November is Pet Diabetes Awareness Month, and although this disease has no cure, it CAN be prevented. Similar to human diabetes, pet diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin that affects the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood. We at Little River Veterinary Clinic in Fairfax want to do all we can to educate you as a pet owner on this disease, including the risk factors, common signs, and how to care for a diabetic dog or cat. Even if your pet already has diabetes, they can still live a happy, healthy life if it’s well-regulated.
What Are the Risk Factors for Pet Diabetes?
Dogs and cats of all breeds can be diagnosed with diabetes, regardless of age or gender, but there are certain factors that can increase a pet’s chances of developing it. Age is one factor; older pets tend to be more at risk for diabetes than younger ones. Weight is another contributing factor; pets that are obese are more likely to develop the disease than those of a healthy weight. Other risk factors include genetics, reproductive status (neutered cats and unspayed dogs are more at risk), and even just breed.
Below is a list of a few canine breeds that have a greater risk of developing diabetes:
- Cocker spaniels
- Dobermann pinschers
- German shepherds
- Golden retrievers
- Labrador retrievers
- Toy poodles
What Are the Common Symptoms of Pet Diabetes?
When it comes to the signs associates with diabetes, they are almost completely identical for both dogs and cats. They include:
- Excessive thirst
- Thinning fur
- Excessive urination
- Increased hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Cloudy eyes (dogs)
- Lack of grooming (cats)
If your pet is exhibiting any of these signs, we can conduct a wellness exam, urinalysis, and blood test to determine if your pet has diabetes.
How Should I Care for a Diabetic Pet?
If the results of your pet’s blood and urine test indicate a positive diagnosis for diabetes, don’t worry. Although there’s no cure for this disease, pet diabetes can be managed with insulin, diet alterations, and exercise. We’ll be happy to speak with you about our recommendations for your pet and answer any questions you have, so you can feel confident in caring for them from home.
Schedule an appointment at Little River Veterinary Clinic to have your pet tested for diabetes if you think they’re at risk. Diabetes is NOT a death sentence. With proper management, your pet can still live a happy, healthy life, so give us a call today at 703-273-5110 with your questions or to schedule a test.