Managing a Dog’s Diabetes
Most dogs respond to insulin dosing and can maintain consistent blood sugar levels.
Jon Geller, D.V.M., DABVP
Q. My dog has been losing weight and drinking a lot of water. We went to the vet on Friday, they called on Sunday to say that our Yorkie has diabetes, he was 18 pounds, is now 11 pounds and just turned 7 years old. We are to take him in for a start of insulin and they want to keep him for observation for the day. What can we expect for our beloved member of our family for the future?
A. Diabetes in dogs is usually due to a lack of insulin production (similar to Type I Diabetes in humans), causing blood sugar levels to spike dangerously high. The high blood sugar spills out in the urine, causing weight loss due to loss of calories. There are many other detrimental effects of high blood sugar also.
Once diabetes is controlled with the correct dose of insulin, which will be twice a day, it is reasonably easy to control in dogs if you follow the guidelines your veterinarian gives you. Unlike cats, whose blood sugar levels can vary widely, most dogs respond consistently to insulin dosing.
There also is a prescription diet, such as Hills D/M, that can help maintain consistent blood sugar levels. Overall, your dog's prognosis is good once the diabetes is controlled. This will involve a significant commitment from you , including rechecks with your vet, some home monitoring of blood sugar levels (you can do this with a lancet kit), and reliable pet-sitting follow up whenever you are not around.
Your dog's weight should return to normal, although it's better to keep him on the slim side. Most dogs don't mind the injections with the tiny insulin needles, especially if you follow them up with a treat.
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