Over 260,000 dogs and 373,000 cats living in the United States right now will have diabetes at some point in their lives. Pets with diabetes require special care, including insulin injections and regular monitoring by a licensed veterinarian, which can be costly and time-consuming. If left untreated, diabetes can compromise cell function and damage organs, just as humans do. Early diagnosis is key to extending quality of life, so it is vital to know the signs and symptoms of diabetes for your pet.
Early signs of diabetes in pets include:
- Increased water intake
- Increased urination
- Increased appetite
- Weight loss despite an increase in appetite
- Cloudy eyes
- Recurring infections
The body of a pet with diabetes can’t use the glucose in the bloodstream to power cells as it should. The glucose begins backing up and being flushed out by the kidneys instead, along with lots of water. This causes the pet to feel dehydrated, drink water excessively, and urinate much more often. The pet’s body thinks it’s starving due to the lack of glucose nourishing the cells, and the pet begins to eat ravenously.
No matter how much they eat, the glucose just keeps building up in the bloodstream and being flushed out, damaging organs and blood vessels along the way. In starvation mode, the pet’s liver begins breaking down protein such as muscle and other tissues to form glucose in a desperate bid for nutrition. This causes rapid weight loss despite the increased appetite.
Dogs are especially susceptible to cloudy eyes as a symptom of diabetes. The cloudy appearance is caused by cataracts that form on the dog’s eyes. For around 75% of diabetic dogs, this happens within the first year after diagnosis.
Pets with diabetes, especially older pets, are more susceptible to chronic, recurring infections. These infections can be anywhere on the body, but skin and urinary tract infections are common. This is due to peripheral nerve damage and decreased blood flow to the extremities as diabetes progresses.
Later, more advanced signs of diabetes in a pet may include:
- Decreased appetite
- Lack of energy
- Depressed attitude
As the disease progresses, symptoms become more exaggerated. The time spent without proper cell nutrition begins to take its toll, and the pet loses appetite and energy. They may start to behave out of character and, in the most severe cases, begin vomiting.
If you notice advanced signs of diabetes in your pet and your regular vet is not available, contact your local pet urgent care or emergency hospital immediately. These are all emergencies and need to be attended to as quickly as possible.
If you live in the Wesley Chapel area of Pasco County, please contact us at (813) 279-6500 or visit us online at www.urgentpetcareofwesleychapel.com for all your pets after-hours urgent care needs. We are a fully equipped veterinary hospital with robust diagnostic capabilities to diagnose and treat your accurately, quickly, and with compassion.