diabetes mellitus in dogs

What is Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs?

What is it?

Diabetes mellitus in dogs is a chronic disease that affects the dog’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. This is caused by a deficiency of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar. The result is a buildup of glucose in the blood, which can cause a range of health problems over time.

How is it Treated?

The treatment for diabetes mellitus in dogs typically involves a combination of insulin therapy, diet management, and exercise. Insulin therapy involves regular injections of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Diet management involves feeding the dog a consistent and balanced diet, while exercise can help to improve the dog’s overall health and glucose metabolism.

Breed Predispositions

Poodle Beagle Miniature Schnauzer Dachshund Samoyed Australian Terrier Bichon Frise Keeshond Cairn Terrier Golden Retriever


Over the past few weeks, Susan had noticed some concerning changes in her beloved Schnauzer, Toby. He was constantly thirsty, urinating more frequently, and losing weight despite having a healthy appetite. Unsure of what could be causing these symptoms, Susan scheduled an appointment with her trusted veterinarian. After conducting blood tests and a thorough examination, the vet revealed that Toby had diabetes mellitus, a diagnosis that Susan hadn’t anticipated. In this blog post, we’ll explore diabetes mellitus in dogs.

Canine diabetes mellitus is a chronic medical condition that occurs when a dog’s pancreas does not produce enough insulin or fails to use the insulin. Instead, it produces insulin levels correctly. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which transports glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells for energy production. Without adequate levels of insulin, glucose will build up in the blood instead of entering the cells where it is needed for energy production. This can lead to overwhelming health issues, from dehydration to organ failure.

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a common endocrine disease in dogs; the reported worldwide prevalence ranges from 0.3% to 1.3%.1-4. It is a disease where blood glucose levels are too high or low. This causes problems with how the body uses food, especially carbohydrates.

There are two types of Diabetes in animals: Type 1 and Type 2. Both types occur in people, but only one occurs in dogs.

  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus is caused by the autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells, resulting in a lack of insulin production. Symptoms usually appear within three months of diagnosis, although symptoms may develop over several years.
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus is due to insulin resistance, leading to hyperglycemia. Although the exact causes of type 2 diabetes mellitus remain unknown, genetics, obesity, physical activity level, diet, age, and stress play a role.

There are several different forms of Type 2 diabetes in dogs. However, they’re similar to those seen in people, and some breeds appear to be predisposed to specific conditions of Diabetes. For example, Labrador Retrievers seem at increased risk for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

Causes of Diabetes Mellitus in dogs

Causes of Diabetes Mellitus in dogs

Certain lifestyle choices can impact the development of CDM, such as high-fat diets, lack of exercise and being overweight can predispose dogs to develop diabetes. Additionally, certain breeds are more predisposed to developing diabetes, such as Miniature Schnauzers, Cairn Terriers, Poodles, Samoyeds and Keeshonds, which suggests there may also be a genetic component that influences CDM type 1 onset in susceptible individuals.

Environmental factors such as exposure to certain toxins and parasites and pancreatic infections could lead to damage and inflammation in the beta cells, which help produce insulin, thus double negatively impacting the body’s ability to use insulin correctly, leading to higher glucose levels within the body, eventually causing CDM.

It’s also been reported that female dogs are more likely than male ones to develop canine diabetes mellitus, suggesting hormones also play a role in the risk for CDM or its progression. Stressful situations along with ovulation could both have a part here as well as some medications prescribed for dogs have been linked to CDM or, according to some reports, can aid the progression of this disease too, so it’s essential not to let any underlying health conditions go untreated or unidentified in order prevent further health issues from occurring down the line.

Symptoms of Canine Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus in dogs is a chronic condition caused by inadequate production and utilization of insulin. Symptoms include increased thirst, urination, appetite, and weight loss. Other signs may include increased hunger, fatigue, dehydration and depression.

In addition to the above common symptoms, diabetes mellitus in dogs can manifest itself in unusual ways, such as excessive panting and soft stool due to the malabsorption of fat in the food. It can also cause an increase in infections around the ears and an increase in skin irritation or itching because of a lack of proper blood circulation.

The most severe complication of diabetes mellitus in dogs is ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition requiring emergency treatment at a veterinary hospital. Ketoacidosis occurs when there is a severe decrease in circulating insulin and results in an accumulation of ketone acids which are toxic waste products normally excreted through urine but now accumulate inside the body. It causes severe vomiting, restlessness, weakness or coma if left untreated.

Other possible complications associated with diabetes mellitus are cataracts, glaucoma or retinal detachment leading to vision loss and nerve damage resulting from poor regulation of blood sugar levels over time. Diabetic neuropathy can cause lameness or paralysis if it progresses too far without effective treatment intervention. Finally, urinary tract infections are common, especially in female dogs with diabetes, since the high glucose levels encourage bacterial growth within their urinary tract system.

By recognizing the symptoms early on and initiating proper medical care for canine diabetes, your pet can lead a long and healthy life even with this chronic condition.

Diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs

Diagnosing canine diabetes mellitus (DM) requires a thorough history and physical examination. The most common presenting signs include polyuria/polydipsia, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, exercise intolerance, increased thirst, decreased appetite, and skin lesions such as alopecia, dermatitis, and ulcerations. Other less common clinical signs include seizures, blindness, muscle wasting, and coma. Therefore, a diagnosis of DM should only be made after ruling out other causes of these symptoms.

The standard gold test for diagnosing DM is a blood glucose concentration greater than 200 mg/dL. However, this test alone cannot confirm the presence of DM because many dogs with hyperglycemia have average insulin concentrations. Therefore, additional tests must be performed to rule out other diseases.

A definitive diagnosis of DM requires two consecutive blood glucose measurements at least 2 hours apart that exceed 200 mg/dL. A third sample should be obtained if one height exceeds 250 mg/dL. In addition, if the owner reports any changes in behavior, including depression, aggression, anxiety, or fearfulness, a urinalysis should be performed to detect proteinuria.

A pancreas biopsy is recommended if no cause for elevated blood glucose level is found. This procedure involves the removal of tissue from the pancreatic body and tail via laparotomy. Histopathologic analysis of the removed tissue reveals evidence of beta cell destruction and replacement with fibrous connective tissue.

Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs

Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs

The treatment options available for this disease depend largely on the severity of the condition and the particular needs of each dog patient. These include dietary modifications, medications and insulin therapy.

For mild cases, dietary changes can help regulate blood sugar levels, reducing symptoms and potentially reversing the disease. This may involve switching from regular commercial pet food to a balanced low-carbohydrate diet consisting of specially formulated diabetic pet foods or homemade meals supplemented with insulin-sensitizing supplements like omega fatty acids, chromium picolinate, apple cider vinegar and fenugreek seeds. Diet should be monitored closely when making these changes with routine testing and gradual adjustments to ensure optimal results.

In more severe cases, oral medications or insulin injections may help regulate blood glucose levels as part of ongoing diabetes management. Oral medications such as glipizide are often used alongside dietary modifications to reduce high glucose levels. Insulin injections are typically recommended when oral medications prove insufficient at regulating glucose levels and must usually be given twice daily, depending on the prescribed dosage amount for your specific dog’s needs. Therefore, owners need to learn how to properly provide this type of injection to ensure that it is being administered correctly and effectively for their pet’s health care needs.

Surgical procedures

This includes pancreatectomy, partial pancreatectomy (pancreas transplant), and duodenal diversion. Pancreatectomy removes part of the pancreas. This procedure is usually performed if the owner cannot tolerate medical therapies or if the patient’s condition worsens despite appropriate medical treatment.

Partial pancreatectomy removes some of the pancreases to prevent recurrent episodes of ketoacidosis. Duodenal diversion diverts bile flow away from the stomach and into the intestine. In addition, the duodenal procedure is used to manage chronic vomiting caused by uncontrolled Diabetes.

Veterinary supervision is essential throughout any treatment plan for diabetes mellitus in dogs. This can include regular testing and monitoring at home and checkups with their local vet every 3-6 months, depending on your pet’s healthcare situation, to ensure their health is under control with their current diabetic management protocol.

Monitoring Your Dog

Glucose Curves

Glucose curves help monitor diabetes management and provide information about how well the patient manages their disease. A typical curve looks like this:

The graph above represents a healthy dog whose blood sugar level is within normal limits. However, it does show some areas of concern. First, there is a spike in blood sugar around midnight. This could indicate that the owner forgot to give the dog his insulin dose. Second, the dog had a high blood sugar level early in the morning.

This could mean he ate too much food, drank too much water, or exercised too strenuously. Third, the dog’s blood sugar remained elevated throughout the day. This could mean the dog did not eat enough carbohydrates, exercise, or take medication correctly.

A veterinarian uses glucose curves to determine whether a diabetic dog needs additional treatment. For example, a dog that eats a lot of carbs might require a different diet to control their blood sugar. A dog that exercises vigorously might benefit from a glucagon injection to lower its blood sugar quickly. A dog that exhibits signs of stress might need extra rest.

In addition to helping you understand what is happening with your dog’s health, glucose curves can help you make essential decisions regarding insulin therapy. For example, if you notice spikes in blood sugar, you know to administer additional insulin. Likewise, if you see dips in blood sugar, you can reduce the amount of insulin allocated.

Flash Glucose Monitors

Another way to manage Diabetes is to use flash glucose monitors. These small, portable devices measure blood sugar every few minutes and transmit the data via Bluetooth to your smartphone. You can view the data online or download it to your computer.

There are many advantages to using flash glucose monitors. For one thing, you don’t have to stick yourself with needles anymore. You won’t even have to prick your finger. Instead, you insert a lancet into the device and press a button. Then, you place the sensor under your pet’s tongue and wait for the results.

Prevention of Diabetes in Dogs

Preventing canine diabetes mellitus is very important because this disease causes many complications, such as blindness, kidney failure, heart problems, etc. The most common cause of canine diabetes mellitus is obesity. Obesity increases insulin resistance, leading to hyperinsulinemia and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is a life-threatening condition if not treated properly.

The first step towards preventing canine diabetes mellitus is to control your dog’s weight. Then, contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice changes in your dog’s behavior or appetite. Also, watch for signs of lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, increased urination, loss of coordination, seizures, coma, and even death.

You consider the following to help your dog reduce the risk of getting DM:

  • Diet

One way to prevent canine diabetes mellitus is to feed your dog healthy food. Make sure to give them plenty of fresh water daily. Avoid feeding your dog processed foods like dry kibble or canned food. Instead, please provide them with raw meat, chicken, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Dogs should eat a diet rich in protein and carbohydrates. A balanced diet includes meat, vegetables, fruits, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, bread, pasta, rice, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, fish, poultry, and grains.

  • Exercise

Exercise helps your dog lose weight and build muscle mass. Your dog should get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. You can start slowly with short walks around the neighborhood. Then, gradually increase the length and frequency of your walks. When you walk, take your dog on a leash so he won’t run away from you.

  • Weight Management

Weight loss improves blood flow throughout the body. This increases the amount of oxygen delivered to cells. As a result, more energy is produced by the body’s organs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Up to 1% of all dogs may develop Diabetes during their lifetime. Dogs that suffer from Diabetes Mellitus (DM) usually die at around ten years old. However, some breeds can live up to 20 years. The most common cause of death among diabetic dogs is kidney failure, and other causes include heart disease, liver problems, and cancer.

The average lifespan of a dog who suffers from DM is approximately eight years. This means that if you get your dog tested for DM when they are younger than six months old, you should expect them to live until they are 12 years old. If you wait until your dog is older than two years old, you should plan on getting them checked every year. You should also keep track of their weight and blood sugar levels so that you know how well they are doing.

Yes, they can. Dogs with Diabetes Mellitus can go blind if they don’t get their eyes checked regularly. It’s widespread for diabetic dogs to develop cataracts. This happens because the sugar level in the blood gets too high. The higher the sugar level, the greater the risk of developing cataracts. If your dog has been diagnosed with Diabetes, you should make regular eye exams part of his routine care. You’ll want to check his vision every month, especially when he starts showing signs of having cataracts.

Diabetes mellitus affects dogs differently depending on their breed, age, weight, diet, lifestyle, environment, etc. However, the most common symptoms include excessive thirst, increased urination, frequent vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, fatigue, and depression. In severe cases, blood sugar levels drop too low, leading to coma or death.

Diabetes develops slowly in dogs. It usually takes years before a dog shows symptoms of Diabetes. The first signs include increased thirst and urination. However, if left untreated, the disease progresses quickly. In some cases, diabetic dogs lose their sight, hearing, and even their ability to walk.

The average cost of treating a diabetic dog varies depending on the type of treatment needed. In addition, it depends on how long you want to keep your dog alive, what kind of treatment you want to give them, and if you wish to pay out of pocket or use insurance coverage.

The most common treatments include insulin injections, dietary changes, and blood sugar monitoring. The average monthly cost ranges from $100 to $200, depending on the amount of insulin used and the testing frequency. If you’re paying out of pocket, you’ll likely spend less than $50 per month. Insurance companies often cover some or all of these costs, which means you could save money if you choose this route.

