Canine diabetes is a common disease of older dogs, and although serious, dogs can live very long and happy lives with appropriate treatment. The certified vets at Amity Vet Clinic can explain all that you need to know about this disease including causes, symptoms and treatment options.

What are the causes of canine diabetes?

Similar to humans with diabetes, dogs develop diabetes due to an imbalance in the rate of production and processing of insulin. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and helps the body regulate the absorption of glucose (which the body uses for energy).  Abnormal levels of insulin result in poorly controlled blood sugar levels.

Common Symptoms of diabetes in canines

There are several symptoms which could indicate your dog has diabetes. If you notice any of the below, please contact us for further investigation:

  • Increased Thirst – your dog may want to drink more water than usual
  • Increased Urination – your dog may urinate more frequently than normal, pass larger volumes of urine, and/or have ‘accidents’ indoors
  • Changes in appetite – in the early stages of diabetes dogs may want to eat more than normal
  • Weight loss – weight loss while still eating well can be a strong indicator for diabetes
  • Tiredness – you may notice your dog not wanting to engage in their usual activities due to fatigue. Sometimes this is mistakenly attributed to dogs ‘just getting old’, when in reality it’s a warning sign that something is ‘not right’ with your dog.

These are the most classic symptoms of canine diabetes, however there may be more subtle signs in the early stages of the disease. Changes to dogs’ eyes and vision may be seen due to cataract formation, urinary tract infections are very common and can cause smelly urine and inappropriate urination, and some dogs will develop changes to their posture and gait. Early diagnosis can help stabilise diabetic dogs much more quickly, and once controlled the symptoms of diabetes often disappear entirely.

Are some dogs at higher risk of getting diabetes than others?

There is an estimation that 1 in 300 dogs will develop diabetes in their lifetime.Veterinarians cannot attribute diabetes to one single cause, but analysis has helped identify several risk factors. These include your dog’s sex, age, breed and other factors to consider:

  • Sex – Female dogs are more susceptible to developing diabetes. Males, particularly neutered males, are prone to the disease as well. 
  • Age –diabetes mostly develops in middle aged dogs. We recommend all pets over the age of 7 years old are checked every 6 months by a licenced veterinarian. This helps identify diseases such as diabetes before they become a significant problem
  • Breed – Analysis of data and research has found that the following breeds are more prone to diabetes than others: Golden Retrievers, Pugs, Samoyeds, Schnauzers, Fox Terriers, German Shepherds, Dachshunds, Poodles and Beagles
  • Other conditions — Medical conditions such as pancreatitis and Cushings disease are closely linked to diabetes, and dogs with those underlying conditions should be monitored closely. 

To avoid complications of diabetes it is important to keep regular appointments with your dog’s veterinarian, maintain an active healthy lifestyle for your pet and seek advice promptly if you have any concerns. A quick blood and urine test is all that is needed to diagnose diabetes, and there are effective treatment options available.

Are you wondering if your dog has diabetes? Don’t wait and book an appointment today with Amity Vet Clinic.