Changes in the production of insulin due to poor eating habits – due to the consumption of foods that are less and natural and with a higher concentration of ingredients of industrial origin – and our lifestyle lacking in physical exercise are also spreading to our pets .
The incidence of diabetes in domestic animals has increased worldwide in recent years. This is directly related to the skyrocketing rate of obesity in pets to alarming levels. Basically all breeds present a significant increase in this regard, although diabetes is more frequently diagnosed in dogs: in the case of dogs Labradors, Schnauzers, “Westies”, Huskies and King Charles Spaniels; and Burmese, Abyssinian, Maine Coon and British Shorthair for cats.
The numbers are a reflection of what is happening in humans, with an increasing prevalence of insulin-dependent patients. The reasons can be genetic or hereditary or even obesity and sedentary lifestyle, which are fundamental for the genesis of diabetes.
Currently, its incidence is estimated to be one per 500 dogs and one per 200 cats.
For more information, this medium consulted the veterinarian Natalia Rodríguez of the Veterinaria San Bernardo.
– What is diabetes in animals?
– It is a metabolic disease, it occurs in both dogs and cats. As in people, what we find in this disease is an excess of glucose in the blood, which is called hyperglycemia. Regarding the cause of this hyperglycemia, the body is not producing the amount of insulin needed to use that glucose, or that the tissues are not able to use the glucose properly. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. What it does Controls the blood sugar level in the body. It may be that the pancreas is not producing enough insulin that the body needs to maintain blood sugar levels, or it may be that the pancreas is producing insulin, but that each function The tissues that use that glucose to generate energy for. They cannot take that glucose, so the glucose in the blood remains high and it causes the condition of hyperglycemia.
– Is it common in animals?
– Yes, this disease is common in the clinic. It usually occurs with dogs of medium to advanced age (between 5 and 6 years of age) and is more frequent in females than males, and among predisposed breeds we have poodles, schnauzers.
– How many types of diabetes are there?
Like humans, diabetes is also of two types. Type 1, more common in dogs, is insulin-dependent diabetes, in which the body is not producing the required amount of insulin, so it must be supplied. It is most common in animals. Type 2 diabetes, which is more common in cats, is non-insulin-dependent diabetes, in which the tissues are unable to use that glucose.
When we refer to glucose, it is the one that enters the body, obtained from food, when we refer to glycemia, it is the level of that glucose in the blood.
-What clinical signs can we see in animals?
– This happens in the following way: since there is an excess of glucose, it passes through the kidneys, the kidneys cannot capture and filter it, causing it to store water and the dog to urinate profusely , It is very thirsty. Polydipsia is excessive water consumption and polyuria is excessive urination. We may also notice polyphagia, that he begins to eat excessively, and we do not notice that he is gaining weight. Fatigue is observed in the animal, which does not do much activity. You can also find associated vomiting, glaucoma.
In the presence of these clinical signs in middle aged or elderly animals, what they have to do is to consult their primary veterinarian and consult about these signs.
– What does the vet do in the office?
– Collect a blood sample to take to the laboratory and a urine sample for analysis. This will ask for and verify excess glucose in the blood and confirm the presence of glucose in the urine. A curve is then made, measuring the blood glucose levels that the animal has daily for the first 24 hours, a record to verify and verify that it is indeed due to this, as there are other issues Which can change blood glucose. It doesn’t happen regularly or with such high levels.
– Do you have affairs?
– Yes, the last animal we had to check, its blood glucose was measured at the time it showed signs of illness, a curve was made to determine the levels and generate treatment. This is a disease that requires treatment. The weight of the animal, the level of glycemia, the norm is always when there is doubt or doubt about something, always go to the vet.
How is blood glucose measured in animals?
– This is done with a blood glucose meter, a puncture is made in the atrial lobe of the ear and can be measured with a system of reactive strips. Based on what you see there, determine how to proceed with the patient.
– How can we prevent diabetes in our animals?
– We can learn to prevent diabetes in dogs or cats with regular exercise, quality food -fruits and vegetables-, frequent medical control. You’ll also have to consider spaying, watch your diet, and avoid overeating.
How do you treat canine diabetes?
There are three pillars of treatment for a dog with diabetes: diet, exercise, and insulin. The diet, as is well known, must be different from the diet you have taken so far, because you will have to control the level of glucose in the blood very well and there will be many ingredients that you will not be able to take because they are harmful. Foods with high doses of fiber should be included. Certain fruits, such as apples and blueberries, as well as grains, brown rice and soy are foods that help diabetic dogs control their blood sugar levels.