Diabetes mellitus is a complex disease caused by either a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to insulin. It is thought that obese dogs and female dogs may run a greater risk of developing diabetes later in life. Some breeds may also run a greater risk, including Australian terriers, standard and miniature schnauzers, dachshunds etc.
To understand what diabetes is, it helps to understand some of this process. After a dog eats, his digestive system breaks food into various components, including glucose, which is carried into his cells by insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. When a dog does not produce insulin, or cannot utilize it normally, his or her blood sugar levels elevate. However, autoimmune disease, genetics, obesity, chronic pancreatitis, certain medications and abnormal protein deposits in the pancreas can play a major role in the development of the disease. Ultimately, untreated diabetes can cause coma and death.
Prevention is better than cure!
Our dogs can’t tell us how they feel and mostly they don't present obvious symptoms until an illness has developed. That can affect the quality of life of our furry friends, or even worse, their life expectancy. “Urine tests” are a simple and cheap helping tool to check your dog’s health to prevent the unexpected and react as fast as possible, but a helping tool does not replace the walks to your vet. Your dog’s urine can give you more information than you think.
2 types of diabetes
Just like humans, our pets can get both types. Type I diabetes is also known as insulin-deficiency. It is due to the body's inability to produce insulin. People and animals with type I diabetes need to be given insulin so that their body can use glucose.
Type II diabetes is known as insulin resistant diabetes. It happens when the pancreas makes insulin but the body's cells do not respond to the insulin. Sometimes type II diabetes can be reversed through weight loss and improvements in diet and exercise.
The most important thing is to check your dog regularly, for example with our PEZZ HealthCheck for dogs.