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November is National Pet Diabetes Month

diabetes mellitus in dogs & cats

If you didn’t know your dog or cat could develop diabetes, you’re not alone. Many owners don’t realize diabetes can affect pets too, so learning that your dog or cat has the condition can leave you with many questions.

While there’s no cure for diabetes, proper care can help your pet live a happy, healthy, active life. The more you know about diabetes, the better you’ll be able to work with your veterinarian to successfully manage your pet’s health.

Your veterinarian is an essential partner in your pet’s diabetes care. Only your veterinarian can diagnose diabetes and provide appropriate preventive and management programs. Early detection has proven to be very beneficial in pets with some even going in to remission.

Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs

Just like in humans, diabetes in dogs is serious, but manageable. Your dog can develop diabetes if he has the following conditions:

  • Obesity
  • Genetic predisposition – females are twice as likely to develop diabetes
  • Poor nutrition
  • Hormonal abnormalities
  • Stress

If your dog appears weak or thirsty, frequently urinates, experiences rapid weight loss, is depressed, or has abdominal pain, he could be diabetic.

This condition is usually caused by damage to the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for producing the proper amount of insulin to control sugar levels. If your dog’s pancreas is damaged, long-term and potentially life-threatening symptoms could occur and must be managed.

While there is no cure for diabetes mellitus, veterinarians recognize it can be controlled with insulin, exercise and proper nutrition. Fiber is key in managing the disease because moderate to high-levels of fiber lower insulin requirements and blood glucose levels. Fiber also makes the body more responsive to insulin.

It’s also important to be consistent in the food you feed your pet. Feeding a veterinarian-recommended food with a consistent nutrient profile will help keep your dog’s metabolism level stable so he can stay healthy.

For an accurate diagnosis and treatment options, always consult your veterinarian.

Diabetes Mellitus in Cats

Just like in humans, diabetes in cats is serious, but manageable. Your cat can develop diabetes if she has the following conditions:

  • Obesity
  • Genetic predisposition (diabetes is more prevalent in males)
  • Poor nutrition
  • Hormonal abnormalities
  • Stress

If your cat appears weak or thirsty, frequently urinates, has rapid weight loss, is depressed, or has abdominal pain, she could be diabetic.

This condition is usually caused by damage to the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for producing the proper amount of insulin to control sugar levels. If your cat’s pancreas is damaged, long-term and potentially life-threatening symptoms could occur and must be managed.

While there is no cure for diabetes mellitus, veterinarians recognize it can be controlled with insulin, exercise and proper nutrition. Fiber is key in managing the disease because moderate to high-levels of fiber lower insulin requirements and blood glucose levels. Fiber also makes the body more responsive to insulin.

It’s also important to be consistent in the food you give your cat. The nutritional profile of many commercial foods may vary from batch to batch, which can complicate the disease. Feeding a veterinarian-recommended food that has a consistent nutrient profile will help keep your cat’s metabolism level stable so she can remain healthy.

For an accurate diagnosis and treatment options, always consult your veterinarian.

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