Is Your Dog at Risk for Diabetes?

Diabetes, which was once a rare disease, has now become a household name. Today, diabetes mellitus affects an estimated 143 million people in the world with the graphs only rising every day. Joining this long list of diabetic patients is a whopping 32 percent of dogs, out of which only 10 percent get diagnosed and treated. It is believed that every one in 300 dogs suffers from diabetes, yet this disease often goes underdiagnosed because most pet owners are either unaware of the high risks of diabetes in dogs or don’t understand the symptoms.

Signs of Diabetes in Dogs

If you notice the following symptoms in your dog, then seek animal veterinary care immediately.

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Increased appetite

In advanced cases of diabetes, the symptoms become more prominent and severe, including:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Low energy levels
  • Depressed behavior
  • Cataracts
  • Enlarged liver
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting

What Causes Diabetes in Dogs?

In order to find out the causes of diabetes in dogs, it is important to understand what causes this condition in general. It is a disease in which the beta cells of the endocrine pancreas stop making insulin or stop producing enough for the body’s needs. There are two types, with each one depending upon the origin of the condition.

Type 1 diabetes, also known as “juvenile diabetes”, is caused due to the destruction of the beta cell in the pancreas, which results in an inability to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is an insulin-resistant diabetes which doesn’t accept the insulin that body produces due to medical conditions or heavy hormonal medications. While type 2 diabetes is not prevalent is dogs, they can have type 1 diabetes, and although the condition is treatable and doesn't necessarily shorten the lifespan of your pooch, it can cause malnutrition, cataracts, ketoacidosis, dehydration and death if left untreated.

Is Your Dog in The List?

A genetic breed study that was published in 2007 curated a list of risk factors for diabetes in dogs which is as follows:

High RiskModerate RiskNeutral RiskLow Risk
Cairn TerrierBichon FriseKing Charles SpanielEnglish Springer Spaniel
SamoyedBorder CollieCocker SpanielGerman Shepherd
DachshundDobermanGolden Retriever
English SetterLab RetrieverBull Terrier
SchnauzerWelsh Spaniel
Yorkshire Terrier

What Is the Treatment?

  • Carbohydrates greatly affect the postprandial (the period during or after lunch or dinner) blood sugar levels. A steady, veterinarian-approved amount of carbohydrates in the diet is the best way to balance insulin levels in the body. Complex carbohydrates should be taken instead of simple carbohydrates as they are digested slowly and there is the steady rise in glucose and no quick spikes.
  • Exercise routines are very important for those that suffer with diabetes. Regular exercise helps to avoid a sudden rise or drop in glucose levels.
  • Turmeric is an amazing antioxidant that helps in the regeneration of Beta cells especially in dogs that have just started with diabetes.
  • Feed at least 30 percent protein in order to avoid diabetes in dogs.
  • Include lots of roughage and dietary fiber in your dog’s diet. Fiber helps in slow digestion and cleaning the gut thereby releasing the glucose in the body steadily.

Staying aware about your dog’s health and body is very important in today’s time where your pooch is in high risk of infinite diseases. Don’t panic if your dog is diagnosed with Diabetes. With regular care and monitoring your pooch will thrive like any other happy dog and who knows your champ might even beat it.

Harsh Arora is a proud father of four rescued dogs and a leopard gecko. Besides being a full-time dog father, he is a freelance content writer/blogger and an educationist, with more than six years of experience in the field of content writing.

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