Treating a Dog with Diabetes


Meet Todd!

diabetes in pets

Todd is an 11-year-old Border Terrier cross Jack Russell who is the beloved family pet of Molly our Receptionist/Animal Nursing Assistant here at easipetcare Southampton. In 2015, Todd unfortunately became very very poorly nearly losing his life and it was during this time that Todd was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus – a disease caused by your cat or dogs’ pancreas not producing enough insulin. When an animal eats a meal, glucose is absorbed from the intestines and then enters the bloodstream. Insulin is used to allow the glucose to leave the bloodstream and enter the animal’s cells which is then used for energy and growth. When an animal is diabetic they have a lack of insulin as the pancreas is not producing enough. Without enough insulin the glucose can no longer leave the bloodstream to be used by the body’s cells for energy. This causes the glucose to rise in the bloodstream to an abnormally high level. The glucose level can become so high that it overflows into the animal’s urine.
Because the body cannot utilise the glucose that it depends on, the body compensates for this by producing energy by other means. For example, breaking down fat which unfortunately causes toxic byproducts that can make animals very sick.

Todd was showing some classic signs to look out for in diagnosing diabetes. These include the following:
• Increased thirst
• Frequent urination
• Changes in appetite
• Weight loss
• Deteriorating coat condition
• Lethargy or lack of energy

Fortunately for Todd his family spotted these signs early and took him to the vets straight away, and treatment was started immediately.

To determine how much insulin a patient would need, they need to have a blood glucose curve, this is when the animal is admitted to the surgery and blood samples are taken throughout the day. The first one is taken before they have anything to eat, once the patient has eaten insulin is administered and every hour after this until there is a curve noted. This measures how effective the insulin dose is. It can be increased or decreased depending on the requirements of the patient. An animals diet is key when being diagnosed with diabetes as they can not regulated their own insulin release they need to have meals at specific times to insure that their glucose levels do not go too high or too low.

If the blood sugar levels are too low this is called Hypoglycaemia and the signs to look out for are increased hunger, nervousness, shakiness, and sleepiness. If left untreated, hypoglycaemia may lead to unconsciousness. Hypoglycaemia is treated by consuming carbohydrate-rich food such as honey or juice.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is where an animal has high levels of blood glucose along with a severe lack of insulin. Signs of DKA include vomiting, fruity/pear drop breath odour, and rapid breathing. Untreated DKA can lead to coma and death.

Once a patient is diagnosed they need to have regular check-ups at the vets just like Todd so that their progress can be monitored, and their diabetes is controlled. Also by keeping an eye on diabetic patients, the vets are then aware of any other related complications which can occur with Diabetesm, which can then be treated as soon as they arise. For example, like humans, animals can develop cataracts. This is because of excess glucose present in the lens of the eye and increased water content. Unfortunately, this will eventually cause the patient to lose their vision in that eye/ if not in both.

Todd has developed cataracts and has lost his vision in both eyes, his family have adapted to this and have to make special allowances for him while out on walks. They need to continually communicate to him to get up and down kerbs as well and being careful that he doesn’t bump into any obstacles. Because Todd could see, and his vision loss was a gradual process his family have to be careful on what furniture they move in the house and not to block the access out to the garden so that Todd can move around the house safely.

Besides all the health issues Todd now has, he still lives a very happy life and loves nothing more than walks along the beach and paddles in the sea and is a very loved and important member of Molly’s family!

If you would like to know anymore information regarding Diabetes Mellitus please contact the surgery on 02380 783 000.

Topics: Pets

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