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What Are The Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar In Dogs?

Low Blood Sugar In Dogs & Cats – Figuring Out Hypoglycemia

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 >>

The Many Causes Of Hypoglycemia In Dogs And Cats

The Many Causes Of Hypoglycemia In Dogs And Cats

Hypoglycemia is when your pet's blood sugar drops and becomes too low. Find out here the causes, symptoms and treatment options available to pets whose glucose levels tend to rise and fall. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a potentially life-threatening situation for a dog or cat. Your pet’s blood sugar, or glucose, is their primary source of energy. When glucose levels drop below normal, it results in a loss of energy and decreased ability to function. In severe cases, a pet may lose consciousness or even die. Hypoglycemia is not a disease. It is instead a symptom that points to an underlying medical condition. Here we will look at the causes of hypoglycemia in dogs and cats, and what symptoms to watch for in your pet. There are many causes of hypoglycemia in pets, but the most common is related to diabetes treatment. Diabetes occurs when the body is not able to properly produce or process insulin, the hormone that allows glucose to travel to cells and transform into energy. Without insulin, the glucose remains in the bloodstream, and this is what is referred to as high blood sugar. Insulin injections are given to diabetic pets in order to even out blood sugar levels. However, if a pet parent accidentally gives their pet too much of the drug, it can cause the body to metabolize too much glucose, resulting in low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. Glucose can also be over-metabolized as a result of insulin-secreting tumors or conditions that require a great deal of energy from the pet, including certain cancers, infection, sepsis, and pregnancy. While the most common, over-metabolization of glucose is not the only cause of hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar can also occur due to decreased production of glucose by the liver (often caused by liver disease, liver shunts, or Ad Continue reading >>

Can Diabetes Alert Dogs Help Sniff Out Low Blood Sugar?

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 >>

Diabetes In Dogs

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 >>

Hypoglycemia (low Blood Sugar) In Dogs

Hypoglycemia (low Blood Sugar) In Dogs

What is hypoglycemia Hypoglycemia is a health condition characterized by a critically low blood sugar levels. Since glucose or blood sugar is the main source of energy, its deprivation causes a decline in organ functions, which may lead to loss of consciousness and even death. Hypoglycemia is not considered a disease, but an indicator of an underlying health problem [1, 2]. What causes hypoglycemia in dogs Though the exact causes are not known, according to scientific studies, hypoglycemia may be associated with: Sudden over-metabolization of glucose Liver or hormonal disorders Overdosing on insulin in dogs with diabetes [4] Intake of harmful substances such as xylitol found in artificial sweeteners Ingestion of beta-blocker medication used for treating irregular heartbeat Decreased glucose production due to starvation, malnutrition, or long interval between meals [3, 4] Risk factors Gastrointestinal or liver cancer Glycogen-storage disease Liver inflammation Liver shunt Tumor in pancreas (insulinomas) [3] Which dog breeds are more likely to get it Hunting or working dogs, because they burn a lot of energy during strenuous works and exercise [1]. Small breeds, since they require more blood glucose owing to their high energy requirement per unit of body weight. It occurs because they have a high ratio of body surface area to weight [1, 7]. Puppies under the age of 3 months, as they are not able to keep their blood sugar levels within the acceptable range, possibly due to cold weather, improper feeding, parasite infections, over exercise, etc [1]. Signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia in dogs Hypoglycemia symptoms are not always persistent, often occurring suddenly. Take your dog to the vet as soon as possible if you see any of the following symptoms: Lethargy [4] Vision imp Continue reading >>

