Today is World Diabetes Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about diabetes mellitus or better known as just diabetes. This day is only a small part of the month of November dedicated to raising awareness of diabetes in humans AS WELL AS in pets. Today, in honor of #PetDiabetesMonth, we will go over how this disease affects our pets and ways we can combat it before it begins.
What is Diabetes Mellitus and what does it mean for my pets?
Like humans, dogs and cats also experience two different forms of diabetes, Type I and Type II Diabetes Mellitus (DM). According to the Pet Health Network, Type I DM requires lifelong insulin therapy and is more commonly seen in dogs. Type II DM is more commonly seen in cats and is treated for months but not necessarily for life. Although it can occur in younger pets, both are typically seen in older pets from 7 to 9 years old and occur when insulin is not properly produced in the body. Untreated, these can cause complications such as vomiting, dehydration, cataracts and in severe cases death.
What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes in pets?
Below are some of the common symptoms of diabetes in both cats and dogs from the official Pet Diabetes Month page. If your pet is showing any of the symptoms please get them examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Excessive Thirst
- Excessive Urination (more accidents than usual)
- Excessive Hunger Despite Weight Loss
- Cloudy Eyes
- Thinning, Dry or Dull Fur
- Ceases Grooming (For Cats)
What can I do to help my pet stay healthy?
First, know if your dog or cat is at risk. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), female dogs are twice as likely to get DM as male dogs are. Cats are the opposite, with males being more likely to get diabetes than females. Obesity can also be a significant risk factory in the development of diabetes. It is important to ensure your pet is eating a proper diet and getting regular exercise.
Be sure to have your pets routinely examined by their veterinarian and keep an eye out for the symptoms mentioned above. The earlier diabetes is caught, the easier it is to treat before the illness becomes more serious. If a pet becomes diabetic, discuss with your veterinarian the best steps for treatment. With the proper care, dogs and cats suffering from diabetes can live long and happy lives. Just look at Fred, The Gentle Giant, who after months of working to get his glucose stabilized is now living a happy life with his FURever family.
Photos were taken by, Wentzek Photography, wentzekphoto.com.