Hypoglycemia Requires Quick Intervention In Toy Breeds
Toy-breed dogs are not only at risk for hypoglycemia, they can die from the low blood sugar disorder if they do not receive prompt treatment. When a dog’s blood sugar, or glucose, level drops, it can affect neurological function. Disorientation, tremors and coma may occur. Normally, hormones stimulate the breakdown of stored glycogen to supply the brain and other tissues with fuel. In toy breeds, this process may not happen fast enough, and hypoglycemia results. Juvenile hypoglycemia occurs in puppies less than 3 months of age. Because puppies have not fully developed the ability to regulate blood glucose concentration and have a high requirement for glucose, they are vulnerable. Stress, cold, malnutrition and intestinal parasites also may trigger juvenile hypoglycemia. Signs of hypoglycemia are loss of appetite, extreme lethargy, lack of coordination, trembling, muscle twitching, weakness, seizures, and discoloration of skin and gums. Most dogs will not eat or drink when they are in low sugar shock. Simple cases of hypoglycemia can occur when a dog is overly active with too much time between meals or fasts before vigourous exercise. Hypoglycemia also may occur secondary to another condition. Other causes include Addison’s disease, insulin-producing tumors of the pancreas, severe liver disease, and glycogen storage diseases. If an underlying illness causes hypoglycemia, veterinarians first treat this condition. Veterinarians are likely to conduct a complete medical history and physical examination to determine the cause in dogs that develop chronic hypoglycemia. Other tests include a complete blood count, blood glucose concentration, urinalysis, routine biochemistry, and blood insulin concentration. An ultrasound may be taken of the abdomen to try and identify a pan Continue reading >>
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Diabetes In Dogs
Illustration of a dog's pancreas. Cell-islet in the illustration refers to a pancreatic cell in the Islets of Langerhans, which contain insulin-producing beta cells and other endocrine related cells. Permanent damage to these beta cells results in Type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes, for which exogenous insulin replacement therapy is the only answer. Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the beta cells of the endocrine pancreas either stop producing insulin or can no longer produce it in enough quantity for the body's needs. The condition is commonly divided into two types, depending on the origin of the condition: Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called "juvenile diabetes", is caused by destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas. The condition is also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes, meaning exogenous insulin injections must replace the insulin the pancreas is no longer capable of producing for the body's needs. Dogs can have insulin-dependent, or Type 1, diabetes; research finds no Type 2 diabetes in dogs. Because of this, there is no possibility the permanently damaged pancreatic beta cells could re-activate to engender a remission as may be possible with some feline diabetes cases, where the primary type of diabetes is Type 2. There is another less common form of diabetes, diabetes insipidus, which is a condition of insufficient antidiuretic hormone or resistance to it. This most common form of diabetes affects approximately 0.34% of dogs. The condition is treatable and need not shorten the animal's life span or interfere with quality of life. If left untreated, the condition can lead to cataracts, increasing weakness in the legs (neuropathy), malnutrition, ketoacidosis, dehydration, and death. Diabetes mainly affects mid Continue reading >>
Hypoglycemia in Teacup Puppies Hypoglycemia primarily occurs in teacup breeds between 6 to 16 weeks of age. Hypoglycemia, also occasionally referred to in simple terms as ‘low blood sugar’ in teacup puppies can be a particularly debilitating, and even fatal when it is not immediately treated properly. Hypoglycemia is a very common occurrence within teacup puppies (especially if you don’t know how to properly take care of this size) so it is essential for anyone who is considering purchasing a teacup breed to educate themselves about the early warning signs of hypoglycemia, and what they can do if they notice that their puppy is experiencing an episode. . What is Hypoglycemia? Hypoglycemia is a serious side effect that can be caused by the production of excess insulin within the body. Low blood sugar is usually caused by an imbalance in the calorie intake of your puppy, and there are three reasons why your puppy could be suffering from low blood sugar. 1. If your puppy is not eating sufficiently, they will not be getting enough of the nutrition that they need to remain healthy. Or if your feeding your teacup puppy a cheap low quality puppy food then your just asking for a hypoglycemia attack and poor health for your puppy. Teacup puppies REQUIRE a high caliber diet. 2. High emotions and stress can cause low blood sugar. (such as excitement or fear of leaving the breeders and moving into a new home with a new family etc..) Stress can be caused by both positive and negative aspects. For example, although your puppy may be delighted to play with you for hours on end, this will not mean that they cannot crash later on. 3. If your puppy does not get enough rest, sleep, and regular naps, then it can begin to suffer from low blood sugar . Warnings to look out for The prim Continue reading >>
Can Diabetes Alert Dogs Really Detect Low Glucose Levels?
