There has been an ongoing concern about the rising cases of diabetes among our four-legged friends. While medical science could not conclusively link obesity with diabetes, the increase in the number of dogs which are indeed overweight and the number of those suffering from diabetes came hand-in-hand, hence the suspicion.
But is it only overweightness that is the cause why our beloved canines suffer from diabetes? Apparently, there are other reasons for it.
Yet, before we tackle on the topic involving the causes of diabetes among dogs, let us first identify what type of diabetes is more common among canines.
Most Common Form of Diabetes Among Dogs
The term diabetes is actually a medical term which refers to one of two things: diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus. While these two medical conditions have the word “diabetes” in its label, they are actually two different conditions.
Diabetes mellitus—colloquially known as “sugar” diabetes—is a condition where the body has a constant elevation of glucose as a result of the total absence of insulin or just its insufficiency. On the other hand, diabetes insipidus—otherwise called “water” diabetes—is a condition where there is frequent and large volumes of urination arising from a miscommunication between the brain and the kidneys.
Of these two, diabetes mellitus is most common.
Why be concerned about Canine Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder which, at the present, has no treatment. While the onset of the disease does not usually happen until the dog’s “middle age” and whose progress is also slow, diabetes mellitus is a disorder which comes with its eventual complications.
Two of diabetes mellitus’ most common targeted organs include the eyes and the kidneys which are subsequently damaged as the metabolic disorder gets worse, similar to man’s.
Symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs
Diabetes mellitus, at its core, is a problem of having too much sugar in the blood which detriments the body’s organs. As such, one of the major telltale sign that a dog is suffering from sugar diabetes is if it has an elevated level of blood sugar (glucose) called hyperglycemia for extended periods. Normally, when the dog’s body has sufficient and working insulin in the blood, the cells make use of the glucose which significantly offsets unnecessary elevation.
Ironically, even with more than an ample concentration of sugar in the blood, a diabetic dog is hungry more often, which is yet another manifestation of diabetes mellitus.
Another major symptom that a dog is diabetic is when it urinates too often. This is a way of the dog’s body of releasing excess sugars from the blood despite the added strain on the kidneys. Hence, the reason why the kidneys themselves are often the likely casualty of a worsening diabetic condition.
Subsequently, as the dog pees more often, he lowers the level of water in its body. As a result, a dog which has canine diabetes is also frequently thirsty. Frequent thirst, therefore, makes for another manifestation of diabetes mellitus among dogs.
Management of Diabetes Mellitus
The onset of diabetes mellitus is a start of a life-long disease as it cannot be treated. But while it cannot be altogether removed from the dog’s body as a disease, sugar diabetes is a disorder which can be managed over time, mitigating the risk of it getting worse, and offsetting possible damages that comes with it.
Typically, the management of sugar diabetes would imply lifestyle changes for the dog e.g. being active, custom-tailored diet, and insulin injections.