In today’s blog, we look at one of the most common issues prevalent among our canine friends- Diabetes. Yes, this degenerative disease is not just limited to people but is an increasing health risk among dogs as well. According to Veterinary World, 1 in 500 dogs will be diagnosed with the disease and this number is on the rise around the world. But the good news is that although diabetes can’t be cured, it can be managed very successfully. Let’s start by understanding the disease we are dealing with.
The 2 Types Of Diabetes in Dogs
Diabetes is a degenerative disease that affects the health of our beloved pets either in the form of Type I or Type II diabetes mellitus. Type 1 is most prevalent among dogs in India and is caused due to the destruction of insulin-producing Beta cells. In order to stabilize the sugar levels of dogs with this type of diabetes, insulin injections are required. The amount of insulin produced when it comes to type II diabetes is also insufficient. This can also be caused due to a delayed response in secreting insulin or since the tissues of the dog’s body are relatively insulin resistant. Tablets are usually recommended in this case, but dogs and oral medication do not go well together. Subepidermal insulin injections are the answer in this case as well.
A dog suffering from diabetes shows the following symptoms. Pet parents should take notice of these early signs-
- Excessive thirst
- Increased urination
- Extreme Weight loss/ Weight gain
- Increased appetite
- Increased fatigue
- Skin Infection/ Irritability
- A visit to your veterinarian every 6-8 months for a physical check-up is ideal to keep his/her sugar levels in check.
Thank Goodness For Science
Fortunately, science and medicine have made huge strides in recent years, and as a result, dogs with diabetes are living longer, healthier lives. Your Vet can perform tests to check for diabetes, including testing for excessive glucose (sugar) in the blood and urine, in a simple manner. Blood tests can also reveal other signs of diabetes, such as high liver enzymes and electrolyte imbalances. Diabetes is also more difficult and complicated to treat as your dog gets older. The sooner it is detected and diagnosed, the better the chance your dog has to live a normal life.
Dr. Prerna, a practicing veterinarian in Mumbai since 2009, has seen this disease spread among dogs in Mumbai. “After the dog is on insulin shots, I recommend doing a check-up 3 days after his/her first shot in order to reassess the dose and make sure the dog is responding well to the prescription”. She goes on to state that in India as far as breeds go- Pugs, Beagles, and Dachshunds are most susceptible to this disease.
Why Does A Dog Need To Be Walked?
Once detected, it is extremely important for a diabetic dog to maintain a moderate but daily exercise routine. You can kick off this routine with something basic like walking your dog. Walking your dog early or late in the day helps you avoid the heat of the day. Exercise like diet helps maintain stable blood sugar levels and in turn affects the insulin dosing. Consulting your veterinarian is highly recommended to figure out the best possible diet for your diabetic dog. This usually consists of meals rich in protein, as well as fibre and complex carbohydrates that help slow the absorption of glucose. A diet with relatively low-fat content is also advised.
Dogs often share their environment with their owner. If there is something in the environment that triggers a disease in humans, it is possible that this will also affect the dog as well. If you are a pet parent awareness, exercise and diet is the answer.