Diabetes is an all too common ‘life style’ disease these days but did you know that cats and dogs suffer this chronic illness just like humans! Dogs and cats can suffer a form of diabetes that is very similar to type 2 diabetes in humans. Overweight, inactive pets are more likely to be at risk. Indoor cats and some breeds, such as Burmese cats, and dogs who have previously suffered from pancreatitis are also at increased risk.
Diabetes is a very manageable disease but it’s just so important that it’s diagnosed quickly and treatment started ASAP. When it comes to cats, there is a good chance that the quickly controlled diabetic might go into remission if caught and treated early. These cats may even come off insulin therapy and that’s going to be good for everyone! For cats that don’t go into remission and for dogs, quick diagnosis and control is the best thing for them. They are less likely to suffer complications and more likely to live a full and happy life. We all want that!
So when should you be worried about diabetes in your pet? The most common signs are increased thirst, increased urine output and increased appetite but with weight loss. Left undiagnosed you pet may become lethargic and then very unwell with vomiting and weakness and may even die. If you see any of these signs, a health check with your vet is a must.
The good news is that diagnosis is normally very quick and easy. We can often give you the answers right then and there in the consulting room! Blood and urine tests are performed and once a diagnosis had been made, treatment can be started straight away.
Fiona says “I had never thought that dealing with feline diabetes could be such an easy process or have such a positive outcome. We are all very happy, in particular Perseus”.
Insulin is the cornerstone of treatment. It is given twice daily by injection under the skin. This is far less difficult or scary than it sounds and is often much easier than giving a pill. Many a nervous owner has ended up a whizz at injections once they have a diabetic cat to teach them what its all about!
Some life style changes may be called for to give your pet the best chance of controlling their diabetes. Diet changes, weight loss or exercise programs are all part of diabetes control, as is close monitoring at home.
The good news is that almost all diabetic animals live out a full, rich and happy life with their condition. Getting that diagnosis and getting them treated is the key to combating Diabetes. If you are worried about your pet, please come in and see us as soon as possible.