Most people have heard of diabetes. However, far fewer realise that our pets can develop this chronic health condition, which requires careful management if your furry friend is to live a long and healthy life. There are many lifestyle changes you can make for your pet to ensure they don’t acquire diabetes. However, if you suspect your pet has diabetes, here are some of the primary indications of diabetes in pets.
Pet diabetes is exactly the same as human diabetes and refers to the inability of your pet’s body to either produce enough insulin, or respond properly to it. Dogs are more likely to develop Type I diabetes – which refers to a lack of insulin production, while Type II diabetes, characterized by a lack of normal response to insulin, it more prevalent in cats.
The exact cause of pet diabetes isn’t known, but it is believed to be largely attributed to genetic predisposition and poor lifestyle choices. One of the key contributory factors is believed to be a low quality highly processed diet. This is because these ‘convenience’ foods rarely have the balance of nutrition required for good health. Diets such as these can lead to pet obesity, another condition believed to be closely linked to pet diabetes.
Other factors believed to contribute towards the development of pet diabetes include autoimmune disorders, pancreatitis and certain medications.
Unfortunately, our pets are unable to tell us when they aren’t feeling well. This means that it is up to us, as caring and responsible owners, to recognize any unusual behaviors or other indicators that he may be suffering from an underlying illness, including pet diabetes.
Thankfully, there are some symptoms that are indicative of diabetes. These include:
Dehydration (dark-colored urine, or difficulty passing urine)
Changes in appetite
Foul breath, often smelling sickly sweet
Urinary tract infections
If your pet has a combination of any of the above symptoms, you should seek the advice of your veterinarian as soon as possible.
You are probably wondering if there is anything that you can do to help protect your pet from developing this chronic and serious condition. Well, the good news is that although there is no guarantee that your animal won’t develop diabetes at some point in his future, there are ways in which you can significantly reduce this risk.
Obesity is considered to be one of the primary causes behind the development of diabetes, as well as a number of other health problems such as high blood pressure, arthritis/joint problems and even heart disease.
Help your furbaby to manage his weight by ensuring that you offer high quality, fresh food that meets the nutritional requirements of your pet’s breed. Offer portion-sized meals, never free-feed, and ensure that your animal gets sufficient exercise. If you have questions about weight management for your pet, your veterinarian will be delighted to advise you.
Exercise is vital for staying healthy, and regular physical exertion will help keep your pet’s weight under control, keep his heart and lungs healthy and boost his brain function.
Some studies have shown a link between unspayed females and a range of health problems including uterine diseases, some cancers and diabetes. Spaying will also prevent pregnancy and be a small step toward reducing the overpopulation of unwanted animals in the United States.
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that must be effectively managed if your pet is to live a long, healthy and fulfilling life. If you have any further questions about the signs of pet diabetes, or if you would simply like further advice, please make an appointment at Veterinary Medical Clinic today at 575-567-3500.