We have all heard about Diabetes mellitus as Type I and Type II in regards to the human diabetic condition. The difference between the two forms is that Type I is where the pancreas is not producing any insulin and Type II is where the pancreas is producing insulin, just not enough. Dogs most commonly suffer from insulin dependent diabetes (Type I) which is why they are treated with insulin. On the other hand, Cats suffer from non-insulin dependent diabetes (Type II). This is where it can get a little confusing since you might think that a cat could get away without insulin injections, but that isn’t usually the case. Cats do have the potential for the pancreas for resolve itself and improve the ability to secrete insulin. This can occur with a proper diet and good Glucose control; however, dogs are not as lucky and virtually never have their pancreas return to proper insulin function. Insulin injections are still used to help regulate Cats, and in some lucky cats, even oral medications and/or prescription diet can help manage in mild cases. Humans can tell when their blood glucose becomes high or low and can quickly compensate for them by either taking their insulin or eating something. Diabetic animals are strictly reliant on their humans to help regulate their condition.
Miniature Schnauzers, Beagles, Keeshond, Poodles and Labrador Retrievers are only a few of the dog breeds which are predisposed to diabetes. Another significant risk factor for the development of diabetes is obesity. Unfortunately, obesity can target any breed of cat or dog. Feeding your pet a healthy diet, giving them regular exercise, and monitoring their treat intake are simple ways to prevent obesity. When should you seek medical attention for your pet? There are definite signs of diabetes:
- Drinking and urinating more frequently
- Increased hunger
- Weight loss despite an increased appetite
- Poor coat condition
If you are noticing any of the signs listed please consult your veterinarian for further evaluation. The earlier the diagnosis, your beloved pet can have a better chance of living a longer, healthier life.