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Diabetes in Dogs: Most Important Information for Dog Owner

Diabetes in Dogs is a chronic complex metabolic disease that affects different types of species like dogs, cats, apes, pigs, horses, and humans. The disease is incurable, and it appears when the body stops making insulin or inhibits the utilization of insulin. Diabetes is a common condition in older dogs, and the disease is manageable. Canine diabetes occurs when the body can not use glucose ( a type of sugar) usually, and the disease is costly to treat.

8 Risk Factors of Diabetes in Dogs


1. Dog Breed. Diabetes may occur in any breeds of dog, either pure, mixed, or cross-breed. Though all dog breeds are prone to diabetes, some are more susceptible like Poodles, Pugs, Dachshund, Miniature Schnauzers, Beacon Frieser, Australian Terrier, Beagles, Fox Terriers, Cairn Terriers, and Keeshonds.

2. Age. Diabetes can occur at any age but mostly in old ages. Diabetes is a disease of senior dogs, and maximum dogs diagnosed with diabetes are more than five years old.

3. Sex. Diabetes can occur any gender, but females are more susceptible. During the heat period and pregnancy enhance insulin resistance and leads to diabetes.

4. Pancreatic Disease. Chronic Pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer cause the damage of pancreatic cells. That ultimately reduce the production of insulin and leads to diabetes.

5. Obesity. Obese dogs are more prone to diabetes as they damage the pancreas and inhibits the production of insulin.

Risk Factors of Diabetes in Dogs

6. Cushing’s Disease. Cushing’s disease causes excess production of steroids in the body and increases the probability of canine diabetes. This excess steroid causes insulin resistance and leads to diabetes.

7. Steroid Medication. Long time administration of steroid drugs (Prednisolone) can cause diabetes in dogs.

8. Other Diseases. Few viral diseases and autoimmune diseases, multiple vaccinations, processed food, and environmental factors can cause diabetes in dogs.

Types of Diabetes in Dogs 


The types of diabetes are differing mainly from causes. Diabetes occurs in dogs in two forms; diabetes insipidus and diabetes Mellitus.

1. Diabetes Insipidus


Diabetes Insipidus develops from a deficiency of vasopressin and is characterized by severe and uncontrolled polyuria, with resultant polydipsia. Vasopressin (Anti Diuretic Hormone) released from the posterior lobe of the pituitary increases the permeability of the distal convoluted tubules, collects ducts of the kidney, and controls water excretion.

Cute Dogs

The Causes of the Diabetes Insipidus


Diabetes Insipidus in dogs can be caused by either a partial or total failure to synthesize or release vasopressin (central diabetes insipidus, CDI) or partial or total failure of the renal tubules to respond to vasopressin (nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, NDI). Both forms of diabetes insipidus may be congenital or acquired.

Prevention of Diabetes

The Clinical Signs of Canine Diabetes Incipidus


Signs of diabetes insipidus include 

  • Marked polyuria, frequently with nocturia and incontinence.
  • Severe polydipsia with the animal often drinking more than 200 ml/kg/24 hours.
  • In acquired cases, your dog’s clinical signs are usually sudden. Your affected dogs and cats start searching for water and may become anorexic and lose weight. Despite their increased thirst, your dogs remain mildly to moderately dehydrated.
  • In these conditions, neurologic signs can be seen, if diabetes insipidus is associated with a space-occupying mass, such as a pituitary tumor.

Diagnosis of Diabetes Insipidus


Haematologic, biochemical, and electrolyte profiles are generally unremarkable for your pets with central or idiopathic NDI. 

  • When abnormalities are noted in your dogs, then they are usually secondary to dehydration. 
  • The most significant finding is a very dilute urine of low specific gravity, usually between 1.001 and 1.005. 
  • The urine specific gravity is almost invariably less than glomerular filtrate, i.e., <1.010, indicating your dog with proper renal tubular function with resorption of solute above water. 
  • Urine osmolality is low and typically below that of plasma, which is often mildly or moderately elevated due to the accompanying dehydration.
  •  In Psychogenic Polydipsia (PP), the plasma osmolality is usually decreased due to overhydration.

