Did you know that dogs and cats can be diabetics? Although Canine and Feline Diabetes are distinctly different diseases from human Diabetes (as well as from each other!), there are many similarities in how the disease is diagnosed and managed.
The most common presenting symptoms for diabetes in a dog or cat is excessive thirst; increased appetite and weight loss are also commonly seen. Diagnosis, like in humans, is relatively simple--routine blood tests and urinalysis, processed right here in our in-house laboratory, will quickly provide a detailed look at your pet's internal health. This diagnostic work-up will also help reveal any hidden health problems that are causing or contributing to the diabetes.
The cornerstone of management of diabetes in dogs and cats is their diet: in other words, what they're fed and when they're fed. Dogs need a high-fiber, low-carb diet, to help stabilize their blood sugar levels and prevent blood sugar spikes and drops; they should be fed on a schedule, twice daily. Depending on the cat, some cats also do well with a high-fiber, low-carb diet; others, instead, need an Adkins-style food, with high protein and fat and very restricted carbs. Cats should also be fed on a strict schedule. Obese diabetic dogs and cats will safely lose weight on the high-fiber diet; commonly, once their weight is within normal limits, their insulin needs reduces sharply or goes away altogether!
Most diabetic pets need insulin, at least at first. The choice of which insulin to use depends on if it's a dog or cat, and how unregulated is the diabetes. Once stabilized, most diabetic pets will need insulin injections 1-2 times daily.
The goal of diabetic regulation in dogs and cats is to keep the blood glucose levels low enough to prevent undesirable diabetes side effects (such as cataracts, diabetic neuropathy, and polyuria) without getting the levels so low that the pet is at risk of hypoglycemia or diabetic coma--remember, pets can't speak for themselves, so have no way to tell you that they're feeling woozy due to too much insulin!
Long-term management of the diabetic pet requires close communication between you, the pet owner, and your family veterinarian. The doctors of Windmill Animal Hospital are experienced at managing both routine and challenging diabetic cases in dogs and cats. They would be happy to discuss your diabetic pet's health needs.