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Did you know that your cat or dog can suffer from diabetes just like people can? Below is some information regarding Diabetes in pets, how to know if your pet is at risk, signs and symptoms, and common treatments for Diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a condition where the body cannot produce enough of the hormone insulin to regulate its energy supply from food, or becomes unresponsive to it. Insulin is responsible for allowing the glucose that is taken in at meal times, to pass from the blood stream into the cells to be utilised for energy.

A lack of insulin can mean that the glucose levels in the blood become too high and the body’s cells are starved. Therefore, diabetes mellitus can be life-threatening if it is untreated. Fortunately, diabetes can be treated and managed at home once it is diagnosed.

Is your pet at risk?

If any of the following factors apply to your pet, he or she may be at higher risk of developing diabetes and we recommend you make an appointment with the vet. It is helpful to bring a urine sample to this appointment; urine sample collection kits for cats can be obtained from the surgery.

Your pet is six years of age or older

Your dog is a cocker spaniel, Daschund, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Pomeranian, Terrier, Toy Poodle, Samoyed, Husky, Minature Schnauzer, Bichon Frise, Corgi

Your cat is a Burmese

Your pet is overweight or obese

Reduction in activity or lethargy

Excessive thirst/drinking a lot of water

Excessive urination or ‘accidents’ in the house

Excessive hunger without gaining weight

Thinning, dry and dull hair

Weight loss

How is diabetes treated?

The goal in managing diabetes is to keep glucose concentrations regulated, avoiding spikes and drops, and to reduce or eliminate the signs of diabetes, such as excessive thirst and urination. Although diabetes can’t be cured, the condition can be successfully managed with insulin injections and changes in diet and lifestyle.   Mintlaw Vets run Diabetic Clinics held by our nurses and vets to ensure you can manage your pets' diabetes and help them live a happy, healthy, active life.

The Pet Diabetes Month website has lots of useful information, as well as an online quiz to help you decide whether your pet is at higher risk of developing diabetes, as well as the signs to look out for, and explains treatment.