Diabetes mellitus, also known as sugar diabetes, is a growing problem in the United States’ human population. What many people don’t realize is that diabetes is also a problem for dogs and cats. Animal Hospital of North Asheville has many diabetic patients, so we want to use October to raise awareness of the problem.
The most common signs of diabetes in pets are excessive thirst and increased urination. Many patients are hungrier than usual, and most lose weight despite having a good appetite. In more advanced cases, pets can become very dehydrated, weak, and even comatose which is why early detection and treatment is so important. Early detection of diabetes is just one of the reasons we at Animal Hospital of North Asheville encourage you to have blood testing done on your pet at least once a year. Diabetes needs to be caught before you see abnormal signs in your pet.
Diabetes occurs for two reasons. Insulin-dependent, or Type I diabetes (the most common form in dogs) is due to a lack of production of insulin by the pancreas. Insulin-resistant, or Type II diabetes (most commonly seen in overweight cats and people) is caused by the cells developing resistance to the effects of insulin. Insulin is an important protein that carries fuel, in the form of a sugar called glucose, from the blood into the cells. Without the action of insulin, the cells become weak and there is too much sugar in the blood and urine. Type 2 diabetes is much more common in overweight pets, so lots of exercise and appropriate calorie intake are important to keeping your pet healthy.
Once diagnosed, dogs and cats are treated for diabetes with insulin injections and diet management. Many owners are frightened of giving injections to their pet, but with our help they find it is not hard to do and pets usually tolerate the injections very well. The doctors and staff at Animal Hospital of North Asheville are very experienced in diabetes management, and will help you through every step of diagnosis, treatment and monitoring. With proper care, diabetic pets can live long and happy lives.
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