Why should we have insulin for dogs, you might think. But the fact is that diabetes mellitus is caused by a deficiency of insulin and it is a disease of the endocrine system. Insulin is a hormone that regulates how sugar is absorbed and utilized by the cells and tissues of the body. Highest occurrences of deficiency of insulin or diabetes mellitus are established in dogs between the ages of 5 to 7 and female dogs appear to be more susceptible. Most affected dogs are obese - the most common canine hormonal disorder.
So, do you think that only cats have diabetes? Canines with diabetes usually drink more water, go to the bathroom more frequently and they may start to urinate in the house, and may begin to lose weight. It would be wise to take your dog to the veterinarian every year for urine and blood screenings which usually would require fasting as a part of the checkup. Early symptoms if any, will be detected if you visit the vet without delay. The vet will have to perform several tests including a blood test in order to diagnose diabetes and prescribe the proper dose of insulin for dogs to be administered. Be aware that unnoticed or untreated diabetes can surely lead to greater problems like urinary tract infections and cataracts.
Medical science tells us that there is no cure for diabetes. If diabetes is found and treatment is required, it has to be daily injections of insulin; there are no oral medications available for animals. Your vet will show you the proper way to administer the treatment and provide a timetable.
Do not give up! This is usually the most difficult time for pet owners. Your dog might be getting irritated and you would be a little frustrated.
Think of some enjoyable exercises for further closeness to your pet during this hard time.
Stay relaxed. When giving injections, don’t get nervous or restless because the dog picks up on those tensions which would get it edgy and jumpy. Better practice the process of taking a deep breath and thinking positively.
Reward your pet. Preparing a dish of your pet’s favorite food and letting your dog have it while you are administering the injection of insulin for dogs might relieve the tension a bit. Once you master the process of administering the shots, no more effort other than petting it while it’s eating will be necessary. For a while, you could use a gag, but be sure to provide your dog a special pleasure and food right after administering the injection.
Credit: By Linsenhejhej (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Teach "sit and stay". If your dog can do this, you can teach him to sit still for the injections. If you have not done this yet, it will take longer, but if you’re strong and persistent, you will save your dog’s life. Also, practice "sit and stay" and putting the gag on without giving the shots. Eventually, your dog will not immediately believe that sitting, eating or wearing a muzzle means he’s getting a shot.
If problems persist, consult your veterinarian for further advice. Most diabetic pets and their owners gradually are able to deal with the trouble of injecting insulin for dogs and thereby adding years of pleasant pet-owner camaraderie.