Canine Diabetes: Diagnosis, diet and Treatment options

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Diabetes is not only a problem of humans. It is estimated that 1 out of every 500 dogs suffer from this disease, which is why it is important to know the symptoms, its life expectancy, what human food can he eath and know how to act if our dog is diabetic.

If you have any question regarding dog diabetes, ask our vets. Barkibu is here to help you.

What is diabetes? In what way it affects dogs?

Diabetes is a disease that consists of the body's inability to produce or use the hormone insulin. This deficiency causes a significant increase in blood sugar levels.

There are 2 types of diabetes:

  • Type I diabetes: It is the most common among dogs. The body does not produce enough insulin.

  • Type II diabetes: The body produces insulin but it is not able to use it. It is more common in cats and people.

Diabetes affects, to a greater extent, adults and senior dogs, although there are some breeds that are more vulnerable than others to suffer this type of disease, as is the case of the schnauzer, the poodle or the beagle.

If our dog has diabetes type I, which is the more common among them, it means that the pancreas cannot produce insulin or is not producing enough as it should. Without enough insulin, the cells are unable to collect the sugar in the blood, however, if they detect their absence, they send signals to the body to produce more and more glucose. In this way, glucose builds up in the body until it is finally expelled through the urine.

How do I know if my dog is diabetic? - Symptons panting

If we detect any of these symptoms we should contact our veterinarian:

We cannot diagnose this disease without the help of a veterinarian, because although some of the symptoms of diabetes are quite particular, there are others who are also present in multiple diseases and may also vary depending on the stage of the disease in which our dog is.

Before a suspicion of diabetes, the veterinarian should perform a series of tests to check if our dog is diabetic or not:

  • He must first measure the level of glucose and if it is present at the urine.

  • Sometimes the blood sugar levels may vary due to factors such as stress, for example. For this reason, it is useful to measure the level of fructosamine, a protein that may indicate more precisely the blood sugar levels of the last 2/3 weeks.

  • He should also check the level of dehydration of the dog, if there is damage to the kidney or if there is a urine infection.

  • It is also important to check if there are toxic substances in the blood known as ketone bodies, the result from the burning of fats and proteins. If so, the health status of the dog is quite serious and it should be interned immediately.

  • We need to check if there is any inflammation or damage in the pancreas (pancreatitis), as it could evolve into diabetes.

Treatment options for dog diabetes

Dogs with diabetes type I need treatment for life. Generally, such treatment is divided into two phases:

  • Phase 1, of stabilization. In this phase, a fast-effect insulin will be used to try to normalize as close as possible the disease. The diet, during this stage, it is special because we need the dog to regain weight in the shortest time possible.

  • Phase 2, of maintenance. In this second phase, in addition to administering insulin following the guidelines of the veterinarian, we must strictly follow the diet that he will propose us and make changes in the routine of our dog; exercise is the key.

My dog has diabetes, now what?

  • The insulin: It is usually divided into two daily doses along with food. The dose will depend on the weight and the needs of the dog. It is important to strictly follow the amount given by the veterinarian and take care of its conservation status. As for contraindications, insulin can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). In the case of tremors, disorientation or anxiety, you must tell your veterinarian. If we want to measure the level of glucose at home, we must make sure that we do so with a suitable apparatus, because some blood glucose meters are not very accurate and can subtract a 10% or 20% of the actual value, that’s why it is so important to frequently visit the veterinarian.

  • The diet: It is essential to follow the planned diet, control the quantities of each of the feeds, and to know if the dog has eaten it whole or not. We can choose from a commercial diet, which is usually more comfortable, or a homemade diet. In both cases, it is necessary to follow the advice of the veterinarian.

  • Exercises: It is imperative that the dog exercises moderately on a regular basis. We should not demand more intensity of what the dog can provide or it could suffer hypoglycemia.

It is very important to realize that diabetes cannot be cured but we can improve the lives of our pets if we follow a few guidelines supervised by a professional veterinarian. If you have any questions about diabetes you can make your free consultation at our website.