Source: Northglen News (Extract)
August 20, 2021

“It’s so important for pet owners to understand that diabetes is not a death sentence for their pet,” says Tarryn Dent, Diagnostic and Technical Manager at Zoetis South Africa, a global animal health company. “With consistent management, diabetes should have a minimal impact on pet owners and their pets’ daily routines.”

This management includes at-home blood glucose monitoring, insulin, and a diet and an exercise plan.

Signs and symptoms

Type I and Type II diabetes in pets is more common than one might think. Signs and symptoms include unexplained fatigue or weakness, excessive thirst, frequent urination, an increased appetite and sudden weight loss.

“Pet owners who recognise any of these signs should ask their veterinarian to check for diabetes,” says Dent. “It’s a simple blood or urine test, and then a management plan can be put in place.”

4 simple steps to managing pet diabetes

The goal of any diabetes treatment is to control the amount of glucose in a cat or dog’s blood, which will reduce symptoms and help minimise or prevent complications. 

Each diabetes plan is personalised and could include all or some of these protocols: 

1. Insulin injections

Insulin dosing involves giving a pet a small (painless) insulin injection based on a specific dose and schedule.

2. Diet

Diets that eliminate or reduce sugar surges are usually preferred. You’ll need to monitor your pet for changes and track the amount of food and water it consumes. 

3. Exercise

Consistent daily exercise is critical for diabetes management in pets. Weekly weight checks can also monitor a pet’s health. 

4. Blood glucose monitoring

This step provides key data on your pet. Typically, the vet will need to take several readings over a specified time frame, or you can take the readings at home (a much less stressful approach for the pet!). Fortunately, there are animal-specific glucometers available that require a very small sample size to help pet owners easily do testing at home.

A long, healthy life

“Diabetes is thankfully completely manageable, and pets with Type I and Type II diabetes can live long and happy lives,” concludes Dent.