Have you noticed your pet drinking more water than usual, urinating frequently, experiencing an increased appetite and losing weight? These are all common signs of a pet with diabetes. There are two easy ways to diagnose diabetes with bloodwork and urine testing. According to Dr. Bridget Sheehan, an associate veterinarian at Blum, the bloodwork panel run would check glucose levels but also examine other vital organs; diabetes can cause other health-related issues such as liver disease or pancreatitis. Dr. Sheehan said testing the urine would also check for glucose, ketones and bacteria because pets with diabetes often have urinary tract infections.
Once it is confirmed through bloodwork or urine testing that your pet is diabetic, it is important to understand that diabetes in cats and dogs is very different. Cats are type 2 diabetics like most adults who are over their ideal body weight. With regular insulin injections, diet and exercise, some cats with diabetes can actually go into remission! Dogs are type 1 diabetics, which is like juvenile diabetes, and this means they require life-long insulin injections.
With cats, there is no specific breed that is more prone to diabetes, although cats who are overweight are more susceptible to developing it. With dogs, there are a handful of breeds that are more likely to become diabetic – such as Miniature Poodle, Bichon Frise, Pugs, Dachshund, Miniature Schnauzer, Samoyed, Keeshond, Fox Terrier, Cairn Terrier and Beagle.
We can teach owners how to manage their pet’s diabetes at home by using a glucometer which measures the blood glucose in dogs or cats. Since some pets get stressed by coming to the vet, we recommend doing the readings at home in an environment where they are more comfortable. Stress or anxiety can cause an increase in the glucose and affect the reliability of the results.
If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes, it can be a manageable disease with proper monitoring, treatment, and diet. For any further questions or you are concerned your pet may be diabetic, please contact your veterinarian at: (773) 327-4446.
Written for Blum Animal Hospital by Jackie Sheppard.