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Pet Diabetes Month

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Discussing The Health Condition Known As Diabetes And How It Affects Your Pets

November is considered the official National Diabetes Month. It originally started as a month-long holiday to raise awareness about diabetes in humans, but over time it has also included diabetes awareness in pets too. Diabetes is a fairly common health condition in both people and pets. This article will discuss what diabetes is, how pets can get it, different forms of treatment, and how it typcially affects a pets lifespan. Keep reading to learn more about diabetes in pets and how you can help contribute to Pet Diabetes Month!

What Is Diabetes

According to the C.D.C. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), diabetes is defined as a chronic (long lasting) health condition that directly affects how your body turns food into energy. Our bodies break down the food we eat into sugar called glucose and then releases it into the bloodstream. As the blood sugar goes up, it signals the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin functions like a key to let the blood sugar into the body’s cells for use as energy. With diabetes, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or it can’t use the insulin as well as it should. When there is a lack of insulin or when cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in the bloodstream causing serious health problems including heart disease, kidney disease, and vision problems. 

How Do Pets Get Diabetes

Dogs and cats are mammals just like us people, which makes them equally susceptible to the health condition known as diabetes. Animals that are overweight or have an inflammation of the pancreas have a predisposition to diabetes and are therefore more likely to develop it. Diabetes in cats and dogs is typically more common when they reach middle age to senior age. Diabetes is also typically more common in female dogs and male cats.  

Ways To Treat Diabetes

There is currently no definitive cure for diabetes. However, eating healthy food, losing weight, and being active can make a substantial difference and alleviate the severity of most symptoms. In order to make up for the body’s lack of insulin production, the best way to treat diabetes is to use insulin injections. The amount of insulin a pet will need will depend on the severity of their diabetes, so consult with your veterinarian first to determine how much insulin your pet may need before administering. Aside from insulin injections, a diabetic pet will also need a specific diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Your veterinarian will recommend a specific diet for your pet that will improve the effectiveness of the insulin injections and help them maintain a healthy weight. To learn more about what foods are healthy for your pet, check out our previous article entitled How To Choose A Dog Food.  

Signs Of Diabetes In Pets

Noticing the early signs of diabetes in your pets can make a huge difference in the severity of the health condition itself. The sooner you catch it, the sooner you can treat it and potentially save your pet’s life. Some early signs of diabetes in your pets may include cloudy eyes (especially in dogs), excessive water drinking alongside excessive urination, increase in appetite alongside weight loss, decreased appetite, and recurring infections (such as urinary and skin infections). While these symptoms don’t necessarily mean your pet has diabetes, they are certainly red flags regarding their overall health and you should have them checked out by your veterinarian. 

Getting Involved

The best way to get involved with Pet Diabetes Month is to help spread awareness of diabetes in pets and the month-long holiday itself. Many people aren’t even aware that pets can get diabetes! Knowledge is power and the more people are aware of this problem, the more we can help prevent, manage, and find a cure for diabetes in both pets and people. Share this article with your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors to help educate people on how serious pet diabetes is and how we as a community can help those affected by it.

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