Pet Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus

Pet Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus – Part One

Just like human beings, cats and dogs are susceptible to diabetes mellitus. This is the condition that occurs when our pet’s blood sugar (blood glucose) is too high.   dog with diabetes mellitus

According to Dr. Becker and Dr. Mercola (an online vet and physician that I follow at times), 1 dog in every 500 and 1 cat in every 200 will develop diabetes mellitus.

There are certain breeds that are known for developing diabetes mellitus. Samoyeds, Australian Terriers, Toy Poodles, and Schnauzers. The only cat they mention was the Burmese.

basket of burmese kittensNow my daughter-in-law’s cat (calico coloring) was diagnosed with diabetes due to lifestyle. But any pet can now be found in this larger pool for developing diabetes at some point, just like humans, if lifestyle is messed up.

The real and very scary thing about this however, is that diabetes is occurring at such an alarming rate which is resulting in really high numbers of sick dogs and cats.

What Is Pet Diabetes Mellitus?

When there is a shortage of insulin, or there is a condition which results in a misuse of a pet’s insulin; diabetes occurs.

Whether it is caused by a reduction of insulin produced (just like juvenile or type one diabetes in a human), OR it is caused because our dog or cat is unable to use the insulin their body produces in an efficient manner (just like type two diabetes mellitus in a human) which is also insulin resistance.

What Is Insulin?   med bottles and syringes

Insulin is a hormone. An anabolic hormone that takes sugar out of the blood and moves it into the cells of our pet’s body for use as energy. Not only does insulin move blood glucose into these cells, but it also moves electrolytes, fatty acids, and amino acids into the same cells where the glucose is being stored.

When there is a lack of insulin or there is insulin that is unable to do the job it is intended to do, then there are vital nutritional substances, (the sugar or blood glucose, the amino acids, the electrolytes, and the fatty acids)  which will be left outside of the cells.

When this happens, insulin is unable to furnish the cells with the nutrients they need and this in turn causes our pet’s cells to starve. This will still happen even though the cells are soaking in the very same, very necessary, nutrients needed in order for those cells to survive.  picture of cells

And even if our pet’s pancreas is producing the insulin needed, if their cells cannot use the nutrition that is being supplied; the pet will still have starving cells.

  • Juvenile Diabetes Mellitus

Juvenile diabetes is a rare disease in pets. In most cases, diabetes mellitus in a companion pet or animal, will be caused by a certain sedentary life-style. Now this is a hard pill to swallow for me since most animals or pets have the energy to run and around and be fairly active. Most of the time, pet dogs are walked by their owner, hopefully at least twice in one day. Some people have a pet dog for the sake of getting necessary exercise for themselves.

  • Adult Onset Diabetes   picture of cells

When insulin is reduced in production, or the pet’s ability to use insulin efficiently is greatly reduced, this condition will  normally seen in about the midlife point of the adult pet dog. Adult onset diabetes mellitus will typically show itself as our pet both reaches that midlife spot, and/or after that pet encounters some form of lifestyle obstacles, which might cause the pet to either decrease production of insulin, or lose the ability to use their insulin which is being produced as it should be.

Diabetic Symptoms

kitty drinking waterSymptoms of diabetes mellitus in your pet may or may not be visible. Normally, if you see symptoms, they will happen gradually and at a fairly slow pace. But keep an eye out for any of the following symptoms in your pet. These symptoms are also quite similar to the symptoms that we, as human beings

Urinating may increase: The first noticeable thing that may happen could be that your pet’s blood sugar or glucose levels will get so high on the outside of the cells that it will spill into the pet’s urine, which will obviously increase its urine production.

If your pet is house trained and at this age, I’m quite sure they are trained, they may even have accidents around in the house because of the frequency; they aren’t prepared and miss getting to the box or asking to be let outside.

Thirsty: If your pet has begun to pee more than normal, it would stand-to- reason that their thirst would be increased as-well. When changing your pet’s water in the morning and in the evening as it should be, you will be able to notice if they are drinking more water during the day and at night when you aren’t watching them. You will notice their increase intake of fluids, it’s hard to miss.

When you can see that your pet has the hallmark symptoms of diabetes, increased thirst and increased urination, it should throw up a red flag. The problem with these symptoms is that they are also symptoms of other more serious problems. Make an appointment at your veterinarian when you notice that your pet is symptomatic for these two issues asap.

cat eating a plate of foodIncrease in appetite: You may notice an increased appetite because your pet is hungrier now that those amino acids which are supposed to be inside the cells but aren’t getting inside, or they just are not being used as they should be.

Losing weight: It should stand-to-reason that any pet with an increased appetite should also be gaining weight. But because your pet’s cells are being starved of those essential nutrients and any energy from the food they are eating is not being used correctly or efficiently by the cells, your pet may lose weight.

Lacking energy and often tired: Your pet might lack energy and seem to be lethargic. Since those cells are being left out of the blood glucose/sugar cycle, your pet will naturally have less energy, just as you might. The pet might not even feel much like going for a typical walk or even want to play as usual. Wanting to sleep more and lack of energy are more hallmark symptoms of diabetes mellitus type ii.  cat is very lazy

Vision issues: Blindness is a symptom of diabetes mellitus in our companion animals, mostly in dogs but can also happen in cats who will become blind because of diabetic cataracts.

Weakness for cats in their rear limbs:  this is called the plantigrade stance. cat with plantigrade stanceThis is a symptom unique only to cats with diabetes. They drop their hind quarters and walk on their ankles instead of normally walking on the pads of their feet. This is a very obvious symptom since it looks so unnatural.  But it is totally reversible once the diabetes is under control.

UTI; Urinary tract infections: It is pretty-common for both dogs and cats to get a secondary infection in their urinary tract. Because there is more sugar in the urine, bacteria grows quite easily in your pet’s bladder.

Kidney failure: Happens especially with cats and is a very common secondary symptom of the diabetes mellitus. Chronic renal insufficiency or acute kidney problems is usually the first diagnosis.

The sugar we mentioned earlier that could spill over into the pet’s urine is extremely damaging to their kidneys. When the kidneys become overburdened and the nephrons (the filters inside of the kidneys) cannot handle all the extra work of filtering sugar, this results in kidney dysfunction. It is diagnosed by the vet with blood or a urinalysis.

Thanks for jumping in here today to read about the fairly common disease of diabetes mellitus which is also quickly becoming an epidemic. Stay tuned for the second part of this post.  Please leave any questions or comments in the form below.

If you’d like to do some investigating on your own about pet diabetes, the go to this URL:  you won’t believe all of the information you can find here:

senior dog

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