Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Dogs

Information About Canine Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetes Insipidus and Gestational Diabetes

Treating canine disease

There are 3 forms of Canine Diabetes. They are Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetes Insipidus and Canine Gestational Diabetes. Although all three types of occur, Diabetes Mellitus is by far the most common.

For tips on general care for dogs with this disorder, read on.

Canine Diabetes Mellitus is a disorder in dogs where their bodies are deficient in the production of insulin or insensitive to it. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and helps regulate blood concentrations of glucose. Signs and symptoms become worse as the disease progresses. Early symptoms include:

  1. The dog will have excessive thirst, leading to excessive urination.
  2. Although his appetite may increase, the dog is likely to lose weight as he breaks down stores of fat and muscle.
  3. The dog may be lethargic and have no interest in anything.

As the disease progresses, the symptoms are more serious and debilitating. They include:

  1. The dog becomes anorexic.
  2. The dog becomes dehydrated.
  3. The dog may experience an increase in infections.
  4. The dog will become blind due to cataracts that cover the eyes.

You may be wondering what causes canine diabetes. The causes are:

  1. Certain breeds of dogs and certain bloodlines of dogs are more susceptible to it.
  2. Diseases, including infectious viral diseases, Hyperadrenocorticism, Acromegaly and Pancreatitis can cause the disorder.
  3. Prescribed drugs, such as steroids and reproductive hormones can be causes.

Diagnosis by a veterinarian is determined by:

  1. A physical exam will enable the veterinarian to observe the dog and closely study the symptoms described by the owner.
  2. Laboratory tests will enable the veterinarian to determine blood sugar levels in the blood and glucose in the urine of the dog. 

Pet Care and Treatment of Canine Diabetes Mellitus includes:

  1. Insulin injections may have to be given once or twice daily. Your veterinarian will determine the ideal dosage, and may adjust the dosage based on testing.
  2. It is important to stay on schedule, giving the injections at the same time all the time.
  3. The amount of insulin that the dog requires depends not only on the dog's weight but on a combination of factors including the severity of the disease. 
  4. Use glucose test strips to test urine and monitor blood glucose levels.
  5. Keep records of levels and injections.
  6. The dog's diet is very important to keepingdiabetic dog treats Canine Diabetes Mellitus under control.
    • A high fiber and protein diet is recommended that is also low in fats and carbohydrates.
    • Stay on schedule by eating at same time daily. Your veterinarian will determine the amounts and times of feedings.
    • It is important that your pet eats along with his injection. The safest method is to feed your pet first, then give the injection (about 20-30 minutes later). If your pet does not eat, you will have the chance to adjust the dosage if necessary.
  7. Exercise is also important and the dog owner should be consistent with it.

The second form of the disorder is Canine Diabetes Insipidus. This rare disease is either Central Diabetes Insipidus or Nephrogenic Diabetes Isipidus.

Central Diabetes Insipidus occurs when the pituitary gland does not secrete enough vasopressine, an anti-diuretic hormone (ADH).

The most common causes include:

  1. Congenital defect
  2. Trauma or disease of the pituitary or hypothalamus

Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus occurs when the kidneys do not respond to the ADH produced by the pituitary gland.The most common causes include:

  1. A congenital defect
  2. Prescribed drugs
  3. Trauma or disease of the kidney

Symptoms are:

  1. The dog has an increased thirst and urinates more.
  2. The dog may not drink more, but may urinate more.
  3. The dog's increased urination will likely be diluted and clear.

Diagnoses include:

  1. Testing to exclude Cushing's disease, diabetes mellitus, renal failure, liver disease, pyomera or other disorders
  2. The dog may be given a sonogram to look at the pituitary gland

Treatment includes:

  1. Central Diabetes Insipidus is treated using desmopressin, also known as DDAVP. This medication can be given as eye drops, nose drops, or injected subcutaneously.
  2. Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus is treated with prescribed medications such as thiazide diuretics, chlorothiazide, chloropropamide and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Salt is also restricted.

The third type is Canine Gestational Diabetes. Canine Gestational Diabetes occurs when a female dog is pregnant and her body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it produces correctly. This diabetes has the same symptoms as Canine Diabetes Mellitus. Treatment is with diet and exercise and/or with insulin injections. Prognosis is very good as this diabetes usually goes away after the dog gives birth.

As with any disease, it is important to let your dog know it is loved, especially while it is sick. This along with remaining on a strict schedule is important, especially when giving the insulin injections. Although there is no cure, it can be controlled with proper dog care, treatment, diet and exercise, and allowing the dog to live a more comfortable life. With an owner who sticks to the schedule and a veterinarian who does his part, as well as a positive response to the diabetes treatment prescribed, the dog will have the opportunity to live for many years.


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