If a dog suddenly drinks a lot and loses weight, although he eats a lot and enough – then he may be diabetic. Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common hormonal diseases in dogs. Since this disease causes serious health damage if left untreated, dog owners must recognize the signs early.
Diabetes usually occurs in dogs between the ages of seven and nine years. Female dogs are affected twice as often as males. The breeds most commonly affected are Dachshunds, Beagles, Miniature Schnauzers, and Poodles.
What does diabetes mean?
Sugar or glucose is the body’s most important source of energy. The hormone insulin produced in the pancreas is responsible for the vital transport of glucose into the body’s cells. If there is no insulin, the glucose accumulates in the blood instead of in the cells, and the blood sugar level rises. If this exceeds a certain value, more glucose is excreted through the kidneys – combined with increased fluid loss and thirst.
Signs of diabetes in dogs
The diabetic dog, therefore, drinks more than usual and has to urinate accordingly. At the same time, the body cells “starve” for glucose and try to cover the deficiency with other nutrients. That is why a diabetic dog eats a lot more. Nevertheless , the dog loses weight because the food cannot be properly utilized. Another sign of diabetes is general weakness and lethargy. Occasionally, paralysis of the hind legs or the tail also occurs.
Causes of diabetes in dogs
Diabetes can be caused by viral infections and metabolic or autoimmune diseases. A genetic predisposition has also been proven in dachshunds, poodles, miniature schnauzers, beagles, and various terrier breeds. The typical diabetic dog is usually older than seven years and four times more often female than male.
Treatment of diabetes in dogs
If diabetes is suspected, the vet will first measure the blood sugar level and determine the required dose of insulin that the patient needs. The treatment of a diabetic dog is usually lifelong and also requires a certain adjustment in the lifestyle of the owner.
After appropriate instruction, the dog owner can administer the insulin himself at home. Depending on the course of the disease, the insulin dose must be corrected up or down. However, these adjustments should only be made by the veterinarian. A diet with a high crude fiber content tailored to the needs of dogs with diabetes also has a positive effect on the course of the disease.
In general, diabetes is well controlled with insulin, proper diet, and regular exercise.