Diabetes In Pets
Your pets are more than mere animals to you — they’re companions and friends. That’s why you always want to provide the best possible care for them. One way to demonstrate your love for your dogs and cats is to take care of their health needs and understand what potential issues they can face. For example, did you know animals could get diabetes just like people can?
When it comes to managing diabetes, early detection is key. In other words, the sooner you recognize the signs of the illness, the sooner you can do something to treat it. So to help you help your beloved furry friends, here’s a look at some of the biggest risk factors and symptoms of diabetes in pets.
Common Diabetes Risk Factors for Pets
- Having been neutered: It’s common practice to neuter pets today, but unfortunately neutered cats have twice the risk of developing diabetes as unneutered felines.
- Being overweight: It’s as true for animals as it is for humans — being overweight ups the risk factor for diabetes. Both overweight dogs and cats can develop diseases such as pancreatitis or kidney disease, which in turn trigger or worsen diabetes.
- Being a female dog: Female dogs are twice as likely to develop diabetes.
- Being a male cat: With cats, however, it’s the males who are more likely to have diabetes — 1.5 times more likely.
- Being between 9 and 13 years old as a dog: Dogs most commonly have diabetes between ages 9 and 13.
- Being between 8 and 12 years old as a cat: For cats, however, diabetes diagnoses most commonly occur when they’re between 8 and 12.
- Belonging to certain high-risk breeds: Some types of animals are just more likely to have diabetes. Breeds with higher risks include dachshunds, beagles, schnauzers and poodles among dogs, and Burmese cats among felines.
- Long-term medication use: If your pet takes certain medications for a prolonged period of time, that can also increase its risk. Corticosteroids are known for putting both cats and dogs at a higher risk for diabetes.
Do any of the above qualities fit your cats or dogs? If so, you should take special care of them to prevent disease.
Specific Symptoms to Watch Out for in Your Pets
- Excessive thirst or hunger: A pet that is suddenly drinking far more water than usual could be exhibiting signs of diabetes, and a pet that seems to be always starving, even when eating more food, might be evidencing a deeper problem.
- Increased urination: Likewise, if your dog or cat is urinating more frequently and/or having uncharacteristic accidents in the house, that could be a symptom.
- Fast weight loss: Even though your pet may be eating and drinking more than usual if he or she has diabetes, they are likely to also suddenly lose weight.
- Tiredness: If you notice your pet is suddenly acting lethargic, tired and sleepy all the time, something might be wrong.
- Hair loss: Pets with thinning or dull hair also are exhibiting signs of an illness.
- Cloudy-looking eyes: Take a look at your pet’s eyes to spot any cloudiness, as this is a diabetes warning sign.
- Vomiting: Pets that are frequently throwing up are obviously ill. This could be a sign of diabetes that has escalated.
Do any of the above symptoms apply to your animal? Are you noticing some warning signs that could indicate diabetes in your cat or dog? If so, it’s a good idea to see the veterinarian and get your animal checked out as soon as you can. Meanwhile, to learn more about preventing diabetes in pets, take a look at the accompanying handy infographic.
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