November was Diabetes Awareness month. We have 10 or more diagnosed diabetic patients that we see on a regular basis.
Diabetics tend to present with increased thirst and increased urination. They may have weight loss, even though there may be an increased appetite. Sometimes they will have recurring infections including skin and urinary infections.
Diabetes can occur at any age, however it us usually diagnosed between 7 – 10 years old. Obesity is a significant risk factor for development of diabetes. The long-term use of medications containing corticosteroids is also a risk factor for diabetes.
Once the diagnosis of diabetes is confirmed through bloodwork and urinalysis, the veterinarian will prescribe an initial dose and type of insulin. Insulin is given by injection under the skin, once to twice daily as recommended by your veterinarian. Dietary recommendations are an important part of treatment as well.
For dogs it is recommended to feed a high fiber diet. For cats it is recommended to feed a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet. It is also recommended to follow a daily exercise regimen.
It is very important to maintain the proper insulin and feeding schedule for your pet. It is also very important your pet maintain a normal appetite to prevent the blood sugar from dropping too low and causing hypoglycemia.
Regular exams and testing performed at your veterinarian can be supplemented by at home monitoring of your pet’s blood and urine glucose levels. It is important to monitor your diabetic pet for long term complications such as cataracts, hind leg weakness due to low blood potassium, high blood pressure and urinary tract infections.
Diabetic dogs and cats can live long and healthy lives with proper management and veterinary care. Featured below are pictures of just a few of our diabetic patients.
Braxton and Lenny