4 Signs Of An Impending Diabetic Pet Emergency

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 >>

Home Remedy For Canine Diabetes

Home Remedy For Canine Diabetes

When you hear the word diabetes, you may also think of the word insulin, as it’s the treatment of choice for people and pets diagnosed with this illness affecting the body’s glucose levels. If your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes, he can live a happy life. You can use home remedies to help his condition, but canine diabetes requires veterinary guidance and consistent treatment. Whatever you do, involve your vet. Diabetes in Dogs To understand how home remedies can help canine diabetes, it’s important to know how the disease works and affects your pup’s body. Your dog’s pancreas aids in his digestion by producing digestive enzymes and the hormone insulin. Insulin helps maintain the proper level of glucose in the bloodstream. If your dog has diabetes mellitus, his pancreas isn’t properly regulating his blood sugar. When your dog’s blood sugar isn’t properly balanced, he’ll likely eat, drink and urinate excessively, as well as lose weight. Most dogs develop Type I diabetes, also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes because the pancreas does not produce any insulin. Type II diabetes is also called non-insulin-dependent diabetes because the pancreas is secreting insulin -- however, not in sufficient quantities to meet the dog’s needs. Insulin Helpers If your dog has Type I diabetes, there’s no avoiding the fact he’ll require insulin. If he has the more uncommon Type II diabetes, he’ll likely need insulin or an oral medication to stimulate insulin production. However, there are supplements that may help control his blood sugar. Dr. Shawn Messonnier of PetCareNaturally.com says that the herb gymnema may help increase insulin production and improve its effectiveness. He also says the minerals chromium and vanadium may be useful in helping to Continue reading >>

Results For - Hypoglycemia: Low Blood Sugar In Dogs

Results For - Hypoglycemia: Low Blood Sugar In Dogs

A couple of days ago I thought my Yorkie puppy was going to die. He was playing around happily. All of a sudden he stopped and it seemed he hurt a paw. Seconds after he was unable to walk. He couldn't held his head up. His eyes were closing. His muscle tone was gone and his eyes became white. It was late at night. My best idea was calling the breeder. She helped me to save him giving him honey till he started recovering. Believe it or not, four hours later he was running around happily as if nothing happened. He is fine now. I had no idea this was a very common issue among puppies, especially when they become hyperactive and play lots, as they can't control their sugar levels yet as an adult does. You can prevent it by giving them some extra glucose when they are playing too much. I hope this information is helpful for you in case you need it sometime. 1. (Source: petmd) Hypoglycemia (critically low levels of sugar in the blood) is often linked to diabetes and an overdose of insulin. The blood sugar, or glucose, is a main energy of source in an animal's body, so a low amount will result in a severe decrease in energy levels, possibly to the point of loss of consciousness. In most animals, hypoglycemia is actually not a disease in and of itself, but is only an indication of another underlying health problem. The brain actually needs a steady supply of glucose in order to function properly, as it does not store and create glucose itself. When glucose levels drop to a dangerously low level, a condition of hypoglycemia takes place. If you suspect hypoglycemia, especially if your dog is disposed to this condition, you will need to treat the condition quickly before it becomes life threatening. Does your dog suffer Hypoglycemia? 2. The best way to determine hypoglycemia if by Continue reading >>

Low Blood Sugar (hypoglycemia) (cont.)

Low Blood Sugar (hypoglycemia) (cont.)

A A A Common causes of low blood sugar include the following: Overmedication with insulin or antidiabetic pills (for example, sulfonylurea drugs) Use of medications such as beta blockers, pentamidine, and sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (Bactrim, Septra) Missed meals Reactive hypoglycemia is the result of the delayed insulin release after a meal has been absorbed and occurs 4-6 hours after eating. Severe infection Adrenal insufficiency Liver failure Congenital, genetic defects in the regulation of insulin release (congenital hyperinsulinism) Congenital conditions associated with increased insulin release (infant born to a diabetic mother, birth trauma, reduced oxygen delivery during birth, major birth stress, Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, and rarer genetic conditions) Insulinoma or insulin-producing tumor Other tumors like hepatoma, mesothelioma, and fibrosarcoma, which may produce insulin-like factors What follows are expansions on the points noted above and should be incorporated within those points (such as cancer, diabetes drugs, organ failures). Most cases of hypoglycemia in adults happen in people with diabetes mellitus. Diabetes has two forms, type 1 (loss of all insulin production) and type 2 (inadequate insulin production due to resistance to the actions of insulin). People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin to control their glucose level; if they skip meals or have a decreased appetite without changing their insulin dose, they may develop hypoglycemia. Insulin is also used to treat some people with type 2 diabetes. If a person with type 1 diabetes accidentally takes too much insulin, or a person with type 2 diabetes accidentally takes too much of their oral medications or insulin, he or she may develop hypoglycemia. Even when a diabetic patient takes medi Continue reading >>

