Pets often act like they are almost human. But when it comes to human diseases like diabetes, that’s not a good thing! November is Pet Diabetes Month™. Merck Animal Health has announced a global campaign, “A Healthy Pet = a Happy Family,” in conjunction with Pet Diabetes Month to highlight that just like people, dogs and cats can suffer from diabetes. Here’s what you should know about pet diabetes to help keep your companion and your family healthy and happy:
What Is Pet Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus is the same disease that humans get. It involves the production of insulin, a hormone that helps bodies absorb and use glucose, a major source of energy from food. A lack of insulin allows the glucose to build up to unhealthy levels, which can be dangerous or even fatal if untreated for both dogs and cats.
What Causes Pet Diabetes?
Middle-aged and older pets are more at risk, and certain breeds have higher rates of becoming diabetic. Obesity is another major risk factor.
What Diabetes Symptoms Should I Look For?
The major signs of diabetes in both cats and dogs include:
• Excessive thirst; drinking more water than they normally do
• Frequent urination or the onset of accidents in the house
• A change in appetite. Often the animal will be hungrier than normal, but still lose weight
• Dull, cloudy eyes
• Lack of energy
• Poor coat and skin condition
What Can I Do to Keep My Pet Healthy?
If you suspect your dog or cat may have diabetes, see your veterinarian right away! They will test your pet’s blood glucose level and test for glucose in the urine, as well as, rule out any other conditions or infections before making a diagnosis.
If detected early, pet diabetes can be effectively managed, so it’s very important to get your pet checked as soon as possible. With proper treatment, dogs with diabetes have the same life expectancy as a non-diabetic dog of the same age and sex. Cats that are under competent diabetic care can also happily live out their nine lives!
Just like us, it’s important for our pets to manage their weight, eat healthy foods, get lots of exercise, and see their doctor for regular check-ups! And it’s up to us to see that they do. After all, they are members of our family and we love them.