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Pet Diabetes Awareness Month

November 1, 2021 November 30, 2021 CDT

Pet Diabetes Awareness Month is observed in November, and while this month was originally designed to increase awareness of this common endocrine disease in humans, it is important to be aware of the growing prevalence of diabetes in dogs and cats also. Untreated, diabetes mellitus can be fatal in dogs and cats.

Pet Diabetes Awareness Month reminds us that if you notice your pet exhibiting signs of excessive thirst or excessive urination, please bring your pet into your veterinarian as soon as possible. With diabetes, the sooner it is diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated.

Dogs, Diabetes and Other Conditions

Two diseases occur with some frequency in dogs with diabetes. Cushing’s disease is a hormone disorder in which the body overproduces steroid hormones. The increased levels of steroid hormones prevent the body from responding normally to insulin. When the body doesn’t respond to insulin, blood sugar climbs and the dog becomes diabetic. If your dog has diabetes and Cushing’s disease, you might be lucky: treating the Cushing’s disease might resolve the diabetes.

Another common co-morbid condition in canine diabetes is a urinary tract infection. The high levels of sugar in the blood stream of diabetic dogs turn into high levels of sugar in the urine. This provides an excellent environment for bacterial growth. Dogs with a urinary tract infection typically urinate frequently, have blood in the urine, strain to urinate and have accidents in the house. If your diabetic dog shows any of these clinical signs, seek veterinarian help immediately.

Cats, Diabetes and Other Conditions

Cats are co-morbid creatures. Cats rarely have just a single disease; co-morbidities are the norm. Obese cats often develop type 2 diabetes. Overweight, diabetic cats have a good chance for diabetic remission if they lose weight and their owners tightly control their blood sugar with insulin injections. However, since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, preventing “pounds” will go a long way to preventing diabetes in your cat.

In a study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, hyperthyroidism and diabetes were the most common co-morbid endocrine diseases in cats. Differentiating the two diseases can be difficult for your veterinarian since both disease cause weight loss, an increased appetite and excessive urinations. A series of blood tests is required to make the correct diagnosis.

Inflammation of the pancreas, pancreatitis, is a third co-morbid condition associated with feline diabetes. Pancreatitis can decrease the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin, causing diabetes or increasing an already diabetic cat’s insulin requirement. Long-term pancreatitis can permanently disrupt insulin production and result in permanent diabetes. The cause of feline pancreatitis is elusive, making it difficult for your veterinarian to recommend preventive measures.



November 1, 2021
November 30, 2021