Differential Diagnosis of Diabetes Incipidus


Diabetes insipidus must be differentiated from primary polydipsia with resultant polyuria, so-called psychogenic polydipsia (PP), where there is a relative lack of vasopressin due to overhydration and, frequently, reduced renal concentrating power due to a decrease in medullary hypertonicity from the wash-out effect of handling large quantities of fluid.

Diagnosis of Diabetes in Dogs

Treatment of the Diabetes Insipidus in Dogs


1. Diet. A balanced and regular diet rich in protein and fiber is the best suited for your diabetic dogs. The fiber-rich and polysaccharides diet helps the absorption of glucose from the blood to cells. Your vet also suggests a low-fat content diet for your diabetic dog.

2. Exercise. Regular exercise is the best prevention for diabetes in dogs. Physical exercise will help the utilization of glucose and increase the absorption of glucose from the blood to cells.

3. Medication. The medication includes the regular shots of insulin at least twice daily as per the recommendations of your vet. Successful treatment of CDI of your dogs is required long-term replacement therapy using decompression, a vasopressin analog. Decompression is available in the form of an injection, nasal drops, and tablets. 

  • It can provide an antidiuretic activity for eight hours. One to four drops of the nasal preparation placed in the conjunctival sac twice daily will control the polydipsia and polyuria in your dogs and cats with CDI.
  • Chlorpropamide, an oral sulfonylurea hypoglycemic agent, potentiates the effect of vasopressin on the renal tubules and, therefore, requires at least the presence of some endogenous vasopressin in order to be effective. 
  • Hypoglycemia is a potentially adverse effect on your dogs. 
  • Thiazide diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide and chlorothiazide have a paradoxical effect in both CDI and NDI in your dog. Urine output may be decreased by up to 50%, although the urine is still dilute.

2. Diabetes in Dogs: Diabetes Mellitus


Diabetes Mellitus is a heterogeneous syndrome in the dog rather than a single disease entity. It is characterized by a relative or absolute deficiency of insulin secretion by the pancreas.

Diabetes Melitus

The Causes of the Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs


Carbohydrate metabolism and blood glucose concentration are controlled by the balance between catabolic hormones (e.g., catecholamines, glucagon, and Growth hormone) on the one hand and principal anabolic hormone, insulin, on the other.

Clinical Signs of Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs


Diabetes Mellitus is a disease of your middle-aged dogs with a peak incidence around eight years of age. Genetic factors to diabetes have been found in Dachshunds, Keeshonds, Carin Terriers, Samoyeds, and Poodles. Bitches are more commonly affected than males, and this is due mainly to the induction of GH by progesterone or.

  • Polyuria, increased appetite, polydipsia, and weight loss develop over a few weeks in uncomplicated cases of your dogs. 
  • In entire bitches, this usually occurs in the metestrus phase of the estrus period. 
  • Enlargement of liver, muscle damage, and UTI. 
  • Skin ulcers and cutaneous xanthomata have occasionally been reported. If diabetes in your dogs goes beyond control, ketone bodies may accumulate, which causes metabolic acidosis and leads to depression, anorexia, vomiting, and rapid dehydration. 
  • Coma and death may result in the form of severe hypovolemia and circulatory collapse.

Diagnosis of the Disease


Determination of glucose and ketone bodies in the urine of affected dogs by urine analysis. Increase the amount of solute in urine increases the specific gravity of the urine of dogs. The normal specific gravity of the dog’s urine is 1.015 to 1.045. 

Plasma biochemistry reveals hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia. Lactescent blood due to lipid in the blood. Elevation of liver enzymes due to excess fat metabolism. In diabetic ketoacidosis, there are severe disorders in fluid, electrolyte, and acid-base status. The most frequent abnormalities are prerenal azotemia, hyponatremia, hypokalemia, and acidosis.

