Diabetes in dogs and cats: Symptoms, treatment, prevention
Diabetes is not only widespread in humans, but also in animals. There are certain symptoms by which you can recognize diabetes in dogs and cats at an early stage.
In addition, concerned owners have the opportunity to take preventive measures. How this works in detail, you will learn below.
Typical symptoms with diabetes
In both dogs and cats you will notice increased thirst when the animal is sick. Especially in cats, this characteristic is one of the most noticeable, since the velvet paws usually consume only small amounts of fresh water.
If that – completely without cat well and Co. – suddenly changes, you should let control the sugar values. If the animals urinate more and dogs want to go outside more often, this can also be a first alarm sign.
Especially in cats there is a weakness of the hind limbs. As a result, the animals jump and gymnastics less frequently and appear generally tired.
Changes in the coat or skin can also indicate diabetes in dogs and cats. If the fur becomes dull or even falls out, you must observe the animals closely. If further symptoms occur or the hair loss does not go away by itself, the visit to the vet is unavoidable.
Affected animals not only drink more, but usually also eat more food, because you need to compensate for the loss of energy. This is because the organism of diabetic animals can no longer properly process and absorb the energy from food.
A large part of the nutrients is therefore excreted before the animal’s body can benefit from it. If the increased appetite is accompanied by an acute loss of weight, this is considered a clear symptom: your pet either has diabetes or another disease.
How to treat diabetes in dogs and cats
In most cases a therapy with insulin is ordered by the treating veterinarian. Most veterinarians recommend the use of a long-acting insulin. The advantage is obvious: the insulin needs to be administered less frequently and can be controlled effectively.
There are currently very few drugs approved specifically for cats, so the choice is limited. The veterinarian knows best which insulin is best suited to the health condition of the cat or dog. A deviation from this recommendation is therefore not appropriate.
Unfortunately, insulin cannot be administered orally. For this reason, owners must give both dogs and cats an injection under the skin (cf. https://unsere-haustiere.net/diabetes-in-cats/ ).
Those who have never done this before may be overwhelmed at the beginning – but this settles with time. Depending on the type of animal and the degree of the disease, you may need to inject your animal with insulin once or twice a day. The measurement of the blood sugar is usually carried out by the veterinarian.
The vet will then tell you how much insulin to give and how often. The good news: If dogs or cats are well adjusted, they can live with diabetes without any major restrictions. Only if the disease remains undetected over a long period of time, you have to expect consequential damages.
Minimize risks with ideal weight
If you want to prevent your four-legged friend from getting diabetes in the first place, there are a few things that can be quite effective as a preventive measure. For all types of animals, it is important that they maintain a healthy body weight. Weight fluctuations are anything but healthy.
If you weigh your animal regularly and feel the body, especially in animals with thick fur, you are on the safe side. Make sure you can still feel the rib arches with your fingers. If this is no longer possible, the animal is too fat.
Sufficient exercise works wonders
A rule of thumb, which applies to both dogs and cats, is: the more exercise, the lower the risk of developing diabetes. While dogs should be exercised by long walks, a suitable playmate for a cat provides more movement.
Whether you get a second pet into the house or play with the cat yourself is entirely up to you. Especially indoor cats have to compensate the limited space for movement with hunting and catching games. But not every cat is willing to play a lot by itself.
Especially older cats must therefore be motivated by their owners. Put in at least once a day an extensive play round, in order to provide for sufficient movement.
The same applies to dogs: Take a toy with you on your walk, so you can better exercise your four-legged friend even on relatively short distances.
Finding the right food
Healthy food should be oriented as far as possible to the natural diet of the four-legged friend. A high meat content is much healthier than too much cereals. Cereals are converted into sugar and can therefore lead to an increased risk of diabetes.
In some types of food, extra sugar is even added so that they prefer to eat it. Pay attention to the ingredient list before buying and change the food if necessary if the current food contains too much sugar.
Of course, the amount should definitely fit the actual energy needs of the animal. A first indication of the correct amount can be found on the packaging. Because many owners find it difficult to feed by eye, the food should be weighed. If it is dry food, it can be dosed more easily with the help of a measuring cup.