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Canine Diabetes - Does Your Dog Have it?

Canine Diabetes: A Serious Dog Disease That is Completely Manageable

Canine diabetes is a serious disease that causes there to be too much glucose in the blood. If your pet has any of the signs, a dog health exam will help you find out with certainty. Canine diabetes symptoms usually include the following:

- drinking excessive amounts of water
- frequent urination
- weight gain (or weight loss in some cases)
- increased lethargy during the day

A simple blood test can tell the vet if the glucose counts look suspicious. You should have a full physical exam done on your dog annually, even if he seems perfectly healthy. Be sure to ask your vet to include a full blood work-up, to rule out diabetes (as well as many other diseases). It's well worth the added cost!

If your pet has been diagnosed with canine diabetes, don't panic. While it is a 'special needs' issue that will influence many daily decisions, it is a manageable disease in dogs. You just have to learn some simple steps and stick to a schedule.

The first goal after a canine diabetes diagnosis is to get the glucose levels down to a normal (or only slightly elevated) level. This will not require thorough dog health exams like the original blood test. The vet can draw some blood and test the levels fairly quickly, with minimal cost to you.

Canine diabetes means someone must administer insulin injections (in most cases). They are easy to do and will quickly become routine. One person in the family should be responsible for the shots, but everyone should know how to give them (age teen and up) in case of a dog health emergency. I highly recommend posting a printout of how to give the injection to your pet in every room in your house, just in case.

In our house, where we have a diabetic dog, we made a canine diabetes "Dog Health Cheat Sheet" for potential problems, like these:

- too much insulin is accidentally injected
- the needle breaks off while in the dog
- there's a seizure (not common, but can happen occasionally)

The cheat sheet includes the vet's emergency number and some basic actions to take in each scenario. We made several copies to be posted all over the house, but especially by the phone, the fridge (where the insulin is kept), and the bed (where our dog hangs out a lot).

The other goal with canine diabetes is to maintain the glucose level (with your vet's help). It is crucial to take your pet periodically to the vet for a whole day (8-hour period at least) so they can check blood sugar levels throughout the day. Just as in humans, blood sugar levels fluctuate in your pet throughout the day. Having your vet monitor and take several blood readings during a longer stretch of time helps ensure that your diabetes treatments are actually working as intended.

It's a little more work to care for diabetic dogs, no doubt about it. But our pets are family members and we love them dearly. Right? They give us their devotion, protection, and love, so the least we can do in return is give them proper health care, especially if they have problems like canine diabetes. Going the extra mile for them will help them live happier lives with less pain and more enjoyment. Can there be a nobler goal?

 

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