Worried about your dog? Here's an introduction to canine diabetes...
The purpose of this article is to outline the risk and symptoms associated with canine diabetes. Details are provided to help you understand why dog diabetes is such serious condition.
A Brief Introduction
If your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes, he will need a lot of your support and care for the rest of his life. Canine diabetes can come in two forms: diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mellitus is similar to human diabetes and can be congenital or acquired. Diabetes insipidus is caused by vasopressin, or the lack thereof. This is a hormone that controls the resorption of water in the dog's kidneys. Most cases of canine diabetes mellitus is Type II or insulin-dependent and is referred to as IDDM.
Why is canine diabetes a problem?
Insulin is produced by the pancreas and is responsible for the maintenance of blood in glucose, which is the body's main source of fuel. In dogs of normal health, insulin functions to prevent too much glucose production by storing excess glucose in the body.
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A diabetic dog will have difficulty controlling glucose production and efficiently storing excess glucose that is derived from food. When this happens, the concentration of glucose in the blood increases and when it reaches a level where the kidneys are no longer able to contain it, glucose then leaks into the urine. This causes the dog to excrete more urine than usual.
The loss of glucose and the production of more urine to excrete will cause unusual thirst in dogs, also known as polydipsia. The dog's body will also begin breaking down protein and fats normally stored in the body to produce more glucose and ketones in the liver. This will lead to a loss of essential nutrients, weight loss and ketoacidosis, a very serious disease.
Diabetes is fairly common in dogs and usually starts at about seven or nine years old. Unspayed female dogs may be at higher risk of developing it than spayed dogs. Breed may also be a factor and dogs such as Cairn Terriers, Keeshonds and Pulis are genetically predisposed to developing it. IDDM may also be set off by infectious viral diseases and immune deficiencies.
Dogs with canine diabetes will exhibit certain behaviors such as excessive thirst, urination and hunger. If left untreated, the dog may begin to lose weight, become lethargic, depressed and suffer from episodes of vomiting. Because of his decreased resistance to fungal and bacterial infections, he may develop problems in his bladder and liver functions.
Early diagnosis is the key to helping your dog survive. This may be done through a thorough physical examination by the veterinarian who will also perform lab tests to check the blood and urine for glucose levels. Sometimes, it might take more than one test for blood glucose levels in order to establish canine diabetes.
Canine Diabetes Treatment
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The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your veterinarian or other health care professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment.