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November is Pet Diabetes Awareness Month, and we’re using the opportunity to help raise awareness about the dangers of diabetes in dogs and cats and what pet owners can do to protect their pets from this dangerous illness.

What Is Pet Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus in pets is similar to the condition of the same name that can develop in humans. It’s chronic and systemic, meaning it cannot be cured and it affects the body as a whole.
Diabetes is marked by the body’s inability to process glucose (a type of sugar that cells convert into energy) as it should, typically as a result of an inability to effectively or efficiently produce enough insulin to process the sugar. This results in diminished energy levels, interrupted body functions, and elevated levels of sugar in the blood and in urine. It can result in a whole host of secondary health issues and shorten a pet’s life expectancy.

How Is Diabetes Diagnosed?

We use a combination of bloodwork and urinalysis lab testing to diagnose diabetes in pets. These tests check the sugar levels in a pet’s blood and urine, typically after a 12-hour period of fasting. If the levels are elevated after a fast, this can indicate diabetes.

Should Your Pet Be Tested? Diabetes Risk Factors

Not all pets automatically require routine screening for diabetes. Some pets, however, might be at an increased risk for developing diabetes, and we might recommend routinely screening these pets during their annual or bi-annual wellness examinations.
Risk factors for diabetes in pets include:
If your pet is included in any of these categories, we encourage you to talk with our veterinarians about routine diabetes screening.

The Importance of Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Diabetes

As with many illnesses, early diagnosis and prompt treatment can help to protect pets from suffering more serious consequences, severe symptoms, and secondary health problems as a result of allowing a serious illness to go untreated for too long. With early diagnosis, our veterinarians at Tanglewilde Veterinary Clinic can effectively manage a pet’s diabetes, help to slow the progression of the disease, and keep your pet healthy and happy.