Low Blood Sugar In Dogs

Low Blood Sugar In Dogs

Hypoglycemia in Dogs The medical term for critically low levels of sugar in the blood is hypoglycemia, and it is often linked to diabetes and an overdose of insulin. The blood sugar, or glucose, is a main energy of source in an animal's body, so a low amount will result in a severe decrease in energy levels, possibly to the point of loss of consciousness. There are conditions other than diabetes that can also cause blood sugar levels to drop to dangerous levels in dogs. In most animals, hypoglycemia is actually not a disease in and of itself, but is only an indication of another underlying health problem. The brain actually needs a steady supply of glucose in order to function properly, as it does not store and create glucose itself. When glucose levels drop to a dangerously low level, a condition of hypoglycemia takes place. This is a dangerous health condition and needs to be treated quickly and appropriately. If you suspect hypoglycemia, especially if your dog is disposed to this condition, you will need to treat the condition quickly before it becomes life threatening. Symptoms Loss of appetite (anorexia) Increased hunger Visual instability, such as blurred vision Disorientation and confusion – may show an apparent inability to complete basic routine tasks Weakness, low energy, loss of consciousness Anxiety, restlessness Tremor/shivering Heart palpitations These symptoms may not be specific to hypoglycemia, there can be other possible underlying medical causes. The best way to determine hypoglycemia if by having the blood sugar level measured while the symptoms are apparent. Causes There may be several causes for hypoglycemia, but the most common is the side effects caused by drugs that are being used to treat diabetes. Dogs with diabetes are given insulin to help Continue reading >>

Common Symptoms Of Dogs And Cats With Diabetes

Common Symptoms Of Dogs And Cats With Diabetes

Pets with diabetes look unkempt and act lethargic. Because they lose sugar in the urine, and sugar pulls water molecules out with it, they urinate excessively. This causes them to drink excessively. These activities, excessive urination (polyuria) and excessive drinking (polydipsia), are termed PUPD. Pets with diabetes lose weight and lose muscle mass. They may have a lower body temperature than normal pets. Additional symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats may include: Excessive drinking & urination (PUPD) Loss of appetite Vomiting Dehydration Depression & lethargy Unkempt haircoat & dandruff Loss of muscles & weakness Weight loss Cataracts Weakness of the back legs Diabetes is diagnosed with blood and urine tests. The normal blood sugar (blood glucose) for dogs is 60-125 mg/dl; for cats, 70-150 mg/dl. Diabetes is diagnosed when blood sugars are consistently elevated a significant amount. For example, 220 mg/dl in a dog or 400mg/dl in a cat. If your pet is anxious when it visits the veterinarian, his or her blood sugar will naturally rise, and the elevation may be as high as the sugar levels in a diabetic pet. To prevent this stress-related elevation of blood sugar, find a veterinarian and a clinic that calms your pet. Or, use a veterinarian who makes house calls. Remember that one or two blood tests showing elevated blood sugar doesn't prove that your pet has diabetes. Blood sugar levels must be consistently elevated, or your pet must have urine tests showing ketones to prove they have diabetes. There are two ways urine tests indicate diabetes: sugar in the urine or ketones in the urine. Sugar gets into the urine if your pet's blood carries so much sugar that it exceeds the kidneys' ability to hold onto sugar. This is called exceeding the renal glucose threshold. A uri Continue reading >>

