Pet Diabetes Month: What You Should Know!

November is Pet Diabetes Month, and this strikes home more than you may imagine. We’re writing this so you can recognize the symptoms early and so you can share this important info with other pet guardians.

Super Smiley starting first, letting you know that my cat, Tout Suite the Travel Kitty, traveled more than 130,000 miles with Megan and was one of her co-hosts on “Animal Attractions TV.” He did all this as a diabetic on daily insulin injections for more than 10 years. So don’t despair if your pet is diagnosed with diabetes. If we can do it, you can do it. Early signs of diabetes in cats and dogs are excessive urination, excessive thirst and ravenous hunger along with weight loss even with normal appetite.

diabetes 1Here’s Megan with the basic details that all humans should know about pet diabetes:

Hey everybody. Super Smiley had it right. Tout Suite was my sidekick with diabetes for over 10 years — and he thrived. It’s a complex disease, but with management, everybody can do just fine. Diabetes occurs within a range of 1-in-50 to 1-in-400 cats depending upon the population studied and in about 1-in-500 to 700 dogs with the highest incidences in Golden Retriever, German shepherd, Miniature Schnauzer and Poodle breeds as well as in females.

It’s caused by inadequate production of insulin, or the lack of the body’s ability to use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body utilize glucose, which is a fuel necessary for life. When this system isn’t working properly, glucose isn’t absorbed correctly so there is an excess of glucose, or sugar, in the bloodstream. The excess glucose is eliminated by the kidneys, so animals with diabetes will drink and urinate more frequently. Initially, they may also eat ravenously trying to compensate for their inability to adequately use sugars. The brain simply isn’t registering that glucose is coming in. Despite eating and drinking more, they may loose weight and eventually may loose their appetite entirely. This is a very serious condition with various types of diabetes as culprits and with different complications. So, if your pet suddenly exhibits excessive drinking, urination and appetite, you should take her immediately to your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment schedule.

In advanced cases, diabetic ketoacidosis may develop where acids build up in the blood. Symptoms include weakness, vomiting, rapid breathing and the odor of acetone (like nail polish remover) on the breath. Dogs may also develop cataracts and blindness. This advanced state is a true life-threatening emergency and all diabetes should be treated as a serious health issue.

Once diagnosed, diabetes management can be relatively simple as long as you keep on top of it. Your pet may require twice-daily insulin shots. The injections are easier to give than you might think. Tout Suite was a feral kitty, and even he tolerated them just fine. Some cats can maintain balance on oral medication and there will also be dietary considerations directed by your veterinarian.

Your pet will also need to have his blood sugar levels monitored. Your veterinarian can do this over a 12-24 hour period during which blood is drawn and the blood sugar levels are monitored throughout the day to show a blood glucose curve. You can do this at home as well, which is an option you can discuss with your vet. It’s also important to be closely aware of your pet’s drinking, eating, urination and weight. All of these will be clues to his stability with diabetes.

diabetes 2There is no cure for diabetes; however, some cats spontaneously lose the need for insulin and go into a type of spontaneous remission. I can say from experience that by carefully managing Tout Suite’s diabetes he lived a very playful, talkative, perfectly silly and happy kitty life. If diabetes presents itself to you and your furry friend, together you can do it.

Do you worry about how to manage your diabetic pet’s frequent accidents? Training pads can help keep your house protected. Simply place them near his bed and his resting areas in case he can’t make it outside to “go.” If he does go on the carpet, clean up accidents fast with pheromone technology!

Until Next Time, Woof and Super Smiles from,
Super Smiley and Megan Blake, The Pet Lifestyle Coach®

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