Diabetes mellitus is commonly divided into two types, depending on the origin of the condition: Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called “juvenile diabetes”, is caused by destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas. The condition is also referred to as Insulin-Dependent diabetes, meaning the sufferer must have exogenous insulin injections to replace the insulin his/her pancreas is no longer capable of producing or able to produce in enough quantity to properly supply the body’s need for it. Dogs have Insulin-Dependent, or Type 1, diabetes; current research finds no Type 2 diabetes in dogs. Because of this, there is no possibility their permanently damaged pancreatic beta cells could “re-awaken” to engender a remission as may be possible with some feline diabetes cases.
Most cats have Type 2 diabetes.
Generally there is a gradual onset of the disease over a few weeks, and it may escape unnoticed for a while. The main symptoms are:
- Excessive water consumption–Polydipsia
- Frequent and/or excessive urination–Polyuria–possible house “accidents”
- Greater than average appetite–Polyphagia–with either weight loss or maintenance of current weight
- Cloudy eyes (cataracts)
Treatment revolves around three major concepts:
- Diabetic Diet
- Insulin/medication administration
It is important to treat diabetes as soon as a diagnosis is made. With proper treatment, diabetes can be kept under control. This will help ensure a longer, healthier, and happier life for your pet.