Diabetes in the dog and cat and the treatment for diabetes mellitus are interesting and challenging topics. Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a disorder where the body is unable to regulate blood sugar levels. (There is another dissimilar disease called Diabetes Insipidus that is associated with the pituitary gland.) Each case seems to be different, and regulating the diabetic dog or cat so that their blood glucose levels are as normal as possible is vitally important. The real problem with a diabetic dog or cat is that even in the presence of sugar (glucose) in the blood stream, something interferes with the entry of that sugar into the body's cells where it is required for the life sustaining energy of those cells. With no sugar in the cells, the cell dies in a very short period of time.
A highly complicated disease entity, diabetes has been classified according to what pathway of energy metabolism has been disrupted.
Fortunately with diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats most cases can be managed successfully with insulin injections. There are several brands of insulin available to veterinarians and your veterinarian may suggest or favor one brand rather than another. Cats often are managed by use of a PZI (protamine zinc) insulin preparation. Do not be bashful with your dog or cat's veterinarian if you do not understand the how, why, and when of managing diabetes in dogs and cats.
Typical signs of diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats
include excess water consumption and excess urination, increased appetite but
with actual weight loss, and dehydration. Dogs also commonly develop cataracts
whereas cats seldom develop cataracts secondary to diabetes mellitus.
...polyuria (PU) - frequent and more productive urination
...polydipsia (PD) - increased water intake
...polyphagia - excessive appetite
...sugar in the urine
Because there is such a buildup of sugar in the blood stream there is the sensation of thirst in the animal and so it drinks more water to "dilute" the blood. PD (polydipsia) is the result... the animal drinks excessive amounts of water. Of course the animal then needs to urinate more often and greater than normal amounts. This increased urination is called PU (polyuria). Weight loss occurs even in the presence of an increased appetite because the carbohydrate consumed cannot be used for energy or stored as fat and because the animal metabolizes its own fat and tissue protein for energy instead of utilizing the dietary carbohydrate. If left untreated, Diabetes Mellitus leads to muscle wasting, depression, vomiting, kidney failure and death. Some dogs develop ocular cataracts quite rapidly and this is another sign that may lead to getting the animal in for an examination by the veterinarian. In cats, often the owner willBrowse PetFoodDirect.com for a huge selection of pet foods and supplies notice a wobbly gait or weakness in walking or jumping. Muscle wasting and weakness are commonly seen in diabetic cats.
Insulin injections, daily or twice a day, can be a true life saver for dogs and cats with Diabetes Mellitus. There are now special Careful adjustments to the Insulin dose may need to be made.diets made just for diabetic dogs and cats, too. These are prescription only diets and can play an important role in maintaining the diabetic patient. It is important to note that for optimum blood glucose levels to be maintained the dog or cat needs to have three parameters in balance on a day-to-day basis:
1. The amount and timing of exercise should be the same every day.
2. The amount of food and time of feeding should be the same every day.
3. The amount of Insulin administered should be the same and should be given at the same time each day.
If any one of these three parameters are different on any given day, the requirements of the other two parameters will be changed. For example, if a patient gets the usual amount of exercise today as normal but happens not to eat its usual meal, then the patient may need considerably less Insulin in that day's injection. If you have already administered the insulin you can't take it back! If the usual amount of Insulin is given and the pet doesn't eat its routine meal, the pet may become hypoglycemic and develop signs of low blood sugar. Keeping the diabetic pet regulated in the three areas detailed above will enhance the animal's quality of life.