Next week is World Diabetes Week and PDSA are raising awareness about how obesity can increase the risk of diabetes in pets.
According to the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report, obesity in pets has been consistently identified as one of the main concerns of the veterinary profession. Being overweight not only increases the risk of pets developing diabetes, but also other serious medical conditions.
Diabetes Week takes place between 11 and 17 June and PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan is raising awareness of diabetes in pets and highlighting the symptoms as well as some of the steps pet owners can take to help to prevent it.
Olivia said: “Diabetes is a disease which occurs when the body can’t control sugar levels in the bloodstream. It can affect both cats and dogs and those that are overweight are at greater risk.”
Olivia highlights some of the signs that your pet may have diabetes, which include:
- You pet may be drinking more than usual – the high levels of blood sugar make your pet urinate excessively, which in turn will make them incredibly thirsty.
- Appear bright and alert – in the early stages of the disease, although they are unwell, pets with diabetes often still appear bright and alert, and even have an increased appetite.
- Lose weight – despite being ravenous, your pet may start to lose weight, which is often the first indicator something is wrong.
- Become depressed – As their health deteriorates, they will become depressed, go off their food, vomit and become hydrated due to fluid loss.
Olivia adds, “We’re asking pet owners to ensure they feed their animals a balanced, age and activity appropriate diet and weigh out their food to avoid excess weight gain. Pets who are the right weight and body condition score are less likely to develop diabetes, as well as a range of other serious problems.”
Although prevention is always better than cure, there will always be some pets that get this disease. Luckily, with the right treatment many pets can continue to maintain a good quality of life.
Olivia advises that its important to get your pet checked over by your vet if you notice any of the symptoms, so the condition can be diagnosed and the appropriate treatment administered.
“When diagnosed, a diabetic pet will be given a tailored treatment and management plan, including medication, and a strict diet and exercise routine,” said Olivia. “Most pets will need insulin injections twice a day to control their diabetes and owners would usually be taught how to give the injections at home.
“Although pets with diabetes need higher levels of care, modern treatment means many continue to have a really good quality of life for years to come.”