The successful management of diabetes requires a number of lifestyle changes relating to medical (insulin injections) and dietary management.
Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common endocrine disorders in middle-aged dogs. It has been estimated that diabetes affects one in 308 dogs.
Diabetes mellitus or simply diabetes is a chronic condition caused by a deficiency or resistance to insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to turn glucose into energy.
Although the management requires a strict and long-term commitment, it doesn't have to be as difficult as it sounds.
Common signs of diabetes:
Diagnosis is based on physical examination, laboratory tests and urinalysis. High blood sugar and high levels of glucose in the urine are often found.
Your veterinarian may evaluate and run tests to:
Treatment is lifelong with regular visits to the veterinarian for frequent blood and urine tests.
Overall treatment aims to prevent the development of clinical signs, correct any weight issues, resolve any other disease and where possible obtain normal blood glucose with or without the need for insulin.
Management of diabetes:
Your veterinarian will determine the frequency of visits. For example, your pet may be required to undergo weekly checks for the first month followed by every 3 months once on a stable dose of insulin.
Diet therapy is extremely important in the management of diabetes. The goal of diet therapy is to correct any obesity issues, optimise body weight and minimise high blood glucose following meals. Feeding should follow strict portion sizes, be at consistent times and be complete and balanced with no added simple sugars.
Dogs can lead a good quality of life when the diabetes is managed with routine medication and a strict diet. However, even under proper care and regular veterinary visits, cataracts may still develop.
A diabetic pet needs its insulin to survive. But, too much insulin can also be deadly. Too much insulin can result in hypoglycaemia or a low blood sugar level. This can occur when a dog accidentally receives a too high a dose, too many doses or is not eating. Early signs of low blood sugar include weakness, lethargy or disorientation. If this is to happen, seek veterinary attention immediately. You may be advised to put a small amount of sugar syrup on the dog's gums to be able to safely get the dog to the hospital.
If your pet experiences any of the following, seek veterinary attention immediately:
Common causes for uncontrolled diabetics:
Tips to help prepare and give Insulin injections:
Always follow the environmental laws for the disposal of medical waste material or bring any used needles and syringes back into the veterinary clinic for disposal.
AAHA Diabetes Guidelines 2010
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