Could your pet be living with diabetes?

November is Pet Diabetes Month, and we’re out to raise awareness of this surprisingly common condition in cats and dogs.

Is your dog or cat excessively thirsty or do they need to urinate more than normal? Is your pet increasingly lethargic or losing weight, despite a healthy appetite? Then he or she may indeed be suffering from diabetes mellitus.

Pop over to the Pet Diabetes Month website to take a more detailed questionnaire and see just how much your pet is at risk. If you suspect your pet may be at increased risk, then book an appointment with us at the earliest opportunity. Fortunately, diabetes can be easily diagnosed with a simple urine and/or blood test.

Which pets are most at risk?

Middle aged to older dogs are more prone to developing the condition and un-spayed bitches are most commonly affected. However certain dog breeds such as Labradors, Springer Spaniels, Golden Retrievers and Old English Sheepdogs are at an increased risk.

In cats, all ages and sexes can be affected. However older cats and neutered males are particularly susceptible and it has been reported that diabetes is particularly prevalent in the Burmese breed.

Diabetes is caused either by the pet’s pancreas producing insufficient amounts of the body’s naturally occurring hormone, insulin; or the failure of its body cells to respond to insulin. This in turn means that glucose from food doesn’t provide enough energy to the pet’s body.

What’s the treatment?

If your pet does have diabetes then help is at hand. As well as a consistent and carefully controlled diet, regular injections of insulin need to be administered (once or twice daily) to help control the condition. In cats, up to a third of insulin-treated diabetic cases may go into remission and may therefore come off treatment altogether. Although this is unusual in dogs, a good quality of life can be restored for the majority of diabetic pets given insulin treatment and appropriate care. Early diagnosis, however, is key.