Science

Veterinary Answers: Can Pets Get Diabetes, Too?

By Monica U Santos , Nov 07, 2016 05:24 PM EST

Yes! Diabetes mellitus, or diabetes, is a condition that occurs when the body cannot use glucose, which is a type of sugar, normally. Glucose is the main source of energy for the body’s cells. Insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, is required for the transfer of glucose from the bloodstream to the cells. Just like human beings, a pet can have diabetes too. They can also show signs and symptoms if they are getting the illness.

November is National Pet Diabetes Month, a time for pet owners to educate themselves on the signs of diabetes and its risk factors. While the existence of diabetes in humans is well-known, not everyone knows that diabetes can affect our pets too. If a pet is lethargic, excessively thirsty or frequently urinating, take it to be examined by a veterinarian because these signs may mean the pet is diabetic. With early diagnosis and proper care, a pet with diabetes can live a happy, healthy and active life, according to PRWeb.

“Diabetic animals require frequent monitoring, including blood tests, and insulin-dependent diabetics typically require injections every 12 hours,” said former TVMA president Lori Teller, DVM, DABVP, CVJ, who practices at Meyerland Animal Clinic in Houston. “It is much easier to prevent diabetes than it is to treat it, especially in cats, so maintain your pet at an appropriate weight and get regular veterinary exams. If your pet is displaying the signs of diabetes, have it examined very soon before it progresses to a life-threatening state.”

A study shows that diabetes  can't always be prevented that is why obesity has shown to be a contributing factor, especially in pet cats. Age, genetics, disorders such as chronic pancreatitis or hyperthyroidism and neutering in males are among the risk factors in cats. While age, genetics and intact females are the risk for pet dogs. The breeds that have a higher risk of developing diabetes are Cocker Spaniels, Pomeranians, Golden Retrievers and Dachshunds.

Veterinarians warned pet owners that there is no cure for diabetes, so effective management of the disease is crucial to a pet’s quality of life. Always visit a vet for anything about your pet and do not give them medicine if it is not prescribed.

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