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The Symptoms of Canine Diabetes

Courtesy of: Type 2 Diabetes Guide

Diabetes is a disease that most people relate to humans, but dogs can get it too. Dogs who show symptoms of canine diabetes should be taken to the vet for proper diagnosis. If the vet determines that diabetes is present then a treatment plan can be discussed.

There are two types of diabetes mellitus (or "sugar" diabetes), just as there are two types of diabetes in humans. Type 1 diabetes is when the body does not produce enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes is when the body no longer responds properly to insulin, so more is needed to get the same response. In dogs, Type 2 diabetes is much more common.

Note: there is also an unrelated but serious condition known as diabetes insipidus, characterized by extreme thirst and frequent large volumes of urination. Dogs begin having frequent and repeated "housebreaking accidents". Dogs with this condition cannot properly conserve water or concentrate its urine, leading to serious problems. Large quantities of water must be available to the dog at all times. If you suspect your dog has this condition, bring him to the vet immediately for diagnosis and treatment.

Symptoms to Watch For

  • Weight loss or sudden weight gain
  • Increased thirst / urination
  • Increased appetite
  • Recurring infections
  • Lethargic / low energy
  • In later stages you may notice vision problems (due to cataracts), vomiting, and depression.

Dogs that display one or more of these signs should be taken to the vet for consultation. If your dog has diabetes, early treatment may be able to prevent further complications from the disease.

Dogs that are at increased risk for this condition are those that are obese or have a poor diet. Female dogs are more likely than males to develop diabetes.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your veterinarian will do a physical exam, go over your dog's history, and run blood and urine tests to determine blood sugar levels. The results will allow your vet to make a diagnosis.

Diabetes is a treatable condition. Dogs with diabetes are treated with a combination of diet, exercise, and insulin, which is usually given by injection. Your vet will instruct you on the proper administration of insulin shots. Ask for information on how to recognize high or low blood sugar levels, and what to do if the situation arises. Lifelong treatment for canine diabetes is usually required.

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Reprinted with permission from: Symptoms of Canine Diabetes




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