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Concerns For Pet Owners

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Diabetes
(Scientific Name: Diabetes Mellitus)
(Dogs and Cats)
(Canine and Feline)

 

Diabetes occurs when your dog or cat’s pancreas stops creating enough insulin to properly utilize digested sugars, fats and proteins, leaving blood sugar levels uncontrolled, or when the body’s cells no longer respond to normal levels of insulin. During digestion, food is broken down into many different components that your pet’s body can use. One of these components is glucose (derived from carbohydrates – or starches). The role of glucose is very important because it provides energy to your pet’s body cells. However, glucose can only enter those cells if the proper amount of the hormone insulin is present, and if the cells respond to it properly.

 

Canine or feline diabetes occurs when:
1. An insufficient amount of insulin is created by the pancreas; or
2. The body’s cells fail to properly respond to the insulin that is present.

When the cells cannot efficiently react to the correct amount of insulin, the proper absorption of glucose is reduced and the blood glucose concentrations become too high in your dog or cat’s blood.

 

Here are a few quick facts about canine/feline diabetes:
» Diabetes commonly occurs in younger dogs and in middle-aged to older cats. In younger animals it is usually genetic. In older animals it is usually related to the diet.
» Diabetes is more prevalent in female dogs and male cats.
» Approximately 1 in 500 dogs are diagnosed with diabetes. Dog breeds particularly susceptible to developing diabetes include: the Keeshond, Poodle, Samoyed, Dachshund, Alaskan Malamute, Miniature Schnauzer, Chow Chow, Beagle, Doberman, Labrador Retriever, Hungarian Puli, Golden Retriever, Miniature Pinscher, Old English Sheepdog, Springer Spaniel, Schipperke, Finnish Spitz, West Highland White Terrier and the Cairn Terrier.

» In cats, 1 in 400 will suffer from diabetes. It is commonly the middle-aged, neutered, inactive and overweight males who will develop the disease. The Burmese cat has the highest frequency of developing diabetes at eight years or older.

The good news for pet owners is that diabetes is highly manageable (with early detection, proper diet, exercise, natural remedies and insulin therapy). Your pet can lead a full and happy life despite having diabetes.

Causes of diabetes include the following:
» Overweight pets (due to unhealthy diets and/or lack of exercise);
» Chronic stress and/or shock;
» High carbohydrate diets (especially with cats);
» Inflammation of the pancreas;
» An autoimmune disease that destroys the insulin-producing parts of the pancreas; and
» Possibly some drugs which potentially could interfere with the production of insulin. For example, some cortisone-type medications (glucocorticoids) and hormones (used to control heat cycles in the dog) may predispose your pet to diabetes (however it is important to note that only a small percentage of animals on these drugs actually develop diabetes even after long-term use).

Your veterinarian can best determine if your canine or feline does indeed have diabetes and why.

 

 

 

SYMPTOMS:

Two of the most common signs that your dog or cat may have developed diabetes includes: 1) a new insatiable thirst; and 2) a significant increase in hunger and eating (even where weight loss may be present).

Without sufficient insulin, or with cells that cannot absorb and use glucose, excess sugar accumulates in the blood and then spills into the urine. Sugar in the urine causes the animal to pass large amounts of urine and then to subsequently develop an unusual thirst for water.

Also, without sufficient glucose entering the cells, the brain becomes sugar-deprived and the animal becomes constantly hungry, yet may still lose weight because the ingested food is no longer being properly metabolized. A significant increase in eating -- combined with weight loss -- is an almost sure sign of diabetes.

Cats with diabetes may also suffer from continual infections of the urinary tract. If you suspect your dog or cat may be suffering from diabetes, you should have your veterinarian immediately diagnose whether it is diabetes and begin the appropriate treatment.

Dogs and cats with untreated diabetes may develop infections; most commonly, bladder, kidney or skin infections. Diabetic dogs -- and less frequently cats -- can also develop cataracts which may ultimately lead to blindness. Less common signs of diabetes are weakness in the back legs and an unsteady gait due to impaired nerve or muscle malfunction. Diabetes can -- if left untreated too long -- lead to death.

Samples of blood and urine from a canine or feline suspected of having diabetes will show large amounts of sugar. Your veterinarian may also do a blood screen of other organs to look for changes in the liver, kidney and pancreas. A urine sample may also be cultured to check for infection of the kidneys or bladder.



RECOMMENDATIONS/SUPPLEMENTATION

Current research suggests that a very low-carbohydrate, high- protein, moderate-fat diet is beneficial to both dogs and cats with diabetes. Special foods are now being manufactured for pets with diabetes. However, an informed and committed pet owner can properly create and feed their canine or feline the correct combination of ingredients right at home. Your veterinarian can help advise you on the proper ingredients and portions for your pet.

It is also important to regularly schedule meals roughly twelve hours apart, followed shortly thereafter by an insulin shot. Snacking between meals should be

 

discontinued to help keep your canine or feline’s insulin level consistent and to avoid spikes in blood sugar.

