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How Long Can A Dog Live After Being Diagnosed With Diabetes?

Diabetes Complications In Dogs And Cats: Diabetes Ketoacidosis (dka)

Diabetes Complications In Dogs And Cats: Diabetes Ketoacidosis (dka)

Unfortunately, we veterinarians are seeing an increased prevalence of diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats. This is likely due to the growing prevalence of obesity (secondary to inactive lifestyle, a high carbohydrate diet, lack of exercise, etc.). So, if you just had a dog or cat diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, what do you do? First, we encourage you to take a look at these articles for an explanation of the disease: Diabetes Mellitus (Sugar Diabetes) in Dogs Once you have a basic understanding of diabetes mellitus (or if you already had one), this article will teach you about life-threatening complications that can occur as a result of the disease; specifically, I discuss a life-threatening condition called diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA) so that you know how to help prevent it! What is DKA? When diabetes goes undiagnosed, or when it is difficult to control or regulate, the complication of DKA can occur. DKA develops because the body is so lacking in insulin that the sugar can’t get into the cells -- resulting in cell starvation. Cell starvation causes the body to start breaking down fat in an attempt to provide energy (or a fuel source) to the body. Unfortunately, these fat breakdown products, called “ketones,” are also poisonous to the body. Symptoms of DKA Clinical signs of DKA include the following: Weakness Not moving (in cats, hanging out by the water bowl) Not eating to complete anorexia Large urinary clumps in the litter box (my guideline? If it’s bigger than a tennis ball, it’s abnormal) Weight loss (most commonly over the back), despite an overweight body condition Excessively dry or oily skin coat Abnormal breath (typically a sweet “ketotic” odor) In severe cases DKA can also result in more significant signs: Abnormal breathing pattern Jaundice Ab Continue reading >>

Doctor, You Aren’t Listening To Me... What If I Do Nothing?

Doctor, You Aren’t Listening To Me... What If I Do Nothing?

A month ago my sister wanted to know if her Jack Russell Terrier could be sick because he was drinking and peeing all the time. I told her he needed to go to the vet; he could have a simple urinary tract infection or he could have more going on. Inside my head, I was screaming “diabetes” as polyuria/polydipsia (drinks a lot and pees a lot), or PU/PD as medical types call it, is a hallmark for diabetes mellitus in dogs, cats, and people. In dogs, diabetes mellitus rarely responds to dietary changes - unlike some people and some cats - and almost always requires twice daily insulin injections to control the disease. Having seen clients react to a diagnosis of diabetes, I wondered how my sister and her husband would react if they had to take care of this chronic condition that requires significant planning and scheduling. It’s not for every owner: while it’s not expensive, it requires insulin injections every 12 hours, 7 days a week for the rest of the pet’s life, with no time off for good behavior. It requires considerable commitment, which can be particularly difficult for people like my sister and her husband who work outside the home and can’t drop everything to give a pet medication at the appropriate times. I wondered what they would choose to do if their dog did have diabetes rather than a urinary tract infection. Receiving a diagnosis of a chronic disease can be difficult to wrap your mind around. During my years in practice, I noticed that there are some pretty universal questions most clients ask. “What are my options and what will happen if I do nothing?” When I hear this, I translate this into: a. How will the disease progress? Will this be a disease that progresses quickly or is it going to be something that is a nagging problem for years to co Continue reading >>