Treatment of the Disease


Treatment can be divided into your dogs the acute management of diabetic ketoacidosis and the stabilization of the uncomplicated diabetic. The ketoacidosis your dog can be stabilized as for the uncomplicated case, once it has started to feed frequently.

Treatment of Diabetes in Dogs

8 Complications of Diabetes in Dogs


The major complications of diabetes are briefly discussed in the following paragraph for your easy understanding.

1. Diabetic Ketoacidosis in Dogs

The healthy ketotic diabetic can usually be managed conservatively without fluid therapy or intensive care, diabetic ketoacidosis in dogs characterized by hyperglycemia, ketonemia, metabolic acidosis, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance is a medical emergency that is associated with high mortality. 

Treatment should consist of replacement of fluid and electrolytes, reduced blood glucose concentrations, correction of acidosis, and identification of precipitating causes. A treatment protocol should be given in your affected dogs are

  • Intravenous fluid and electrolyte replacement, 0.9% sodium chloride, initially then alternate with lactated Ringer’s solution. 
  • You have to monitor in urine output of your dog and, if possible, central venous pressure. 
  • Insulin therapy should be given, and low-dose inulin infusion helps control the rate of infusion. 
  • Potassium supplementation is beneficial, and this treatment will be safe, providing your patient has adequate urine production.
  • Phosphate supplementation is shifting in the same way as potassium. 
  • Hypophosphatemia is only likely to occur in severe diabetic ketoacidosis. 
  • Normal saline is required in your dog if hypophosphatemia is suspected. 
  • Bicarbonate therapy is not necessarily provided; renal function has been reestablished. If you need Antibiotic treatment should be given in your pets.

2. Diabetic Cataract in Dogs. A cataract is the opacity of the lens of the dog’s eye. A cataract is the leading cause of the blindness of dogs. Diabetes is one of the main causes of cataracts in dogs.

3. Diabetic Nephropathy. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of kidney problems in dogs. The early signs of nephropathy id hyperalbuminuria ( excess albumin in urines) increase urine-protein-creatinine ration and hypertension.

4. Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). Diabetes increases the incidence of UTI in dogs. The excess amount of glucose in the urine stored in the bladder acts as the incubator for the growth of bacteria. These bacteria cause hidden UTI in most diabetic dogs. You may recommend antibiotics to reduce the bacterial load in the bladder.

5. Liver Diseases. Due to diabetes, the cell cannot utilize glucose and utilize fat to meet the energy requirement. Fat metabolism increases and elevates the enzymes for fat utilization. You can differentiate by ultrasound and biopsy the primary liver disease in dogs and secondary diseases due to diabetes.

6. Hyperadrenocorticism. Cushing’s disease or hyperadrenocorticism is the result of diabetes in dogs in 20% cases. In vice versa, 10% of Cushing’s disease causes diabetes in your dogs.

Care and Management of Dogs

7. Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism may coincide with diabetes in dogs. Glucose intolerance causes hypoglycemia and reduces the amount of glucose in the bloodstream.

8. Mouth Problems. Diabetes increases the susceptibility of the infection in the mouth and gums. The teeth become yellowish, and excess tarter deposited in the teeth. Regular brushing (at least twice a week) reduces the teeth problems due to diabetes.

Preventive Measures of Diabetes in Dogs


Diabetes is a metabolic disease of older dogs. But the condition may appear at any age of your dog. In many cases, diabetes may be prevented, or you can reduce the incidence by taking preventive measures. The preventive tips of diabetes are:

  • Provide a balanced diet to your dogs.
  • Regularly do exercise with your dogs.
  • Regular check your dog’s health by a competent vet.
  • Reduce the risk factors of diabetes.
  • Choose a dog from less diabetic prone dog breeds.

Exercise with Dogs

Concluding Remarks


Diabetes is a widespread problem in dogs that suffers you most. As the dog becomes older, you will feel more love and affection for your lovely pet. Management techniques may reduce the risk factor. In this article, I have discussed almost all aspects of diabetes in dogs. I think this discussion will help you a lot. You can share the information with your friends.

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