November is Pet Diabetes Month
Many people aren't aware, but our dogs and cats are vulnerable to diabetes just like humans. November is National Diabetes Month, and while that campaign was originally intended to draw attention to the human form of the condition, veterinarians hope to remind us this month that our pets are also at risk, and that understanding the signs of diabetes can help identify and manage it before it becomes serious.
What Causes Diabetes in Pets?
As with humans, dogs and cats can be affected by both Type I and II diabetes. The former is a permanent condition that will require lifelong insulin injections, whereas the latter is often a temporary problem that can improve over time. Both Type I and II diabetes are caused by a dysfunction of the pancreas, which creates insulin that the body needs in order to regulate blood sugar. Treating both Type I and II diabetes typically requires an insulin injection twice per day; oral medications, often prescribed to humans with diabetes, are not yet available for dogs or cats.
Certain breeds of dogs and cats tend to be diagnosed with diabetes more often. Siamese cats seem to be predisposed to the condition, as are Samoyeds, Schnauzers, beagles, poodles, and several other breeds of dog. Female dogs are about twice as likely to develop the condition. Diabetes sometimes occurs from youth in pets, but it much more commonly develops later in life, around seven or eight years of age.
When to Take Your Pet to the Vet
Common signs of diabetes in pets include excessive thirst or urination, unusual weight loss, vision problems, and low strength or energy. If your pet shows any of these symptoms, don't hesitate to contact a veterinarian, especially if your pet is older or is among the predisposed breeds mentioned above. Identifying and treating diabetes early is important to keep your pet as comfortable as possible, and can also help avoid a dangerous blood sugar imbalance.
How Can Greenfield Veterinary Clinic Help?
Greenfield Veterinary Clinic has over 38 years of experience treating dogs and cats in the greater Milwaukee area. To learn more about any of our services, including diabetes management, contact us today.