Dog Diabetes in Santa Clarita, CA: What Every Pet Owner Needs to Know
Did you know that dogs can also develop diabetes like humans? Dog diabetes works very similar to diabetes seen in humans, with a few small differences. The most common form of dog diabetes is a sugar diabetes where the body cannot regulate the glucose produced naturally.
When dog’s eat food, especially food high in sugar, the body breaks it down into glucose, which is an energy that travels throughout their body. This energy is necessary for the body to function. Insulin, that is produced in the kidneys, is the fuel that pushes the energy throughout the body. Sometimes, dog’s suffer damage to their pancreas, and they do not produce any insulin. This results in an increase of sugar and a decrease of energy. Less commonly, some dogs have an insulin resistance where they do produce insulin, but it does not work properly.
The causes of dog diabetes are still not understood by experts. However, from what researchers have found, dog diabetes is genetic and environmental. It is not something dogs can ‘catch’ like an infection, but they can damage their pancreas through a poor diet or trauma.
Some dogs inherit diabetes from their parents, although it is less common. Other experts believe that consuming too much sugar damages the body’s ability to create enough insulin.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs
Since there are different types of symptoms, all dogs react differently. While this is true, there are some common symptoms and complications, which include:
Diagnosing Diabetes in Dogs
If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, you should immediately contact your dog’s veterinarian to figure out the cause. Usually, your vet can diagnose your dog with diabetes through a physical and a series of tests.
During the physical, your vet will note any changes in your dog’s body. In dogs with a severe case of untreated diabetes, their bodies don’t react well to the high amounts of sugar. This acts like a toxin and damages important organs like the eyes and legs. Diabetes in dogs can cause cataracts that develop seamlessly overnight.
Urine and Blood Testing
The only way to know for sure is to test your dog’s urine or blood. Your dog’s vet will take a sample and look at the glucose levels. If the levels are high, on a consistent basis, then it is likely your dog has diabetes.
Managing Dog Diabetes
Once your vet has an exact diagnosis for your dog, you can start treating and managing the condition properly. It is important to note that there is no cure for diabetes. Dog diabetes is a chronic condition that does not go away. Instead, you can help your dog slow down it’s progression and treat the symptoms.
To manage your dog’s diabetes, the treatment depends on the type. If your dog lacks insulin, your vet may prescribe daily shots of insulin so your dog can change sugar and glucose to energy. With these shots, some lifestyle changes are necessary.
It is highly likely that your dog will need a completely different diet with natural sugars and limited sugar. Since your dog’s body is struggling to digest sugar and process it into energy, it may be easier to give your dog a high-fat, high-protein, and low-carb diet. You should always consult your dog’s veterinarian before making large changes to your dog’s diet though.
Preventing Diabetes in Dogs
Interestingly, the ways to prevent dog diabetes are similar to how you would treat this condition. Dog diabetes occurs as a dog ages. There are a few risk factors that can increase your dog’s chances of developing this condition. The risk factors are:
A few of these risks are impossible to change or combat, but others are not. With age, for example, your dog’s body begins to slow down and develop health conditions in their joints. This means that they are moving and exercising less, resulting in weight gain.
When dogs gain weight, it is usually because they are overeating or have a poor diet. If you feed your dog a poor diet that is high in processed sugars, they are more likely to develop this condition. Instead, you should encourage play time in your dog by taking them to a dog park to socialize.
If your dog has joint pain, you can also do swimming sports as they float in the water, releasing tension in their joints. For dogs that are physically able and healthy, you should take them out of daily walks to ensure that they are fit and healthy.
Dog diabetes can be a scary disease to combat. Dogs can develop this condition because of various factors like their environment and genetics. Some breeds, specifically brachycephalic breeds are more likely to develop diabetes as they age. This is because they are small dogs and any weight gain or small change to their organs can cause detrimental effects.
Thankfully, this condition is rarely life-threatening. There are various ways to treat, manage, and prevent dog diabetes. Dogs with this condition can still live long, happy, and relatively healthy lives with a few lifestyle changes.