Vets are seeing more and more cases of diabetes in pets these days.
Diabetes mellitus is a condition that occurs due to insulin deficiency within the body.
Just like the human form of the disease, type 1 is insulin-dependent.
Type 2 is the non-insulin dependent form of the disease and is rarely seen in dogs and only occasionally in cats.
The pancreas is the organ responsible for producing insulin.
There are special cells within the pancreas that release the insulin and if they are damaged then diabetes can result.
The damage can occur by genetic influences, environmental factors, inflammation or even the body's own immune system.
Signs and symptoms to look out for in our pets are an increase in water consumption and in urination.
Also, diabetic animals tend to lose weight despite a good appetite.
If left undiagnosed and untreated for too long, symptoms may progress to vomiting, diarrhoea and an eventual decrease in appetite.
Unfortunately, cataracts and eventual blindness can develop in dogs even with appropriate treatment.
Surgical correction for blindness is an option for some dogs.
Diabetes mellitus is easy to diagnose as it requires the detection of elevated blood sugars, as well as presence of those sugars in the urine.
Treatment often involves diet change, insulin injections and gentle exercise to help with weight management.
While requiring dedicated owner commitment, most diabetic animals live a full and healthy life with appropriate veterinary care along the way.