Diagnosing Diabetes In Dogs: The Symptoms
It is important to diagnose diabetes in dogs in the early stages. If left untreated it can cause a number of health issues.
Diabetes in dogs is an incurable disease caused by the body no longer making insulin.
- Excessive thirst
- Increased urination
- Increased hunger
- Weight loss
A blood test typically shows elevated levels of glucose in the blood, and glucose will be found in the urine. This is normally an indication that the dog does have diabetes.
On some occasions increased glucose can be due to stress, therefore if there is doubt a test can be carried out for fructosamine levels. This test shows the average blood glucose levels over a number of weeks to show if it is a persistent elevation.
It is a relatively common condition but is manageable with injections of insulin, with many treated dogs leading happy active lives.
So what is Diabetes in Dogs?
When dogs have diabetes their pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin or not enough. Insulin is required for body cells to absorb and utilise glucose for energy.
In the absence of insulin, diabetic dogs cannot control the levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood, a condition called hyperglycaemia. Some dogs can manage with this for a while, but if left untreated they can become seriously unwell, especially if they develop other illnesses such as urine infections. Furthermore, diabetic dogs are prone to suffer from other health issues.
Various forms of Diabetes
Most dogs suffer from Type one diabetes. Similar to humans, ths means they cannot produce insulin, and will therefore depend on insulin injections for life. Type 2 diabetes means they do produce some insulin but they are resistant to its effects, which leads to a glucose build-up. Diabetes can also be secondary to other hormonal diseases such as steroid excess [Cushings disease], growth hormone excess [acromegaly] or be triggered after a female’s season due to progesterone. This latter, if treated early by neutering can even reverse the diabetes back to normality.
After diagnosis, insulin injections will be needed. The Vet will decide on the dose and type. However, it can sometimes take time to get the dose right. In most cases, dogs require injections twice daily at home around 12 hours apart from each other, after food. Your Vet will show you how to give the injections and carry out any other tests.
The dog’s blood glucose levels may also need to be tested. This is carried out by taking a sample of blood with a pinprick, or by syrnge and needle.
In addition, a balanced diet can help with regulating the blood sugar levels. Your vet will be able to advise you further on this.
Get in touch
Finally, if you have any concerns that your dog may be suffering from any of the above symptoms, please get in touch with our veterinary team.