What Causes Pet Diabetes?

November 18, 2021

When most people think about diabetes, they are only thinking of the human condition. The fact is that diabetes can also affect pets. Dogs and cats have a risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes in pets occurs when the body fails to produce enough insulin or is unable to effectively use the insulin. 


This problem results in a spike in glucose or blood sugar. Sugar in the body is ideally turned into energy, but inadequate insulin renders the sugar unusable. This leaves the body with surplus sugar. Pets that develop type 1 diabetes will always have diabetes. 


Diabetes in Cats and Dogs


Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to produce insulin. This leaves the body unable to properly digest food or to use the energy from the food eaten. Dogs are more likely to suffer from this type of diabetes than cats. 


Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces the insulin well, but the cells do not react as they should. This type of diabetes affects cats more than dogs, and it is reversible if the pet’s health or physical condition improves.


Causes of Pet Diabetes 


There are several causes of diabetes in pets. Some animal breeds are more susceptible to developing diabetes than others. Type 1 diabetes results from the damage or failure of the insulin-producing cells to function normally. Death of the pancreas cells can be due to genetics or pancreatitis. 


This form of diabetes has no cure, owing to the permanent destruction of cells. Type 2 diabetes results from obesity or being overweight. The excess weight causes normal cells to become insulin-resistant. 


Risk Factors for Diabetes 

Pets of all sizes, gender, and age can develop diabetes. There are, however, pets that are at high risk of developing the condition. Canines are more likely to develop diabetes than felines. The older the animal gets, the more likely they are to develop diabetes. 


Senior dogs, male cats, inactive pets, and unspayed female dogs are most at risk. Others in the high-risk category are pets that suffer from pancreatitis and pets with hyperthyroidism.


Genetics and Diabetes


There are dog breeds genetically predisposed to developing diabetes. They are: 


  • Doberman Pinschers

  • Dachshunds

  • Golden Retrievers

  • Pomeranians

  • German Shepherds

  • Labrador Retrievers

  • Terriers

  • Toy Poodles

  • Cocker Spaniels


Preventing Pet Diabetes


Prevention is always better than cure. As a pet owner, you can do something to help your pet avoid getting diabetes. Ensuring that your pet maintains a healthy weight is important. 


This will involve feeding your pet a healthy diet and keeping your pet engaged with play and regular exercise. Regular visits to the vet will also help ensure that your pet remains healthy. Early detection is vital to reduce the severity of symptoms. 


Diabetes in pets is more manageable if detected early. A veterinarian can help in the management of the disease. Proper monitoring, diet, and exercise can help in the management of diabetes. The good news is that many pets with diabetes go on to lead long, healthy, and happy lives.


For more on pet diabetes, contact The Vet in Springboro at our office in Springboro, Ohio. You can call (937) 748-6363 today to schedule an appointment.

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