Towcester Vets explain pet diabetes this November
November 21, 2023
To help raise awareness for Pet Diabetes Month this November, our Veterinary team wants to educate pet owners on the condition. In the paragraphs below, our team will cover: the condition itself, how Towcester Vets will diagnose and treat the condition and how your pet’s care would need to be altered if they receive a diabetes diagnosis.
If you are concerned your own pet may have some symptoms of diabetes, then do not hesitate to contact our reception team on 01327 350239.
The most common pets we treat for diabetes are cats and dogs. To explain what pet diabetes is, it is a metabolic disorder – which is when your pet’s normal bodily chemical reactions are behaving abnormally. Insulin is created to help regulate blood sugar levels, and it is crucial in facilitating the uptake of blood sugar into your pet’s cells for energy. With diabetes, your pet’s body attacks the insulin their body has produced and without the insulin, your pet’s blood-sugar level will become too high, and their cells will starve. High levels of blood-glucose are known as hyperglycaemia. Alternatively, your pet’s body may start to produce too much insulin, causing a condition called hypoglycaemia. This is a veterinary emergency and can be fatal if left untreated.
Our veterinary team explain that there are risk factors that can predispose your pet to diabetes. These include obesity, breed, genetics and age.
Symptoms of diabetes in your pet
Our team of vets want owners to be aware that early detection of diabetes is key in providing your pet with the medical treatment they need to manage the condition. The following symptoms are all indicators that your pet may be suffering from diabetes:
- Increased thirst and urination: when your pet’s blood-glucose becomes too high, it overflows from the blood stream into their urine, often with copious amounts of water. This is why a diabetic pet will urinate and drink more.
- Weight loss: as the unused blood-sugars get lost in your pet’s urine, there is no sugar to power the cells of the body. The body will then start to break down its fat reserves, hence the weight loss.
- Increased appetite: your pet isn’t efficiently collecting the nutrients from the food they eat – they have an increased appetite as they are trying to replace the nutrients lost.
- Lethargy: if your pet is suddenly more lethargic, it could be they are suffering from hypoglycaemia – low blood-glucose levels. Contact Towcester Veterinary Centre on 01327 350239 if your pet seems, wobbly, spaced-out, or very hungry – they may need something sugary but our team will advise you what is best to give them.
- Behavioural changes: these could be an indicator that your pet has an underlying health condition, such as diabetes, that needs veterinary attention.
Contact our team to discuss the above symptoms and to book your pet in for a diabetes check.
Diagnosis & treatments available for pet diabetes
The first step to diagnosing diabetes in your pet is to perform a blood test. The vets at any of our surgeries will extract a small vial of blood from your pet and will test their blood-glucose levels. They will also do the same to a urine sample. If you are booking an appointment to test whether your dog has diabetes, it could be useful to collect a fresh urine sample before coming to your pet’s appointment. Chat to our reception team on 01327 350239 for more information.
Following the tests, your vet will then create a management plan, involving insulin injections to be given at home, controlled exercise, and a controlled feeding schedule.
Help your pet live with diabetes
Your pet’s nutrition plays a big part in helping them to cope with diabetes. Our vets at Towcester Veterinary Centre will always recommend a type and brand of food that will work best for your individual pet. However, if your pet is a fussy eater then make sure you chat to any of our vets before moving them onto a different kind of food. Looking for foods that slowly release sugars and removing all treats from their diet will help to keep their blood-glucose levels consistent.
Regular exercise is essential when it comes to managing diabetic pets. It helps to prevent weight gain and also helps your pet’s glucose regulation. Our vets will recommend an exercise regime to follow daily to help keep them healthy.
Monitoring blood-glucose levels
If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes, our vets will train you on how to monitor your pet’s blood-glucose levels at home using a glucometer. This will help you to identify any deviations from your pet’s normal blood-glucose levels and intervene early.
Routines are key!
The team at Towcester Vets wish owners to understand that if your dog receives a diabetic diagnosis, then routine is key to keeping them as healthy as possible. Your feeding and walking schedule will need to happen at certain times of the day, as well as monitoring them and medication administration. Creating a stress-free environment with constant access to plenty of fresh water will also help their overall wellbeing to thrive.
As part of Pet Diabetes Month in November we hope our advice will help owners with undiagnosed diabetic pets to receive the diagnosis and treatment they need. Remember, early intervention is key in your pet living a happy and comfortable life.