Diabetes mellitus in dogs: causes, treatment, prevention

Many diseases are not divided into “canine” and “human” diseases, affecting both of them with equal success. Hormonal disruptions, disturbances in the work of the endocrine system are inherent in animals, as well as in humans. Diabetes mellitus is a formidable pathology that, without treatment, leads to serious health problems, and even to the death of a pet.

What is diabetes mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus develops as a result of a lack of insulin, without which the absorption of glucose by the cells of the body is impossible. Sugar is extremely important for life. Decomposing, glucose is absorbed by the intestines and enters the blood supply system, from where it is carried to every cell. But the assimilation of sugar cannot be without a special signal from the brain. The conductor of this signal is insulin, its production occurs in the pancreas.

Thus, one of two reasons can become a provocateur of the development of pathology :

  1. Insulin deficiency resulting from pancreatic insufficiency. Its amount is so small that cells do not recognize and do not accept this essential substance.
  2. Atrophy of cellular nerve endings. The signal for glucose processing simply does not reach the “site”.

The result of such failures is cellular starvation, a healthy body quickly disposes of glucose and puts a lot of stress on the kidneys. They begin to excrete excess sugar through the urine. The second link in the pathological chain is dehydration - sugar is combined with water and excreted from the body, which reduces blood volumes.

Symptoms worsen with the progression of the disease:

  • Sugar levels in urine and blood are elevated (detected by clinical studies).
  • The dog is thirsty all the time, he drinks a lot and often urinates.
  • Weight is lost. Without enough glucose, cells die of starvation.
  • Unhealthy attitude towards food. With a general loss of body weight, the pet eats a lot. This does not increase weight, proteins in the muscles are broken down against the background of sugar starvation of cells. To survive, the body "devours" itself.
  • Formation of ketoacidosis. This is the most difficult stage when the body ceases to have time to get rid of toxic decay elements and provokes the formation of acetone. Oxidized blood burns blood vessels and an acetone aroma is felt when exhaling.
  • Temperature change. A sick animal has cold, mucous, bluish ears and limbs. If you lift the eyelid. You can see the vascular network from the burst capillaries.


At-risk groups:

Diabetes, according to the statistics of practical veterinary medicine, can be ill with dogs of any breed, including mestizos and transfers. Doctors identify several risk groups by age, breed and other factors:

  • Genetic predisposition in Pinschers (pygmy) , Cairn Terrier, Keeshond, Doberman , Beagle , Poodle , etc.
  • Bitches get sick more often than males 2 times.
  • The critical age is 5-15 years, but with heredity it can develop earlier.
  • A bitch that has not been sterilized, has not given birth, has had a false pregnancy is in the most serious risk group.

The causes of diabetes in a dog

Most often, it is impossible to identify the factors that provoked diabetes. But there are conditions in which the risk of developing the disease increases significantly:

  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Genetics.
  • Overweight.
  • Taking hormones.
  • Hormonal disruptions.
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pregnancy condition.
  • 4-8 weeks after estrus .

All life support systems suffer from an increase in sugar, but especially "gets" to the eyes (development of diabetic cataracts), hind limbs (weakening, lack of coordination), urogenital sphere (cystitis).

Diabetic symptoms in dogs

The following signs should alert the owner:

  • A sluggish state, unwillingness to play, walk, desire to lie down.
  • High appetite (feeling of constant hunger).
  • Thirst.
  • Increased urination (change in the color of urine to a very light).
  • A sharp jump (fall) in weight.
  • Deterioration of the condition of the skin and hair.
  • Lens clouding (cataract symptoms).
  • Numbness (when walking, the pet may begin to limp for no reason).
  • Smell of acetone on exhalation.
  • Decreased sexual activity.
  • Long-term healing of minor wounds.

Not all of these conditions should be mandatory in a diabetic dog. In addition, some signs are found in other pathologies, so it is important to diagnose and confirm / refute suspicions.

Diagnosis and treatment of diabetes

To make a diagnosis, a diagnostic series is assigned:

  •  Blood donation for inflammation.
  • Biochemistry of blood for glucose and latent pathologies.
  • Delivery of urine for glucose.
  • Ultrasound of the abdominal organs.
  • Acetone and hormonal tests.
  • Radiography.

The tactics of drug therapy are developed taking into account the condition of the animal. In a critical situation, a four-legged patient is placed on an inpatient observation in order to monitor blood sugar levels, daily infusion and determine the required dose of insulin.

If the condition is satisfactory, the dog is put under control and treatment is prescribed in the form of insulin injections and a special diet. Diabetes is a chronic disease, when it is set, the owner bears full responsibility for the condition of the pet.

Until the end of the life of a four-legged friend, it will be necessary to follow the instructions of the veterinarian:

  • Inject insulin daily.
  • Strictly observe the selection of products and feeding times.
  • Monitor the degree of physical activity.
  • Keep a diary of observations (amount of food and water, time of intake, weight, insulin dosage).
  • Treat identified concomitant diseases strictly according to the doctor's prescription.

How to feed a diabetic dog?

It is necessary to feed a pet with diabetes mellitus so that insulin enters the bloodstream from food slowly but regularly. To do this, select a diet enriched with dietary fiber, protein, but low in calories. Ideally, there is a special food for sick animals. The balanced composition allows you to maintain the daily glucose level at the level, and the doctor chooses the feed dosage. The dog should not gain weight (remain in a state of normal thinness), so as not to provoke a sharp development of the disease.

The meal schedule depends entirely on the insulin medication and has several options:

  • Food intake, depending on the nature of the elimination of the drug (fast, slow, medium).
  • Fractional meals - in frequent, but small portions.
  • Free access to food at any time.
  • Insulin injection immediately before / after meals.

Any sweets, yeast products, high-carbohydrate vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beets), dairy products with a high percentage of fat, fatty meat and fish products and broths are excluded.

With a diet made from natural products, you can:

  • Low-fat varieties of meat, poultry. Fish, offal.
  • Broths.
  • Cabbage, zucchini.
  • Low-percentage fermented milk products.
  • Small portions of cereals (buckwheat, barley).

Prevention of diabetes in dogs

The well-known truth: "It is easier to prevent a disease than to cure later" in this case is relevant as never before. Of course, no one will give a 100% guarantee against the disease, but you can significantly reduce the risks of its occurrence by some actions:

  • Sterilize the bitch in a timely manner.
  • Provide a balanced diet.
  • Maintain physical activity with sufficient walks, outdoor games.
  • Control weight gain.
  • Treat any deviations in health in time.

How long a pet with diagnosed diabetes will live depends on proper nutrition and selected therapy. The most important rule is the gradual and constant flow of glucose into the bloodstream, and only a person can provide this.


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