Diabetes is a major health concern in the United States. Close to ten percent of the population is diabetic and close to a third of American’s are pre-diabetic due to many factors including family history, dietary choices, lack of exercise and excess weight. But diabetes is not a condition that is exclusive to humans. It extends into the animal kingdom as well, and in many cases, it affects the family pet.

How Common is it For a Pet to Have Diabetes?

While cats and dogs generally don’t develop diabetes quite as often as humans do, it is something that pet owners need to keep on their radar and watch for signs of the disease. Right now, it is estimated that between .002% and 1% of pets develop diabetes, but those numbers appear to be on the rise. Some factors can increase a cat or dog’s likelihood of becoming diabetic, including their breed, their age, and whether or not female pets have been spayed.

Some canine breeds that are more vulnerable to the disease include:

  • German Shepherds
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Terriers
  • Dachshunds
  • Toy Poodles
  • and Pomeranians

The disease is most likely to develop sometime between age 4-14, and unspayed females have an increased risk over most other pets.

Types of Canine Diabetes

Like humans, most cases of diabetes are either Type 1 or Type 2, and dog owners in the Winston-Salem area need to be aware of both possibilities for their pet. Those who develop Type I diabetes experience an insulin deficiency because their body isn’t producing it. An inflammation of the pancreas is often a strong contributing factor. With Type II diabetes the dog’s body has developed a resistance to insulin. More often Type II diabetes is related to weight and exercise issues, and in many cases, the condition can be reversed with lifestyle improvements and weight loss.

How do you know if your dog has diabetes?

The symptoms of canine diabetes are often subtle because the disease can come on very slowly. Dog owners may notice increased urination, the pet’s drinking more at a time, and more frequent accidents. While increased urination can be the sign of several conditions, it is important to note that diabetic dogs will have increased sugar in their urine which may also lead to more urinary tract or bladder infections. If the urine turns bloody or has a stronger odor than usual, or if your dog suddenly licks excessively, they should be checked by their veterinarian for signs of infection or diabetes.

In some cases, vision problems plague dogs (and people) with diabetes. Notably, glaucoma is a condition that accompanies diabetes due to increased eye pressure. Cataracts, clouding of the eyes is also a possible symptom of canine diabetes other symptoms include

  • Increased hunger or thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Sudden weight loss due to increased metabolism
  • Obesity
  • Weakness, fatigue or lethargy
  • Depression
  • Thinning or dulling hair

Call Our Winston-Salem Vet today to Learn More about Diabetes!

None of these symptoms on their own is a sure sign that your pet is diabetic, but they are all symptoms that are cause for concern and that your pet needs special care from their Winston-Salem vet. At Forsyth Veterinary Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC we consider ourselves your partner in ensuring that your pets have the best quality of life that they can, and whatever health problems they face, such as diabetes or something else, we’re here to work with you to find the treatment they need. If you think your pet might be diabetic, or have any other concerns about their health and well being contact Forsyth Veterinary Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC at 336-765-1225 to schedule an appointment.