How Is Diabetes Treated in Dogs? (Part 2)
Diabetes in dogs is a common endocrine disorder, especially in older and middle-aged dogs. It is essential to detect the disease in time to schedule a treatment. In this post, we help you answer the question “how to know if my dog has diabetes,” and we explain everything you need to know about canine diabetes. Diabetes in dogs is a common endocrine disruption, especially in older and middle-aged dogs. It is vital to detect the disease in time to schedule a treatment. In this post, we help you answer the question “how to know if my dog has diabetes,” and we explain everything you need to know about canine diabetes.
What Is Insulin and Why Is It So Important to the Body?
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that allows cells in an animal’s body to take advantage of glucose (sugar) in the blood and function. Glucose is the body’s “gasoline.” It allows the body to produce energy, which cells can then use to carry out vital processes such as digestion, tissue repair, cell multiplication, etc. Cells need glucose because this is their “fuel,” but they need insulin to capture that glucose present in the blood. Therefore, without insulin, cells cannot detect glucose., they interpret that there are none, and they send signals for the body to produce more. This is the origin of diabetes in dogs, people and other animals. As the veterinarians on the Barkibu team explain, the problem is that those signals that cells send by not detecting insulin cause the body to burn more fat and protein to produce more glucose. The body accumulates that glucose, but the cells cannot see it due to the lack of insulin. In the end, the overproduction of glucose begins to generate serious health problems, present in all cases of diabetes in dogs:
- The dog drinks much more than usual and urinates very frequently. It can become dehydrated: because glucose is filtered in the urine after passing through the kidneys and carries a large amount of water.
- The continued burning of fat and protein (ketone bodies) causes many toxic substances to accumulate in the blood.
The direct consequence of permanent hyperglycemia is a severe complication. We can find two, specifically:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis: It’s a true emergency that produces signs such as anorexia, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, lethargy or depression, in addition to hyperglycemia and glucose in the urine. If your dog lives in this situation for longer than necessary, it can become dehydrated and fall into a coma.
- Cataracts: your dog could suffer from cataracts that are irreversible and rapidly evolving.
- Other complications at the liver level.
Treatment of Diabetes in Dogs
The treatment that your dog should receive if diabetes is detected is based, firstly, on the proper diagnosis of the disease, identifying the primary or secondary causes that cause it, and controlling it to increase canine patients’ quality of life. The four key points of treatment are:
Diet and Exercise
Diet is a critical factor in controlling all types of diabetes. It should be based on a high-quality protein diet, balanced and adapted to each situation. You can find specific feed for diabetic dogs. If your dog suffers from obesity, its specific diet must be high in fibre and moderate exercise. It contributes to the decrease of intestinal glucose absorption, promotes weight loss and helps control glycemia. If your dog is underweight, its diet should be based on foods with high digestibility, palatability and an extra energy supply to achieve its ideal weight. Of course, it is essential that you follow a fixed protocol for feeding and supplying insulin. Normally, your dog will eat two servings of a daily ration. It would be best to match their first meal with the first insulin dose and the second with the second dose.
In insulin-dependent diabetes or type I diabetes, the administration of insulin injected from under the skin is essential to control the signs of diabetes and avoid possible complications derived from it. There are some commercial insulin options accepted for use in diabetic dogs. Short-acting insulin is used in cases of hyperglycemic crisis or complicated with diabetic ketoacidosis. However, regarding treatment, your veterinarian will explain everything you need to know about the mode of administration, types of needles and dosage of insulin.
Control of Other Factors
It is imperative to control all the factors that intervene in the development of diabetes or interfere with insulin action, such as concurrent diseases, elevated progesterone levels, or the use of drugs that cause resistance to insulin. In the vast majority of cases, spaying females may be indicated to control insulin-resistant diabetes. However, consult your vet for more details.
Patient Monitoring at Home
It is another crucial factor since this monitoring of your diabetic dog provides essential information for successful control of the disease. The glucose measurement in the blood using portable devices (glucometer) and urine strips to control glucosuria and ketones can be of great help. Also, routine and frequent veterinary checks, especially at the beginning of treatment, are necessary.
On an ending note, we can determine that if your dog is diabetic, it is your duty to maintain consistency with the treatment and include a suitable diet for diabetic dogs. Doing so will significantly improve your dog’s quality of life. We hope that this special on diabetes in dogs will help you identify this disease’s symptoms and offer your dog all the care it needs. If you haven’t read the first part of this article, check it out now!