If you have a pet, you probably know that they are much more than just an animal that lives in your house. Most people view their pets like family, and sometimes like their own children. This makes the health of your pet almost just as important as the health of your child. Unfortunately, animals can get a lot of the same diseases that humans can, including diabetes. Diabetes is manageable when found in people, but how do you manage diabetes in your pet, and what should you look for?
The Most Common Symptoms
Because your pet can’t talk, it’s sometimes hard to figure out how they’re feeling and if there’s something wrong. Thankfully, there are symptoms that you can look for if you suspect your pet may suffer from diabetes. The sooner you notice these symptoms, the sooner you can get your pet evaluated and treated. Should your pet have the condition, it’s easy to find quality dog diabetes supplies, shipped right to your front door at reasonable prices!
It’s important to keep in mind that some symptoms may overlap with other conditions and that sometimes they aren’t an indication of diabetes. Some pets may also have more or less visible signs than others, so it’s important to take your pet to their vet regularly for a checkup as a precaution. Some common symptoms of diabetes in pets include:
Frequent urination, otherwise referred to as polyuria, is one of the most common symptoms of diabetes in pets. Polyuria is caused when blood sugar spills from your pet’s bloodstream into its urine. Because there’s a renal threshold where kidneys can no longer properly filter glucose, the rest will leak into the urine. This causes water to pull with it, causing your pet to urinate more frequently. This is one of the first symptoms, as well as one of the most common symptoms of diabetes in pets.
In relation to frequent urination, excessive thirst is another staple symptom that many pet owners witness with pets and diabetes. This is caused by the frequent urination. As your pet urinates more, they’re likely to become dehydrated quickly, causing them to drink more.
Excessive thirst is a very common symptom, but can also be indicative of kidney issues in pets. If your pet is drinking more than usual, it’s probably a good idea to get them evaluated as soon as possible.
Unexplained Weight Loss
Unexplained weight loss is a common symptom of a variety of ailments, including cancer, gastrointestinal issues, and more. It’s also a common problem for pets with diabetes. If your pet is eating normally but is unexpectedly losing weight, it’s possible that they may have the disease. This occurs when insulin isn’t working properly to get glucose to the brain, heart, and other important organs. When this happens, the body will begin to fuel these processes with other energy sources, such as body fat and muscle, causing unexpected weight loss. When tracking your pet’s health, sudden weight loss is usually a big indicator that something is wrong.
Your Pet Has Cloudy Eyes
Around 80% of pets with diabetes will end up with cataracts. In healthy pets, the lens of the eye will absorb glucose from the eye fluid and will convert the rest into sorbitol. However, when there’s an abundance of glucose, a large amount of sorbitol is then produced. Sorbitol has a heavy effect on water, causing water to enter the lens, which causes distortion of fibers in the eye and blocks light from passing through. This causes your pet to have cloudy-looking eyes, and sight problems that accompany it. This is a cardinal symptom of diabetes in pets but usually occurs after quite some time. This problem is progressive and should be monitored well.
Your Pet is Always Hungry
Diabetes takes a toll on the body of your pet. Because it’s constantly working hard to maintain a normal level of function to keep your pet alive. When your pet is unable to regulate glucose, they may also experience increased hunger, causing a ravenous appetite. This happens when the body can’t understand that it has glucose, so it believes that it’s starving, causing excessive hunger.
Vomiting With No Cause
While most pets with diabetes will not begin to vomit for no reason, more extreme cases have this potential. If your pet has diabetes and goes untreated, they can go into DKA, or diabetic ketoacidosis. DKA is accompanied by vomiting, lethargy, and a poor appetite. Once a pet gets to this level, they are in an emergency situation and should receive care as soon as possible. If untreated, DKA is often fatal, and should always be treated with the utmost concern.
This is caused when the body begins to produce ketones for energy, causing the body to become unstable, which turns the blood acidic, and then body enzymes start to malfunction. Another symptom of DKA is a distinctive smell of nail polish remover on your pet’s breath. If your pet has signs of DKA, not only should you be looking into dog diabetes supplies, but you should be getting them to the vet as soon as possible.
What Happens Next?
If you’ve noticed that your pet has any of these symptoms, you may be wondering what your next move should be. Carefully making decisions is important, especially when the life of your beloved fur baby is on the line. Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that your pet lives a long and happy life, diabetes or not. Follow the suggestions below should you notice any of the above symptoms in your pet.
Get Vet Care
The first and most important step that you should take when noticing symptoms of diabetes in your pet is to get them vet care. A veterinary doctor will be able to properly determine any health issues that your pet may have, including diabetes. They will also be able to help you figure out if your pet needs any extra supplements or therapies. Diabetes is a progressive disease, so it’s important to get them taken care of as soon as you notice any symptoms. This ensures the best prognosis for your pet and can even save their life.
Improve Their Diet
Your pet’s diet is important, and can have a serious effect on their health. If your pet has diabetes, their diet is about to get much more important. You can also improve your pet’s health and happiness by improving their diet even if they don’t suffer from diabetes. However, a pet with diabetes should follow some diet guidelines such as:
- Low Starch: Pets with diabetes should be fed a low-starch diet. Starch tends to spike blood sugar and has a high-glycemic index, all of which are bad for those with diabetes.
- Moderate Protein: Your pet’s diet should include a moderate to high amount of protein. Your vet will be able to recommend a safe daily allotment of protein for your pet. Pets with diabetes have a hard time getting energy and keeping muscle, making diets high in protein crucial to their health.
- Enough Fiber: Make sure that your pet’s diet is rich in fiber. Fiber helps the body handle spikes in glucose, allowing the body to absorb it more slowly. Speak with your vet about fiber supplements if your pet’s diet doesn’t contain enough.
Animals with this condition will require a lot of care and extra love to remain healthy and happy. It’s important that your pet not only sees their vet regularly and is offered any recommended applications, but that they’re also provided the best lifestyle to handle their condition. Pets with diabetes should have an active lifestyle, as keeping them in shape is important not only to control their diabetes but also to maintain their overall health. You may wish to consider changing some things about your pet’s lifestyle such as:
- Feed your pet as close to the same time(s) daily, as it helps the body regulate glucose spikes.
- Make sure that your pet doesn’t miss any vet appointments.
- Be sure that your pet is getting enough rest daily.
- Be sure that your pet is offered a diet rich in protein and fiber, but low in sugar, starch, and scraps/table food.
- Make sure that your pet gets enough exercise, for older pets, swimming is a great low-impact choice!
Even the smallest changes can lead up to the greatest results. Sometimes all it takes is the smallest paw to cause the biggest imprint on your life. Making changes like what’s listed above will help your pet have the chance to live a long and happy life, even if they don’t have diabetes! How much would you do for your most loyal friend?
When you follow the guidance of your vet and supplement healthy lifestyle changes, diabetes is a very manageable condition for animals (and people too!) If your pet is experiencing any symptoms of the disease, be sure to get them seen by a professional as soon as possible. Be sure to stock up on your dog’s diabetes supplies, as well as other needed items to help your pet live happily and healthily. Diabetes is scary, but with the proper care, your four-legged child should see a lifetime of fun toys, tasty treats, and maybe even long runs on the beach, just as it was meant to be.
photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/ISg37AI2A-s
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