An Increase in Diabetes
There has been a dramatic increase in recent years in the number of pets being diagnosed with diabetes. It’s estimated that approximately one in 1200 cats will develop the disease while one in 200 dogs will be diagnosed with diabetes. Pets can suffer from both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. While some causes of diabetes are either genetic or caused by certain autoimmune diseases, just like in humans, diabetes is often preventable in pets as well. Obesity and a lack of exercise are the primary reasons pets will develop this condition. Interestingly, while both overweight dogs and cats are more susceptible to the disease, male cats are more likely to get diagnosed while female dogs are more likely to get diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Pets
There are several symptoms pets can have that may be an indication they have diabetes. A few of the more obvious signs that a dog or cat may have developed diabetes include excessive thirst as well as an increase in the amount of urination. Weight loss and lethargy may also be signs of diabetes in pets. A pet that has normally been very active and has increasingly become sedentary in a short amount of time may very well be suffering from a health condition. A few other symptoms a pet may also develop include unusually sweet-smelling breath or a urinary infection. If you notice that your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms it’s time to make an appointment with your veterinarian.
Caring for Pets with Diabetes
Making sure a pet receives proper nutrition
and adequate exercise are the key components to keeping them as healthy as possible. You should have a daily exercise routine for your pet to follow that is compatible to the animal’s individual needs. Talk to your vet about providing a diet that provides all the necessary nutrients your pet may need but that is as low calorie as possible. Treatment options may include a high fiber diet or certain oral medications that can help stabilize glucose levels. Many pets may require insulin injections to adequately regulate blood glucose. This type of insulin treatment is usually based on weight. Spaying a female dog may reduce the chance of diabetes since hormones can affect blood sugar levels. The following are some recommendations that are specific to cats and dogs.
- Dietary Tips for Cats – It’s recommended that carbohydrates be cut out of a cat’s diet as much as possible. Dry food is also not a good choice. High protein, moist food is often the best choice for a cat. It’s also
recommended to give the cat insulin within an hour after eating to offset the rise in blood sugar from the food.
- Dietary Tips for Dogs – It’s suggested that dogs eat a diet that has 30 to 40 percent of the calories from protein. A diet high in fiber may also help to fight the blood sugar fluctuations that occur after eating. Both cats and dogs that are diabetic should visit a veterinarian several times a year for checkups.