Caring for Dogs

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Diabetes in Dogs

What is Canine Diabetes?

Diabetes in pets, just as it is in humans, is on the rise. In Canada, an average clinic will diagnose 4 out of 500 dogs with canine diabetes. This number may be higher due to non-diagnosed animals! (Source: Ipsos Survey 2008)

Diabetes mellitus or “sugar diabetes” is caused by a lack of available insulin in your pet’s body due to insufficient production by the pancreas, or failure of the body cells to respond to insulin, or both.

In a healthy dog, food is broken down during digestion into nutrients that can be used by the body. Carbohydrates (starches) are converted into sugars, including glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract into the blood and provides the body cells with energy. Insulin transfers the glucose from the bloodstream to the body cells. However, this can only occur if enough insulin is present in sufficient quantities. In a dog with diabetes, the pancreas, a special gland situated near the intestines produces insufficient insulin for this to occur, resulting in blood glucose concentrations that exceed the “glucose threshold” of the kidneys.

When this happens the excess glucose is excreted in the urine, causing your dog to drink and urinate more. Because this energy source is being lost, your dog may eat more than normal, but still lose weight.


Signs of Canine Diabetes?

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased appetite with weight loss
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Lowered resistance to infection – especially urinary tract infection
  • Cloudy eyes or vision loss
  • Deterioration of the quality of your dog’s coat