Thursday, January 29, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Pets can get diabetes, too

By
From page A17 | October 14, 2012 |

Diabetes is not just a disease of humans — animals can be affected as well, including household pets. This disease equally as important to control in dogs and cats as it is in their owners.

Diabetes (or, more properly, diabetes mellitus) is a medical condition in which the ability of insulin to regulate blood sugar has been compromised. Instead of being transported into cells with the help of insulin, sugar builds up in the blood. The kidneys cannot appropriately filter this increased load, so sugar spills into the urine. This acts as a diuretic, pulling more water from the body’s circulation into the urine, leading to dehydration. Meanwhile, with the cells in the body being deprived of energy-creating sugar, the protein and fat stores in the body are broken down in an effort to supply more energy.

The symptoms of diabetes are often quite apparent to pet owners. The increased urine volume leads to frequent urination; pets may be asking to be let out more frequently, often urinate larger amounts at one time, and may be urinating in in abnormal places because they can’t hold it to get outside or to a litter box. The resulting dehydration causes increased thirst—thus, the water bowl may empty faster than usual. Increased thirst and urination are the most commonly seen symptoms of diabetes.

Pets with diabetes also usually have an increased appetite, triggered by the body’s cells starving for sugar. However, despite the increased food intake, the pet will likely lose significant weight from protein and fat breakdown. Because the energy contained in the sugar is not being effectively used by the body, pets with diabetes often have increasing lethargy.

Diabetic animals are predisposed to other conditions as well. For example, the sugar present in the bladder creates a favorable environment for bacteria to grow; thus, diabetic pets often have concurrent urinary tract infections. Dogs with diabetes often develop cataracts as a result of the way the lens processes sugar. Diabetic cats may develop nerve weakness. They may not jump as high as they used to, and they may stand with their hocks (rear “ankles”) on the ground instead tip-toed with their hocks up in the air.

The most dangerous effect of diabetes is known as ketoacidosis. As fat stores are broken down in the body, they are turned into ketones, which the body can use to create energy. However, if an animal has unregulated diabetes for a length of time, or experiences a stressful condition while diabetic, the ketones build up to dangerous levels. This affects the body’s acid/base and electrolyte balance, which disrupts many of the body’s normal processes. Symptoms include vomiting, decreased appetite, profound lethargy, and seizures. Ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition that needs to be aggressively treated on an emergency basis.

The various symptoms mentioned above do not guarantee that a pet has diabetes, as there are other diseases that create the same or similar issues. If these symptoms are present, the pet should be evaluated as soon as possible by a veterinarian. A diagnosis of diabetes (or other condition) will be based on an analysis of the pet’s symptoms, a physical exam, and laboratory test results.

The mainstay of diabetes treatment in dogs is insulin supplementation. Many diabetic cats need insulin injections as well, although some mild cases may be treated with a special diet alone. Those pets that do need insulin are given injections under the skin once to twice daily, sometimes with the one of the same types of insulin used in humans. The needles on insulin syringes are very small, so most pets tolerate the injections well, and most owners find it easy to learn to give the injections.

Diabetic pets started on treatment will need periodic monitoring of their blood sugar levels to determine if the dose of insulin is appropriate. Both underdosing (and thus having uncontrolled diabetes) and overdosing (leading to dangerously low blood sugar) can have significant impacts on a pet’s health. It can take from weeks to months of fine-tuning before the blood sugar is brought under acceptable control, and the dose may even need to be changed as time goes by. Dogs with diabetes require lifelong insulin treatment. However, some cats—even those that initially require insulin—will achieve remission of diabetes through the use of special diets.

While a diagnosis of diabetes in a pet can be daunting, animals that achieve good control of their diabetes and secondary medical issues can potentially lead long lives with minimal symptoms.

— Keith Rode is a veterinarian at Woodland Veterinary Hospital and a graduate of UC Davis. For more information, call 530-666-2461.

 

Comments

comments

Keith Rode, DVM

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    ‘Huck’ and ‘Tom’ float old Arboretum dock to removal

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Work continues to modernize Davis Healthcare Center

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

    Holman continues to educate and inspire

    By Daniella Tutino | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Biologists: Raising California dam would harm salmon

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Teens arrested after midnight joyride

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Overweight video game avatars ‘play’ worse than fit ones

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Meet the mayor for coffee at Peet’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Author joins radio show

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Make your own SoulCollage on Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Calling all chicken owners: Apply for coop crawl, share information

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Walk through Quail Ridge Reserve on Feb. 14

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Hopmans named associate vice provost for global affairs

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Review motivation to refresh your healthy-habits plan

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Tips to protect skin this winter

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    For health and healthy appearance, there’s just one quick fix

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Measles outbreak grows

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    NAMI-Yolo examines inpatient services at potluck

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    Basement living, with attitude to match

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    50 years since Ash Hall

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Can climate change bring us together?

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Paso Fino coming to a vote

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    Aggies still looking for record hoops win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Blue Devil Hammond has a huge day at home

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Pent up? Join Davis’ latest athletic event

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Two in a row for Devil boys

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD roundup: Aggie football players crack the books

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    Youth roundup: Harper hoopsters off to hot start

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Treys send Toronto past Kings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    It’s Girl Scout Cookie time!

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

    College Corner: Have wanderlust? Go overseas for college

    By Jennifer Borenstein | From Page: A8

     
    District learns from bomb threat incident

    By Kellen Browning | From Page: A8

    Feenstra-Fisher wedding

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Arts

    Show explores the evolution of dance

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    A rose by any other name — if there is one

    By Michael Lewis | From Page: A11

     
    Acclaimed guitarist Adrian Legg to play at The Palms on Saturday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    James George Tingus

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, January 29, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6