Diabetic Dogs' Life Span

Diabetic Dogs' Life Span

Diabetic dogs have a deficiency of insulin or an excess of glucose in the blood flow, and they require treatment with insulin. The lifespan of a dog with diabetes will depend on several factors. However, if the condition is controlled and the dog is under constant monitoring, he may live a full life. Diabetes is a life threatening disease only if it is not identified and controlled. Dog Diabetes Dog diabetes is a disease that can be of two main types. The dog's body may have an excess amount of glucose which needs to be metabolized or the body doesn't produce sufficient amounts of insulin, which is responsible for metabolizing the glucose. Either way, the dog requires a supplementation of insulin to be able to lead a normal life. Injections should be administered as soon as the condition is detected. Detection of Diabetes and Prognosis The diabetes should be detected as early as possible and in this case, the dog can have a normal life. In some cases, an early detection of diabetes, accompanied by weight loss and a change in lifestyle, may reverse the diabetes and the dog can live a healthy life. If the condition advances, it can cause blindness and other severe complications, so watch out for symptoms such as bad breath, increased appetite and thirst accompanied by weight loss, and increased frequency of urination. Diabetic Dogs' Life Span The life span of a diabetic dog may depend on a few factors: The severity of the disease The early detection The treatment and whether the insulin dosage is suitable Diet and lifestyle Severity of Disease The disease can be genetic, and it can also be caused by obesity or a poor diet. The diabetes can be milder or more severe, depending on how great the insulin deficiency is. If the diabetes is more severe, the life span of the dog m Continue reading >>

Diabetes In Dogs

Diabetes In Dogs

Even dogs eating healthy diets can suffer from diabetes. As with diabetes in humans, sometimes a dog’s body’s stops producing enough insulin or the cells of a dog’s body are unable to use the insulin that is produced. When either condition occurs, the result is diabetes mellitus, which causes excessive thirst and urination and extreme hunger accompanied by weight loss. To stabilize sugar levels, insulin therapy is the treatment at the outset and is usually required for the life of the dog. Summary Diabetes mellitus is a disease that manifests as an inability of the animal’s body to use carbohydrates (sugars) properly. This occurs either because the pancreas does not manufacture sufficient quantities of the hormone the body requires for this function (insulin) or because the body’s cells no longer recognize insulin properly. The downside of this fundamental aberration in carbohydrate utilization is that these basic, energy providing nutrients (sugars) are not able to enter the body’s cells to “feed” them. Instead, they linger in the bloodstream while the body itself literally starves. By way of handling this starvation state, the body does things like start to break down certain tissues, fats for example, and mobilize stored sugar (glucose) in the body to attempt to generate energy with which to feed itself. In the absence of the insulin required to allow sugars to gain entry to the cells, these efforts typically lead to a dangerous metabolic state called ketosis. Moreover, when sensitive tissues like the brain don’t receive the required amount of energy, serious neurologic disruption — and death — can ensue. Diabetes mellitus is considered a multifactorial disease in origin, meaning that a variety of factors play into its individual acquisition. In Continue reading >>

3 Things Your Vet Might Not Tell You About Treating Your Diabetic Dog

3 Things Your Vet Might Not Tell You About Treating Your Diabetic Dog

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, diabetes affects approximately one in every 500 dogs. Chuck, my senior Pug mix, was diagnosed with the disease shortly after I adopted him. He was 10 years old and severely overweight when he came from the shelter. Although I did get his weight down by 25 percent thanks to a lot of walks, all that extra heft undoubtedly contributed to the onset of his disease. (Please don’t let your dogs get fat, it’s so dangerous to their health!) When your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, there is a ton of information to learn. Yet, there are quite a few things you may just take at face value without even thinking to question. Trust me, don’t do that. Always be inquisitive. Here is what I learned by managing Chuck’s diabetes. 1. There are different types of insulin When Chuck got his first insulin prescription, it was for Humulin N. I went to Costco and paid $130 for a bottle that would last a month. Over the next few days, I did some research and discovered Chuck could be moved to Novolin N (a different type of insulin). This is an equally expensive drug, but I finally found it for $24.88 at my local Walmart. Never underestimate the value of shopping around. Pharmacies frequently have contracts with certain drug companies that affect which drugs they sell and how much they cost. When your dog is diagnosed, invest the time into exploring your medication options. When asked, Chuck’s vet didn’t even know there were two insulins (she just jotted down the one she knew about), and it took some independent research on my part to determine Chuck could be safely moved from one to the other (not all animals can or should, so be careful and only do it with medical supervision). 2. You can do blood glucose curves at home When t Continue reading >>

