Diabetes mellitus is a complex endocrine disorder, occurring in both dogs and cats, which results from a deficiency in insulin, which results in a high blood sugar (glucose) even when food is withheld! It is a disease of the pancreas, a small but important organ located in the abdomen next to the stomach. It is this organ that produces the hormone insulin that regulates our blood sugar.
When insulin levels are low, the cells of the body are starved for an energy source because all the glucose is trapped in the blood. The body starts breaking down fat and muscle as an energy source. So, your pet eats ravenously yet weighs less. This extra blood glucose is filtered through the urine taking extra water with it. The result is your pet urinating large volumes. This only results in drinking more and more (and more).
Diabetes can be uncomplicated or very complicated, with other metabolic diseases joining in to make treatment very challenging! Complicating disorders include hyperadrenocorticism, pancreatitis, ketoacidosis and infection. Reproductive hormones can complicate treatment, blocking the effect of insulin. Pituitary tumors can make animals insulin-resistant.
Your pet’s Diabetes diagnoses will be based on the 4 classic symptoms: weight loss, increased drinking, increased appetite and increased urination. But, diagnostically, the most important sign is the presence of very high glucose in the blood stream and perhaps even in the urine. We all get increased blood sugar following a meal or in a stressful situation, but diabetes is the only disease that will cause blood glucose levels to rise above 400 mg/dL.
Standard treatment involves 1 or 2 insulin injections per day at the same time for the remainder of their lives. The goal of therapy is to limit the blood glucose to 60-180 mg/dL for at least 16-18 hours per day. This will also control the excessive drinking and urinating, stabilize any weight loss, and make your pet feel well again. Working together, we can also prevent complications like ketoacidosis and avoid hypoglycemia or low blood sugar that can be fatal.
Diet and exercise are also very important in helping us regulate your pet’s blood sugar. We recommend feeding Royal Canin Diabetic management food, divided into 2-3 meals given at approximately 8:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and again at 8:00 p.m. No treats are necessary and are actually harmful for stabilizing your pet’s blood sugar.
Studies have shown that commercially-prepared dog or cat foods do not contain the correct amounts of carbohydrates and usually contain too much fat or sucrose. Prescription veterinary diets are formulated with balanced complex carbohydrates & protein, moderately restricted fats and fiber that allows for slow and steady glucose absorption from the intestine.
Royal Canin Diabetic Diet has been formulated with high levels of soluble and insoluble fiber, restricted simple sugars and limited fat. The complex carbohydrates and high fiber helps to slow the release of glucose into the body after a meal. The restricted fat reduces the risk of pancreatitis or hyperlipidemia. Royal Canin is strictly a dry formula. If a canned recipe is needed, we recommend Hill’s Prescription Diet W/D.
Exercise lessons insulin requirements! However, just like your diet, keep your exercise fairly constant day to day.
The information listed here is for information only and is no way intended to be used to diagnose or treat your animal. Your animal MUST be seen and diagnosed by a licensed Veterinarian.