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We all hope for our pets to stay healthy and active as long as possible, but many of the same diseases that afflict humans can also affect dogs and it is up to their owners to make the necessary adjustments in their care in order for them to have the best quality of life possible. One of these diseases that can affect both humans and dogs in similar ways is diabetes.
Dogs develop diabetes for many of the same reasons people do. For some there is a shortage of insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels- this is type 1. For others the dog's system becomes unable to respond to insulin in the right way - this is Type II. Type II diabetes is more common, and typically strikes dogs between age 6-9. Some breeds, including Keeshonds and Golden Retrievers, are more prone to Type I diabetes, which is more likely to hit at an earlier age. Exactly how dogs get Type II diabetes is unconfirmed, but it appears that factors such as obesity, pancreatitis, other autoimmune issues, and excess protein in the pancreas can play a role in the development of the disease.
There are many different indications that could indicate the possibility of diabetes or another condition in your dog. Some of these include
Not only does a dog's blood have too much sugar in it when diabetes strikes, but the cells that need that sugar for energy can't access it properly. This can cause decreased energy and also damage to your pet's vision, heart, nerves, kidneys, and blood vessels. Watching blood sugar levels closely helps limit the damage caused by the disease.
Although living with diabetes is far from the ideal situation for your dog, with the right treatment and monitoring your pet can still have a good quality of life for years to come. At Watertown Animal Hospital, we are committed to helping you understand your dog's illness and will educate you on important maintenance such as regular glucose testing and insulin injections, as well as helping you manage your dog's diet to keep blood sugar spikes under control. The earlier your dog is diagnosed, the more can be done to keep your dog's life as positive as possible. To learn more about what you can do, and how we can help contact us at Watertown Animal Hospital in Watertown, CT at 860-274-2212 to schedule an appointment.