Managing Pet Diabetes
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month
Pets can experience many of the same diseases that affect humans, including diabetes. Diabetes mellitus affects middle-aged to older cats and is more common in males. It’s also common in older dogs. Obesity is a factor in developing diabetes so one way to avoid this disease—and manage the disease—is through weight management which includes proper nutrition and exercise or enrichment starting in the first year and continuing through the adult years.
Symptoms of pet diabetes include:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Weight loss and increased appetite
For cats that spend a lot of time outside, symptoms may go unnoticed—and cats instinctually hide disease to protect themselves from predators—which is why annual wellness visits with the veterinarian can uncover a medical condition before it reaches an advanced stage.
Diagnosis is confirmed with blood and urine samples that will show a high level of glucose in the blood and presence in the urine. When cats experience stress, it may result in a temporary rise in glucose levels, so more than one blood sample taken over several days is often necessary.
An integrative medical approach to treatment focuses on a combination of traditional and alternate therapies best suited for the individual pet. Integrative veterinarians recognize that nutrition in animals is unique to the breed so it becomes a necessary component to resolving many medical problems.
A change in diet is often necessary in helping the pet safely reach an optimal weight and control blood sugar levels. It’s important to structure a diet which takes the breed, lifestyle, and medical history into consideration. Dietary therapy includes weight loss if the pet is overweight or obese, a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates, and eating the same food at regular times.
Herbal remedies can aid nutrient and pharmaceutical absorption, and the appropriate use of vitamins, minerals, and Omega-3 fatty acids can support the immune and digestive systems.
With appropriate treatment and consistent monitoring, your pet’s health prognosis is good. A healthy lifestyle focused on diet and exercise is vital in maintaining optimal weight to either avoid or successfully treat pet diabetes.
If you are concerned about your pet’s health or have noticed a change in behavior or regular habits, call your veterinarian or call 215-345-6000 to schedule an appointment at Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care.