Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs

Canine diabetes, similar to humans, is called diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus has two main types in humans: Type 1 is characterized by the pancreas' inability to produce insulin; and Type 2 which is characterized by insulin resistance, most often caused by poor diet or obesity. In dogs, the vast majority of diabetes is Type 1. According to research, Type 2 Diabetes does not occur frequently in dogs.

 

Diabetes mellitus usually results from destruction of most or all of the beta-cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. Diabetes can develop in dogs either from birth, or from a result of damage to the pancreas. It's estimated that 50% of canine diabetes cases result from autoimmune disorders that affected the pancreas. 

 
Symptoms

 

It's important to closely monitor your dog for any signs of diabetes.

These could include:

 

  • Excessive water consumption

  • Frequent and/or excessive urination

  • Rapid weight gain or weight loss

  • Cloudy eyes which could lead to cataracts

 

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms or warning signs, it's important that you visit a veterinarian as soon as possible.

 

Treatment

Dogs with diabetes mellitus require one or more daily injections, and almost all require some sort of dietary change. In general, they must be fed the same food in the same amount on the same schedule every day. It's also important to pay close to attention to what kind of food you are feeding your dog. We developed DogaBetix dog food and treats so that they are free of gluten, grains, sugar, and potato, all of which can be harmful to diabetic dogs.

 

Treatment should be looked upon as part of the dogs daily routine. This means that you, as the dog's owner, must make both a financial commitment and a personal commitment to treat your dog. If you are out of town, or going on vacation, your dog's routine must remain the same.

 

Insulin, syringes, and DogaBetix dog food are not expensive, but you'll probably have some fairly expensive initial costs when your dog is diagnosed. Initially, your dog may be hospitalized for a few days to deal with any immediate crisis and to begin the insulin regulation process. Ella's first hospitalization was for 48 hours. It also took about 6 months to determine the number of units required to stabilize her blood sugar levels. At first it was 2 units per shot, then 4, and now she's at 10 units.

 

If left untreated, diabetes mellitus can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. Dogs in this state, may require several days of intensive care. Otherwise, the initial hospitalization may be only for a day or two while the dog's initial response to insulin injections is evaluated.

 
Additional Resources
 

Canine Diabetes: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Diet, Whole Dog Journal

Disclaimer

Dogabetix is a community for diabetic dog owners--we are not licensed professionals. Before making any important decisions for treating your diabetic dog, please consult a veterinarian

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