Most dogs are diagnosed with canine diabetes between the ages of 7-10 and any dog has the potential to be affected. Springer Spaniels, Poodles and Cairn Terriers are among the breeds at increased risk, says Charlotte Summers, COO of global diabetes community Diabetes.co.uk.
Diabetes in dogs is being increasingly diagnosed and so is affecting more and more dogs across the country. Whilst Diabetes Mellitus is more common in older dogs; entire bitches and is pre-disposed in certain breeds, it can occur in dogs as young as 18 months of age, and it is one of the most common hormonal diseases in dogs.
Some of the most common signs that a dog may exhibit if they have diabetes include:
- an increase in thirst and urination
- excellent appetites despite losing weight
- sudden appearance of cataracts in their eyes
If you are concerned at all, it is best to speak with your veterinary surgeon. To diagnose diabetes urine and blood samples are used to provide evidence of persistent hyperglycaemia and glucosuria.
Virtually all dogs with diabetes require insulin therapy, with two daily injections often necessary to adequately control the disease. Treating a dog with diabetes requires close collaboration between owner and veterinarian, but this treatment can be very rewarding for patient and owner alike.
Most uncomplicated cases of diabetes can be controlled by injecting insulin, and will have to be continued for the duration of the dog's life. This requires regular monitoring both at home and continued visits to the vets. With all diabetic cases compliance to treatment and coming to the veterinary practice must be considered. A regular routine is key to successful management of diabetic dogs this includes diet. There is not one particular diet that has found to be beneficial however it has been suggested that diet with high fibre and high complex carbohydrates can be successful in some cases.
Charlotte Summers of Diabetes.co.uk says: "Until a cure is discovered, dogs and people with diabetes will continue to require insulin therapy, but diabetic dogs can go on to lead high-quality lives that are similar to dogs without the disease. Diabetes in dogs is a life long condition as with humans, however with appropriate treatment and monitoring it can be successfully managed with a positive prognosis."
A Dog Owner's Story
Carol Logan a member of the forum Diabetes.co.uk has a 4 year old King Charles Spaniel Moss who was diagnosed with diabetes just before Christmas. He is now on 5 units of insulin twice a day, once in the morning after his feed and once at night.
His owner Carol tests his urine before administering his insulin via a Diastix and lets her vet know the results of his samples. She keeps a daily diary of her days with her dog and she says: "I keep a diary of my days with Moss as it helps me to know when he has a good day or a bad day, it has only been two weeks since he was diagnosed, and I have noticed the changes in his moods, energy, drinking and eating habits.”
Carol continues, “Since he was diagnosed I've found that there is not enough information regarding dogs/pets with diabetes and it is hard to find the right foods for them that will help them fight this and lead a normal healthy lifestyle. There is so much involved that I never knew, and If I had known how important these tiny details were I would have been more careful. We also have the worry of cataracts developing as a result of his diabetes and Moss loosing his sight unless he has an operation to rectify this as soon as his eyes start to become hazy, which can take months or years to develop".
If your dog has diabetes, please contact us - we would love to hear your stories and feature your dog in our extended canine diabetes feature next month which tackles the most common questions dog owners have asked, and struggled to find answers to. Until now that is!