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Apex Vets explains pet diabetes this November

November 7, 2023

Pet Diabetes Awareness Month

If you did not know your dog or cat could develop diabetes, don’t worry, you are not alone! Having your pet diagnosed with Diabetes may come as a shock but here at Apex Vets we are here to support you and your pet with this change in lifestyle. An estimated 1 in 300 dogs, and 1 in 200 cats have diabetes.

There are two types of Diabetes in pets: Diabetes Mellitus and Diabetes Insipidus. Diabetes Mellitus is the most common.

What is Diabetes Mellitus?

A disorder which causes a lack of insulin being produced by the pancreas or the body’s cells not responding to the insulin produced, leading to there being too much glucose in the blood stream (Hyperglycaemia), the excess glucose is then passed through urine (glycosuria) once the amount of glucose becomes too high for the kidneys.

It can be a serious lifelong condition that requires a lot of veterinary and owner care.

Cells in the body cannot access the nutrients needed because insulin cannot transport the sugar from the bloodstream into the cells that need it.

Contributing factors:

¨Other diseases of the pancreas

¨High cortisol or treatments with cortisone (steroid) type medications


¨(dogs) Entire bitches, usually Diabetes with occur shortly after a season due to the elevated levels of progesterone, as this hormone can cause insulin resistance.

¨Certain breeds are of greater risk-

(dogs) Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzer, Doberman Pinschers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Samoyeds, Toy Poodles, Pomeranians, and Terriers.

(cats) Burmese, Russian Blue, Norwegian Forest Cat, Abyssinian and Tonkinese.


¨Typically seen in middle aged animals (7-10 years)

Signs and symptoms:

¨Weight loss

¨Drinking excessively (polydipsia)

¨Urinating excessively (polyuria)

¨Increased appetite

Your vet will diagnose Diabetes Mellitus by giving your pet a full clinical examination. Based on their findings they will conduct a blood and urine test to confirm diagnosis.

What is the treatment of Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes cannot be cured but treatment is effective in most cases. Treatment involves administering insulin by injection twice a day (12 hours apart) and following a strict diet and exercise routine.

Routine is the key to successfully stabilizing Diabetes Mellitus, this is done by giving insulin at the same time each day, consistency in exercising, weight control and diet. Mealtimes should be the same each day prior to administering insulin injections, and treats should be avoided as this can cause fluctuations in blood glucose levels.

After initial diagnosis of Diabetes, your vet will tailor an insulin dose to suit your dog’s needs and an appointment with one of our Diabetic nurses (Chloe or Clare) will be arranged to discuss any lifestyle changes and demonstrate how to give insulin injections. Never change your pet’s insulin dose without consulting your vet first.

If your dog seems unwell in themselves, lethargic, shivery/ muscle twitches, not eating or eating more, panting excessively, drinking, or urinating more, has an unusual smell or blood in their urine then contact your vet for advice.

If your dog is unconscious or having seizures, please contact your vet immediately as this is a medical emergency.

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