People are familiar with service dogs and there is general awe regarding a dog’s ability to help humans. Diabetes Alert Dogs (DADs) have become very popular over the past few years and there has been much press regarding their ability to help people with diabetes. However, it’s one thing to hear people talk about what DADs can do, but it’s another to actually prove their ability. Dr. Dana Hardin, a Pediatric Endocrinologist, Wes Anderson, a statistician and Smart Animal Training Systems’ founder, and myself, owner of a service dog company, have been working together on a research project aimed at showing that there is indeed a smell associated with hypoglycemia and that dogs are capable of detecting it. We have been working on this research for a few years now and we’re happy to finally be able to share our results which have been published in Diabetes Therapy. We hope that validating the ability of dogs to smell the difference between low and normal blood sugar samples from people with diabetes will help diabetics to get funding for the dogs. Most of all, it’s the first step in developing standardized methods and procedures in a field where we know so little and where there is so much that we cannot control. This article will first provide background on diabetes and then results from our new study that examined DAD accuracy in detecting low blood sugar scent samples. Background Diabetes is a condition so common that we tend to believe that we know all about it. In fact, diabetes is a growing worldwide epidemic. Yet, most of us have no idea what patients with Type 1 diabetes go through on a daily basis. Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune disorder that destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin is the hormone Continue reading >>
4 Signs Of An Impending Diabetic Pet Emergency
Caring for a diabetic pet can be challenging, but there are certain precautions pet owners can take to prevent a diabetic emergency like hypoglycemia. Preventing a health crisis in a dog or cat with diabetes involves employing a consistent daily routine involving diet, exercise, insulin therapy, and supplementation. It also involves avoiding any and all unnecessary vaccinations. Even the most diligent pet parent can find himself facing a diabetic emergency with a dog or cat. Hypoglycemia is the most common health crisis, and is usually the result of an inadvertent overdose of insulin. Symptoms of hypoglycemia can appear suddenly and include lethargy or restlessness, anxiety or other behavioral changes, muscle weakness or twitching, seizures, coma, and death. At-home treatment for a diabetic pet with hypoglycemia is determined by whether or not the animal is alert. Signs of other potential impending diabetic emergencies include ketones in the urine; straining to urinate or bloody urine; vomiting or diarrhea; or a complete loss of appetite or reduced appetite for several days. By Dr. Becker Caring for a diabetic pet can be quite complex and time consuming. It involves regular monitoring of blood glucose levels, making necessary dietary adjustments, giving insulin injections or oral medications, and keeping a careful eye on your pet at all times. Frequent veterinary visits are the norm for dogs and cats with diabetes, as are the costs associated with checkups, tests, medical procedures, and insulin therapy. And unlike humans with the disease, our pets can’t tell us how they’re feeling or help in their own treatment and recovery. Preventing Diabetic Emergencies The key to preventing diabetic emergencies with a pet involves implementing a consistent daily routine and sti Continue reading >>
Hypoglycemia (low Blood Sugar) In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatments
Hypoglycemia in dogs is the condition of having low blood sugar, which results in symptoms that mostly relate to an affected dog’s energy level. It can be caused by underlying conditions or exposure to certain substances. When it becomes severe, hypoglycemia can cause pain, seizures, unconsciousness, and even death in canines. Sugar, which takes the form of glucose, provides energy for your dog’s entire body. When the blood sugar level is too low, it will eventually affect the organs and brain function. That’s why it is important to consult your veterinarian if you see signs that your dog might be hypoglycemic. Here is what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for hypoglycemia in dogs. Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia In Dogs Symptoms of hypoglycemia in dogs usually begin mildly with signs of low energy, but the condition can progress to more dangerous symptoms quickly if left untreated. Sometimes these symptoms come and go, while other times they are persistent. If you spot the following signs that your dog is hypoglycemic, you should take them to the vet immediately. Lethargy Slow response to stimuli Weakness Loss of coordination Increased thirst or urination Decreased or increased appetite Weight gain Muscle spasms Trembling Irregular heart rate or breathing Paralysis of the hind legs Seizures Blindness Collapse or unconsciousness Causes Of Hypoglycemia In Dogs Hypoglycemia in dogs can be caused by a number of underlying conditions, or it can be the result of exposure to certain substances. It results from glucose being removed from the bloodstream, an inadequate amount of glucose from diet, or low production of glucose from glycogen stores by the liver. Any condition that affects glucose levels could result in hypoglycemia. Here are several known Continue reading >>