Why I'm Letting My Cat Die

Why I'm Letting My Cat Die

(Comments are now closed. Zoe is doing fine; a change in diet has done wonders. Thanks, everyone!) I just found out that my 13-year-old cat, Zoe, has diabetes. Zoe and I go way back; I adopted her from the Anti-Cruelty Society when she was 2 and she has been a constant presence. But now she's old. She is a cat. I'm not willing to spend thousands of dollars on medical care and I don't have the time or energy to give her a daily insulin shot and monitor her blood glucose level. The vet said she's not suffering, so I'm going to let nature take its course. After I confessed this at today's weekly Q staff meeting, my colleague Heidi Stevens nodded knowingly. "I hate my cat," she said. We all gasped. She added: "I took in my cat from a friend who found him at 4 weeks old, too young for a shelter to keep him, I was told. He was a cute kitten, but is a joyless, mean-spirited, weak-stomached 8-year-old cat now. "I've also developed an allergy to him, which makes my eyes swell and turn red. I find myself longing for the day when he's no longer with us, but I can't bring myself to take him to a shelter because I know no one would adopt him, and I couldn't live with myself knowing that I, in effect, ended his life. So I just go through life resenting him and his various messes." Do you have pet resentment? Or tips on how to give a cat hospice care? Kristine Timpert's quirky little book "If Babies Did Crunches" tries to sugarcoat an important message for adults: Beware of crunches. The not-just for-kids book stresses that if you really want to banish tummy flab or back pain, clean up your diet and mimic your child's natural play patterns, which includes squatting, pushing, pulling, balancing and lunging. One of the biggest mistakes new moms make, for example, is they start doing cru Continue reading >>

Diabetes Mellitus In Dogs

Diabetes Mellitus In Dogs

What is diabetes mellitus? There are two forms of diabetes in dogs: diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus. Diabetes insipidus is a very rare disorder that results in failure to regulate body water content. Diabetes mellitus is a fairly common disorder and is most often seen in dogs five years of age or older. A congenital (existing at birth) form of this disease can occur in puppies, but this is not common. Diabetes mellitus is a disease of the pancreas. This is a small but vital organ that is located near the stomach. It has two significant populations of cells. One group of cells produces the enzymes necessary for proper digestion. The other group, called beta-cells, produces the hormone insulin. Simply put, diabetes mellitus is a failure of the pancreas to produce adequate amounts of insulin. Why is insulin so important? The role of insulin is much like that of a gatekeeper: It stands at the surface of body cells and opens the door, allowing glucose to leave the blood stream and pass inside the cells. Glucose, or blood sugar, is a vital substance that provides much of the energy needed for life and it must work inside the cells. Without an adequate amount of insulin, glucose is unable to get into the cells. It accumulates in the blood, setting in motion a series of events which can ultimately prove fatal. When insulin is deficient, the cells become starved for a source of energy. In response to this, the body starts breaking down stores of fat and protein to use as alternative energy sources. This causes the dog to eat more, but ultimately results in weight loss. The body tries to eliminate the excess glucose by excreting it in the urine. However, glucose attracts water, so the urine glucose that is excreted also contains large quantities of the body's fluids. Thi Continue reading >>

