Did you know that it is estimated that 1 in 300 adult dogs and 1 in 230 cats in the US have diabetes?
According to a 2016 study released by Banfield Pet Hospital, there has been an alarming increase in the incidence of diabetes in dogs and cats throughout the country. Between 2006 and 2015, researchers identified a startling 80% increase in diabetes in dogs and an 18% increase in cats.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is the inability of pets to produce or utilize insulin properly, preventing the conversion of food to energy.
- Age. While diabetes can occur at any age, it mostly occurs in middle-aged pets.
- Gender. Unspayed female dogs are twice as likely as male dogs to have diabetes. Conversely, male cats have a greater risk of developing diabetes than female cats
- Chronic or repeated pancreatitis. Chronic or repeated pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) can eventually cause extensive damage to that organ, resulting in diabetes.
- Obesity. Obesity contributes to insulin resistance and is a risk factor for pancreatitis, which can lead to diabetes.
- Steroid medications. These can cause diabetes when used long-term.
- Genetics. Diabetes can occur in any breed or mixed-breed, and it seems genetics can play a role in either increased or reduced risk. A 2003 study found that overall, mixed-breeds are no less prone to diabetes than are purebreds. Among purebreds, breeds vary in susceptibility, some with very low risk and others with higher risk. Some that may be at higher risk include miniature Poodles, Bichons Frises, Pugs, Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, Puli, Samoyeds, Keeshonds, Australian Terriers, Fox Terriers, Cairn Terriers, and Beagles. In cats, the Burmese breed of cats has been reported to be at higher risk of developing diabetes.
If your pet is exhibiting any of these signs, talk to your veterinarian.
- excessive thirst
- inappropriate or excessive urination
- weight loss
- increased hunger
- loss of energy
While there’s no cure for diabetes, proper care can help your pet live a happy, healthy, active life. The more you know about diabetes, the better you’ll be able to work with your veterinarian to successfully manage your pet’s health.
Only your veterinarian can diagnose diabetes and provide appropriate preventive and management programs. Diabetes can be managed with a good, consistent diet, proper exercise, weight loss, and injectable insulin. Braxton’s knowledgable staff can assist you in choosing a proper diet.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, diabetic dogs will almost always need to be on insulin for the remainder of their lives whereas some cats can have their diabetes controlled and even reversed by good glucose control and proper diet.
Since November is Pet Diabetes Month, take this time to learn about diabetes, its symptoms, and treatment options. For more information, quizzes, a diabetes checklist, and much more click here.