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Diabetes in Pets

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

November is National Pet Diabetes Awareness Month, so we sat down with Dr. Staci Dennis to get some more information on this very common and treatable disease! Dr. Dennis' own cat Gracie, as well as both of our clinic cats, Bailey and Alex, have been affected by diabetes.


Diabetes is a very common disease that affects both dogs and cats, and the early symptoms associated with diabetes are very similar in both species. You may notice that your pet has started drinking a lot more, urinating excessively, or losing weight in spite of an increased appetite. Diabetes is easily diagnosed through bloodwork and a urinalysis, which allows veterinarians to assess the glucose levels in the body.

Treatment, however, can differ in dogs and cats. Dogs diagnosed with diabetes are virtually always insulin-dependent and will require insulin injections for the remainder of their life. This type of diabetes is comparable to Type 1 diabetes in humans. Alternatively, cats are more similar to Type 2 diabetics. Through aggressive treatment and regulation, cats are capable of going into remission and may be able to discontinue insulin injections. In both cases, diet adjustments and insulin injections are required to alleviate symptoms at home, minimize risk of secondary complications associated with diabetes, and avoid emergency situations.

Did you know that due to diet changes and insulin regulation, Bailey has gone into remission and does not currently require insulin injections?

While being overweight can be a predisposing factor, there are also certain breeds that are predisposed to becoming diabetic. Breeds like Samoyeds, Tibetan Terriers, and Cairn Terriers are among the breeds most likely to develop diabetes, whereas breeds like Boxers, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers are significantly less likely to develop diabetes. Additionally, female pets are nearly three times as likely as males to develop diabetes at some point in their life. If you have noticed recent changes in your pet's eating or bathroom habits, please call to schedule an appointment to discuss your pet's new symptoms.


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