Dog waiting for food bowl.

Blue Valley Animal Hospital is all about pet wellness and helping our clients keep their pets healthy. November is Pet Diabetes Awareness month, and we are all for a little education and awareness. Read on to learn about pet diabetes and how you can prevent problems for your favorite pets. 

Awareness for Pet Diabetes Month

You can’t prevent and detect something if you don’t know what it is! Some of us have experience with diabetes in our human friends and family, but many pet owners don’t realize that it can affect dogs and cats as well. 

The body, whether human or animal, needs the hormone insulin in order to utilize the carbohydrates in food as energy for cells. 

Diabetes mellitus is caused by the body not having enough insulin to keep up with its needs. This can be due to the pancreas being unable to produce enough insulin, or due to the decreased responsiveness of cells to insulin. 

With diabetes, the glucose cannot efficiently be absorbed into the cells. It accumulates in the bloodstream instead, resulting in serious consequences.

Pets who are suffering from diabetes exhibit some characteristic symptoms resulting from too much glucose in the bloodstream. These include:

  • Weight loss despite a good appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • A dull haircoat
  • Decreased energy levels
  • Difficulty using rear limbs (in some diabetic cats)
  • The development of cataracts (seen in dogs)

Most of the time we are able to diagnose diabetes in pets with blood and urine testing. 

There is no cure for diabetes in pets. Most diabetic animals, however, respond well to treatment with daily insulin injections, dietary changes, and close monitoring. 

Upping Your Pet Wellness Game

While pet diabetes is not entirely preventable, there are some things that you can do to decrease the odds of your pet being affected. 

Take some steps to protect your pet during Pet Diabetes Awareness Month by:

  • Putting a plan into place to help your pet maintain a healthy body weight and prevent obesity
  • Feeding a good, quality diet lower in carbohydrates
  • Preventing pancreatitis by avoiding feeding fatty, rich foods
  • Encouraging daily exercise and activity
  • Bringing your pet in for routine wellness visits
  • Allowing routine screening testing in seemingly healthy pets, especially as they get older

While some pets will develop diabetes despite our best efforts, understanding how to identify signs of trouble can really make a difference. Good pet wellness care allows us the opportunity to help identify diabetes and other diseases early before they become serious problems and while they are more easily managed. 

Please remember we are here to help with any of your pet questions or concerns. Contact us or call us at (913) 681-2818 with anything you may need, we are happy to help.