What’s Wrong With Fluffy? – Diabetes in Pets Explained
Diabetes is a disease that does not respect status: rich or poor, young or old, all people are vulnerable to it, although some ethnic groups show greater hereditary disposition to the disease than others. Lifestyle also plays a significant role in determining whether someone develops diabetes or not. Leading a sedentary lifestyle and consuming a diet high in calories and sugar but low in nutrition can lead to obesity, which sets the stage for diabetes. Millions of people around the world now suffer from diabetes, and it costs billions of dollars in medical and ancillary costs. It is no surprise that health establishments are calling for a major overhaul of how we live our lives, to try to avert the risk of diabetes. However, it isn’t just people who can develop diabetes: our pets can, too.
It is estimated that approximately 10% of cats and dogs develop diabetes, making it roughly equivalent to the level of the disease appearing in humans, although most animals go undiagnosed. The typical diabetic cat is a male feline that doesn’t go out often, whereas the average diabetic dog is female. Diabetic animals exhibit the same symptoms that humans do: excessive thirst, dizziness, and lack of bladder control. Should your pet show any of these signs, schedule them for a visit to the veterinarian as soon as possible, as immediate intervention is necessary to avoid further complications. Your vet will run blood and urine tests, and if it is determined your pet has diabetes, you will need to make some decisions. Canine and feline diabetes, unlike human diabetes, isn’t treatable with diet and exercise; insulin injections are required, sometimes as often as every 12 hours. Most pet owners are concerned by this, as they worry they might not be able to administer every injection on time. Many pet owners are also put off by the idea of giving injections in the first place.
It will take about three to four months of regular testing for the vet to determine your pet’s baseline glucose level and to fine-tune the insulin injection schedule. Luckily, animals aren’t as sensitive as humans: if you are a little late giving the injection, it probably won’t cause any damage. Also, the needles are very small and easy to manage, with a bit of practice. Although good diet and exercise will not reverse the condition, they are encouraged. You should purchase pet food specifically designed for diabetic animals, and should limit their intake of treats and table food. Also, even a small increase in activity will be beneficial. Walk your dog more, play with your cat more. The results will be excellent for both pet and owner. Additionally, if your female dog has diabetes, spaying her would be the kindest thing, as the condition can be hereditary and pregnancy can cause the endocrine system to become even more sensitive.
Diabetic pets do not develop the cardiovascular or circulation problems that human diabetics at times have, so there is normally no risk of heart disease, amputation or blindness. Also, with good management, pets with diabetes can live normal lifespans. Thus, there is no reason why diabetic pets and their owners can’t continue happily living together, enjoying each other’s company and affections.
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