Diabetes
DIABETES IN PETS

Diabetes mellitus ("sugar diabetes") is a disease caused by an insulin deficiency. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas (a gland next to the stomach) and is necessary to convert blood sugar into a more useful form of energy for the body. Without insulin replacement, serious changes occur in the pet that lead to further illness and eventual death. There is no cure for diabetes. On rare occasions some cats with diabetes will spontaneously get better (the reason for this is not known).  For most pets treatment is usually lifelong and critical for the pet's survival. Humans can have certain types of diabetes that are controllable with pills or special diets. Unfortunately, this type of diabetes is rare in cats and does not occur in dogs.

 Dogs and cats usually need daily injections of insulin to maintain an otherwise healthy life. 

HOME CARE:

[1] Exercise:

Allow your pet to determine how active he/she will be. The important fact to remember is to be consistent every day. Heavy exercise affects blood sugar and insulin requirements. If you allow your pet to run around for many hours over the weekend when he/she would normally not be that active you may find it more frustrating and difficult to regulate the insulin dosage. On the other hand consistent amounts of exercise actually makes diabetes control easier.


[2] Diet:


Normally, the body monitors the amount of sugar in the blood at each moment and determines how much insulin the pancreas should produce. Since you can only "guess" the blood sugar level at home (utilizing urine measurements) you must carefully regulate how your pet eats. When you feed and what you feed is more important than the amount that you feed. The food regulation seems to cause pet owners the most problems. A high fiber diet (such as HiFactor) is very helpful in helping to lower the pet's insulin need.

1  DOGS should receive a small meal (1/3 of the normal daily amount) in the morning and the main meal 6-8 hours later. The graph (below) illustrates that when you give a shot of insulin it may take from 4-8 hours before it reaches full effect. The "main meal" concept is to try to make food available to the pet when the insulin is at its peak. There absolutely cannot be any in-between-meal snacks, biscuits, or people food at other times.

2  CATS should be fed a "free-choice" diet of dry food since their eating habits differ from dogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you stray from this feeding regimen you may create problems with the control of your pet's diabetes.  Adherence to these guideline will make treatment of this condition much easier as well as provide a complete and well-balanced diet.

[3] Urine Testing:

Every morning you should test your dog's urine using the Keto-Diastik strips. Cat owners will not need to test the urine. If your pet is a male dog this is very simple because of their urinating habits. As he raises the leg or semi-squats simply catch a small amount of urine in a pie pan.  A cup attached to a broomstick also works well. The pan works the best for the female dog. Another trick is to train the dog to urinate on concrete.  The dipstick test can then easily be performed before you hose down the area.


[4] Insulin:


The doctor or veterinary technician will show you how to use the syringe and medication.

USE THE FOLLOWING SCALE TO DETERMINE THE AMOUNT OF INSULIN YOUR PET NEEDS:

URINE GLUCOSE (color value of top pad on the strip)          ADJUST DOSAGE OF INSULIN

NEGATIVE

DECREASE _____ UNITS

1/10% (TRACE)

4 NO CHANGE FROM YESTERDAY

1/4% (1+)

5 INCREASE ____ UNITS

1/2% (2+)

6 INCREASE ____ UNITS

1% (3+)

7 INCREASE ____ UNITS

2% (4+)

8 INCREASE ____ UNITS

                                         9 Your beginning dosage is _____ units

At first you may find all of this very difficult and confusing but as times goes by you will be surprised at how easy it can be to give your pet the life saving insulin injections. During the first few weeks we expect to hear from you often, sometimes daily. This is normal, don't feel embarrassed. We are happy to answer your questions and go over the details as much as it takes so that you are comfortable with what is required.

COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

1. What if my pet refuses to eat?

give Nutrical, honey or anything "tasty"

2. What if I can not get a urine sample?

give the same dosage of insulin as yesterday

3. What if I am not sure I gave all of the injection?

give 1 extra unit only

4. What if my pet gets hold of food other than the regular?

you're ok but don't make a habit of it

5. What if I forget to give the injection at the regular time?

an occasional missed day is not a crisis

6. What if my pet starts to shake, appears weak or
     wobbly?

give Nutrical, honey or food immediately.

7. What if my pet is seizuring and cannot swallow?

squeeze honey into the mouth after the fit stops

8. Can I use the same needle more than once?

no

9. Do I have to keep the insulin refrigerated?

yes

 

Web site designed by Ed Acton for Orange Veterinary Hospital