Caring for a Dog or a Cat with Diabetes

You have noticed your dog or cat drinks a lot more water than he used to. He may urinate frequently. He might vomit or have diarrhea. Your cat may also have a change of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, or general weakness. Your dog may have cataracts. Your pet might have diabetes, and you should take him to a veterinarian. Your animal might have something else wrong with him, however, and only your veterinarian can tell you for sure. Diabetes occurs more frequently in female dogs, than male dogs, and male cats, than female cats.

Thomas Schermerhorn, of the College of Veterinary Medicine, as reported on the website, www.mediarelations.k-state.edu, said that dogs and cats are just as susceptible as humans to diabetes. Often, however it isn’t until “pets have made an accident in the house, or lose weightâÂ?¦.that owners come in.” Schermerhorn said the blood and urine tests for dogs and cats in diabetes are straightforward.

The types of diabetes dogs and cats can vary, but are similar to the disease in humans, according to Schermerhorn. Dogs with diabetes most often have a type that resembles that of Type I diabetes in humans, or Juvenile diabetes. Cats, on the other hand, often have a type of the disease that resembles Type II diabetes, which is linked to obesity in humans.

It might take years to find a cure through clinical and laboratory research.

Schermerhorn says that until a cure is found, diabetes in dogs and cats can be treated in a similar manner to diabetes in humans.

Schermerhorn says that dogs and cats will often get injections for their diabetes at home. At first, he said the owners will be afraid, but they will learn to give the treatment.

Diabetes is a disease of the pancreas. It affects the ability of the body to control sugar levels. The pancreas creates insulin, which keeps blood sugar levels balanced.

Glucose, the sugar in the body, is produced from the breaking down of starches and carbohydrates. Glucose is absorbed through the wall of the digestive tract and passes into the bloodstream.

Insulin allows glucose to leave your bloodstream and enter body tissue to be used as energy. A person or animal with diabetes has a body that either produces insufficient quantities of insulin or does not use insulin effectively. As a result, glucose builds up in the bloodstream, causing an elevated glucose level.

Risk factors for diabetes include obesity, an unhealthy diet, cortisone treatments, stress, shock, and even genetics can play a factor in the cause of diabetes.

The treatment for dogs or cats with diabetes includes regular insulin injections and a controlled diet. The diet needs to be high in fiber and comprehensive carbohydrates, to slow the digestive process and stabilize blood sugar levels.

Some people also believe that carefully chosen herbal remedies and supplements can help prevent diabetes in dogs and cats and keep the disease under control. One brand is PetAlive GlucoBalance, which the makers claim helps improve the production and availability of insulin, helps regulate sugar levels, reduce cholesterol levels, and prevent and treat eye, bladder, and circulation problems.

If you need to give insulin to your dog or cat with diabetes, you will need to know which type to use, how much to use, how often to give it, and when is best to feed your pet. Your veterinarian will show you how to handle the syringe, how to use it, how to draw insulin from the bottle in the correct amount, and how to actually give the shot. You might practice giving a shot to a piece of fruit before you give it to your pet. Heavy exercise can also reduce the amount of insulin your pet might need.

You should stay calm with you give your pet an injection of insulin. If you are not nervous, your pet is less likely to be nervous. Massage your dog or cat before giving him an injection to control his diabetes. Hold the syringe with insulin between your fingers for a few minutes to warm it before giving a shot, but never warm it in a microwave oven. Show the pet a treat before the injection and give the treat immediately after an injection.

You can test the glucose level in your dog or cat’s urine by using a test strip. Your veterinarian might suggest the testing.

If you learn you have a diabetic pet, talk with your veterinarian about diet, insulin shots, exercise for your animal, and the possibility of herbal treatment.

You need not be afraid if you learn your pet has diabetes. A cat or dog with the disease can be just as good a pet as one that does not have the disease. Experts say your dog or cat should not have a significantly shorter life if he has diabetes, than if he does not. Have your pet wear a Diabetic identification card. Keep a journal regarding the treatment of your pet and his reaction to the treatment. Never leave home with your pet without sugar or a liquid form of sugar, such as honey or Karo syrup.

If you do find out you have a diabetic pet, don’t worry. Your pet can have a long and happy life, just as a human with the disease can. Your animal just might require a little more care.

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