Diabetes and How it Can Affect You as a Dog Owner
Diabetes is a serious health condition that can affect humans and animals alike. It can affect people and animals of all gender and age and young children and animals are increasingly being diagnosed with the disease. Diabetes is viewed as an autoimmune disease in that it can lead to more system malfunction, but early detection is vital if the disease is to be reversed and many dogs (as well as humans) can live with diabetes for the duration of their normal lifespan.
Just as humans of all ages can be afflicted with diabetes, so are dogs and puppies also at risk. It is thought that puppies develop diabetes because of autoimmune damage or problems caused by parvovirus. Overweight dogs are at a high risk of developing diabetes as are certain breeds of dog such as the Golden Retriever. While the disease used to affect older dogs in the past, lately more and more puppies are being diagnosed with diabetes.
There are two forms of diabetes that afflict both dogs and humans: diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus. Diabetes insipidus develops because of a deficiency in a hormone whose task is to manage the kidney’s water absorption. Diabetes mellitus, the more common (and more life threatening) type of diabetes is caused by insulin deficiency and there are two subtypes of the disease: Type I which is acquired in the early years and Type II which develops in middle aged and senior dogs.
A puppy that loses weight unexplainably or whose growth seems slow can be exhibiting symptoms of diabetes. Stunted or slow growth, excessive thirst and hunger can all be signs that a puppy has diabetes. If your puppy is experiencing one of all of these symptoms, there is a strong likelihood he may have diabetes.
You should never delay in consulting your vet if your puppy displays these symptoms as diabetes can cause severe complications if left untreated. High blood sugar can cause a domino effect of damage on other organs in the body which can eventually lead to complete organ failure and death in the dog.
Treatment for canine diabetes is usually in the form of injections as pills are usually ineffective in treating diabetes in dogs. If your dog has diabetes, your vet will instruct you on how to administer insulin shots on a daily basis. Another important factor in managing diabetes is monitoring blood sugar levels through regular blood and urine tests. An appropriate diet is also vital in managing diabetes in your dog as well as regular feeding schedules.
Managed properly, a dog which is diagnosed with diabetes can live a long and healthy life. Diabetes is not necessarily a death sentence and if diagnosed and treated properly. Care and regular monitoring can ensure your dog lives a normal life which can meet or even exceed the lifespan of a healthy dog. Early detection and treatment increases the chances of a long and normal life for your dog.
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