The Star-Herald

Diabetes and pets

Did you know your dog or cat can develop diabetes?   Years ago we never thought of our pets having diseases that we humans developed, but over the years veterinarian medicine has advanced a long way. Pets, as they get older, can develop a number of diseases.  

My dog Eppie could possibly be 12 or 13 years old; I’m not real sure of her age. We got her 10 years ago at the Central Aroostook Humane Society and were told she was 2 or 3 at the time.  She was diagnosed this past year with diabetes.  Eppie is on a shot of insulin twice a day.  I give the shot to her before her breakfast every morning and before she has her supper. Eppie is such a good girl, she knows when it is time to get the shot and sits right at my feet.  Of course, she knows she gets to eat right after.

Before she was diagnosed, I noticed symptoms happening that were very uncommon in her case.  She was drinking an excessive amount of water.  Eppie was also urinating in places she would never urinate; she would do this while sleeping.  She also lost about 16 pounds, so I knew something was up and called the vet right away. I pretty much knew, after reading about diabetes in dogs, that Eppie had developed this disease in her older years.

We run to the veterinarian’s office about every two or three weeks. They draw blood and test it to find out how high her sugar is.   Hers is on the high side, but all in all she is doing pretty well for an old pooch.   She is happy, eats well and is pampered and spoiled, so that is what matters the most to me.  

You need to watch your pet. They cannot tell you what is wrong, and you have to be their voice.  If you suspect something is going on with your dog or cat, take them to see their veterinarian.

Below are a few facts from MYPET.COM about diabetes.  It is estimated that one out of every 100 dogs that reaches 12 years of age will develop diabetes, and in cats, one out of 50 will develop diabetes.

Diabetes occurs when your dog or cat has stopped producing insulin, has inadequate levels of insulin, or has an abnormal response to insulin.

In dogs, diabetes is common in middle-aged to older animals, especially in females, but it is also seen in young dogs of both sexes.  In cats, diabetes is more common in middle-aged to older animals and in cats that are overweight.  

In general, diabetes cannot be cured.  However, if you establish an appropriate lifestyle for your cat or dog, healthy eating and the medicine they need, they will likely be capable of leading a happy, healthy life.

Because diabetes is caused by lack or shortage of insulin, your dog or cat may need management with insulin.  Diabetes can usually be controlled by simply learning to give your pet daily insulin injections to control blood glucose level.   Your veterinarian will help you find your dog’s or cat’s correct dose. This process may take a few weeks, but the end result is manageable.  Once you have the correct insulin dose, it is extremely important that you administer your pet’s therapy at approximately the same time every day.

Once you and your pet acclimate, however, you’ll both find the process fairly painless and quick.  Diabetic pets also benefit from regular exercise, especially if they are overweight.

If you are looking for a pet to add to your home and family, please check out the Central Aroostook Humane Society at 26 Cross St. in Presque Isle.  We have some great animals. Come see us and maybe you will find that special pet to add to your family.   We are open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed for lunch from 12 to 12:30.

“Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes?” ~ Theophile Gautier.

Gail Wieder is a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.