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How to Manage Your Pet's Diabetes

Although diabetes is not curable, the disease can generally be well managed and your pet able to live a long and happy life. Correct management not only requires ongoing medical and physical treatment but also preventing and treating and complications that can be caused by the disease.

Ongoing management

Medication– if your pet has been diagnosed with diabetes, they will be prescribed insulin. This helps to keep glucose levels within the blood at a stable level and prevents the side effects and complications of the disease. Insulin will need to be administered daily and timed around your pet’s meals.

Diet– along with medication, a diet is the best way you can manage diabetes in your dog or cat. The correct diet not only helps to stabilize blood sugar levels but also aids in preventing obesity.

Exercise– keeping your pet’s weight at a healthy level is vital to managing diabetes. Exercising is a useful tool for weight control, and in the short term also reduces sugar levels within the bloodstream.

Checkups– even with careful treatment, a pet with diabetes will need to have regular checkups with their vet. This is to ensure that the insulin prescribed is maintaining the correct glucose levels and that no further problems are developing.

Complications of diabetes

While managing your pet’s diabetes is obviously important for their health and longevity, correct care will also help you to avoid further complications that can arise from the disease.

Low blood sugar– although diabetes produces high blood sugar levels, pets can develop low blood sugar after beginning insulin treatment, particularly if there is an error in dosing.

Ketoacidosis– when the cells do not get enough glucose, the body begins to break down fat and muscle to use as fuel. If left untreated this becomes a medical emergency.

Cataracts (dogs)– the surplus of glucose in the blood can create changes within the eye. The lens becomes cloudy, eventually resulting in blindness.

Pancreatitis (cats)– as natural insulin is created in the pancreas, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) can be both a cause of and a side effect of diabetes.

Peripheral neuropathy (cats)– this is a degeneration of the nerves that causes weakness of the legs and loss of coordination.

Organ damage– ongoing high levels of glucose in the blood can cause damage to the kidney, eyes, heart, and nerves.

How to Manage Your Pet's Diabetes

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