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Are you worried about your pet slowing down, losing weight or drinking more? It could be diabetes!

November is Pet Diabetes Month and while there’s no cure for diabetes, proper care can help you manage your pet’s health. The more you know about diabetes, the better you’ll be able to work alongside your veterinarian to manage diabetes in your pet. 

What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus (DM), commonly referred to as diabetes, happens because the body stops making or responding to insulin, a hormone that controls the amount of sugar in the blood. As well as difficulties caused by an inability to turn sugar into energy the body can use, high sugar levels in the blood result in sugar (and lots of water!) being passed out in the urine.

Spotting the signs

Unfortunately our pets cannot tell us how they are feeling, so they rely on us to identify any changes in their behaviour that may indicate something is not quite right.

 Symptoms of diabetes in cats, dogs and other pets may include:

  • Excessive thirst/drinking a lot of water
  • Excessive urination or ‘accidents’ in the house
  • Weight loss
  • Increased hunger without gaining weight
  • Being less active/lethargic
  • Thinning, dry and/or dull hair

Diabetes can affect any animal, however like people, genetic factors, lifestyle and diet can all affect the risk of the disease developing. If you answer yes to any of these symptoms, your pet may be at a higher risk of developing or having diabetes.

  • My dog is one of the following breeds:
    Beagle, Bichon Frise, Border Collie, Border Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Corgi, Dachshund, Husky, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Samoyed, Scottish Terrier, Tibetan Terrier, West Highland White Terrier or Yorkshire Terrier.
  • My cat is Burmese
  • My cat is heavier than its ideal bodyweight
  • My pet has a close relative with diabetes (e.g. Mother, father, litter mate)
  • My pet is six years or older (or classed as ‘senior’ for its breed)

Take a tinkle!

Like all illnesses, prevention is better than cure. The earlier the problem is diagnosed and treated, the better.

During Pet Diabetes Month, all Medivet practices across the country will be working alongside MSD Animal Health to raise awareness of the risks of sugar diabetes by making free urine glucose tests available for pet owners.

Simply visit your local Medivet practice and pick up a leaflet containing your free urine dipstick. This leaflet includes tips on how to take a urine sample and what to do if your pet tests positive. 

The risk of diabetes in cats and dogs rises with their age. That’s why, at Medivet, we offer free urine tests for all cats and dogs over eight years old. For more information or to book an appointment, use our online practice finder to locate your nearest Medivet practice.

For further information about Pet Diabetes Month, visit www.mypetonline.co.uk/petdiabetesmonth

Pet Diabetes Month and MyPetOnline are brought to you by MSD Animal Health.

Posted November 3, 2015 by Cara Zaleski in Preventative Healthcare

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