Diabetic Seizures In Dogs

Diabetic Seizures In Dogs

Seeing your dog have a seizure can be pretty scary, especially the first time this happens. If the seizure is caused by diabetes complications, the good news is that future seizures can be prevented by controlling the dog's diabetes. Why Seizures Happen Any seizure—in a dog or a human—is caused by a kind of electrical storm in the brain. If a dog has diabetes, her body doesn't produce the right amount of insulin for control of blood sugar levels. Insulin is produced by the pancreas, and diabetes can be caused by too much or too little. Very low blood sugar levels can interrupt the normal functioning of the brain, leading to a diabetic seizure. Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia Problems relating to diabetes in dogs usually stem from a state of either hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. A hypoglycemic dog has very low blood sugar and may experience a seizure as a result. In diabetic dogs, hypoglycemia commonly occurs when an insulin dose is given without sufficient food for the dog's body to utilize the insulin properly. The opposite diabetic state, hyperglycemia, occurs when the dog's blood sugar levels are extremely high. Although hyperglycemia does not typically cause seizures, this is a serious state in which the dog may become depressed, weak and anorexic. Hyperglycemia can cause a dog to become comatose. Seizure Prevention If your dog is diabetic, seizure prevention primarily involves preventing a state of hypoglycemia. Use insulin that is formulated specifically for dogs—Novolin, Vetsulin and Caninsulin are some of the most commonly used forms of canine insulin. Monitor your dog's blood glucose regularly to make sure the insulin dosage is correct and having the desired effect. Monitor your dog's feeding and exercise patterns, if possible with a regular daily schedule Continue reading >>

Diabetes In Dogs

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.[1][2][3] 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.[2][4][5] There is another less common form of diabetes, diabetes insipidus, which is a condition of insufficient antidiuretic hormone or resistance to it.[6][7] This most common form of diabetes affects approximately 0.34% of dogs.[8] The condition is treatable and need not shorten the animal's life span or interfere with quality of life.[9] If left untreated, the condition can lead to cataracts, increasing weakness in the legs (neuropathy), malnutrition, ketoacidosis, dehydration, and death.[10] Diabetes mainly affects mid Continue reading >>

Why Is Your Dog Aggressive?

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 >>

Hypoglycemia In Dogs

Hypoglycemia In Dogs

Overview Hypoglycemia is often referred to as “low blood sugar.” When your dog’s body is deprived of sugar, its main source of energy, his ability to function declines and, in severe situations, loss of consciousness or even death can result. Low blood sugar is not a disease itself; rather, it is a symptom of an underlying disease or problem. There are many causes of hypoglycemia. Puppies, especially those under 3 months of age, have not fully developed their ability to regulate their blood glucose (sugar) levels. Hypoglycemia can be brought on when puppies are introduced to other stress factors such as poor nutrition, cold environments, and intestinal parasites. Toy breeds are especially susceptible to this problem. Hypoglycemia can also be brought on by fasting combined with rigorous exercise, or by Addison’s disease. Dogs treated for diabetes mellitus are at risk, as well as dogs with severe liver disease, tumors of the pancreas, or portosystemic shunts. Symptoms If your pet is hypoglycemic, you may notice the following symptoms: Muscle twitches Trembling Incoordination Unusual behavior Blindness Unconsciousness If your dog is suspected of being hypoglycemic, your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam, take a complete history, and may recommend diagnostic tests that could include: Measurement of blood glucose levels (sugar levels in the blood) Chemistry tests to evaluate kidney, liver, and pancreatic function A complete blood count (CBC) to rule out blood related conditions Electrolyte tests to ensure your pet isn’t dehydrated or suffering from an electrolyte imbalance Urine tests to screen for urinary tract infection and other disease, and to evaluate the ability of the kidneys to concentrate urine A thyroid test to determine if the thyroid gl Continue reading >>

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