What to know about diabetes and pets

As a pet gets older, the likelihood of it getting a disease or other health complication rises with each passing year (just like with humans). Pet owners are often concerned about their pet’s health, partly because nobody likes it when they get sick or are in pain, and partly because we want them in our lives for as long as possible. However, since pets can’t talk, they communicate oncoming or progressing illness in different ways–and ones that may not be obvious for a while. It helps if pet owners educate themselves about the possible medical risks their pet might take and how to identify the signs as early as possible, so the pet can receive treatment before things get worse.

One of these diseases is diabetes. Both dogs and cats can get diabetes, and it acts in them like it does in humans. It affects the levels of glucose in their blood and makes it difficult for them to produce enough insulin. Insulin is what helps turn glucose (sugar) into an energy source for the body. Not enough insulin? Then your pet could be malnourished without anyone realizing. This can be life-threatening if it progresses too far without treatment. It can also cause blindness, weakness, and muscle loss.

So what are signs of diabetes? Several big warning flags are excessive thirst coupled with excessive eating, as well as eating a lot while still losing weight. Another major sign is increased lethargy, where your pet seems tired much of the time. Dogs may develop a cloudiness to their eyes, and cats tend to stop grooming. Animal fur will also often lose its luster and thin out. If you suspect your pet is beginning to show any of the signs, it’s time to get them to a vet. Your vet will be able to run tests to confirm the disease’s presence or not. If so, they can prescribe the proper treatment, which may include initial rounds of shots and adjusting your pet’s diet.

Unfortunately, diabetes is not curable (yet), but it can be managed. With the proper attention and care, your dog or cat can continue to enjoy a healthy and active life, by your side the whole time.

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