Identifying Common Symptoms of Diabetes In Dogs
Canine diabetes has been on the rise for the last few years. Yes, even a dog can get diabetes. If you are a pet parent, here are some common symptoms of diabetes in dogs and everything else that you must know about to keep your dog healthy.
What Causes Diabetes in Dogs?
Like humans, canines also get diabetes when their bodies stop processing or producing insulin at normal rates. Insulin is a hormone that is produced in the pancreas and is responsible for glucose absorption and maintaining blood sugar levels.
Canine diabetes is a serious health concern and requires immediate veterinary treatment. You must identify the symptoms and signs of diabetes in dogs and seek help from a veterinarian immediately.
Common Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs
If you are wondering about common signs of diabetes in dogs that you should look out for, check these out:
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Changes in appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Urinary tract infection
- Cloudy eyes
- changes in vision
These are some of the topical symptoms, but there are also some persistent but less commonly visible symptoms like change in gait and neurological symptoms. If your dog has been behaving differently, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian for a complete diagnosis.
What Dogs Are at Higher Risk of Diabetes?
According to a survey, one in every 300 dogs is at risk of developing diabetes. (source)
Although vets do not know about the real cause behind diabetes in dogs, it is common to identify some risk factors that are:
Most dogs who are middle-aged between six to nine years old are diagnosed with diabetes.
Female dogs are more prone to getting diabetes as compared to their male counterparts.
Diabetes can affect all types of breeds. However, some dog breeds are more at risk of developing diabetes than others:
- Golden Retrievers
- Fox Terriers
- German Shepherds
Make sure to get a regular appointment with the vet and get a complete check-up done for your pup. Avoid feeding them sugary sweets and give regular exercise.
Can diabetes cause other complications?
If symptoms and signs of diabetes in dogs are not managed properly can cause some serious health issues. Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia in dogs results due to overdose of insulin. Low sugar levels can lead to brain damage and other life-threatening complications. It is essential to monitor the blood level of your dog regularly.
Common signs of hypoglycemia in dogs involve:
- Trembling or shaking
- Heart palpitations
- Loss of coordination or consciousness
- Acting disoriented or confused
- Sudden weakness or fatigue
- Nervousness or sudden agitation
If your diabetic canine is experiencing any of these signs and symptoms, a visit to a vet is extremely important.
Another common complication of canine diabetes is cataracts which eventually lead to blindness. If your dog’s eyes start appearing bluish-gray or cloudy, contact your vet and find the right treatment options.
A life-threatening complication related to diabetes in dogs is Ketoacidosis. This happens when the body is unable to access glucose and starts to break down fat stores to fuel body cells. This leads to the formation of ketones, the poisonous by-product that can result in serious health complications.
Ketoacidosis is the final stage of diabetes in dogs. They start losing muscle mass and weight and tend to become weak. Dogs start experiencing lethargy, low appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting. These symptoms occur along with abnormal breathing patterns, seizures, and tremors, which signify that your dog is dying of diabetes.
Treatment of Canine Diabetes
There is no foolproof treatment for diabetes in dogs. Your veterinarian can prescribe you a treatment plan to help manage the disease. Dogs who are suffering from diabetes mellitus require two insulin injections every day to keep their blood sugar levels stabilized.
As the diet plan is also a key part of treatment, keep feeding them consistently to manage healthy weights and blood sugar levels. It is essential to work closely with the vet if you wish to tweak the treatment plan.
When it comes to proper treatment, consistency is always the key. Sometimes missing insulin doses might be tolerated; it is essential to administer the injections regularly. Both exercise and diet play a key role in maintaining the healthy life of a diabetic dog. Attempts for treating diabetes without giving insulin to dogs are not recommended and can get life-threatening.
So How Long Can a Dog Live with Diabetes?
Without giving insulin therapy for dogs, they can develop life-threatening side effects like diabetic Ketoacidosis, which can eventually cause multi-organ failure. This can happen within two months of developing diabetes. So if you notice any symptoms of diabetes in dogs, you should immediately get them checked.
Fortunately, diabetes does not hold your dog back. In fact, the life expectancy stats of dogs with diabetes are impressive. When properly monitored, and treated dogs can do excellent, have a full life and a normal age expectancy.
As there is no surefire way of safeguarding the dog from diabetes, there are many methods to give them a happy and full life. Feeding wholesome foods, maintain regular exercise routines, and regular vet visits to keep your puppy up-to-date with vaccination.