Diabetes Mellitus and its effects on your pet

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In this month’s issue, we want to discuss with you the details pertaining to what happens when your dog is diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus. Before we dive into what you should be aware of in regards to this disease, let’s first discuss what it really is! This condition is related to an important organ in the body, known as the pancreas. This organ is responsible for creating cells that aid in making ‘Insulin’, a hormone; and, also to help your pet sufficiently digest his food. Therefore, when this condition occurs and affects the pancreas, your pet is unable to effectively regulate this hormone, insulin, in his or her body. As you read this title, you may be wondering, “Is my dog’s Diabetes the same that occurs in humans?” The answer to this is ‘yes’, there are many similarities.

One of the major signs you will see occur in your pet is weight loss, while still having a huge appetite. Insulin is needed in the body, because it helps regulate glucose into cells. Glucose serves as a source of energy to these cells. However, when insulin is not doing its job correctly, then glucose enters the blood stream instead of the cells. When your pet has high amounts of glucose sitting in his blood stream, he is then prone to events that can be very life-threatening, if not managed properly. Since the low insulin is causing his cells to feel deprived of glucose, these cells then need to find a different source of energy to carry out their functions adequately. They begin to target fat and protein, in the body, in order to compensate for their loss. This results in your dog experiencing weight loss, while having a huge appetite still! The dog then begins to pee out his extra glucose and thus, feels the need to drink more water too. Therefore, the major signs you will notice in your dog are: urinating frequently, drinking a lot of water, weight loss and increased appetite.

If you feel that you have seen these signs occur in your pet, please take him or her to your local veterinarian immediately. It is not possible for your furry friends to regulate their body’s glucose without proper treatment being applied. When you bring your pet to their veterinarian, three major components will be taken into consideration, in order to determine if Diabetes Mellitus is the condition being dealt with. Do the clinical signs being experienced match with the case profile? Is there glucose measured in the dog’s urine? Does the dog display high levels of glucose in his blood consistently? If all three answers are ‘yes’, then an appropriate management and treatment plan will be set into place.

Treatment and management will consist of ensuring that your dog is being given his medication on time; he receives adequate amounts of exercise, as needed; he is living a lifestyle that is stress-free; and, that he is being appropriately fed with a special diet plan that suits his needs. This diet plan normally consists of giving food that is high in protein and fiber. However, this may depend on every individual case, concerning other medical history in the patient. Your veterinarian will discuss all options accordingly and present the best plan in your pet’s favor. A common treatment plan includes giving your pet injections of insulin at home. Information on the method of doing so and how to properly administer such a treatment will always be provided by your veterinarian.

Dr. Hakam Bhullar (DVM)

Dr. Sifti Bhullar (DVM)