Diabetes is an enduring disease that has persisted through time, but in recent years there has been an increase in diagnoses. Many people may know diabetes as a metabolic disease, the body's inadequate production or inability to use insulin. Diabetes in humans can either be inherited at an early age or developed later in life because of poor diet, excess weight and lack of exercise.
What many people may not know is that our pets are also vulnerable to developing diabetes. November is recognized as National Pet Diabetes Month as a way to raise awareness and educate pet parents about the health hazards of pet diabetes. While symptoms of diabetes in humans are not identical to the symptoms of diabetes in pets, if left untreated, diabetes can cause the development of other health problems that can lead pets into a coma or worse.
Dogs develop diabetes a bit differently than humans. For one, a dog's breed can be an indicator of whether or not they are prone to developing diabetes. Before adopting a new member into the family, it's important to do some digging into your dog's hereditary history. Like humans, advanced age and poor health are also contributors of a predisposition for developing diabetes. Talk to your vet about preventative measures, if you know your dog's breed is prone to diabetes or if you are worried about your dog's overall health.
Not every pet parent understands that pets can develop diabetes, which is why many symptoms go unnoticed. Excessive peeing is often the number one sign that your dog may have developed diabetes. This is especially significant if your dog, which has been housetrained for years, suddenly starts peeing in the house instead of relieving itself outside. Other symptoms include a sluggish disposition, an unquenchable thirst, abnormal hunger and a sudden loss in weight.
Diabetes is still an incurable disease, but treatment can alleviate pain in your dog once diagnosed. However, even with a treatment plan of daily doses of insulin, specialized diet and exercise, your pet's health is still in jeopardy. That's why it's critical to be observant in detecting signs of diabetes in your dog before needing to treat it.
Simple things like monitoring your pet's weight and annual visits to the vet can mean a world of difference in keeping your pet happy and healthy. This November, remember to pick up on abnormal signs while walking your dog—it just might be a step to preventing diabetes in your dog.