Symptoms of canine diabetes
Much like diabetes in humans, canine diabetes has a range of symptoms, including:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Increased appetite, followed by weight loss
- Lethargy and weakness
- Excessive panting
- Sweet-smelling breath
- Cloudy eyes, due to cataracts
- Recurrent infections, including of the urinary tract and skin
- Difficulty walking or weakness in the hind legs
If your pet is showing signs of diabetes, book an appointment to see your vet.
How we can diagnose canine diabetes
If you suspect your dog has diabetes, it is important to consult one of our vets.
They will perform a thorough examination and may conduct the following tests to confirm the diagnosis:
- Blood tests to measure blood glucose levels
- Urine analysis to detect glucose and ketones
- Fructosamine test to evaluate blood glucose control over the past few weeks
Once diagnosed, your vet will recommend an appropriate treatment plan, which may include one of a number of options.
Most dogs with diabetes require insulin injections to regulate their blood sugar levels. Your vet will prescribe the type of insulin, dosage and administration schedule that suits your dog’s needs. Insulin injections are usually given twice a day under the skin, and your vet will teach you how to administer them.
A consistent and balanced diet is crucial for managing diabetes in dogs. Your vet may recommend a special diabetic dog food or a diet plan that controls carbohydrate intake. Feeding times and portion sizes should be consistent.
Exercise and weight management
Regular exercise is important to help regulate blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy weight. Your vet will guide you on appropriate exercise routines for your dog’s condition. Obesity can worsen diabetes, so weight management is vital.
Monitoring blood glucose levels
Regular monitoring of your dog’s blood glucose levels is essential to assess the effectiveness of the treatment plan. Your vet will guide you on how to check blood glucose levels at home using a glucometer and provide recommendations for target ranges. We often use a blood test called fructosamine, which gives us an idea of what the blood glucose levels have been like over the previous two to three weeks.
Dogs with diabetes require ongoing veterinary care. Regular check-ups allow your veterinarian to monitor your dog’s progress, adjust the treatment plan if needed, and detect any complications early. Members of our Practice Plan Extra receive unlimited free consultations throughout the year.
Prevention and care
While there is no surefire way to prevent canine diabetes, certain measures can reduce the risk or manage the condition effectively:
- Maintain a healthy weight for your dog
- Feed a balanced and appropriate diet
- Follow your vet’s advice regarding insulin administration and blood glucose monitoring
- Attend regular veterinary check-ups to catch any potential issues early
- Provide regular exercise to help manage weight and promote overall health