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Understanding Pet Diabetes and Raising Awareness of the Risks

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November is Pet Diabetes Month and to raise awareness of this very common illness, we want to cover some of the basics in prevention, treatment, and at-home care.

Diabetes is an ever-increasing concern for pet owners. With an estimated 32% rise in the number of pet diabetes diagnoses over the past five years, there is good reason to be alarmed and to learn the facts.

An Overview of Pet Diabetes

Similar to humans, pet diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin or cannot efficiently use the insulin it produces.

Essentially, insulin is produced by the pancreas and transports the glucose to the cells, allowing the systems of the body to function properly. Without enough insulin, blood sugars rise causing hyperglycemia, which, over time, can cause a number of serious health issues.

While there are a myriad of possible causes of diabetes, there is a strong correlation between obesity and diet-related illnesses, such as pancreatitis and the development of diabetes.

Symptoms of the disease include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Sweet smelling breath
  • Weight loss and change in appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Skin disorders
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Cataracts

Diabetes is also more likely to be diagnosed in senior pets, particularly those who are overweight or obese.

Because some of these signs do not appear until the disease progresses, it’s critical to follow up with all of your pet’s wellness exams and appointments, so the disease can be detected in its early stages.

Caring for Your Diabetic Pet

If your pet has been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s still possible for him or her to lead a healthy, active life. Of course, it will require adjustments and at-home care along with monitoring and guidance by your veterinarian.

You may be instructed to give your pet a daily insulin shot. If this is the case, it’s important to administer the shot at the same time each day to maintain consistency in insulin levels and decrease the likelihood of blood sugar spikes.

Your team at Westlake Animal Hospital provides recommendations for nutrition and lifestyle (including exercise) as these factors play a prominent role in your pet’s ability to cope with diabetes. We will also assist you in crafting a personalized treatment plan for your diabetic pet that achieves optimal health and success in managing the disease.

Reducing the Risk

Hopefully, you don’t have to worry about pet diabetes and are simply interested in ways to prevent metabolic conditions in your pet.

Thankfully, there are several proactive steps you can take to keep your companion healthy. Here are some of the more important suggestions:

  • Maintaining your pet’s recommended weight by controlling potions, keeping treats to a minimum, and avoiding people food (especially dishes that are fried, fatty, or seasoned)
  • Providing opportunities for daily exercise
  • Following up on annual wellness exams (or biannual exams for pets over age 7)
  • Educating yourself on the signs of pet diabetes and asking your veterinarian questions about the disease and your pet’s risk

At Westlake Animal Hospital, we want to encourage a long and energetic life for your furry friend. 

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Westlake Animal Hospital

Location

3930 Bee Cave Rd. Austin, TX 78746

Clinic Hours

Mon-Fri: 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sat & Sun: Closed