Diabetes mellitus is a condition that affects dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes. But do dogs with diabetes suffer as humans do? What is the disease’s extent?
Dogs with diabetes can suffer from the disease just like humans can. In some cases, it’s harder for them to regulate their blood sugar levels, and they may need help from their owners to stay healthy. Understanding how diabetes affects dogs and what you can do to help them live normal lives is vital for all dog lovers. Keep reading to learn more about this serious condition.
Do Canines Suffer from Diabetes?
There’s no sugarcoating it – diabetes is a serious disease. But it’s one that humans aren’t the only ones susceptible to – our furry friends can get it too. In fact, around 1 in every 300 dogs will develop diabetes in their lifetime.
So what exactly is diabetes? It’s a condition in which your body can’t properly process or use glucose (a type of sugar) for energy. This can be because your pancreas isn’t making enough insulin (a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels) or because your cells are resistant to insulin. Either way, when too much sugar is circulating in your blood instead of being used for fuel, it can cause serious health problems.
For dogs, the most common type of diabetes is called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), which is when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) is much less common and usually occurs later in life. It’s often seen in overweight or obese dogs and is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Damage Caused by Diabetes
Diabetes is a serious medical condition that can profoundly impact your dog’s health. If left untreated, diabetes can cause many problems and potentially lead to death.
Diabetes occurs when too much sugar (glucose) is in the blood. The body needs insulin to process glucose properly, but in dogs with diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body can’t use it effectively. As a result, glucose builds up in the blood and spills into the urine.
The high sugar levels also damage various organs in the body. The most common problems are with the kidneys, heart, and eyes.
Over time, diabetes can cause severe damage to these organs and lead to many other health problems that we discuss below.
High blood sugar levels can damage the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, eventually leading to kidney failure.
Diabetes can cause heart muscle changes, weakening and affecting its function to pump efficiently. This can lead to congestive heart failure.
Diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the retina (the back part of the eye), causing vision problems or even blindness.
High blood sugar levels can damage the nerves throughout the body, causing pain, numbness, or tingling in the extremities.
Diabetes can also cause gums and teeth issues, skin infections, and other health problems.
If you think your dog may be diabetic, you must see a veterinarian immediately. With proper treatment, most dogs with diabetes can live long, healthy lives.
Which Dogs are Likely to Suffer from Diabetes?
While diabetes is a relatively common disease in dogs, certain breeds are more likely to develop the condition. Some of the most at-risk breeds include:
- Labrador Retrievers
- Golden Retrievers
- German Shepherds
These breeds tend to be more prone to diabetes due to their genetics and body type. For example, Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are both large breeds with a predisposition for obesity. This extra weight can put a strain on their pancreas, which can eventually lead to diabetes.
On the other hand, poodles are a smaller breed, but they still have a genetic disposition toward the disease. German Shepherds are also relatively large dogs often used as working dogs. This means they tend to be more active, which can help offset the risk of developing diabetes.
Of course, any dog can develop diabetes, regardless of breed. However, these are some of the most at-risk breeds for the disease.
What are the Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs?
So how do you know if your dog has diabetes? Well, there are a few telltale signs. These include:
It can be tough to tell if your dog is sick since they can’t tell us what’s wrong. However, there are some common symptoms of diabetes in dogs that you can look out for. It’s important to take your furry friend to the vet for a check-up if you notice any of these signs:
- Excessive Thirst and Urination
- Weight Loss
- Increased Appetite
- Bladder or Urinary Tract Infections
- Skin Infections
- Depressed Attitude
Treatment of Diabetes in Dogs
There are different ways to treat diabetes in dogs, and the best method will vary depending on the individual dog and the severity of their condition. In most cases, treatment will involve a combination of medication, diet, and exercise.
The first step in treating diabetes is to control your dog’s blood sugar levels. This can be done with insulin injections or oral medications. Insulin is the most common treatment for diabetes in dogs, and it works by helping the body process glucose better.
Oral medications can also help regulate blood sugar levels but are not as effective as insulin injections. Diet and exercise are also essential parts of treatment, as they can help keep blood sugar levels low. Exercise helps to use up glucose in the bloodstream, and a healthy diet can help to regulate the body’s insulin levels.
Treating diabetes in dogs takes dedication and patience, but it is possible to manage the condition and help your dog lead a happy and healthy life.
Our Final Thoughts
Diabetes is usually a rare condition for dogs. So it is natural to wonder if dogs with diabetes suffer. Unfortunately, diabetes is a serious condition that affects anyone suffering from it. However, it can be managed easily with proper care, and your dog can still have a quality life.