Diabetes and Your Pet

Diabetes Mellitus is a manageable condition in dogs, cats and rabbits that requires committed care and a close partnership between our Clients and our Veterinarians. Diabetes is a disease of people and animals in which insulin hormone produced in the pancreas is deficient or not well utilized by cells in the body. When insulin and the pet’s food intake are not in balance, hyperglycemia results (abnormally elevated sugar levels in the blood), which can have many serious deleterious effects on the body.

The number of pets being diagnosed with diabetes is on the rise. One in 300 dogs, and one in 230 cats have diabetes in the US.

This is Pet Diabetes Month, so I am going to provide a brief overview of what symptoms you can spot at home, and what our Veterinarians will do to diagnose diabetes and then work with you to achieve control of this common pet disease.

Common Symptoms

    1) noticeable increases in drinking and urination, both frequency and volume

    2) increased appetite

    3) weight loss and poor body condition

    4) lethargy, weakness, disorientation

    5) vision problems due to cataract formation

    6) impaired jumping ability, abnormal gait, weakness and lowered stance in rear limbs

    7) kidney disease (mainly in cats)

Diagnosing Diabetes

    1) history from owner

    2) blood and urine tests

    3) ruling out other causes of similar symptoms

    4) confirming diabetes with a fasting blood sugar test

Learning to Control Diabetes

    1) Our Veterinarians will have extensive discussions with you about our partnership and commitment to treating your diabetic pet.

    2) We will discuss the theory of how twice daily insulin injections control this disease.

    3) There will be instructions in handling insulin and insulin syringes, including practice giving injections under the skin.

    4) We will discuss the important role of a consistent diet, recommended types of foods, and when to feed your pet; all helping to achieve diabetes control.

    5) The importance of regular consistent levels of exercise is stressed.

    6) Also, we will cover all the “What ifs” and problems to watch out for because we know how busy your lives are.

    While a commitment is required, we know that “life often interferes” with daily routines and that this program must be doable to be successful. Home monitoring of blood glucose levels in your pet is becoming very popular and we provide complete kits and instructions to monitor how well you and your pet are succeeding.

We have many clients and pets who are successfully managing Diabetes Mellitus, allowing the pets to thrive and lead a normal life. It is best to detect diabetes early before it causes deleterious changes to the body, so call our office if your pet exhibits any of the symptoms.

Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic is a state-of-the-art, full-service suburban veterinary facility serving the Pittsburgh Area since 1980.. We offer diagnostic, medical, surgical, and dental care to dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and pocket pets in the Pittsburgh area.

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