At Shoreline Animal Hospital in Clinton, CT, Dr. West and Dr. Berman diagnose diabetes on a regular basis in both cats and dogs. Although there is no single cause of diabetes, prevention and early diagnosis are critical. Annual exams, yearly blood work including a urinalysis and healthy weight management all play important roles. The doctors and staff at Shoreline Animal Hospital are committed to educating clients about diabetes prevention, diagnosis and management so that patients can live long healthy lives.
What is diabetes mellitus?
Diabetes is an endocrine disorder caused by a deficiency of insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed by the body to transport glucose (sugar) out of the bloodstream and into energy producing cells. Insulin deficiency impairs the ability of tissues to use carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Diabetic animals are left with too much glucose in the bloodstream. Without treatment, liver and kidney damage can occur.
What can cause diabetes?
Possible causes of the development of diabetes include: genetic predisposition, chronic pancreatitis, obesity, hormonal abnormalities, endocrine disease (including Cushing’s disease), infections, and certain medications (including corticosteroids)
What are some of the clinical signs?
Excessive thirst, Excessive urination, Weight Loss, Increased hunger, Weakness, Some cats may walk flat footed in the rear limbs (plantigrade stance)
Can my pet be tested for diabetes?
Diabetes can be confirmed by the presence of high blood glucose levels and/or glucose in urine. If you believe your pet is showing signs of diabetes, a simple blood test can be performed in our office. Routine blood work can also screen for other diseases, such as kidney and liver disease, making it a beneficial part of your pet’s annual exam.
Complications with diabetes:
Hypoglycemia: This can occur if too much insulin is administered. Signs include: lethargy, uncoordinated gait and seizures. If your pet becomes hypoglycemic contact the hospital immediately. As an emergency treatment, you can administer
r karo syrup or honey by rubbing it on your pet’s gums.
Ketoacidosis: Unregulated diabetes over long periods of time can lead to a production of ketone bodies which causes pH and electrolyte imbalances in the blood. Ketoacidosis is a life threatening emergency. Signs of ketoacidosis include: vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, dehydration, weakness and shock.
Bladder infections: Your diabetic pet will be more prone to bladder infections. A urine sample should be checked routinely. This can be done in our hospital. You should monitor your pet for inappropriate urination (ie: urinating in the house, outside of the litter box), frequent urination, and/or straining.
How will I treat my pet’s diabetes?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed! Most pets will receive insulin injections twice a day. These are easy to give and most pets don’t react at all to the very small needle that is used. Periodically, blood glucose levels will need to be monitored throughout the day. This can be done at home, or in our hospital with a very small blood sample taken from a prick to the ear, foot pad or elbow callus. The staff at Shoreline Animal Hospital will give you a detailed step-by-step demonstration on how to administer the insulin and obtain blood glucose readings. We encourage owners to purchase a glucometer because readings done at home are less stressful for the pet, more accurate and more cost effective. Diet is also a key factor in managing diabetes, especially in cats because they require a high protein diet. Finally, your diabetic pet’s weight must be managed. Obesity is a risk factor for developing diabetes and can also make it more difficult to manage.
Together with a healthy diet, regular preventative care and careful observation, we can work to prevent diabetes or manage it if your pet is diagnosed.
If you have any questions regarding your pet’s health, please contact us at 860-669-9374.