November is National Pet Diabetes month! Did you know diabetes affects about 1 in 424 dogs, and 1 in 230 cats?
Similarly to humans, there are different types of diabetes that our furry companions can get. The main types are type 1 (insulin dependent diabetes) and type 2 (insulin resistant diabetes). Dogs most commonly have type 1, while type 2 is more common in cats.
There are different causes to type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Insulin dependent diabetes refers to the destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas and their inability to produce insulin. Insulin resistant diabetes describes the resistance to insulin caused by other medical conditions or by hormonal drugs.
Type 1 (insulin dependent diabetes) requires insulin to be replaced via daily injections. There is genetic susceptibility of certain breeds but there are lifestyle factors as well, such as environmental and dietary factors in play.
Type 2 diabetes may be caused by over use of medications like steroids, hormones during pregnancy, or other medical conditions like Cushing’s disease. In some cases, the primary medical problem can be treated and the affected animal can go to non-diabetic status.
Some symptoms to look out for in diabetic dogs and cats are polydipsia (excessive thirst), frequent/excessive urination (polyuria), increased appetite (polyphagia), weight loss, vision changes, vomiting, anorexia, lethargy, or weakness.
It’s important for pet parents to know the symptoms of diabetes, and to bring their pets in for regular veterinary visits. Diabetes can be medically managed with the help of your veterinarian. Many animals are able to live fairly normal lives with medication and lifestyle changes.