A little known problem

Diabetes and Dietary Concerns

You might not have know, but diabetes is an issue with pets too

Many people think pets look cuter when they’re overweight, however obese pets are at risk of the same weight-related diseases that humans are!

Being overweight puts a strain on your pet in many ways, but especially their joints and cardiorespiratory system. Imagine carrying a 70kg backpack around 24/7 and the strain it puts on your back, knees and general comfort; this is how an overweight animal feels!

Being overweight can create breathing and blood flow problems, especially if your pet has preexisting conditions affecting their cardiorespiratory system such as heart problems or brachycephalic (squashed face) syndrome. Therefore, owners of dog breeds such as pugs, bulldogs of all varieties and cavaliers plus cat breeds such as Bengals, Persians and Himalayans should be especially vigilant with their pet’s weight and diet.

Just as in people, overweight animals will have sore joints which will ultimately develop arthritis earlier than their lean counterpart. Additionally, overweight animals are at a much greater risk of joint-related injuries, such as ruptured cruciate ligaments, which require surgery to correct. Overweight pets are also at increased risk of developing diabetes just like overweight people.

Diabetes exists in many forms, however broadly speaking it is a disorder affecting how the body deals with “sugar”. Diabetes can be life-threatening and can reduce the lifespan of your pet; therefore it is very important to bring your pet to a veterinarian urgently if you notice any of the following signs:

  • excessive drinking,
  • excessive urination,
  • voracious appetite,
  • lethargy,
  • ongoing weight loss despite good appetite,
  • vomiting

These clinical signs are not indicative of diabetes on their own, nor are they specific to diabetes, however they are abnormal and should be investigated.

If you have an overweight pet, there are ways we can help

If you bring your pet in for any of these signs, your veterinarian will do some blood tests if diabetes is suspected. Blood glucose levels are almost always diagnostic. However, some animals (especially cats) can have artificially elevated levels if they are stressed. IF this is the case, your veterinarian will suggest having blood sent to our external laboratory for a “fructosamine” level as this is a more specific test for diabetes, however, the results are not known immediately as they are with a blood glucose test in-house.

If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes, they will need twice daily insulin injections, which your vet will go through with you. In addition, your pet will benefit from a specially formulated diet designed for animals with diabetes.

If you suspect your pet may be overweight or showing signs of a dietary illness such as diabetes, please do not hesitate to call the clinic or submit an enquiry via this website!