#SP If you notice signs that make you suspect diabetes in your pet (increased thirst, ravenous appetite yet weight loss) then you should take them to your vet for a consultation and check up.
How will my vet test my pet for diabetes?
Your vet may begin by performing a general health examination and asking questions about any signs your pet may be displaying. Then, a sample of your pet’s urine will be tested for the presence of glucose or ketones (acids produced by the body as it breaks down fat instead of glucose for energy). If glucose is present in your pet’s urine, your veterinary practitioner will then test your pet’s blood to determine the blood glucose level. A diabetes diagnosis is considered definite when persistently high glucose levels are found in both the blood and urine.
How do I take care of a pet with diabetes?
Although there is no cure for diabetes, the disease can be successfully managed with the help of your vet. Daily insulin injections are usually required to restore your pet’s insulin level and control their blood glucose levels. Many owners are anxious about giving injections, but it’s easier than you think; and you’ll quickly learn how to handle the dosing routine with little stress for you or your pet.
Diet plays a vital role in helping to keep your pet’s diabetes regulated. Your veterinary practitioner can recommend a diet that’s best suited to the needs of your pet. A high-quality, consistent source of protein is an essential part of any diabetic diet. High-protein, low-carbohydrate foods are currently recommended for diabetic cats because they provide the extra energy cats need to get them through their active days, without the extra carbs that can turn into excess sugar. It is important to feed your pet based on its ideal body weight. Consistent timing and size of meals is also very important.
Exercise can help dogs with diabetes, but it needs to be regulated because activity affects blood glucose levels. It’s best to create a consistent exercise routine for your diabetic dog and stick to it. (There is no clear recommendation for exercise in diabetic cats because their activity is difficult to regulate).
Frequent veterinary check-ups can help identify changes in your pet’s condition and help you to manage this disease successfully over time. Managing your dog or cat’s diabetes will require some effort, but the rewards are well worth it. Pets whose diabetes is under control have normal thirst, appetite, urination and activity levels. Their weight is generally stable, and they are less likely to develop complications.
For more on Pet Diabetes Month, see here.