Nov 15, 2021 | By, For Pet's Sake
Tips for detecting diabetes and how to prevent it
Diabetes, like many other pet diseases, is more commonly diagnosed in older pets. Younger animals can develop diabetes too, and the disease can occur at any age, but most pets start showing signs when they are roughly 6 to 7 years old.
Diabetes in pets presents the same problems as it does in humans. An animal with diabetes is unable to process glucose like a healthy animal would. In more scientific words, insulin transfers glucose via the bloodstream to provide energy to cells throughout the body. Glucose becomes backlogged in the blood when insulin levels drop or the body can’t use the insulin to move the glucose.
You may start to see the effects of diabetes much sooner than you receive an official diagnosis. After all, you probably only visit the veterinarian once or twice a year, on average.
Some of the most common signs of diabetes include:
- Weight loss
- Changes in appetite
- Increased thirst and urination
- Chronic or recurring infections
- Low energy and decreased mobility
- Cloudy eyes and poor vision
- Changes in coat
Diabetes can and should be treated as soon as possible because choosing to not regulate the disease can lead to many more serious problems, such as cataracts, blindness, seizures, ketoacidosis, and kidney failure.
Just because you notice some of the signs associated with diabetes doesn’t guarantee that your pet has the disease. There could be more benign reasons why your pet is acting a certain way. For example, animals may urinate often because they are marking their territory. They may also drink more or lose weight because they’ve exercised frequently. Vomiting could be due to eating too quickly. The trick is identifying when the symptoms are occurring without other potential causes.
It’s also possible that your pet has another condition that is causing high blood sugar levels, such as pancreatitis, kidney infections, or urinary tract infections.
Age is a significant risk factor for diabetes, but it isn’t the only one. Gender, genetics, autoimmune diseases, and steroid medications can increase a pet’s risk of developing diabetes during their life. You can also try preventing diabetes before it starts by consistently exercising your pet and feeding them quality, healthy food. This is also great advice for humans trying to prevent diabetes in themselves.
Diabetes is not considered a terminal disease for pets. If you do receive a diabetes diagnosis from your pet’s veterinarian, you can still help your pet live a happy and healthy life with regular care at home and by following a prescribed treatment plan. These plans usually include dietary restrictions, regular exercise, and insulin injections.
Have a question about pet health? Want to become the best possible pet parent? Find helpful tips, reminders, and insight to giving your furry friend the best possible care with For Pet’s Sake! Learn more at drdevonsmith.com.