Hanford Veterinary Hospital Blog
Raising Awareness During National Pet Diabetes Month
Receiving a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus (type II diabetes) is not something any pet owner wants to hear, but unfortunately, the disease is on the rise among cats and dogs.
In observance of Pet Diabetes Month, we’d like to cultivate some awareness around this often preventable disease and educate owners on how to decrease the risks for their pets.
Similar to humans, type II diabetes occurs when the body is unable to process or make enough insulin.
Insulin is responsible for getting glucose (sugar) into the cells where it’s used to fuel various systems in the body. When this important fluid is unable to work properly, sugar is allowed to accumulate in the bloodstream, which causes many health problems and secondary diseases.
Few owners will ask this question, and unlike more obvious health problems, diabetes can often go unnoticed until the disease progresses. The only way to know for certain is to perform a thorough physical examination and order a blood chemistry analysis and urinalysis. Because the disease is becoming so prevalent, we recommended your senior pet or health-compromised pet be examined twice yearly.
When symptoms are present, they often include:
- Excessive thirst and frequent urination
- Hunger despite weight loss
- Lethargy or lack of interest in exercise
- Thin, dull coat
- Obesity (overweight pets are at increased risk)
- Cloudy eyes (cataracts)
If you observe any of these symptoms in your pet, schedule an appointment with us immediately.
If left untreated, diabetes can cause more serious health conditions, so it’s important to address the disease as early as possible. While treatment can be daunting for some, a proper plan usually requires insulin injections which can be administered at home, along with dietary changes and blood sugar monitoring.
At Hanford Veterinary Hospital, we personalize your pet’s treatment plan to assist you with at-home care and offer recommendations for balanced nutrition and exercise. It’s our hope that diabetic pets will lead a long, healthy, and vibrant life through client empowerment and comfort.
There are many ways to decrease the risk of pet diabetes. The following preventive measures can do much to support the overall health of your companion:
- Provide your pet with a nutritious, high quality food (ask us for recommendations)
- Manage your pet’s weight by avoiding too many treats, people food, and overfeeding (follow portion guidelines)
- Schedule annual or biannual wellness exams (for pets over age 6)
- Keep your pet moving with at least 20-30 minutes of daily exercise
- Monitor your pet’s habits and note any changes in appetite, water consumption, and energy level
Although some causes of type II diabetes are related to breed and existing health problems, obesity is certainly one of the more common contributors to this and other diseases. If your pet is overweight or obese, we encourage you to ask us about ways to reduce his or her risk of developing diabetes.
Along with other daily care requirements, consistent wellness exams, quality nutrition, and regular exercise can make all the difference in your pet’s energy level and overall health.