It’s National Pet Diabetes Month, and you’re not alone if you didn’t know that your dog or cat could develop the disease. Many owners don’t realize diabetes can affect pets too, and often have many questions when they learn their dog or cat is diabetic. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to seizures, a coma, or death. The disease can also lead to other health problems over time.
Age and genetic predisposition are risk factors for diabetes in pets, and are hard to control. However, we do know that being overweight or obese is one of the leading risk factors for pets developing diabetes, and that’s one factor that’s easier to control.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, approximately 54% of dogs and nearly 60% of cats are overweight or obese, and this is a leading risk factor for the development of diabetes in dogs and cats.
Like the U.S. human population, an alarming number of our overweight pets are developing type II diabetes, which is the inability to produce or properly use enough insulin to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Left untreated, it can lead to loss of appetite, dehydration, vomiting, weight loss, motor function problems, coma, seizures, and even death.
Feline diabetes can lead to liver disease or a disorder called diabetic neuropathy that may cause cats to become progressively weaker, especially in the hind legs. And a common complication of diabetes for dogs is the formation of cataracts. Persistently high blood glucose levels can also make the eye lenses opaque, which may cause blindness in dogs.
While there’s no cure for diabetes, the good news is that with proper care your pet can still live a happy, healthy, active life. The first step is to recognize the symptoms of diabetes in your dog or cat:
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Increased hunger while losing weight
- Decreased energy or activity
- Thinning, dull, or dry hair
Consult with your veterinarian if your pet is displaying any of these common signs. A simple blood and urine test can determine whether or not your pet has diabetes, and early diagnosis is key so that you can begin managing the disease and prevent further complications. Treatment is based on the severity of the disease and may involve oral medications or insulin injections.
Your vet will instruct you on how to monitor your pet’s symptoms along with food and water intake. Diet will play a crucial role in managing your pet’s diabetes. A high-quality, consistent source of protein with a good fiber source is an essential part of any diabetic diet.
PetWellClinic® partners with Knoxville Pet Food Company to offer high-quality pet food at discounted prices. Options for regular and prescription diets that address weight management are available and easy to order online for in-store pickup at our three PetWellClinics and My Pet’s Animal Hospital. We recommend the Hills Science Diet Prescription brand, as well as select Purina blends, and can help you choose the best option based on your pet’s age, size, and overall health.
For overall optimal health, we can also help you decide which flea, tick, and heartworm prevention products are best for your pet. By operating convenient hours for non-surgical care, PetWellClinic® is able to offer substantially discounted prices for parasite prevention products, as well as low cost vaccinations, wellness exams, and treatment of minor conditions.
We are dedicated to helping you keep your pets healthy and happy with top quality products, caring veterinarians and staff, and affordable services at convenient hours. See for yourself why so many people and their pets rely on PetWellClinic and Knoxville Pet Food Company.