Low Blood Sugar In Dogs & Cats – Figuring Out Hypoglycemia
Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, is a relatively common biochemical abnormality documented in sick dogs and cats presented to the emergency room, as well as those hospitalized in Intensive Care Units for various illnesses. This week I spend some time discussing hypoglycemia so pet parents can be aware of this potential health issue. Happy reading! Blood Sugar Regulation in the Body Blood sugar comes from three major sources: From absorption of nutrients, particularly carbohydrates, from the gastrointestinal tract Breakdown of stored glucose in the body (a process called glycogenolysis) Production of glucose in the body from other chemicals in the body (a process called gluconeogenesis) Maintaining a normal blood glucose level requires an intricate balance of several hormones, including insulin, glucagon, epinephrine, cortisol, and growth hormone. Of particular interest in a discussion of low blood sugar is insulin, a hormone produced by special cells called beta cells in the pancreas. Beta cells secrete insulin in response to chemicals and nutrients present in the bloodstream after a meal. Insulin also inhibits the processes of glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis mentioned earlier in this post. Low Blood Sugar – What causes it? Hypoglycemia results when the use of blood glucose by the body exceeds the supply to circulation. General mechanisms of hypoglycemia are: Decreased nutritional intake Excess insulin (e.g.: insulinoma, secondary cancer, certain intoxications, certain medications) Increased use of glucose by the body (e.g.: infection & sepsis, pregnancy, secondary to cancer, secondary exercise, elevated red blood cell count) Decreased production of glucose by the body (e.g.: liver dysfunction, neonates, Addison’s disease, thyroid disease, pituitary g Continue reading >>
Dogs Detect Diabetes. Do They Smell This Chemical?
Dogs have an uncanny ability to detect changes in human physiology, and can even draw attention to diseases like cancer. As our canine companions have a powerful sense of smell, it's thought this is achieved through the nose. One thing dogs seem to smell is an abnormal drop in blood sugar level, which occurs in people with type I diabetes. Low blood glucose -- hypoglycaemia or 'hypo' -- can occur suddenly and cause symptoms such as fatigue, which might lead to seizures and unconsciousness if left untreated. As a consequence, charities like Medical Detection Dogs train animals to act as 'medical alert assistance dogs' that tell owners when they're at risk of a hypo. But precisely what dogs detect has long been unknown. Now researchers at Cambridge University have found that a fall in blood glucose coincides with a rise in 'isoprene' -- a natural chemical we release while breathing. The new study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, involved using insulin to gradually lower blood sugar level under controlled conditions, then used mass spectrometry to measure the concentration of molecules in exhaled breath. This preliminary analysis was done with eight diabetic women (average age 46). The results show that levels of isoprene spiked during hypoglycaemia, and would almost double in some patients. Isoprene is common in our breath, but it's unclear how the chemical is produced or why levels rose (one possibility is that it's a by-product of reactions that make cholesterol). There was no significant rise in other volatile organic compounds such as acetone, ethanol and propane. The small study has prompted inaccurate headlines like 'We Finally Know How Dogs Sniff Out Diabetes'. But the research only shows that isoprene rises during a hypo -- it doesn't prove that dogs detec Continue reading >>
Diabetes In Dogs
Diabetes most commonly affects middle aged, overweight female dogs. It is caused by a lack of insulin, a hormone that is produced by the pancreas which is essential for glucose metabolism. The pancreas becomes damaged by either inflammation, or the dog’s own immune system attacking it. The result is a shortage of insulin producing cells in the organ, which is irreversible. Consequently, diabetic dogs are very unlikely to go into remission. SIGNS OF DIABETES IN DOGS One of the most obvious symptoms of diabetes in dogs is increased thirst. However, there are other medical conditions that can also cause your dog to drink more than usual, such as kidney or liver disease or Cushing’s Disease. Your vet will run some tests to check for diabetes; they will look for higher than normal levels of glucose in his blood and urine. TREATMENT OF DIABETES Because diabetes in dogs results from a lack of insulin, the treatment is to supplement that insulin with injections of the hormone. The first step is to work out how much insulin your dog needs. He will be admitted to hospital and given a measured dose, and then his blood will be checked at regular intervals to assess his response. When the amount of insulin he needs has been calculated, you can then continue to treat him at home. It’s not difficult to learn how to give insulin injections, and the needles are so fine that your dog will barely notice them. It’s important that your dog’s energy needs are kept constant. This means that he is given the same amount of exercise, because more or less than usual will affect how much insulin he needs. Similarly, his food intake should also be the same from day to day, both in quantity and the timing of his meals. If you can do this, then it will be easier to keep his blood glucose wi Continue reading >>
Why Is Your Dog Aggressive?
