Diabetes is a complex disease that most often develops in older dogs. Just like in humans, diabetes in dogs can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms. However, with careful management, this condition doesn’t need to affect their quality of life.
What is diabetes in dogs?
Dog diabetes, or ‘canine diabetes’, is caused by either a lack of insulin in your dog’s body or, in some cases, an ‘inadequate’ biological response to it. When your dog eats, the food is broken down. One of the components of their food, glucose, is carried to their cells by insulin.
If your dog can’t produce enough insulin themselves, or the insulin they have isn’t used properly, the glucose cannot be used properly either. This means your dog’s blood sugar levels will rise, which can lead to adverse side effects.
What causes diabetes in dogs?
Just like in humans, it isn’t completely certain why some dogs develop diabetes. Some dogs may be more genetically prone to developing the condition. It is known, however, that being overweight can increase the risk of your dog developing diabetes. This may be because obesity causes cells in your dog’s body to become more resistant to insulin.
If your dog develops diabetes, it is most likely to happen when they start to reach their senior years. Female dogs and neutered dogs may also be more at risk.
- Excessive thirst
- Increase in urination
- Unexplained weight loss
- Appetite changes
- ‘Sweet-smelling’ breath
- Tiredness or lack of energy
- Urinary tract infection
- Loss of eyesight
If your vet suspects that your dog may have diabetes, they will most likely carry out a blood test to help their diagnosis. If your dog has diabetes, they will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
Is there a cure for dog diabetes?
Unfortunately there is no cure for diabetes in dogs. However, dog diabetes is a condition that can usually be managed by the owner. With proper management, your dog can still enjoy a full and happy life.