Diabetes in Pets

Human diabetes may develop at any time but did you also realise that our pets can also fall victim to this unfortunate disease?

Statistics tell us that 1 in 400 cats and dogs are likely to develop diabetes during their lifetime. For a concerned owner this can be upsetting. And of immediate concern is whether your beloved pet will have to be put to sleep. Naturally, this is an emotive matter and the eventual outcome may depend upon the age and general health of your pet.

Basically, there are two strains of pet diabetes that can be diagnosed - mellitus and insipidus. But both types are not necessarily fatal and that can certainly be a comfort for any distressed pet lover. If diagnosed early enough and then treated accordingly, diabetes in pets, has a very high survival rate.

Treatment, however, can be costly so it is advisable to invest in suitable pet insurance as soon as possible. Both diabetes insipidus and mellitus can be covered by most veterinary pet insurance plans. And this will certainly help to reduce your care costs if the illness arises. It is wise to always check that the pet insurance you are considering covers the treatment for this condition. Some insurers will insist on acceptance of your pet while he/she is still young – before they can contract the illness.

Diabetes mellitus, also known as "sugar diabetes" and caused by a deficiency of insulin, is more common than diabetes insipidus. It occurs mostly in canines – rather than in cats - between the ages of 5-7 years old. As with human diabetes, when your pet's body can no longer create insulin, the sugar collects in the bloodstream, causing a variety of health problems.

Feline diabetes symptoms and the symptoms of diabetes mellitus generally, are gradual and often easily missed. However, one clear sign of this type of diabetes is being overweight. Also, when the level of sugar exceedes twice the norm, it contaminates the urine. This then increases the amount of urine passed and can have the effect of increasing thirst and appetite. As the disease develops, depression, vomiting and dehydration can then become pronounced.

If left untreated, this debilitiating condition can cause blindness in dogs, gradual weakening of the legs in cats, and then malnutrition, coma and finally death.

This type of diabetes is usually treated by following a well balanced diet and providing insulin on a predetermined routine basis. The insulin volume, determined by weight and any reaction to the drug, will be decided by your veteranian. It can take a little time to achieve the comfortable but effective dosage required but patience and persistence will win through in the end.

Pets diabetes supplies are readily available.

Personally, I prefer the 'natural' approach to medication and healing. I have recently discovered a useful resource provided by a practising veteranian. It could be of interest to those of you who prefer to treat your pet in this way. Also, I can recommend Pet Diabetes. It has some really helpful information on the topic.

Many older pets that are diagnosed with diabetes can continue to live active and happy lives for many years. But this does require some dedicated care and close supervision of your pet. It is important that feeding is a regular occurrence and that medication is given when required. Your pet's behaviour will also need to be closely observed for any signs of distress.

This doesn t mean that you will have to adandon all other interests to look after your pet but it does rquire a constant appraisal of your pet's condition.

There can also be a considerable financial obligation when caring for a sick pet so it is important that you discuss this with your vet at the outset. Pet insurance can certainly help but there may be additional costs involved and these must be determined as soon as possible.

Following extended treatment, your pet's diabetes may appear to be controlled but it is not neccessarily cured. Your pet will still need careful monitoring and constant vigilance.

But the treatments for pets diabetes is continually advancing in effectiveness so the likelihood of prematurely loosing your faithful friend is thankfully rare.