Dogs And Diabetes
Diabetes in dogs has some similarities to diabetes in humans, and also some major differences. Here at Leave No Paws Behind, we are very familiar with diabetes, as my son is a type 1 diabetic, and Chauncy, our shelter rescue, was diagnosed with diabetes a couple of years ago. This post will hopefully educate you to symptoms, treatments, dangers, and successfully living with, dogs that have been diagnosed with diabetes. Dogs can live long, healthy lives with proper treatment and monitoring.
There are two key components to fueling the body, glucose and insulin. The body breaks down nutrients from food (carbohydrates) into glucose (also known as blood sugar) that the body can use as fuel. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that either allows the body to use glucose as fuel, or store it for later use.
Diabetes in dogs generally presents itself in one of two ways. Most common in dogs is a lack of insulin (Insulin deficient, the body doesn't produce any). The pancreas is not functioning properly and produces no insulin. Less common is when the dog's body struggles to utilize the insulin it is producing (Insulin resistant). In both cases, glucose (blood sugar) builds up in the blood stream and isn't being pulled out and utilized by the cells that need it, essentially starving the cells/muscles/organs, and forcing the body to start breaking down it's own fats and proteins to use as fuel. This causes excess blood sugar to build up, and that can lead to serious consequences like organ damage, blindness, and/or ketoacidosis. There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed successfully.
Diabetes can be a silent, invisible disease. Often there are no "physical" indicators. Here is a list of symptoms that may require a trip to your vet, as they could be indicators that your dog has diabetes:
- Constant thirst and excessive water consumption
- Increased urination, and if house trained, a sudden increase in "accidents"
- Lethargy, lower than normal energy level
- Weight loss
- Change in appetite
- Sweet or fruity smelling breath
- Increased appetite with continued weight loss
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Kidney Failure