Diabetes is more common in older pets, but it can also occur in younger or pregnant pets. The disease is more manageable if it is detected early with the help of your veterinarian. Thankfully, with proper diet, exercise, monitoring, and treatment, diabetic pets can lead long and happy lives.
The Diagnosis of Diabetes
Acknowledging the early signs of diabetes is the most important step in taking care of your pet. The earlier the diagnosis, the better chance your pet may have for a longer and healthier life. If you notice decreased appetite, excessive drinking and urination, chronic infections, cloudy eyes, or weight loss, your pet should be examined by a veterinarian, who can confirm the disease. Although a diagnosis of diabetes is relatively straightforward, your veterinarian may run additional blood tests to rule out other medical conditions seen in older pets.
How to Manage and Treat Diabetes in Your Pet
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, your veterinarian will prescribe an initial dose and type of insulin for your pet. Insulin cannot be given orally – it must be given by injection twice a day, 12 hours apart, under the skin. Your veterinarian will teach you how to give the injections, which are generally well tolerated by animals. Insulin is not a one-size-fits all treatment and your veterinarian may need to adjust your pet’s regiment based on monitoring results.
In order to keep your pet’s blood sugar levels as steady as possible, they will need to be fed twice a day, at set times, 12 hours apart. The amount and type of food needs to be consistent and treats should never be given in between meals. The doctors and staff at Sierra Veterinary Hospital can help you select the right food for your pet.
Exercise also plays a vital role in managing your pet’s diabetes, as it uses up blood sugars. Your pet will need to exercise a set amount at specific times each day. Sudden increases or decreases in exercise could cause their blood sugars to dangerously rise or fall.
It is very important to maintain the proper exercise, feeding, and insulin schedules recommended for your pet. It is also important that your pet maintains a normal appetite while on insulin therapy to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Your veterinarian will perform routine checks of your pet’s blood and urine sugar levels, which can be supplemented by at-home monitoring.
Dogs and cats with diabetes can live long and healthy lives with proper management and veterinary care. The combination of a special diet, fitness regimen, and insulin injections can help manage your pet’s blood sugar levels and prevent a life-threatening event. The successful treatment of diabetes requires regular examinations, blood and urine tests, and monitoring your pet’s weight, appetite, drinking, and urination. If you notice any changes to your pet’s behavior or weight, consult your veterinarian at Sierra Veterinary Hospital.