If your dog becomes aggressive, don’t assume it’s a behavioral problem or that he’s just being “bad”. It could mean he’s ill or in pain. Jake was a cheerful, loving dog. The Shih tzu cross was friendly with everyone and enjoyed romps at the local dog park. Then one day, without warning, he became aggressive and bit his person, Meg, when she tried to pet him. Hurt and shocked, she took Jake to the vet where she learned he had a painful ear infection that made him sensitive to touch. With the proper treatment, Jake was soon back to his sociable and affectionate self. Not all dogs are as fortunate as Jake. Every year, thousands of aggressive dogs find themselves in shelters because their families assume they’ve developed behavioral problems that can’t be fixed. Many of these dogs are euthanized because they are deemed untrainable. Whether a dog’s aggression occurs suddenly or develops gradually over time, it’s important to consider the possibility that the cause might be physical rather than behavioral. In fact, more than 50 medical conditions can turn Fido into Cujo. They include injury, arthritis, congential defects, oral problems, ear infections, diminishing eyesight and more. Behaviors arising from such physical problems can include “growling, baring of teeth, and tail tucked between the legs if the dog is fearful,” according to veterinarian Dr. Mark Newkirk. “The tail may also be up or straight out in a dominant position.” Snapping and biting may also occur, depending on the problem. Because we usually associate these postures with anger or fear, it’s natural to assume they spring from behavorial rather than physical causes, especially if there are no other visible symptoms. But before seeking the help of a trainer or behavior specialist, Continue reading >>
Blood Glucose Curves Help Keep Diabetic Pets On The Straight And Narrow
Diabetes is not one of those diseases that you get to set it and forget it; it requires constant monitoring and evaluation of the insulin dose to give us control of the disease and decrease its symptom and side effects. After a few decades, people with unregulated (uncontrolled) diabetes tend to end up with retinal problems, blood vessel damage, kidney problems, etc. Because of their shorter life spans, dogs and cats with unregulated diabetes don’t usually face the same long-term consequences it causes in human diabetics. Normally their short life spans cause us grief, but in the case of a diabetic sometimes that short span can be a boon. Pets who are unregulated diabetics will have symptoms that can be irritating, like urinating frequently (“I want in, I want out, I want in, I want out…oh hey, can I come in now?”) or urinating in inappropriate places, such as your new couch or your bedroom pillow. They also can have symptoms that threaten their health, like too much weight loss. Our primary goal with diabetic dogs and cats is to give them a good quality of life: their body weight is stable, they don’t have to hover over the water dish all day, and their potty habits are normal in that they prefer to pee outside rather than on the couch. Accurate monitoring of your pet's diabetes can help to maintain a good quality of life for both you and your pet. After all, who wants to curl up and watch a movie on a pee-soaked couch? Exactly how does monitoring help us to accomplish this higher quality of life? By regulating their blood sugar (glucose) levels. Normal blood glucose levels in dogs and cats are similar to those in humans, about 80-120 mg/dl (4.4-6.6 mmol/L). Animals whose blood glucose levels are in this range will look and act normal. Fortunately for us, the Continue reading >>
We Train Diabetes Assist Dogs To Help People With Type I Diabetes.