Living With Diabetic Dogs

Living With Diabetic Dogs

Your beloved dog has been diagnosed with diabetes. Now what? Pet parents just faced with the diagnosis may be unaware of the dos and don'ts on how to properly care for a diabetic dog. Here are some important tips to get you on your way. If your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of your next steps. Will your dog’s quality of life be diminished? And what about your own quality of life -- will your days be overtaken by the constant agony of tending to your pup’s diet and symptoms? Learn what to expect if your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes, and how you can help manage this disease and live with your diabetic dog. Diabetes is managed and controlled through adjustments to your dog’s diet and feeding schedule along with insulin shots. Once it’s clear how much (and what) your dog should be eating, as well as how much insulin they require, the day-to-day routine is fairly doable. It is, however, a regimented routine that you need to keep up with. Your dog should be fed at the same time daily and have their insulin shot administered at that time. Although the scheduling may be tough to establish, the actual steps you’ll need to take each day are not very demanding. In the days right after receiving the diabetes diagnosis, it can be difficult to figure out exactly how much insulin your pet needs. While your dog’s weight can be one factor in determining the dosage, it’s not the only factor; you’ll need to know how your particular dog absorbs the insulin. With the help of your vet, and intensive monitoring of your dog’s glucose levels, you’ll be able to establish the correct dose of insulin for your dog’s diabetes. If your female dog hasn’t been spayed, she will need to be after being diagnosed with diabete Continue reading >>

Can Dogs With Diabetes Be Treated Without Insulin Injections?

Can Dogs With Diabetes Be Treated Without Insulin Injections?

In almost all cases of canine diabetes, insulin is the recommended treatment. Insulin must be injected and often needs to be given twice daily. However, many dog owners are less than enthusiastic about the thought of giving their dog insulin injections. If you are one of those people who do not like the thought of administering insulin to your dog, you may be wondering if there are other options available for treating your diabetic dog. Are Options Other than Insulin Available for Dogs with Diabetes? Unfortunately, other options for treating diabetes in dogs have proven to be less than successful. At one time, there was hope that the oral hyperglycemic agents that act to lower blood glucose when given by mouth would be useful in treating diabetic dogs. That has not proven to be the case in most instances. Reasons Why Insulin Is the Best Treatment for Diabetic Dogs The primary reason that insulin is the best treatment for canine diabetes is the fact that dogs with diabetes almost always suffer from insulin-dependent diabetes. This means that the cells in the pancreas that normally secrete insulin are no longer functional and the pancreas can no longer secrete insulin in quantities sufficient to regulate your diabetic dog's blood glucose levels. This differs from feline diabetes because, especially early in the disease, cats may suffer from non-insulin dependent diabetes, meaning that their pancreas still retains some ability to secrete insulin. Because some insulin-secreting ability exists for these cats, oral hypoglycemic products may (or may not) be effective. However, in dogs, these products do not work well because the canine diabetic pancreas simply cannot rally to secrete insulin. So, in most cases of canine diabetes, insulin is a necessary part of treatment. In fa Continue reading >>

How To Care For A Diabetic Dog

How To Care For A Diabetic Dog

Expert Reviewed Humans are not the only mammal that can get diabetes. Dogs can develop diabetes, especially later in life. If your dog has diabetes, there are many ways you can care for your dog. Make sure to medicate your dog with insulin correctly. Make changes to your dog's lifestyle to promote its health. Deal with the complications of a diabetic dog. You will have to be extra careful about managing things like vacations. 1 Make a plan for your dog's health with your vet. Diabetes requires swift treatment, but the treatment plan depends on your dog's current health. Insulin is usually required, and the vet will determine the amount. You also may have to make certain lifestyle changes. A long talk with a veterinarian is the first step [1] A simple test can diagnose diabetes in your dog. Your vet can also do blood tests to see how diabetes is affecting your dog's body. The sooner you begin treatment, the better. Your dog's health will suffer as long as diabetes goes untreated. Make sure to ask your vet any questions you have. Treating diabetes can be tricky, so you want to leave the office with a clear treatment plan in mind. If the vet has any pamphlets you can take home, take them with you. 2 Draw insulin correctly. You will have to give your dog insulin injections regularly. Make sure you know how to draw insulin safely. You will need a syringe to do so. Prior to injecting your dog, carefully draw out the correct amount of insulin.[2] First, remove the cap from the needle. Then, you will pull back the plunger of the needle until you reach the appropriate dose. Stick the needle in the spongy top of the bottle of insulin. Push down on the plunger, pushing air into the bottle. This will create a vacuum that allows you to more easily draw insulin from the bottle. Pull Continue reading >>

