It parallels the rise in human diabetes. Internet research gives a rate of 1 in 400 dogs and cats in the US suffering from type 1 (lack of insulin production) or type 2 (inability to utilize insulin) diabetes. Perhaps because Brooklyn Bark Care Associates are all trained and able to medicate - orally or by injection - we see more than our share.
In any case, it is a disease on the rise in our pet population as well as in people.
Canine, feline or human diabetes are all basically the same, although the liklihood and type of complications vary somewhat. But let's not worry about complications now. Let's worry about prevention and early warning signs.
Prevention: same as humans. Maintain proper body weight, exercise and avoid processed foods. When selecting a pet food, try to stay as natural as possible and avoid preservatives as much as possible. Alas, prevention is not a 100% accurate science, so know the early warning signs.
Early warning signs: same as human. Problem is, they are more difficult to catch because the average cat or dog doesn't come to you to complain. It is the pet parent who must keep a sharp eye out.
- Excessive urination
- Excessive thirst
- Weight loss even with normal appetite
- Loss of appetite
Since these signs are subtle, you should watch your pet closely. You should also be vigilant about an annual well-pet check-up for your vet will diagnose with a quick, routine blood work-up.
As with humans, the earlier you catch diabetes, the more treatable it is. Again, as with humans, it is not reversible, but you can halt the progress of the disease with diet change, exercise and medication.
So, the earlier the diagnosis, the more manageable your pup's or kitty's situation will be. In order of disease management there is
- Special diet
- Oral medications
- Insulin injections
But, as Ben Frankin taught "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Watch your pet's weight, be sure he is getting exercise, feed a high quality diet and watch for any early signs of the disease so you can "nip it in the bud."
As with humans, diabetes in cats and dogs can be controlled and side effects minimalized. A pet who is properly managed will have a normal life expectancy. Prevention, early diagnosis and proper management is the name of the game.