Because thousands of cats and dogs are diagnosed with diabetes around the world each year, this month is designated to help educate pet owners about the symptoms, treatments and management of diabetes in our furry friends.
The goal is to help pet owners recognize diabetes in their animals so they can seek appropriate treatment by raising awareness of the disease.
Diabetes occurs when the body does not make enough insulin, stops producing it, or doesn’t use insulin properly. Insulin is required for the body to efficiently use sugars, fats and proteins. Insulin helps keep the body’s blood sugar from getting too high or too low.
Signs of the disease can be difficult to spot, and can even be mistaken as symptoms of other conditions, such as hypothyroidism or kidney disease. Diabetes is diagnosed by testing glucose concentrations in the blood and urine. Pet owners should be aware of the possible warning signs of pet diabetes and see their veterinarians for a definitive diagnosis.
Clinical signs of diabetes in dogs and cats include:
• Excessive thirst
• Excessive urination
• Inappropriate urination
• Weight loss
• Increased hunger
• Increased “whiteness” of the lens of the eye due to cataracts
• Poor skin condition, like excessive dandruff or an oily hair coat.
If you notice any of these signs, please bring your pet into your veterinarian as soon as possible. With diabetes, the sooner it is diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated. While there is no cure for pet diabetes, there are ways to successfully manage the disease. After diagnosing your pet, your veterinarian will start them on the proper treatment.
Spread the word about Pet Diabetes Month in November and help other pet parents make informed decisions about pet diabetes. Understanding pet diabetes and its signs is crucial for all pet owners. If you know someone who owns a pet, encourage them to learn more about pet diabetes this month, so they can get their pet help as soon as possible if they start displaying symptoms of diabetes.