hyperthyroidism), obesity, physical inactivity, or an indoor lifestyle.
- Drinks more water than usual
- Urinates more frequently
- Always acts hungry but maintains or loses weight
- Is less active or sleeps more
- Has thinning, dry, and dull hair or excessive dandruff
- Increased “whiteness” in eyes (due to cataracts)
How to help your pet with diabetes:
- Daily insulin injections
- Monitor pet’s blood glucose
- Keep your pet on a regulated diet
- Regular check-ups with your veterinarian
If you suspect your pet has diabetes, contact your veterinarian right away to discuss your concerns and schedule an exam.