What do you need to know about diabetes?
About pet diabetes
Glucose is absorbed from food in healthy animals. This sugar provides the energy that their body’s cells need to work.
Insulin is a hormone which signals cells to absorb glucose. If this message fails cells do not take up glucose, so don’t have enough energy for their normal processes. The glucose is left in the blood, but doesn’t get used. This is called diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes mellitus is the most common type of diabetes. It can occur in two ways:
- Due to a lack of insulin
- Due to the body becoming resistant to insulin
Diabetes insipidus is very rare.
It is caused by a problem with a hormone in the body called antidiuretic hormone (ADH). ADH regulates water levels in the body.
Pets with diabetes insipidus cannot regulate their body water, so urinate a lot. They can become dehydrated in as little as 4-6 hours if they don’t have access to fresh water to drink.
Diabetes in dogs
Diabetes in dogs is like human type 1 diabetes, and is due to the pancreas not producing enough insulin. A lifelong condition, diabetes mellitus in dogs requires twice daily insulin injections in most cases. Affected dogs also need a strict eating regime, as it is important to keep their blood sugar levels stable. Diabetes can be difficult to manage, and often requires a lot of teamwork between vet and owner!
Diabetes in cats
Diabetes mellitus in cats is quite different to diabetes mellitus in dogs, and resembles human type 2 diabetes. It is still a serious, lifelong condition that requires a lot of veterinary and owner care. Diabetes in cats can be effectively managed with time, effort and medication, keeping your beloved pet happy and healthy for longer. With the correct diet and management some diabetic cats are able to go into remission, which means that they will no longer need insulin injections.