There are many different complications associated with Diabetes in dogs. Some of these complications include:

  1. Kidney damage
  2. Heart disease
  3. Liver problems
  4. Cancer
  5. Eye diseases
  6. Skin conditions
  7. Other health issues

The answer is yes because many breeds of dogs are predisposed to developing Diabetes. The most common species of dog that develops Diabetes is the Labrador Retriever. Other breeds include Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Poodles, Dachshunds, Boxers, Chihuahuas, Cocker Spaniels, Beagles, Rottweilers, Bull Terriers, Airedales, Pit Bulls, Chow Chows, Dalmatians, Shih Tzus, and Yorkshire Terriers.

It usually takes two weeks before your pet feels better. Your pet’s pancreas will begin producing enough insulin again during this time. After two weeks, your pet will probably no longer require insulin injections. However, it would be best to continue giving your pet insulin until your vet tells you otherwise.

The most common side effect of insulin therapy is weight loss. Other side effects include increased thirst, urination, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, depression, excessive drooling, hair loss, skin rash, itching, hives, seizures, blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, liver damage, pancreatitis, and death.

Insulin is a necessary medication for dogs with diabetes, and it should be administered correctly to ensure effective treatment. The frequency at which insulin must be given depends on the type of insulin prescribed and the dog’s needs.

Short-acting insulins such as Regular and NPH must be given twice daily at 12-hour intervals. Longer-acting insulins such as Lantus should be given once daily in the evening.

Your vet will provide instructions on when to give your pet their insulin, but it is generally recommended that it is best spread out evenly throughout the day.

Here are some tips on administering insulin:

  • Give injections at approximately the same time each day.
  • Check blood sugar levels before giving insulin so you can adjust the dose if needed.
  • Use designated syringes explicitly meant for measuring insulin accurately.
  • Make sure there are no air bubbles in the syringes before injecting them into your pet.
  • Change syringes when switching between different types of insulin or between different concentrations of the same type of insulin

Yes, Diabetes can be treated with pills. Medications used to treat Diabetes include oral hypoglycemic agents, types of insulin, and glucagon-like peptide one receptor agonists. Oral hypoglycemic agents work by increasing the insulin produced by the pancreas or decreasing the amount of glucose absorbed from food into the bloodstream. Examples of these drugs include sulfonylurea derivatives, biguanides, thiazolidinediones, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, meglitinides, incretin mimetics, dipeptidyl peptidase four inhibitors, sodium-dependent glucose cotransporter two inhibitors.

The following are the most common symptoms of end-stage Diabetes in dogs: increased thirst, urination, decreased appetite, and weight loss. Depending on the severity of the disease, other signs may include polyphagia (a strong interest in eating unusual things), exercise intolerance, coma, and death.

Yes, most dogs can live everyday life with Diabetes, and however, they may require regular blood sugar testing and treatment to manage the disease appropriately.

Yes, untreated Diabetes can cause serious health problems in dogs, and untreated Diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, and death.

The best treatment for Diabetes mellitus in a dog will vary depending on the dog’s specific conditions and symptoms. However, some common treatments for diabetes mellitus in dogs include dietary changes (such as increasing complex carbohydrates and reducing starches), medications (such as insulin injections or oral tablets), and exercise.

Diabetes is generally considered permanent in dogs, although it can sometimes be remitted spontaneously. Some dogs may require ongoing treatment with insulin or other diabetes medications for the rest of their lives, but most cases are successfully managed over time.

A dog may pant, have an elevated heart rate, or exhibit signs of stress, such as drooling or pacing.

There is no standardized way to check a dog for Diabetes at home. However, some veterinarians will do a blood test to measure the sugar level in your dog’s blood. At the same time, dogs may observe your pet for any signs of illness or injury that might suggest Diabetes.

Proper dogs for dogs with Diabetes should be low in sugar and saturated fats and high in complex carbohydrates, protein, and fiber.

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder when the body can’t control blood scan levels. In dogs, Diabetes usually affects the pancreas and leads to problems with blood sugar control, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. There are many ways to manage Diabetes in dogs, including diet, exercise, medications, and treatments.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this veterinary website is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a licensed veterinarian for any concerns or questions regarding the health and well-being of your pet. This website does not claim to cover every possible situation or provide exhaustive knowledge on the subjects presented. The owners and contributors of this website are not responsible for any harm or loss that may result from the use or misuse of the information provided herein.

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