THE LOW DOWN:
The pancreas is the organ in the abdomen which produces and releases insulin in response to the intake of food. Insulin then travels through the bloodstream and allows for the uptake of these ingested nutrients into the body’s cells.
When the pancreas cannot release enough Insulin or when the body stops responding to the released insulin Diabetes mellitus occurs. Since the body isn’t making use of these sugars and nutrients, they sit in the blood thus increasing the amount of sugars in the bloodand this is called Hyperglycaemia.
Diabetes mellitus is seen in approximately one in every 250 dogs or cats. The majority of dogs suffer from the insulin dependant form of Diabetes and thus insulin has to be administered, whereas 50% of cats have the non-insulin dependant form.
Diabetes is more common in older animals and is usually associated with other diseases or conditions such as Pancreatitis, bacterial infections, Cushings syndrome, pregnancy, kidney or liver failure but can also be due to an unknown cause. In dogs, diabetes may have a genetic component with certains breeds being more susceptible; such as Schnauzers, Miniature Poodles, Dachshunds and Beagles. Feline diabetes is very often associated with obesity and thus it is exceptionally important to avoid obesity in pets.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR?
Less grooming in cats (rough, messy coats with lots of shedding)
Bladder infections (because there is more glucose in the urine which will promote bacterial growth)
If Dr Duncan has diagnosed that your pet has diabetes, an insulin dosage will be calculated and your diabetic creature will need to have insulin administered. The required dosage is usually calculated after a Glucose Curve is done.
What is a Glucose Curve??
A Glucose Curve involves your creature spending the day with us. Dr Duncan and Jorja will take a Glucose reading from your pet every hour and plot these glucose readings on a graph that looks similar to this one:
This allows us to see how your pet’s natural glucose levels fluctuate and thus we can calculate the best dosage to avoid dips and highs in glucose levels. This treatment plan must be very strictly adhered to as an overdose of insulin will lead to very low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) with will cause weakness and even seizures. It can take a few months of regular glucose curves to find the correct dose and timing regime for your individual pet and this can still change but it is absolutely essential for your creature to live a happy safe life with diabetes
Some types of insulin must be kept in the fridge and is usually administered by the owner in a special insulin syringe at the same time every day. It is essential to stick to your dosing routine and feeding times.
Diabetic patients need to have their diets controlled too as obesity can worsen their condition. They need a diet that is low in calories and high in fibre and there are a number of prescription diets that can really assist in the treatment and management of diabetes.
Routine exercise is a fantastic way to keep your diabetic pet healthy and happy. Keeping the exercise constant is also advantageous. Short daily walks are certainly better than long weekly walks.