Does Your Pet Have Diabetes? Here’s What You Need to Know

NOVEMBER 8, 2022

In honor of Pet Diabetes Awareness Month, Pet Paradise and NewDay Veterinary Care are focused on educating our pet parents on the signs and symptoms of canine and feline diabetes. While cases of pet diabetes are on the rise across the nation, prevention and early detection are the primary safeguards against this chronic and incurable disease.

The sooner we can diagnose and treat pet diabetes, the greater the chance we have of fostering a long and happy life for our patients.

What is pet diabetes?

Diabetes occurs in pets when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to control the amount of glucose, or sugar, in their blood. While the difference between Type I and II is less distinctive with pet diabetes than it is with humans, a treatment plan will vary between the two diagnoses:

  • Type I: The pancreas does not make enough insulin. Virtually all dogs have Type I diabetes, but it’s actually considered rare in cats.
  • Type II: The body cannot respond normally to the amount of insulin made by the pancreas. Nearly 80 percent of cats with diabetes have Type II, and most diagnosed cats are male.

Is my pet at risk for diabetes?

Some risk factors are the same for both cats and dogs: obesity, advancing age, physical inactivity, long-term use of steroid medications, medical history and genetics. However, unspayed female dogs are twice as likely as male dogs to have diabetes, while male cats are at higher risk than female cats. 

What are the signs of diabetes?

While we love and care for your pets as if they were our own, you understand your furbaby best. Know the signs of diabetes, and bring your cat or dog to a NewDay Veterinary Care clinic if you see any of the following signs at home:

Signs of Feline Diabetes

  • Excessive urination and thirst
  • Noticeable weight loss despite an increase in appetite
  • Hindlimb weakness or inability to jump
  • Change in gait
  • Decreased appetite, vomiting, lethargy (later signs)

Signs of Canine Diabetes

  • Excessive urination and thirst
  • Noticeable weight loss despite an increase in appetite
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Chronic or recurring infections
  • Decreased appetite with advancing disease

What’s next?

If you spot any of the signs of diabetes in your cat or dog, bring your pet to NewDay Veterinary Care as soon as you can. If it’s your first visit, make sure you share a full medical history on your input form, including any conditions that could be related to diabetes such as urinary tract infections, autoimmune disorders, viral diseases, Cushing’s disease, chronic or repeated pancreatitis, recurrent skin infections or any other medical conditions.

After consultation and a physical exam, your NewDay veterinarian can confirm or eliminate diabetes as a diagnosis with blood and urine testing.

If your cat or dog is diabetic, your NewDay veterinarian will discuss long-term treatment options that are specific to your pet. Successful treatment of diabetes requires regular examinations, blood and urine tests, and monitoring your pet’s weight, appetite, drinking and urination. At-home health care management for a diabetic pet requires patience, as adjusting to a new diet, medication and fitness regimens may change your routine a bit. In addition, daily insulin injections might be prescribed, but not always, in order to balance sugar levels in your pet’s blood.

While diabetes is incurable, it is manageable. Early detection and diagnosis are key. Know the signs of canine and feline diabetes, and together we can provide the best chance for a long, happy and healthy life for your pet.