November is Pet Diabetes Awareness month and it is only right that as pet owners we educate ourselves about this pet condition. Let us learn about the important signs and symptoms to look for; the recognition of which can enable us to control the condition as soon as possible.
Here are six signs of pet diabetes that should be paid heed to; these can help your pet retain not only its quality of life but indeed its life. And let us not forget that diabetic pets have special needs that put a strain on our finances for the duration of their life. In order to avoid this, it is imperative that pet parents have pet insurance cover for this condition.
Dogs and cats of all ages and breeds are susceptible to diabetes mellitus. However, older pets are at greater risk. The condition is more of an issue with dogs and certain dog breeds are at greater risk. If you own a Labrador retriever, Cairn terrier, daschund, Old English sheepdog, miniature pinscher, poodle, keeshond, Samoyed, Alaskan malamute, beagle then you need to be particularly aware of the signs, diagnosis, and complications associated with this condition.
1. Weakness and lethargy in pets can indicate diabetes mellitus. More often than not it is a weakness in the hind legs. With cats, it is not uncommon for afflicted felines to walk on the hocks instead of the paws of the hind legs. It is a clear indicator that blood glucose levels are not under control and remedial action is required.
2. Polyuria, abbreviated as PU, is a classic sign that your pet has diabetes and that its kidney function is impaired. Pets that begin urinating frequently should be checked for correct blood glucose levels and urine specific gravity levels. Frequent urination leads to loss of electrolytes necessitating IV fluids.
3. Polydipsia or excessive consumption of water follows directly from frequent urination. You will notice that your pet dog or cat will try to drink from not only its bowl but also other sources such as faucets and buckets. A combination of polydipsia and polyuria increases the workload on kidneys and hence these organs show early signs of damage.
4. Cataract is another tell-tale sign. If the eyes appear cloudy or bluish-gray, the situation warrants a visit to the vet. Cloudy vision in your pet is a result of excessive glucose absorbed by the cells of the lens. Fructose and sorbitol produced from the excess sugar pull water into the lens and lead to cataract.
5. Although a dog’s breath may smell foul because of other reasons, pet diabetes should be considered if the breath smells fruity and when you can see your pet showing other signs such as excessive urination and thirst. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening situation and requires urgent attention.
6. Polyphagia or hyperphagia is the medical name for the condition of having an increased appetite and is a clinical symptom of diabetes. It appears during the early stages of diabetic ketoacidosis; once ketoacidosis becomes severe, appetite is suppressed.