Diabetes in Dogs and Cats

Basically, this disease is a metabolic disorder in which the carbohydrate and fat metabolism are disturbed. 80 to 90 percent of dogs suffering from diabetes are females. In cats, the distribution is roughly random. There are various triggers of this disease. So it is possible that there is a congenital defect of the Langerhans islets (the insulin produced in the pancreas), but stressful situations or pregnancy can also trigger diabetes.

The blood sugar cannot be degraded, there is a rise in blood sugar levels, the blood is thicker, the flow of blood slows down and these are followed by symptoms such as eczema, itching, increased thirst, urine output increases, so the dogs often have to go for a walk. The cats either ask their master or mistress to take them out more often or they go to their litter box more often. In the advanced stages, the animals get flabby and tired and vomiting and respiratory problems can follow. The animals can go blind as a result of diabetes. Liver and kidney damage are also possible.

A blood test should be carried out at the appearance of the first symptoms, the diagnosis being necessary in order to treat the disease on time. There are two types of diabetes.

Type 1: These diseased animals have an inadequate production of insulin, which is what causes the disease. Young, genetically predisposed and/or obese animals are usually affected. Juvenile diabetes, which usually occurs in young dogs and cats, can be triggered by a viral illness. The pancreas becomes inflamed due to this viral disease. The islet cells in the pancreas are destroyed. A treatment consists of a regular dose of insulin. Insulin injections for life follow for the animal after it is diagnosed with diabetes.

Diabetes – Type 2: This shows a lack of insulin action even when the pancreas produces enough of it. The exchange between the insulin and its receptors on the cell surface is not properly carried out in this case. Thus, there is a failure of glucose utilization of the cells.

Risk factors

Risk factors for insulin resistance are obesity (20% or more are overweight). Overweight cats are particularly affected, as well as animals with a metabolic disorder, physical inactivity and with insulin-acting hormones (e.g. glucocorticoids). When a dog or cat has to live with cortisone for long, it develops jatrogene diabetes (drug-induced diabetes, e.g. by too much cortisone). The most common cause of type 2 diabetes is and remains overweight as a result of malnutrition. The incidence of the disease increases with the age of the animal. The majority of affected dogs or cats are more than 9 years old. Studies in adult humans have confirmed that diabetes increases fivefold in obesity cases.

The treatment of type 2 diabetes is a consistent diet with high fiber contents, lots of exercise, less tasty treats between meals and sodium sulphate and magnesium phosphate, which reduce the weight. Uniform feeding is very important for the diagnosis of diabetes. The food composition must be the same. Blood glucose monitoring and continuous adjustment of the amount of insulin is not enough and not exactly pleasant for the animals. Ideally, the diet should be modified by the veterinarian.

If your dog or cat does not like diet food, you must offer it fiber-rich foods. This fiber-rich feeding reduces the glucose absorption from the intestine. 1.5 grams of wheat bran and cellulose per kilogram of body weight are suited every day. You can continue to provide commercial wet food alone, but note the helpful advice of your veterinarian. This will put together a diet for your pet, depending on which organs are affected secondarily. The vet will take into account if the diabetes has already affected the liver or the kidneys.

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