In both pets and people, diabetes is caused by a shortage or misuse of insulin in the body. A shortage of insulin, usually from a lack of production, is Type I diabetes. Type II diabetes is the inefficient use of the insulin in the body.
Insulin’s job is to move sugar, amino acids, electrolytes, and fatty acids into the body’s cells. When there is not enough insulin, or when insulin is not functioning properly, the cells starve even though they are surrounded by the nutrients needed for survival.
The older a pet gets, the more likely it may develop diabetes. Are you concerned that your pet may have diabetes? What are the signs of pet diabetes?
Common Signs of Diabetes in your Pet
Increased thirst and urination: Blood sugar levels can get so high outside of the body’s cells that it spills into the urine, increasing urine production. You might notice your dog or cat is urinating more frequently or is having accidents in the house. Increased thirst is also a common sign of diabetes in dogs and cats. Animals with diabetes produce large volumes of urine more frequently and so they drink more water to compensate for the fluids lost through urination. An increase in thirst and urination are also signs of other serious health problems, so these symptoms should always trigger a call to the vet.
Increased appetite: Hunger is caused by the lack of amino acids inside the cells. Diabetes might be a cause for concern if your pet is eating more but still losing weight. This is because the brain’s satiety center reads sugar levels: the more sugar that enters the satiety center, the less the brain feels hunger. When insulin does not allow sugar to enter the satiety center, the body’s cells are not fueled, resulting in hunger and weight loss.
Tiredness and lack of energy: Lethargy and sleepiness are typical in animals suffering from diabetes. When the body’s cells lack blood sugar, then running, taking a walk, or playing lose priority for pets. Eventually, animals may develop a dangerous condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, which is caused by the body using fat instead of sugar for energy. This results in the production and buildup of toxic acids, called ketones, in the blood.
Vet Checks: Your Ally
If a person briefly coughs but otherwise sounds normal, you would assume they have something in their throat instead of assuming they have contracted influenza. In the same way, your pet may finish more water than usual simply because it is a little thirstier today, not because it has diabetes. This highlights why veterinary checkups are a must when caring for a pet.
In the event that your pet does have diabetes, monitoring the status of their health condition is important. Diabetes is a real health issue for pets, so make sure your pet gets – and stays – on the road to a healthy and happy life.