Diabetes Assist Dogs are trained to monitor smells in the air for a specific scent on the human breath that is related to rapidly dropping or low blood sugar levels. They are then trained to “alert” the person with diabetes, usually by touching them in a significant way such as pawing or nudging them. This alerts the person to check his or her blood sugar level. It also informs them that they should get something to eat to prevent hypoglycemia, or their blood sugars getting to a dangerous level. The canine partner can also be trained to retrieve juice or glucose tabs, get an emergency phone, or get help from another person in the house. Diabetes Assist Dogs wear a backpack identifying them as an assistance dog. This backpack has pockets where medical information, a sugar source, and emergency contact information can be stored. This provides an extra safety net in case the person with diabetes is unable to get help in time. Anyone finding the person unconscious or acting abnormally would know it may be a medical emergency and know how to get help. How can a dog detect low blood sugar? The dogs are evaluated throughout “puppy-hood” for a willingness to work and a sensitive nose. Once we have identified their interest in smells, they begin scent training. A person experiencing hypoglycemia produces a particular scent, found on the breath, due to chemical changes in their body. All people produce the same scent when they have low blood sugar. Our training methods are similar to those used to train drug sniffing or search and rescue dogs trained to find people. Due to the generosity of supporters like you all of our assistance dogs are provided to clients free of charge. LEARN MORE AND APPLY FOR A DIABETES ASSIST DOG Continue reading >>
We Finally Know How Dogs Sniff Out Diabetes
For years, assistance dogs have been used to detect low blood sugar levels in their diabetic owners and warn of an impending hypoglycemia attack. Scientists have finally figured out how dogs are able to accomplish this feat—an insight that could lead to new medical sensors. Dogs don’t so much see the world as they do smell it. Our canine companions can detect the tiniest odor concentrations—around one part per trillion. For us, that would be like detecting a teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic sized swimming pools. This allows them to work as medical detection dogs, where they sniff out various forms of cancer and diabetes. In the case of diabetes, specially trained dogs can tell when their owner’s blood sugar level is low—a sign of a possible hypoglycemia attack. For people with type 1 diabetes, low blood sugar can cause problems like shakiness, disorientation, and fatigue. Failure to receive a sugar boost can lead to a seizure and even unconsciousness. For some, these episodes occur suddenly and with little warning. When a diabetes detection dog senses that their owner is in trouble, they notify them by performing a predetermined task, such as barking, laying down, or putting their paw on their shoulder. But how do these dogs know? What is it, exactly, that they’re sensing or smelling? This question has mystified scientists for years, but a new study by researchers from the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science and the University of Cambridge has finally provided the answer. It’s isoprene. That’s what these dogs are smelling—a common natural chemical found in human breath. The scientists recruited eight women with type 1 diabetes, and under controlled conditions, lowered their blood sugar levels. Using mass spectrometry, they looked for spec Continue reading >>
Preventing And Treating Canine Diabetes
The growing diabetes epidemic is not limited to people—diabetes mellitus is increasing among dogs as well. Researchers estimate that one in 200 dogs will develop the disease. Fortunately, treatment has made huge strides in recent years, and as a result, dogs with diabetes are living longer, healthier lives. The mechanism of diabetes is relatively simple to describe. Just as cars use gas for fuel, body cells run on a sugar called glucose. The body obtains glucose by breaking down carbohydrates in the diet. Cells then extract glucose from the blood with the help of insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas in specialized cells called beta cells. (The pancreas, an organ situated behind the stomach, produces several hormones.) In diabetes mellitus, cells don’t take in enough glucose, which then builds up in the blood. As a result, cells starve and organs bathed in sugary blood are damaged. Diabetes is not curable, but it is treatable; a dog with diabetes may live many happy years after diagnosis. Kinds of Diabetes Humans are subject to essentially three kinds of diabetes. By far the most common is Type 2, followed by Type 1 and gestational diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has typically been a disease of middle and old age (though it is being seen increasingly in young people), and has two causes: The beta cells don’t make enough insulin, or muscle cells resist insulin’s help and don’t take in enough glucose (or both). As a result, blood glucose levels climb. Type 1 diabetes usually occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells, cutting off insulin production; the reason for this attack is thought to be a combination of genetic predisposition plus exposure to a trigger (research into possible triggers is ongoing). Glucose then stays in the blood and, aga Continue reading >>
Can Diabetes Alert Dogs Help Sniff Out Low Blood Sugar?
For people with diabetes who take insulin, the risk of losing consciousness from low blood sugar is a constant fear. Devices called continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) can alert wearers to dropping levels, but not everyone has access to them. And even among those who do, some prefer a furrier and friendlier alert option: a service dog with special training to alert owners when their blood sugar reaches dangerously low levels. These dogs are trained in a variety of ways, and although they receive certification, there is no universally accepted test to ensure their competence. Fully trained dogs can cost in the $20,000 range and typically aren't covered by insurance, although some nonprofit organizations can help offset the cost. But as the popularity of diabetes alert dogs to detect hypoglycemia has increased dramatically, their effectiveness is largely unknown, according to Evan Los, a pediatric endocrinologist at Oregon Health & Science University who has studied their use. "Though dog trainers and dog users are generally enthusiastic," he notes. Moreover, it's not clear exactly what the dogs may be detecting. Are they actually "smelling" low blood sugar, or are they reacting to typical hypoglycemia symptoms in their owner, such as sweating or shaking? Two new studies add scent to the trail. One, published in the journal Diabetes Care, suggests that the dogs may be smelling a particular substance in the person's breath that rises as blood sugar falls. But a second study, presented by Los at the recent meeting of the American Diabetes Association in New Orleans, found that although the dogs do appear to detect low blood sugar, they also often alerted owners when they didn't have low blood sugar, and were usually slower than a CGM to alert to actual low blood sugar. Sniff Continue reading >>