Just like human diabetes, dog diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin production or a resistance to insulin and just like in humans, the illness can have severe health consequences.
It is important to detect, diagnose and treat canine diabetes as soon as possible to prevent long term health problems.
If you notice any the following symptoms in your dog, it may be a sign of diabetes so take your dog to the vet for an accurate diagnosis.
- Eating more or less than is normal for your pet combined with weight loss.
- Dehydration and drinking excessive amounts of water.
- An increase in urination.
- Sweet, fruity smelling breath.
- Lethargy or decreased energy levels.
- Itchy, inflamed or dry skin.
Your vet will first and foremost use the symptoms that you detected in conjunction with a medical history to determine the likelihood of diabetes.
Some of the signs and symptoms could point to other health conditions that could be more or less serious.
The vet will also perform a physical examination to check for the visible and bodily symptoms that may be present and escaped your notice. A physical exam should only take a few minutes.
If your vet suspects diabetes, they will then draw blood for testing at a lab. They may also require a urine sample for analysis.
If you suspect diabetes, it may best to take a urine sample in a sterile container with you to the vet to save time.
The blood and urine will need to be sent away for analysis and it could take a few days for the results to be returned.
Your vet will phone you with the diagnosis as soon as the results are returned. Whether a diagnosis of diabetes is confirmed or not, you will be asked to return the dog to the vet to receive a treatment plan or to look for another diagnosis to explain the symptoms.
A treatment plan is very individual and highly dependent on the severity of the symptoms and how well the dog responds to a specific therapy.
Dogs that are extremely ill after diagnosis may be required to stay in a pet hospital for a few days where they will receive aggressive treatment to regulate their blood sugar and so that they can be monitored.
In less severe cases, the owner will be provided with information on how to regulate blood sugar through insulin injections. Insulin treatment is dependent on the size and weight of a dog.