May 2018: Vet's Advice

May 01 2018

Dogs can get diabetes too

Some of us may be familiar with diabetes in humans but did you know that dogs can get it too?

Once they are diagnosed and stabilised treatment involves a strict diet and exercise and daily injections which we train owners to do. Many dogs go on to lead a happy and active life.

In dogs, diabetes is typically caused by the pancreas not producing enough (or any) insulin, or more rarely the body not responding to the insulin produced.

In a healthy dog the pancreas produces insulin in response to rising blood sugar levels, typically after a meal. The insulin helps transport glucose into cells where it is metabolised releasing energy for the cell to function e.g. nerve cells to transport signals or muscle cells to contract. When this biological pathway stops working it causes a variety of problems such as nerve damage or glaucoma. In severe cases they may develop life-threatening keto-acidosis.

Signs we typically see in diabetic dogs include:


Increased thirst and more urine produced as a result. Some owners may notice their pet wetting their bed at night (please note this can be a sign of other disease processes also)


Weight loss despite a ravenous appetite


Glucose in urine

Treatment involves an initial period of stabilisation to calculate the correct dose of insulin for the individual then regular check-ups to ensure the dose is correct. Diet also has a large part to play. The diet should be high in fibre in order to avoid rapid increases and ‘crashes’ of blood glucose levels. Strict exercise, meal size and times and regular insulin injections all help stabilise the glucose levels.

If you are concerned your dog (or cat) may be showing symptoms we would always recommend a check up. At Kingswood Vets4Pets we would be more than happy to help if you had any queries. Please feel free to call us on 0117 961 6417 or pop in to see us, we’re just off Lodge Causeway.