PDSA highlights diabetes in pets

This week (8-14 June) is National Diabetes Week and the PDSA is highlighting signs and symptoms of pet diabetes.

Figures show that as many as 1 in 300 dogs and 1 in 200 cats in the UK may be suffering from diabetes.

PDSA vet, Anna Ewers Clark, said: “Diabetes is a disease which occurs when the body can’t control sugar levels in the bloodstream and can affect both cats and dogs. It’s really important to pick up on the early signs of diabetes to help manage it.”

These may be subtle at first but often get worse over time and can include:

  • Drinking more than normal
  • Weeing more than normal (usually because they’re drinking so much)
  • Increased appetite, or going off their food
  • Weight loss (even though they are eating more)
  • Low energy
  • Vomiting (with other symptoms of diabetes)

If you spot any of these signs or think your pet may have diabetes, you should contact your vet as soon as possible. Without treatment, diabetes can quickly become life-threatening.

Many vets across the country are continuing to run an emergency service, so your vet will be able to advise if they think your pet needs to be seen urgently.

Anna adds: “There are also ways to try to reduce the risk of your pet getting diabetes. Unneutered female dogs are at higher risk, while overweight cats are more likely to develop the disease. It is important to keep cats at an ideal weight by feeding them a balanced, activity appropriate diet that’s suitable for their age. We would recommend spraying dogs to reduce their chance of developing the potentially fatal disease.”

Diabetes is usually diagnosed with a blood and urine test; your vet may also advise some other tests to ensure further disease aren’t present that could complicate the diabetes.

Anna continues: “If your vet diagnoses your pet with diabetes, they will give them a tailored treatment and management plan, which usually includes insulin injections plus a strict diet and exercise routine. It is important to stick to your vet’s recommendations and call them if you have any concerns.

“While you’ll need to be committed to helping your pet adapt to their new lifestyle, with the right treatment, many diabetic pets can continue to live a good and happy life.”

For more information and advice you can visit www.pdsa.org.uk.