How to deal with diabetic dog?
For every pet owner, one of the worst nightmares is for their little fluffy friend to get sick. However, preventing the pet from catching anything altogether isn’t really possible, but a certain level of caution can be applied.
Believe it or not, diabetes is a common dog health problem. Statistics show that 1 out of every 500 dogs will develop diabetes. Breeds mostly at risk of developing diabetes are Miniature Schnauzer, Samoyed, toy poodle, Australian terrier and pug breeds. The average age for canine diabetes is 7 to 9 years old.
Once the pet’s body becomes unable to regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels due to a deficiency of insulin (type 1 diabetes) this is when canine diabetes is triggered.
Diagnosis and symptoms
Increased water consumption and increased urination followed by weight loss despite a voracious appetite are the classic symptoms of canine diabetes. Due to cataract development, blindness is known to develop also.
Dogs with diabetes often have other medical problems too which why they should have a complete blood count, blood pressure, thyroid analysis, blood chemistry panel, urinalysis and urine culture performed.
Depending on your veterinarian’s exam findings, chest x-rays and abdominal ultrasound and may also be warranted.
How is Canine Diabetes Treated?
If your pet really was unfortunate to get diagnosed with diabetes, you as his owner need to realize some extra care will be necessary. First, there is no cure for this illness which means your pet will have to be treated with insulin injections the rest of his life. Second, you’ll have to create an appropriate diet and exercise regimen for your pet, as well as establish an excellent relationship with your veterinarian.
You will have to put some extra time and thought into caring for your pet through his diet, exercise and insulin intake.
For most dogs with diabetes, natural dog food will for just fine. Depending on your pet’s health condition, your veterinarian may recommend a specially formulated diabetes diet that is lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber.
Moderate amounts of daily exercise are recommended for your dog with diabetes because they “burn up” glucose the same way that insulin does. Don’t pressure your pet too much because overly intensive exercise can lower blood glucose levels dramatically, resulting in hypoglycemia. Such treatment should be avoided. Exercise will improve blood glucose regulation and promote weight loss, healthy bones and muscles.
Ways to get insulin intake is through either pills or injections. However, any veterinarian will recommend injections instead of pills as they are far more effective managing diabetes in dogs.
Most dogs require insulin injections twice daily (12 hours apart and after meals).
How Do We Monitor Canine Diabetes?
Once your pet is diagnosed with canine diabetes, your veterinarian will work with you to create a protocol that fits both your and your dog’s needs and lifestyle.
The most common way of monitoring consists of checking urine or blood glucose levels and evaluating your dog for diabetes symptoms and signs of illness.
When your diabetic dog becomes well regulated, you should detect their energy levels improving, a more normal appetite, a stable body weight and lessening of their water consumption and urination. Watch your dog for signs of hypoglycemia! These can be life threatening and are an indication that your dog has received too much insulin. Report these to your veterinarian the moment you notice a change.
Signs of early hypoglycemia include shivering, increased weakness, stumbling and seizures and voracious hunger. If you see these symptoms, immediately try to feed your pet and get medical attention.
You will probably be advised to test your pet’s urine for glucose and ketones. Changes that may be relevant to your dog include absence of glucose in the urine, large fluctuations in the glucose present in the urine and the development of ketones in the urine.
A diabetic pet needs to have a special diet that was previously agreed on with your pet’s veterinarian. Royal Canin dog food and similar healthy options are mostly likely to be the first choice of your pet’s veterinarian and you should follow any nutrition (and other) advice given. Expect the veterinarian to suggest assessment of appetite, water consumption, activity level, urine frequency and volume and weekly measurements of body weight for checkup.
Caring for a sick pet is pretty demanding. Apart from the regular care you have already been giving to your pet, you’ll have to make some extra time in your schedule to make the whole thing work and help your pet feel better and live a long life.