Diabetes Mellitus (DM), a life long disorder that afflicts dogs and cats, results when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to meet the animal's needs. Insulin is a hormone needed to transport glucose (blood sugar) into the body's cells. When there is a lack of insulin in the body, blood glucose rises to abnormally high levels. Over time, this causes damage to body tissues.
Early symptoms include weakness, weight loss, change in appetite, and depression. Since these can be mild they may go unnoticed by the owner. More obvious signs are increased thirst and frequent urination. Urinary tract infections are more common in diabetic pets than in normal animals.
Once a diagnosis has been made, a treatment plan will be designed to meet your individual needs and those of your pet. The plan will address the type and amount of insulin, how it is to be administered, dietary restrictions and exercise for your pet. Dogs are Type I diabetics and require insulin injections. Cats are usually Type II diabetics; insulin injections may be used initially, but when fed a special diet, as many as 70 percent of cats can eventually be maintained without the injections.There is no cure for DM, but through your commitment of time and management of their life style, your pet can lead a happy, comfortable life.
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