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St Anne's Veterinary Group Blog

» Diabetes - why its not a death sentence!

November is diabetes month in the human and the animal world. Diabetes is a fairly common condition that is often misunderstood. There are 4 T’s that could indicate diabetes:

Thirst: your pet will be drinking quite a bit more than usual. I myself am a diabetic and I will never forget that unquenchable thirst I had before I started on insulin.

Thin: has your pet lost weight recently? Weight loss can be down to many different conditions but with diabetes it happens fairly rapidly. Insulin + glucose = energy. Without the insulin the body desperately looks for another energy source and therefore breaks down fat. This comes with big consequences called diabetic ketoacidosis, where the breakdown of the fat causes acid to build up in the blood. This can cause multi-organ failure and ultimately death. I can tell you from personal experience that it is an awful thing to experience.

Tired: because your pet’s body is trying to find other energy sources just to keep everything working, you will notice that they are extremely tired and may be lethargic or collapsed.

Toilet: you will find that your pet will need to be urinating extremely frequently. People initially might just assume because their pet is drinking a little more, that they will obviously need to pee more. Which of course is partly true, but their body is busy trying to flush out the toxins that have built up from the lack of insulin.

We often diagnose diabetes by finding glucose and sometime ketones in the urine of a patient. Blood work would be done too, we would be checking for their current blood glucose and sending blood away to the lab to check what their average blood glucose has been over the last 3 months or so. This will allow us to get a picture as to how long the patient has been diabetic.

Overweight cats or cats on steroids (steroids increase the blood glucose levels and can cause weight gain). Their diabetes can often go if they lose the excess weight. Dogs once diagnosed with diabetes, usually have it for life.
Diabetes is usually treated with insulin injections that go under the skin. Having a routine with a diabetic patient is extremely important. Keeping the food the same, as in type and quantity, exercise, weight (unless trying to lose weight – the less weight they are, usually the less insulin they need, but every case is slightly different) and time of injection.

Diabetic animals that are well controlled usually live a pretty normal life, sometimes it can take a little while to stabilise them.

If your pet is older, we run free older pet club consults with a nurse where we can discuss the aging process and what we can do to help. This includes a free urine dipstick test where we can check for signs of diabetes and any problems the kidneys might be having too. If any of the tests come back as abnormal, you then can get a consultation with a vet for a discounted price. Give us a call to book your appointment today. We only run nurse clinics at the main surgery in St. Anne’s Road, Eastbourne.


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