Diabetes With Coma In Dogs

Diabetes With Coma In Dogs

Diabetes Mellitus with Hyperosmolar Coma in Dogs The pancreas is an organ located in the abdomen, near the stomach. Under normal circumstances, the pancreas makes insulin, a polypeptide hormone that helps to control blood sugar (glucose) levels in the body. When a dog eats food, its blood sugar rises in accordance with the sugars in the food (whether they are natural sugars or not). The pancreas then makes insulin to lower the blood sugar levels to a healthy level. In this way, the other organs in the body are able to absorb and use this sugar for energy. In the case of diabetes mellitus, the pancreas is not capable of making enough insulin. When this happens, the blood sugar level remains too high, a condition defined as hyperglycemia. A dog's body responds to high blood sugar in several ways. First, extra urine is produced , causing the dog to urinate more frequently than usual. Because it is urinating a lot more, it will drink a lot more water, too. Eventually, your dog will be at risk for becoming dehydrated because of the excess urination. Because insulin helps the body to use sugar for energy, lack of insulin also means that the body’s organs will not receive enough energy. This will make your dog feel hungry all the time, and though it will be eating a lot more food, it will not gain weight. If the diabetic condition is not treated early, your dog's blood sugar level will go higher and higher. Because of the excessively elevated glucose level, even more urine will be made and the dog will become dehydrated due to the loss of fluid. This combination of very high blood sugar and dehydration will eventually affect the brain's ability to function normally, leading to depression, seizures and coma. It is rare, however, since symptoms will often warrant a visit to th Continue reading >>

Canine Diabetes

Canine Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a disease which affects the production of insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and necessary in the regulation of blood glucose. If your dog has diabetes, either his body does not produce enough insulin, or he produces sufficient amounts but his body is insensitive to it. Normally insulin works by preventing additional glucose production by the liver, and storing the excess glucose derived from food sources in the body. A diabetic dog does not have enough insulin to shut down the liver’s production of glucose or to store the extra derived from energy giving foods. The concentration level of glucose in the blood rises so high that the kidneys start to leak glucose into the urine. As glucose enters the urine, a process called osmosis pulls large amounts of water with it and causes increased urination which in turn leads to excessive thirst and increased water consumption. Diabetes in one of the most frequent hormonal diseases found in dogs and is more commonly seen in older, overweight female dogs. There are two types. Type I diabetes comes from a deficiency of insulin-producing cells. This is the more serious of the two and is usually found in young dogs. It is not preventable. The more common diabetes, type II, is caused by a dog’s resistance to the effects of insulin. An older, obese dog is more susceptible to this disease because their fat cells develop a resistance to insulin. A careful diet and exercise are helpful to retard the onset of type II diabetes. Your veterinarian can assist you in setting up a diet and exercise program and schedule tests to check for diabetes. Keeping your dog’s weight under control and initiating regular exercise is one of the best steps you can take to help prevent the onset of diabetes in you Continue reading >>

Loss Of Vision And Blindness In Your Dog

Loss Of Vision And Blindness In Your Dog

P.O. Box 542 Westminster, MD 21158 [email protected] [email protected] Loss of Vision and Blindness in Your Dog by Mary Brown Haak I cannot see you Mommy, when you cuddle me so near. And yet I know you love me, it's in the words I hear. I cannot see you Daddy, when you hold me by your side But still I know you love me when you tell me so with pride. I cannot see to run and play out in the sun so bright For here inside my tiny head it's always dark as night. I cannot see the treats you give when I am extra good But I can wag my tail in Thanks just like a good dog should. "She cannot see. The dog’s no good" is what some folks might say "She can't be trained, she'll never learn, She must be put away." But not you, Mom and Daddy, You know that it's alright Because I love you just as much as any dog with sight. You took me in, you gave me love and we will never part Because I'm blind with just my eyes, I see you in my heart. Causes and Treatments The causes of vision loss and blindness in dogs range from normal aging and heredity to disease and injury. Vision problems ranging from hazy vision to complete blindness occur in many dogs as part of the aging process. An untreated eye infection or stroke may result in temporary or permanent blindness. Blindness is sometimes a secondary symptom to other canine diseases such as heart, liver, and kidney ailments or systemic diseases such as diabetes. Diabetes in dogs is on the rise. It’s estimated that one in 10 dogs worldwide will eventually become diabetic. Heredity plays a large factor, and larger, older dogs and breeding females are at a higher risk. Poor nutrition and obesity are other risk factors. Three out of four dogs with diabetes will develop cataracts within a year of being diagnosed, which may result in partial Continue reading >>

