Doggy Diabetes Canines…Cure ‘n’ Care
Dog diabetes is a silent killer that is engulfing our pooches’ health and well-being mutely. Sooner we detect the disorder, better the chances of recovery. In our last issue, we shared in-depth information about the doggie diabetes. As a sequel to it, we are now presenting cure ‘n’ care for it.
If your pet suffers from diabetes, don’t lose hope as it can be controlled by proper treatment and cure. The treatment requires lot of patience…but it’s not at all a big-ask for our pooches pink health.
Dealing with a diabetic pet is a challenging situation…it requires a lot of patience and commitment as the treatment is a long-term process and tedious regimen to follow. It includes:
- Stabilizing the patient and correcting ketoacidosis and dehydration, if present.
- Restoring the levels of blood glucose to as near normal as possible. This will reduce the risk of longterm complications such as cataract, kidney problems, etc.
- Correct glycosuria (that is the presence of glucose in urine). Once this is done, it will automatically reverse the symptoms of excessive urination and hunger.
- One needs to remove any predisposing factors; females need to be spayed once they are stabilized. Any sort of corticosteroid, hormonal therapy needs to be stopped, if it is safe to do so.
- Immediate weight reduction and long term weight management of the patient is critical; this includes a strict diet and exercise plan.
- Administration of antibiotics to eliminate any infection, e.g. urinary tract infection.
The challenges… canines care
Owners of diabetic dogs need to be constantly aware of the following parameters to avoid any further loss due to disease:
- A fixed and a constant amount of food each day will monitor his appetite better. Is he still hungry or is he leaving food behind?
- Assess the patient’s bodyweight on monthly basis.
- Develop a method to measure water consumption although this is highly variable, but a regular recording of the daily water consumption will help you establish the normal range.
- Observe the patient for recurrence of clinical signs.
- After stabilization of the pet, a regular check up is advised. A consistently good glycemic control assures the extension of time between visits to the vet.
Therapy for Diabetes Mellitus involves around consistency. The pet needs regular administration of medication, feeding and stable stress-free lifestyle.
Insulin: Administration of insulin injections is the foundation for keeping the blood glucose levels in check. This could be once a day or twice a day regime. Insulin is painless when injected, the needles used are very small and the injection when given will feel like an ant bite. The injection is given under the skin; the pet parent should not panic about causing any vital organ damage. It is crucial to administer the injection at the same time every day for better and stable results.
Diet: An overweight dog needs to lose weight through a combination of a weight reduction diet and personally designed exercise programme. Commercial diets are available in the market, which are a healthy weight loss option. If giving homemade food, then do discuss the diet chart in detail with your vet.
Exercise: Regular exercise promotes weight loss, improves insulin absorption into the cell, and enhances glucose uptake by muscles. Consistency in the level and time of exercise has to be maintained.
The care of a diabetic pet is very challenging; but with your dedication and your veterinarian’s expertise, your pet could continue to have a long and healthy life.
(Dr Kamaldeep Chaggar is a 2nd generation vet; she did her graduation in veterinary science from PAU, Ludhiana and worked with clinics in London and USA. She has also authored several articles on pets and is a regular on radio and TV pet shows.)
A WORD OF CAUTION
One of the most common complications in diabetic pets is giving them too much insulin. If the dose of insulin is just too high, the dog can go in to hypoglycemic shock. This is a life-threatening emergency. He will become depressed, may have seizures and lose consciousness. If this occurs, take your pet immediately to the vet for urgent medical attention. On the way, a little honey/sugar solution or glucose powder paste can be administered orally.