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Diabetes On The Rise Amongst Cats And Dogs

Diabetes on the rise amongst both cats and dogs. It can be controlled with careful management

Diabetes on the rise amongst both cats and dogs. It can be controlled with careful management

November is National Diabetes Month, and while this month was originally designed to increase awareness of this common endocrine disease in humans, it also is recognized as Pet Diabetes Month based on the growing prevalence of diabetes in our families’ pets. Since 2011, diabetes diagnoses in pets have increased by 32 percent in canines and 16 percent in felines1 and just like humans, cats can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Understanding diabetic symptoms for your pets is critical – especially since diabetes left untreated can be fatal in dogs and cats. Diabetes affects one in 308 dogs and one in 230 cats 2,3 yet pet diabetes is often underdiagnosed.

Just as important as knowing the symptoms is understanding how to care for a diabetic pet at home. The treatment plan should include checking your dog’s or cat’s blood sugar on a regular basis with at-home monitoring meters specifically calibrated for pets. You can help your pet by learning more about the condition from your veterinarian.

Identifying Diabetic Symptoms in Dogs
Knowing the signs of pet diabetes is essential in protecting a dog’s health. Consult your veterinarian about the possibility of diabetes if your dog shows any of the following symptoms:

Drinks more water than usual (polydipsia)
Urinates more frequently, produces more urine per day, or has “accidents” in the house (polyuria)
Always acts hungry (polyphagia) but maintains or loses weight
Has cloudy eyes
Identifying Diabetic Symptoms in Cats
Diabetes is even more common in cats. The disease is more typically diagnosed in older cats and neutered male cats, but diabetes has been diagnosed in cats of all ages, both sexes (intact and neutered) and all breeds. A cat with diabetes will display the following symptoms:

Drinks more water than usual (polydipsia)
Urinates more frequently, produces more urine per day, or has “accidents” outside the litter box (polyuria)
Always acts hungry (polyphagia) but maintains or loses weight
Is less active or sleeps more (lethargic)
Has thinning, dry and dull hair
Routine Care for Diabetic Pets Starts at Home
If diagnosed, your veterinarian will recommend a routine treatment plan of insulin, diet modification and blood glucose monitoring that may lead to a better quality of life for your diabetic pet. Studies also have shown that the love you have for your pet will assist in treating this disease.

“The unconditional bond between humans and pets is truly unique and is demonstrated on a daily basis through the care we provide for our four-legged family members,” said Matthew Krecic, DVM, senior technical services manager, U.S. Diagnostics Strategic Growth Platforms for Zoetis, a company that develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines. “That bond becomes even more apparent when life throws us a curve, such as a diabetes diagnosis. Families incorporate daily health care routines for their pets, and living with diabetes becomes more manageable.”

Part of that at-home management includes at-home monitoring and using an at-home monitor specifically calibrated for dogs and cats. The blood of dogs and cats is different from each other and different from humans. Better care and better outcomes are achieved when using the right treatment tools.

“Seeking the proper veterinary care and the right at-home blood glucose monitor can aid in the ongoing management of diabetes in our pets,” Dr. Krecic added. “Human meters do not give accurate readings for dogs or cats and could hinder progress in management of diabetes.”

Through careful monitoring and by following your veterinarian’s treatment plan, your diabetic pet can lead an active, quality life and be a part of your family for many years.

 

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