Diabetes and your dog

Diabetes and your dogThe New Year is a time when many of us take stock of our expanding waistlines, and resolve to do something about it. After all, we’re constantly warned of the dangers of being overweight, dangers which include heart disease and diabetes. If you’re a dog owner, you should also be appraising your pet’s physique as, like humans, dogs can also fall prey to the disease at any age.

If your dog is overweight, constantly tired and drinking water to excess, it may be that he has canine diabetes. It’s important that he is tested for the disease by a vet, as early diagnosis is vital.

Diagnosis is carried out through a battery of urine and blood tests, and these are necessary in order to eliminate other diseases that have similar symptoms. Like human diabetes, canine diabetes comes in two flavours.

Diabetes Insipidus occurs when there is a lack of the hormone Vasopressin, which regulates the way in which the kidney absorbs water.

Diabetes Mellitus, which is sometimes known as ‘sugar diabetes’, develops when the pancreas is unable to generate enough insulin to metabolise the amount of sugars or glucose in the dog’s system. This is by far the more common type, and afflicts roughly 1 in every 500 dogs. There are two types of diabetes Mellitus; Type I occurs in the early stages of a dog’s life, whilst Type II afflicts senior dogs.

If untreated, Diabetes can be catastrophic. A dog that is not on medication for it will likely become blind and experience kidney problems. Circulatory and heart problems usually accompany these symptoms.

A dog that is diagnosed with diabetes will be given insulin, and will need to be switched to a high fibre diet to minimise the amount of glucose in his body. If your dog is overweight, he may be taken off insulin therapy once he loses his excess flab.
However, as is the case with humans, prevention is better than cure, and you’ll find that your pooch is more than willing to accompany you on long fat-burning walks.