November is almost officially over, but before we put the fall pumpkins away, we wanted to touch on a very important topic: pet diabetes. November is National Pet Diabetes Month, shedding light on the growing prevalence of diabetes mellitus in our pets. Research shows that 1 in every 200 cats and dogs may end up affected. It’s important to learn more about how our pets are affected, what to look for, and most importantly, how we can try and prevent it.
The Two Types of Pet Diabetes:
Type I – Their bodies don’t make enough of the hormone insulin and they will require life long injections to counteract the deficiency. It is most seen in dogs. Sadly, there is no cure, only treatment.
Type II – This happens when an only small amount of insulin is being produced by the pancreas, but is not enough or is not being used correctly. It is mostly seen in cats and can sometimes be reversed. It’s possible that after some time of treatment that diabetes will go away.
- Excessive thirst
- Inappropriate or excessive urination
- Weight loss
- Cataracts (whiteness of the eye lenses)
- Poor skin or coat condition
Preventing Pet Diabetes:
Knowing the warning signs and risk factors is of great import, but prevention is even more so. Even though there is an increasing number of pets being diagnosed with diabetes, there are things we can do to help stop it. Genetics do play an influential role, however it’s not a diabetes death sentence.
The first place to look is at their diet. Dogs that eat a non-processed, grain-free diet of lean meat, raw bones, organs and vegetables are extremely unlikely to get diabetes no matter their genetic make up. Just like with us, sticking with a wholesome and balanced diet works wonders. Talk to your vet about making the proper changes in your pet’s diet.
Make sure they get enough exercise. Also, just like humans, exercise is incredibly important. Not only does it help keep the weight off, it also lowers and regulates blood sugar levels. Instead of sporadic and vigourous sessions, stick to a consistent routine of the same exertion. Taking a walk of the same duration and length several times a week is a great place to start. Then slowly pick up the pace as they get more used to the exercise.
Spaying helps reduce the risk in females. Due to changes in the female reproductive hormones as they go through cycles, females are more at risk. The risk decreases once they are spayed.
Talk to your vet about your pet’s risk and what you can to help keep them healthy. Also, check out PetDiabetesMonth.com for more resources like quizzes, stories, and videos.
We can’t diagnose diabetes in your pets, but we will be certain to make note of any changes in behavior when our trained staff stop by for a walk or potty break. Things like lethargy, not eating, or excessive drinking are always noted in our handwritten visit logs and you can be sure to receive a phone call if a vet visit is immediately necessary. More information on our services can be found here.