|It’s probably common knowledge that humans and animals can get some of the same diseases. Throughout the year, we will focus on different diseases. Our first one is a complex metabolic disorder known as Diabetes Mellitus (DM).
Diabetes affects both dogs and cats. It usually occurs later in life: dogs 7-9 years with females affected twice as often; cats 9-11 years with neutered male more at risk. Juvenile DM is uncommon. Obesity, chronic pancreatitis, and Cushing’s Disease can increase the risk of developing DM. Roughly 99% of dogs require insulin injection throughout the remainder of their lives. Cats are unique in that 50-70% require insulin therapy with the remainder responding to a specific diet and weight management program. Some cats may even normalize within weeks to months after diet change and weight management.
The most common signs are weight loss while having increased hunger, thirst, and urination. As the disorder progresses, pets can become very sick since multiple organs and body systems are affected. Dogs can develop cataracts even during treatment while cats can develop weak rear legs and lose ability to jump. Diagnosing DM can be fairly easy but managing the disorder can be very challenging.
We will continue next week with more details on insulin therapy and possible complications.
Dr. Michael Hicks
Hicks Animal Clinic