Thursday, September 2, 2010

Question: Diabetes in Pets Part 3

Dr. Schaeberle,

My cat was recently diagnosed with diabetes. I didn’t know it was
possible! What do we do next?



Dear Darlene,

Over the past few weeks I have discussed a diabetes in dogs and cats. Today I will review diabetes in dogs.

Unfortunately, dogs only have the more serious form of diabetes called type I in people. All diabetic dogs require insulin and although weight-loss may lower insulin levels we still must give insulin 2 times daily.

1. Weight control. Because weight loss can be slow and frustrating in many dogs, I will normally start insulin therapy immediately. High fiber diets are recommended for a diabetic dogs to lower insulin levels.

2. Insulin therapy. Until recently, most veterinarians prescribed an insulin made exclusively for dogs. With present shortages of Vetsulin, we are now using human NPH insulin or PZI insulin. As with cats, our goal is to a limit the signs of diabetes such as an increase in drinking and urination and to minimize diseases (such as cataracts and liver disease) that are secondary to diabetes. We begin with a low dose of insulin two times daily to maximize safety and weight loss. Too much insulin can cause hypoglycemia, seizures and even death. Over a period of a few weeks to a month blood sugars are measured to determine the optimal level of insulin.

As mentioned in the initial article control in diabetes mellitus is a both an art and a science. Many dogs and cats can present roadblocks to easy control. But in general, the treatment of diabetes is very rewarding for both the owner and their pets.

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

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