Canine diabetes, the warning signs and treatments

Dogs are known to suffer from illnesses such as diabetes as well. The pancreas is an abdominal organ that produces digestive enzymes for the metabolism of food. Occasionally, due to illness or trauma, the pancreas either produces less insulin or none at all and the body then becomes inefficient in dealing with high volumes of glucose in the blood. As the glucose is not being converted into energy, the body then starts to draw on its reserves of fat which does not serve the body’s need for energy.

This can result in diabetes mellitus, or sugar diabetes, and is most common in middle aged to older dogs although it can occur in younger animals. As the treatment consists in replenishment of the body’s supplies of insulin this form of the disease is otherwise known as Insulin-dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM) (Type II diabetes mellitus).

Diabetes, if managed properly managed and controlled, will have little effect on your dog quality of life although there will be some changes in terms of treatment schedules and feeding regimes. Your dog’s diabetes can be controlled with either daily insulin injections or oral diabetic medication alone if his symptoms aren’t too severe or he has a bad reaction to injections. Insulin injections are simple procedures and painless as your vet would demonstrate and teach you how to administer them.

Some of the symptoms that indicate that your dog is developing IDDM are a vastly increased level of thirst and urination levels, and an enormous increase in appetite. This is because he’s trying to take in enough calories to make up for the deficit in available energy as glucose is not being converted as energy. You may notice that your dog is losing a weight drastically despite his increase in appetite, as his body weight is being compromised to in light of the low insulin levels.

Your dog may grow increasingly listless if these symptoms are not picked up, with the increased likelihood of internal organ damage over time. A prolonged absence of insulin may lead to high levels of ketones in the body, which can result in a scent of sweet peardrops on his breath. This is a dangerous signal and is indicative of ketoacidosis which raises the pH level of the blood and this can cause serious damage within your dog’s body.

Ongoing management of diabetes will include testing of his blood or urine for glucose in the morning, and giving him the appropriate insulin dosage for that reading. Approximately five minutes after your dog receives his insulin dosage, he can be given his morning meal. Later in the day, you will need to feed your dog when his blood glucose levels are low, and again this will require you to test his blood or urine to determine insulin levels present. Once you have established a good routine this should be adhered to until your vet suggests a review.