November is National Pet Diabetes Month, a month dedicated to educating pet owners on the signs and management of this endocrine disorder. By learning how to spot the following signs of pet diabetes, you can help them get the treatment they need to provide the best possible prognosis.
#1: Your pet is losing weight unexpectedly
Pets who are overweight or obese are at an increased risk for developing diabetes, so many pet owners believe weight loss is a good thing. However, if the weight loss is unplanned, do not ignore this sign. Diabetic pets are unable to properly turn the food they eat into energy, which causes their organs and muscles to essentially starve, and their body to use fat reserves for fuel.
#2: Your pet is urinating excessively
Since pet diabetes causes an increase in blood sugar, the kidneys kick into overdrive to filter out this waste product. The excess glucose pulls more fluid into the urine, which leads to diluted urine that is more frequently expelled. So, if your normally well house-trained pet is suddenly having accidents, pet diabetes may be the cause.
#3: Your pet is exceptionally thirsty
All that extra urination makes for a thirsty pet. As their body sends signals to their brain that their kidneys require more fluid, your pet will linger at their water dish, emptying it more frequently. Regardless of how much your pet drinks, never limit their water intake.
#4: Your pet always seems hungry
Diabetic pets always seem to be hungry, and no matter how much they eat, they still lose weight when their condition is unregulated. Once the diabetes is regulated through insulin injections and an appropriate diet, you should see your pet’s appetite returning to normal as their body is able to properly use food for energy again.
#5: Your pet has no energy
Diabetic pets are unable to properly turn food into fuel, so they may be sluggish or lethargic because of decreased energy reserves. Since lethargy is a non-specific clinical sign, monitor your pet for other issues that may indicate diabetes, such as increased thirst or urination.