Do you know pets like cats and dogs can also develop diabetes. Dogs with diabetes need proper treatment as it is a life-threatening disease. Every pet owner should be aware about the symptoms and treatment of diabetes.
Diabetes mellitus ("sugar" diabetes) in dogs is caused due to deficiency of the hormone insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps in metabolism of blood glucose. The food that a dog eats is broken down and one of the components that is formed while digestion of food is glucose. Glucose is the type of simple sugar that the cells use for energy.
Diabetes mellitus in dogs can be classified as Type I and Type II diabetes. These are similar to the types that affect humans.
- Type I diabetes: This occurs due to insulin deficiency and is seen in younger dogs. It is also termed as juvenile dog diabetes. In type 1 diabetes the beta cells, in the pancreas which produce insulin, are destroyed. This makes the animal dependent on supplemental insulin to control blood sugar levels.
- Type II diabetes: In this type of diabetes insulin is secreted by the pancreas but the cells have become resistant to insulin. And hence response to a high blood glucose level is abnormal. This type of diabetes is more common in older dogs (those that have passed their middle years).
Dogs at risk of diabetes
All dogs are at risk of developing diabetes----but the risk is higher in older dogs, bigger dogs (as compared to dogs of smaller breed). Diabetes is more common in obese female dogs as compared to male dogs. Like in humans diabetes in dogs is also a hereditary disease.
If your dog has symptoms suggestive of diabetes your vet doctor will recommend blood test to check the blood sugar levels. If the test results indicate that your dog has diabetes then regular monitoring and treatment will be important to ensure that your pet remains in good health despite the disease.
Dr Poonam Sachdeva, our in-house medical expert talks about the why what and how in diabetes.
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