So why isn’t there enough insulin? Sometimes drugs can interfere with insulin secretion (like excessive steroid use) and sometimes a pet's over-conditioned body (like my obese cat Susan, pictured below) can lead to insulin depletion.
2. Non-insulin dependent (Type 2).
Type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas does not produce any insulin. Type 2 diabetes is where the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. Dogs typically have insulin dependent diabetes and will need life-long insulin supplementation, while cats are typically non-insulin dependent and do not necessarily need insulin supplementation for life. Some cats with diabetes can be managed on diet alone. Luckily, diabetes is a disease that we can manage! So what are the warning signs to look for in our pets?
Does your sweet furry family member love to eat but seems to be losing weight? Does he or she act like they cannot drink enough and ask to go outside to urinate frequently? If so, they may be showing signs of being diabetic. At T.A.H we can perform a simple blood test that will show elevations in glucose that, along with signs of weight loss and increased appetite and thirst, help us to determine if a pet is diabetic. Sometimes a fructosamine level and/or a urinalysis to look for glucose in the urine is necessary to confirm diabetes. As previously mentioned, too much glucose is circulating in the bloodstream while the "key" (insulin) is not present to feed the body's cells. This can lead to leakage of glucose in the urine and even urinary tract infections, which can be detected with a simple urinalysis. Too much circulating glucose can cause eye damage as well. Sugar enters the lens in the eye and can cause rapid cataract formation in dogs.
If a pet has been diabetic and has not been diagnosed and managed, they can become seriously ill with vomiting and depression because their body has been so starved they enter into what we call diabetic ketoacidosis. Our goal is to prevent our beloved diabetic family members from ever reaching this point.
Once we check the glucose and urine sample to confirm diabetes, treatment may begin. Next, let's discuss ways in which we can manage our furry family member’s diabetes! Please do not hesitate to call us and schedule an appointment if you’re concerned that your furry companion may be showing signs of diabetes.
Diabetes is a treatable disease! Remember how there isn’t enough or any insulin to be the key to feeding the body’s cells? To treat this, we give the body what it needs, insulin! Once we have confirmed that a pet has diabetes, an insulin type and dose will be selected. There are several types of insulin to choose from and different dosages that will need to be determined based on our individual pet’s needs. Insulin is given typically every 12 hours through a tiny needle that is inserted into a fatty part of animal’s body (the subcutaneous tissue). Needles can sound scary, but fatty areas of the body have less feeling than other tissues and the needle is so small it is hardly felt. There are short acting insulin types (regular) that are used in sick diabetic animals, intermediate acting (NPH and Lente) insulins and long acting (Ultralente and PZI) insulins. In general, small dogs and cats will need twice daily insulin injections, while larger dogs may do well on single injections a day.
We can help guide you through managing your pets diabetes to ensure that he or she has the best possible quality of life! Just give us a call at 734-847-6751!
Thank you for reading!
- Dr. Emily Plodzik