dog with veterinary nurse

Pet Diabetes

What do you need to know about diabetes?

About pet diabetes

Glucose is absorbed from food in healthy animals. This sugar provides the energy that their body’s cells need to work.

Insulin is a hormone which signals cells to absorb glucose. If this message fails cells do not take up glucose, so don’t have enough energy for their normal processes. The glucose is left in the blood, but doesn’t get used. This is called diabetes mellitus. 

Diabetes mellitus is the most common type of diabetes. It can occur in two ways:

  • Due to a lack of insulin 
  • Due to the body becoming resistant to insulin

Diabetes insipidus is very rare.

It is caused by a problem with a hormone in the body called antidiuretic hormone (ADH). ADH regulates water levels in the body.

Pets with diabetes insipidus cannot regulate their body water, so urinate a lot. They can become dehydrated in as little as 4-6 hours if they don’t have access to fresh water to drink. 

Diabetes in dogs

Diabetes in dogs is like human type 1 diabetes, and is due to the pancreas not producing enough insulin. Diabetes mellitus in dogs requires twice daily insulin injections in most cases. Affected dogs also need a strict eating regime, to keep their blood sugar levels stable. Diabetes often requires a lot of teamwork between vet and owner.
senior dog outside in sun

Diabetes in cats

Diabetes mellitus in cats is quite different to diabetes mellitus in dogs, and resembles human type 2 diabetes. It is still a serious, lifelong condition that requires a lot of veterinary and owner care. Diabetes in cats can be effectively managed with time, effort and medication, keeping your beloved pet happy and healthy for longer.
cat looking at phone

Diabetes in rabbits

The good news for bunnies is that diabetes is very rare in rabbits, and most vets will never see a case. Obesity is thought to be the major cause of these isolated cases, so keep your rabbit a nice healthy weight to lower the risk even further!
white and brown rabbit

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