Vet Help For Diabetes in PetsPet Care Tips 3 min read
Many times in my veterinary practice, I see middle-aged cats or dogs who are brought in because of concerns with their excessive thirst and frequent urination. Although these symptoms can be due to other disease processes, it is a classic sign of diabetes in pets. If your cat or dog is exhibiting these symptoms, ask your vet to perform blood work and urine tests to accurately diagnose the problem.
Diabetes in cats and dogs is a chronic disorder of carbohydrate metabolism, which is caused by an insulin deficiency or insulin resistance. Two common attributes for all my diabetic patients are overeating and obesity. Other signs of diabetes (in addition to excessive thirst and urination) are poor skin and coat condition. In the later stages of diabetes, cats and dogs become very lethargic and actually lose their appetite. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to cataracts, blindness, enlarged liver, bladder or kidney infection, renal disease, and a negative impact on other organs.
Diabetes affects cats and dogs differently. Cats commonly have type 2 diabetes (the most common form of diabetes in humans). Type 2 diabetes in cats is the result of insulin resistance, which is often linked to diet and obesity. Diabetes in cats occurs in all feline breeds equally and in both males and females.
Dogs, on the other hand, commonly develop type 1 diabetes, which is the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin. Female dogs have been known to develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. There is no evidence that dogs develop type 2 diabetes. Breeds such as Miniature Poodles, Dachshunds, Schnauzers, Cairn Terriers, and Beagles are particularly prone to developing diabetes (though any breed can be affected). As well, dogs with endocrine diseases such as Cushing’s disease or thyroid disease are more likely to develop diabetes.
Treatment and Monitoring of Diabetes in Pets
Treatment for diabetes in cats and dogs involves a combination of weight loss, diet, insulin injections and/or natural and holistic remedies.
With insulin, there are many different products available for both cats and dogs. Since individual responses vary with insulin, finding the right product for your cat or dog may require experimentation. Each insulin product varies in terms of onset, peak, and duration of action. Once insulin is started, frequent monitoring is recommended with blood tests. Sometimes monitoring your pet’s blood sugar level will require your cat or dog to spend the day at a vet hospital to acquire a blood glucose curve, while other tests require a short office visit. At home monitoring, including checking urine and blood glucose is also recommended.
Herbal therapy, such as NHV Mellit will help manage blood sugar levels. Fish oils are very important in coat and immune health. NHV offers PetOmega 3, which provides an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are good for decreasing insulin sensitivity, reducing insulin resistance, and the antioxidant in omega 3 helps reduce plasma free radicals and insulin levels in both cats and humans. For herbal therapy, I would also recommend using the NHV Milk Thistle for liver support and NHV Yucca for digestion, appetite and pain management.
Diet is very important in treating diabetes in your pet. If your pet is overweight, you will need to help them lose weight gradually. For cats, your veterinarian can help you with a safe weight loss nutrition program that is high in protein, low in carbohydrates and specifically tailored for diabetes. Switch your cat’s feeding routine from “free choice feeding” to twice daily feeding. A dog’s diet does not necessarily need to be tailored for diabetes, but should be tailored to any other disease they may have, or be generally wholesome.
Ideally, your diabetic cat or dog will need to be fed half their daily food requirement at the time of each insulin injection. If using NHV Mellit as an herbal dietary supplement for diabetes, give your pet the appropriate dosage for their body weight 15 minutes before feeding time.
I hope the above information will be helpful for you and your cat or dog. If your cat or dog has diabetes and you would like me to personally look into your unique case, I offer holistic veterinarian consultations through NHV. You can also contact your NHV Pet Expert, free of charge, for any questions about pet diabetes you may have.
Dr. Hillary Cook is a graduate of Virginia Maryland Regional Veterinary Medical school. She has been practicing holistic and integrative veterinary medicine for fifteen years. She certified in Veterinary acupuncture and is fully qualified in Western and Chinese herbalism. She is the owner of Animal Wellness Center, an integrative veterinary clinic in Crozet, VA. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets including dogs, cats and chickens. When time allows, you can find her in the garden or on the tennis court!
Published: February 5, 2016