SigMT Vol12 Iss 4

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Diabetes is something that most people think only humans can develop, truth is, dogs and cats can also develop the disease just like humans. With humans, there are three types of diabetes, while cats and dogs only have two. While diabetes can be a serious health condition, it is not a death sentence if treated. Understanding the disease and with proper management, you can help your pet live an active and happy life. What is Diabetes? First, we need to understand the importance of glucose and insulin. As food passes through the intestines during digestion, sugars are one of the nutrients absorbed from the food. e sugars are transported into the cells that line the intestines and are converted into simple sugars (including) glucose. e simple sugars are then absorbed into the bloodstream for circulation and delivery to the whole body's tissues and cells. Insulin is required for the transfer of glucose from the bloodstream to the cells. If there is not enough insulin or the body is unable to use the insulin, glucose accumulates in high levels in the blood, a condition called hyperglycemia. When the blood glucose reaches a certain level, the glucose overflows into the urine (this is called glucosuria) and draws large volumes of water with it. Which is why diabetic pets oen drink more water and urinate more frequently and in larger amounts. In diabetics, regardless of the source of the sugar or the amount of sugar in the blood, there is not enough glucose transported into the body's cells. As a result, there is not enough energy for the cells to function normally, and, the tissues become starved for energy. is state of metabolic "starvation" causes the body to breakdown fat and muscle tissue, which is then converted by the liver to sugar. is breakdown of body tissues results in the weight loss oen seen in diabetic patients. What is diabetes? Diabetes mellitus occurs when your dog or cat has stopped producing insulin, has inadequate levels of insulin, or has an abnormal response to insulin. Diabetes mellitus is a common endocrine disease in dogs and cats. Type 1 Diabetes Occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. Most common in dogs. Type 2 Diabetes Occurs when the pancreas produces enough insulin, but the cells do not properly respond to insulin. Most common in cats. What pets are at risk? Diabetes in dogs and cats can occur at any age but more likely to be found in overweight cats and dogs and among those that eat primarily high carbohydrate diets. Pets may also develop other diseases that can result in diabetes or could significantly affect their response to treatment for diabetes. e long-term use of PET HEALTH 101 Text by Dawn Milligan Photography by Really Montana Photography DIABETES IN PETS SiG MT 102 Knowing the signs of diabetes is the first step in protecting your cat's health. Measuring glucose level in your pet's blood is the most accurate method and is done either by your veterinarian in the clinic or at home with a portable glucometer and blood test strips.

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