Seven Canine Diabetes Myths

Seven Canine Diabetes Myths

When my dog, Frankie, was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus at the end of 2007, I did what many people do when they learn their pet has a chronic, incurable illness. I wept. Ok, maybe a little more and a little more noisily than many people. Then I started researching the disease on the internet, which made me weep even more. Four years [I updated this in December, 2011] and some solid, scientific evidence later — much gathered for two stories I wrote for Your Dog, the newsletter at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University — I feel confident enough in my knowledge of the disease to debunk the most common, widely disseminated myths, the ones that got me the most upset about Frankie’s diagnosis. Rather than overload you with technical details — one of the things that can drive a stressed-out pet owner crazy — I’m not going to provide a great deal of medical data here. To learn more about diabetes in dogs, and for a very supportive forum, go to k9diabetes.com. Myth #1: Your dog got diabetes because he was fat Obesity is a health hazard in animals — as it is in humans — for many, many reasons. There’s no question that it can hasten the onset of canine diabetes and make it more difficult to treat. But, unlike feline diabetes, which is similar to type 2 diabetes in humans, canine diabetes is akin to human type 1 diabetes. That’s the type that’s not caused by obesity. What causes it, then? According to Dr. Lori Huston, who had an excellent post on the topic on Dancing Dog Blog: The current thought is that genetics plays the biggest role in the development of diabetes in dogs. Although it is worth noting also that certain drugs (like corticosteroids) can increase the chance of diabetes occurring, as can a severe case of pancreatitis. I sho Continue reading >>

My Dog Has Diabetes, So Now What?

My Dog Has Diabetes, So Now What?

*Note* – I’ve updated this article – June 2015 Your life or your dogs life isn’t over with. My Dog, Bender leads a happy, health life. As of right now Bender is 10.5yrs old. He has had diabetes since he was 1.5yrs old. He goes for runs. Plays with his sister Luna, Eats and gets treats. But he also gets shots twice a day and his blood sugar checked regularly. I’ve learned a lot over these last 9 yrs. The key is getting your dog on a schedule with proper food and exercise. Find a high protein, low fat, no filler (corn, white rice), with zero to no added preservatives food. Such as Wellness Core Grain Free Reduced Fat. There are a lot of other foods out there that are similar, find one that works. Stay Away from Hill’s Science Diet W/D. Although your Vet will recommend it, it is terrible for diabetics. First ingredient: Corn = sugar. You will never get your dog regulated on it. Reading my original article. The reason I had so many problems getting Bender regulated was due to Hill’s Science Diet W/D. Cut out table scraps and find some diabetic friendly treats. Managing diabetes can be expensive. But taking short cuts will be worse in the long run. Here are a few tips. Get your dog on a good diabetic dog food. Better food will help regulate your dog and keep insulin needs down. The less insulin the better. If your dog needs more insulin it means there is more sugar in the body and the body is working harder. So good food that doesn’t produce a lot of sugar is a good thing. Get a glucose meter and supplies. Being able to test at home will help cut costs and help keep your dog regulated. My vet would charge me $80 to do a glucose curve. Just once a month for a year is $960. Plus it will never accurate as your dog will be stressed out at the Vet. Not eat right. Continue reading >>

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