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Diabetes in Pets

Pets, just like humans, can suffer diabetes and unfortunately the incidence of the disease is on the rise in Australia. Diabetes is seen in animals of all ages, sexes and breeds, however it is typically seen in older pets. As in humans, obesity is a common risk factor for diabetes, so it’s important that pet owners ensure their pets maintain a healthy weight.

What is diabetes?

Glucose provides the cells of the body with the energy they need to function and survive. The cells can only absorb glucose from the blood in the presence of insulin, which is an essential hormone produced by the pancreas. Diabetes is caused when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the cells in the body fail to respond to the insulin correctly. This means that the cells in the body cannot absorb enough glucose and too much glucose remains in the blood.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

The common signs of diabetes are typically weight loss despite a good appetite and excessive thirst and urination. Some pets may appear lethargic, have cloudy eyes and have a poor coat condition.

How is diabetes diagnosed?

Combined with a physical examination, our veterinarians will perform blood and urine tests. A persistently high level of glucose in the blood is the most reliable indicator that a pet is diabetic.

Treatment of Diabetes

Diabetes can be effectively controlled by insulin therapy. Each pet’s requirement for insulin is different and it can take several months to achieve stabilisation. Initially, repeat blood tests are required to monitor your pet’s blood glucose and once the correct insulin dose is achieved, you should see rapid improvement in your pet’s condition. Diet also plays a vital role in keeping your pet’s diabetes under control and our veterinarians will recommend a diet that is best suited to your pet’s needs. All diabetic pets require ongoing frequent glucose monitoring to ensure that they are receiving the correct dose of insulin.

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