When changing the diet and/or natural remedies are not enough, the conventional treatment for both dogs and cats with diabetes usually includes daily insulin injections (either once or twice a day). While giving your beloved pet daily injections may seem daunting and even frightening at first, you and your pet will soon grow accustomed to the new routine. Remember, these injections are greatly improving the quality of your dog or cat’s life and will in turn give you a feeling of security in giving the best care possible to your pet.

 

For some cats with diabetes, oral medications may be used in lieu of insulin injections; your vet will be able to advise you on the best method treatment. Oral medications for dogs have not shown to be effective so owners will have to use insulin injections for their canines living with diabetes. Your veterinarian will instruct you on how to properly store the insulin, prepare the syringe and properly deliver the injections. It is common for pets to require multiple dose changes and possibly a shift to another kind of insulin, especially in the first year.

In some cases, diabetic cats may need less insulin, or even may no longer need insulin after a few weeks or months of treatment, especially overweight cats that begin losing weight. This is known as “clinical remission” and occurs in cats where remaining functional cells in the pancreas are “reactivated” after a period of time on insulin. This is one reason you should have their blood sugar monitored by a veterinarian on a regular basis. The insulin dose must be decreased or stopped if this occurs. Remission may continue; however, this does not represent a total cure for your cat. Careful and consistent attention must still be paid to your cat’s diet and lifestyle.

 

In some cases, diabetic cats may need less insulin, or even may no longer need insulin after a few weeks or months of treatment, especially overweight cats that begin losing weight. This is known as “clinical remission” and occurs in cats where remaining functional cells in the pancreas are “reactivated” after a period of time on insulin. This is one reason you should have their blood sugar monitored by a veterinarian on a regular basis. The insulin dose must be decreased or stopped if this occurs. Remission may continue; however, this does not represent a total cure for your cat. Careful and consistent attention must still be paid to your cat’s diet and lifestyle.

 

In addition to proper diet, natural remedies and insulin injections, exercise is critical for the canine or feline living with diabetes. Exercise burns up glucose in the same way that insulin does. Therefore, moderate amounts of exercise are highly recommended to help burn excess blood sugar levels. Avoid overly strenuous exercise; however, as this can deplete blood sugar levels too dramatically. Even just playing with your diabetic cat and/or dog can serve as exercise particularly if they have been sedentary in the past.


Integrative Medicine

Not all animals can use all natural remedies; allergic reactions to oils and/or herbs and digestive problems are possible. A natural remedy is not a substitute for veterinary care.

 

The following nutraceuticals or natural/herbal formulas can also provide effective treatment for your canines and felines living with diabetes.

 

Galega Officinalis: An herbaceous plant (also known as Goat’s Rue and French Lilac) used to improve the part of the pancreas that is responsible for insulin production. Also helps decrease blood sugar and insulin resistance.
Chromium: A natural mineral that helps improve insulin sensitivity and effectively metabolize blood sugar.
Bilberry: Edible berries that can help stimulate insulin production as well as help reduce the blood sugar levels of animals with diabetes. Bilberry can also help with circulatory issues associated with diabetes.
Aloe Vera Juice: Small doses of this juice can help decrease your canine or feline’s blood glucose levels.
Manganese Picolinate: A well-tolerated and well-absorbed form of manganese that helps maintain normal glucose levels and activates many powerful enzymes.
Maqui Berry Select: A powerful berry that helps improve blood insulin levels and works to prevent glucose levels from spiking too high after eating.


Diabetes/Diabetes Mellitus
– Canine and Feline Products –

(Reference: Veterinarians’ Desk Reference)


(Live Link)

 

Formulas

Dosage

Mechanism/Purpose

Aloe Vera Juice  

Cats: ½ tsp bid
Dogs: ½ tsp-1 tbsp bid

Lowers blood glucose.  

Manganese Picolinate12 

Cats: ¼ capsule bid
Dogs: ¼ capsule/25 lb bid (up to 1 capsule, bid)

Helps maintain normal glucose levels; increases level of SOD; activator of many enzymes and constituents of some metalloenzymes.

Maqui-Select27

1 capsule per 20 lb bid or
1 scoop per 20 lb bid

Helps control blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Small Animal
Antioxidant12

Cats: 1 capsule sid
Dogs: 2 capsules/25 lb sid

Antioxidant to prevent oxidative damage caused by hyperglycemia.

Super EPAVET12
or Omega PlusVET12

Cats: 1 gelcap Omega Plus sid
Dogs: 1-2 gelcaps
Super EPAVET /25 lb sid

Enhances glucose metabolism.

 

To help you quickly find the right Integrative Medicine formulas and manufacturers to help treat your dogs, cats and horses, please refer to the Veterinarians’ Desk Reference
(Click Here)

 

(Always consult with your veterinarian to properly diagnose any health problems. Misdiagnosis
and/or mistreatment -- including OTC and/or homeopathic products -- can lead to dangerous
complications.

 

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