What Is Diabetes Mellitus in Pets?

Diabetes Mellitus is the most common of the two types of diabetes that can affect dogs and cats, the other being Diabetes Insipidus. Diabetes Mellitus itself is broken down into two different types – Type I and Type II.

Also known as “Insulin Dependent Diabetes,” Type I Diabetes Mellitus develops as a result of total or near-total destruction of the beta-cells in the animal’s body, whereas Type II, or “Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus,” leaves some insulin-producing cells in the body. In Type II, there are just not enough insulin-producing cells left to perform an adequate job of regulating the blood sugar.

symptoms of diabetes in pets and animals

Diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus in Pets

Both types of Diabetes Mellitus require insulin treatments to stabilize the pet’s blood sugar and control the progression of the disease.

Of the two types of Diabetes Mellitus, Type II typically affects older and more obese cats and dogs. Both types of this disease are diagnosed by the presence of a persistently high level of glucose in the blood stream (hyperglycemia). In addition, urine tests will usually show the presence of glucose in the urine.

Just like in humans, Diabetes Mellitus is preventable in cases where the pet is not genetically predisposed to the disease. In most cases, a healthy diet and a good exercise regimen is all that’s needed to keep a pet’s risk level low.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus in Animals

If you think your dog or cat might have this form of diabetes, you may start to notice several tell-tale signs. Here is a checklist that you can use to monitor your pet so your veterinarian will have the most comprehensive information at their disposal when treating him. Simply check the box beside the symptom if you have observed it in your pet.

Check the symptoms if your pet exhibits any of the following signs:

□ Increased urination
□ Increased thirst and drinking
□ Increased hunger
□ Weight loss despite eating regularly

If your pet is not diagnosed and treated and the disease has a chance to progress, then other signs will start to present themselves. These will usually include:

□ Loss of appetite
□ Anorexia
□ Depression
□ Lethargy
□ Vomiting

Eventually, if the disease continues to go untreated, the pet will develop Ketoacidosis, which is the metabolic acidosis caused by the breakdown of fat and proteins in the liver. This is the body’s way of dealing with insulin deficiency and it can cause increased depression, vomiting, cataracts, obesity, enlarged liver, and bladder or kidney infections.

Treating Diabetes Mellitus in Pets

Once you’ve completed the above checklist, print it out and take it to your veterinarian so you can discuss your pet’s condition with the vet. Your veterinarian will perform a blood test to measure your pet’s blood glucose level.

But, because a high glucose level does not always mean diabetes, other tests will usually follow to help eliminate other potential causes of the high blood glucose level, including a serial blood glucose test. This test is designed to measure the pet’s glucose level repeatedly over several hours. The results of this test will help the veterinarian choose an appropriate insulin, dose and dosing schedule.

Once your pet’s treatment starts, he or she will be re-tested according to a schedule so the veterinarian can monitor the effectiveness of the treatment.

In the event your veterinarian decides to prescribe insulin or other medications to your dog or cat, you can receive a free quote for your pet’s medication from Diamondback Drugs. We can help you save money on your pet medications.

As always, be sure to inform your veterinarian about any medications or supplements your pet is currently taking so your vet can make the best treatment decision for your pet’s unique case and help reduce the risk of a potential drug interaction.


Author: Giano Panzarella