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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Therapy For Diabetes In Cats And Dogs

By Susan Kawasaki

Humans are not the only ones who can have diabetes. Cats and dogs can have it as well. Diabetes is a chronic disease where the level of sugar in the blood (hyperglycemia) increases beyond the normal value. The pancreas is a special organ that releases insulin, which, in turn, controls the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. Once the pancreas is damaged, it can no longer produce insulin, and this gives way for Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is when the pancreas is still able to produce insulin, but in very little amount below the body's requirement. Cats are more susceptible to have diabetes than dogs.

The most common type of diabetes seen in pets is type 2. About 80-90% of pets have Type 2 diabetes. Cats are considered to be susceptible to having diabetes than dogs. This is mainly because of the kind of foods they eat. Highly processed foods are low in quality but rich in carbohydrates. Early symptoms of diabetes include weight loss, thirst, and frequent urination. Your pets could also experience hunger or loss of appetite at some point. One of the most important symptoms for dogs having diabetes is decreased vision and formation of cataract. On the other hand, the most common symptom for a diabetic cat includes weakening of the legs. This weakening is most noticeable when walking. Consult your vet for any changes in your pet's behavior.

Laboratory tests are done to determine the presence and type of diabetes in pets. Urine samples can be drawn and tested at home with the use of glucose strip and blood can be drawn from your pet's lip or ear. Using apparatus intended for humans, such as a glucometer, is not advisable to use in pets because a person's red blood cells differ from that of your pet. Results may not be accurate. So, better use a glucometer specifically designed for animals. If high level of sugar is present in the urine and blood, have an appointment with your vet for diagnosis and consultation for treatment.

Blindness can occur if diabetes in dogs is not controlled. Alternatively, cats can have leg paralysis if diabetes is not properly managed. Consult your vet about proper insulin injection as well as the correct storage of insulin. Insulin should not be frozen nor stored in room temperature; however, it needs to be refrigerated. By no means that, insulin is given in less or more than the allowed amount. In excess of insulin may cause very low blood sugar or hypoglycemia to your pets.

Diet for diabetic pets includes foods that are low in carbohydrates and fats, but high in protein. Check out the nutrients indicated on canned foods before giving it to your pets. Avoid giving dry foods because they contain too many carbohydrates. Commercially produced diets are preferred than homemade foods because they contain the proper nutrients needed by your pets.

Discuss with your vet the right exercise and diet for your pets, especially if you want to give them homemade foods. Obese pets need proper exercise. Lethargy, sweating, sleepiness, shakiness, and hunger are signs of hypoglycemia. If present, seek advice from your vet immediately. Always consult with your vet regarding the health of your pet to prevent unnecessary complication.

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