Do pets get diabetes? Yes!

     On a regular basis, we receive calls from pet parents who are concerned because Fluffy or Bowser has been drinking a bunch of water and urinating more.  Sometimes, they are even having accidents in the house.  Inevitably, their first question is, “Could my pet be diabetic?”  The answer is; Yes!
     Let’s take a quick look at the science behind diabetes.  After an animal eats, the food is broken down into various components.  One of those is glucose.  Glucose is carried to cells by insulin, a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas.  When an animal either doesn’t produce insulin (Type I), or cannot use it properly (Type II), the animal’s sugar levels are affected.  Most diabetic animals can be classified as Type I, although Type II is not unheard of.  The most common symptoms of diabetes are: change in appetite, increased water consumption, increased urination, weight loss, and lethargy.  The exact cause of diabetes is unknown.  Left untreated, sadly, the pet will die.
     Sounds scary, but wait, there’s good news!  It is important to know that diabetes is a very treatable disease and many diabetic animals can lead happy and healthy lives.  If one of our doctors suspects your pet may be diabetic, they will first ask you several questions about your pet’s current lifestyle, perform a thorough physical exam, draw blood for a complete profile and also check a urinalysis.
     Once one of our doctors has diagnosed that your pet is, indeed, diabetic, they will start Fluffy or Bowser on an insulin regimen.  “Yikes!  I can’t give my pet shots.”  Sure you can!  We’ll make sure you are comfortable with all aspects of giving the insulin.  Most pets are started on a shot twice daily.  For the first few weeks, we will see you pretty often as the doctors do quick checks on your pet’s blood to make sure the amount of insulin you are giving is adequate.  Don’t worry, if it takes a little while to get Fluffy or Bowser regulated.  The costs during the initial diagnosis and regulation period for a newly diabetic animal can be substantial.  However, once they are regulated, the only costs you should incur are for the insulin, syringes, and periodic checks to make sure the dose of insulin you are giving is still accurate.
     Remember, as daunting as it may seem to have a diabetic pet, once they are regulated and well managed, Fluffy and Bowser can live their lives happy and with good quality.  We’re here for you!  Never hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.
Starch Pet Hospital
T: 515-283-1576
University West Pet Clinic
T: 515-223-8185

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