Discovering Diabetes in Dogs and Ways to Treat the Disease
Dogs are truly man’s best friend. Loyal, loving, responsive and protective, dogs are looked at as being a part of the family by many people. It is because of this, that when a dog becomes sick, the owners are usually distraught and will do almost anything to help them get better. Just like in humans, diabetes in dogs is prevalent. In fact, a study shows almost 4 in 1000 dogs are diagnosed with diabetes and this number is expected to increase. Fortunately, the disease can be managed and it does not need to lessen the dog’s life span nor does it impact the quality of life the dog will have. However, if the disease is left untreated, it can lead to cataracts, weakness in the legs, malnutrition, dehydration and death. Let’s take a closer look at what it means to have a diabetic dog, as well as the symptoms and the different foods the dog should be getting.
How to Notice Early Diabetic Symptoms in Dogs?
This disease usually affects middle age and older dogs. The most common dog to exhibit symptoms of this disease is a middle aged female who is also overweight. Certain breeds (for example the the Australian terrier) and neutered males also have an increased risk of developing DM. There are symptoms of diabetes in dogs that gradually occur over a few weeks. Unfortunately, such symptoms may go unnoticed for some time. However, such symptoms can include:
- drinking a lot of water on a daily basis
- eating more so than usual
- urinating more often
- and at times house accidents
- a decrease in vision as a consequence of cataracts
Once these symptoms are identified by the pet owner, a treatment plan can begin to assist the dog in question.
Insulin as Treatment Option
Dogs depend on insulin for survival, therefore oral drugs are not an effective treatment plan for them. Instead, they must be put on insulin replacement therapy. The reason for this is because Type 1 diabetes have beta cells which have become damaged permanently and are unable to produce insulin. Because of this, only insulin therapy will allow the dog to continue to live. The plan is to regulate the dog’s blood glucose levels using the insulin therapy coupled with a diabetic dog food diet. The process is not a fast one, in fact, it may take up to a few weeks or months. The goal is to keep the blood glucose levels in a range that is acceptable. The dosing method is usually started low and slow. During this process, glucose levels are constantly evaluated by a series of tests known as a curve. This test gives different forms of the effects of the insulin on the dog. Among many things, it is also used to adjust the insulin dose.
Give Your Dog Proven Food
Insulin therapy involves a strict plan of food and insulin every 12 hours. The insulin injection is to occur after the dog has had its meal. The foods dogs with diabetes should eat are high in fiber, complex carbohydrates and have proven to work. One big concern is getting the pet to continue eating. This is very important because the amount of insulin prescribed corresponds to eating the full meals. A prescribed diet is the most favored approach when it comes to food intake, however some dogs refuse to eat it. If that is the case, it is important that the dog is not forced to eat. However, moist foods should not be given to a diabetic dog because they generally have a lot of sugar in them. A diet that is low in fat is recommended and can prevent pancreatitis, a condition dogs with diabetes are likely to get. Food that is not prescribed but has a fixed formula is a good alternative because of the precision of the ingredients. Open formula foods have the ingredients listed, but the amounts can differ. Because of this, such foods can have a small effect on the diabetes.
As stated above, dogs are known to be man’s best friend. Dogs are very much treated as a member of the family. They are loved and well taken care of. Because of this, when pets get sick, the family is usually devastated. Although the signs of diabetes in dogs are often times hard to notice at first, a treatment plan does exist to treat the condition. Once a dog is diagnosed with diabetes, their treatment can begin. These dogs have the same life expectancy as dogs that are not affected with diabetes. Fortunately, it is a manageable diseases that does not affect the quality of life for that canine, nor does it affect its life span. The biggest part of the puzzle is recognizing that there is something wrong with your pet. Once that is discovered, the dog should be alright and will make a full recovery. They may not enjoy the prescription foods, but that is fine. Diabetes can be regulated without making any changes to their diet. This is where the Veterinarian can determine the best route to take for your dog so that they are safe.