National Pet Diabetes Month

Diabetes mellitus is a disorder characterized by the inadequate secretion or utilization of insulin, resulting in a blood glucose that is too high. Diabetes in cats and dogs has some similarities to diabetes in people however, treatment options for pets are not always the same. The most common signs of diabetes include increased thirst and urination, weight loss and increased appetite.

Type I diabetes results from the total or near-total destruction of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas resulting in an insulin deficiency. This is the most common form of diabetes in dogs.

Type Il diabetes results when some insulin-producing cells remain but not enough insulin is produced, there is a delayed response in the secretion of insulin, or the tissues of the body are relatively insulin resistant. Obesity predisposes a patient to this type of diabetes and this is the most common form of diabetes in cats but can also occur in older obese dogs.

Treatment for diabetes in both cats and dogs is possible but takes a great deal of commitment and dedication. Weight loss is an important step at managing the disease, especially in type Il diabetic patients, and insulin is the mainstay treatment for both types of diabetes. Unfortunately, pets do not respond well to oral medications used by people for their treatment of diabetes.

Follow-up care is paramount to the success of treating diabetes and establishing the best dose of insulin needed for your pet. Following diagnosis, frequent visits for glucose testing at specified times are needed until insulin dosing is established. After this, routine but less frequent testing is necessary to adjust for any changes that occur as time goes on and changes in environment and response to treatment change.

From reviewing patient history and clinical signs at home, to the physical exam and diabetes testing and formulating a treatment plan, Dr. Doyle at Rainier West Veterinary Hospital is able to help every step of the way. She will discuss the best treatment options and follow-up care needed to regulate your pet’s disease. In some cases of diabetes in cats, the patient can even go into remission.

If your pet is experiencing signs of increased thirst, urination, weight loss and increased appetite, please give us a call to schedule an appointment.