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Is your pet at risk for


By Dr. Chauntel Bennett, DVM Town Center Animal Hospital - www.towncentervet.com

No v e m b e r i s Pe t D i a b e t e s Mo n t h WHAT IS DIABETES:

Diabetes is when there is an excessive amount of glucose circulating in the blood. This is caused from either a decreased amount of insulin or a resistance to insulin. Insulin is responsible for transporting the glucose from the blood into the tissues and cells so it can be utilized for energy.

a diet change to a diabetic diet, and a urine culture to check for a urinary tract infection. After therapy is started doing serial blood glucose curves are necessary to make sure that the appropriate amount of insulin is used. Cats may eventually go into a remission and insulin can be weaned off. When a dog develops diabetes it is a lifelong disease.



Any pet can develop diabetes. Obese animals are at increased risk of developing diabetes. Other risks include cancer and hormonal imbalances such as an increase in cortisol. Pets that get diabetes are typically older; dogs 7-9 years and cats 9-11 years. In dogs, females are 2x more likely to get it and in cats males are more likely to get it. Dog breeds that are predisposed are schnauzers, bichons, and poodles while cats have no breed predilection.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF DIABETES IN PETS: Diabetes clinical signs include increased drinking, increased urination, inappropriate urination, lethargy, and increased appetite with weight loss. Dogs can sometimes present for acute blindness from diabetic cataracts formation. Cats can present with a neuropathy where they walk on flat hocks (plantigrade posture) in the rear end and have difficulty jumping.

Sometimes an animal presents for a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) that is characterized by vomiting, dehydration, anorexia, and weakness. This occurs in an undiagnosed diabetic or a diabetic that has a complicating or concurrent condition. Since the glucose is unable to be used for energy the animal mobilizes its fatty stores and the fat is broken down into ketone bodies to be used as energy. These ketones show up in the urine and cause the animal to become acidotic. This is an emergency and they will have to be hospitalized on aggressive fluid therapy, feedings, and appropriate insulin therapy.


Managing a pet with diabetes can seem daunting, but with a little practice it is something any owner can learn to do. The animal will need to get twice daily injections of insulin under the skin. Along with the medical management a strict weight loss protocol should be adhered to with regular exercise. Monitoring the blood glucose with curves every 6 months is ideal and testing the urine for bacteria at that time is also recommended since they are at higher risk of urinary tract infections. Diabetes is a chronic condition that is managed and not cured.

HOW IS DIABETES DIAGNOSED AND TREATED: When an animal presents with signs consistent with diabetes, blood work and testing the urine are recommended. If the blood glucose is very elevated and/or there is glucose in the urine then the animal likely has diabetes. If the glucose level is borderline a test called a fructosamine can be performed that shows long-term levels of blood glucose. Treating a newly diagnosed diabetic animal includes insulin therapy, 16

Las Vegas Pet Scene Magazine • November/December 2017

With this knowledge an animal can live a long happy life despite diabetes.

Profile for Homes Illustrated/LV Pet Scene

Las Vegas Pet Scene Magazine – November/December 2017  

Inside This Issue: Horses Helping Socially Challenged Youth, Pine Creek Trail – A Favorite For Dogs & Owners Alike, Diabetes, Therapy Dogs –...

Las Vegas Pet Scene Magazine – November/December 2017  

Inside This Issue: Horses Helping Socially Challenged Youth, Pine Creek Trail – A Favorite For Dogs & Owners Alike, Diabetes, Therapy Dogs –...