There are two kinds of canine diabetes: diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mellitus is much more common and involves problems with the breakdown of carbohydrates, and resultant problems maintaining sufficient levels of insulin. Diabetes insipidus occurs less frequently and is caused by reduced production of antidiuretc hormone.
This form of canine diabetes is the most common and is similar in many ways to diabetes in humans. It is generally an inherited condition, though in some cases it can be caused by reactions to medication or diets high in sugar.
Diabetes mellitus is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Frequent urination (polyuria)
- Extreme thirst (polydipsia)
- Overeating (polyphagia)
- Reduced immunity levels – Lower resistance to bacterial and viral infections causes a greater occurrence of bronchitis and pneumonia to occur. Also common is inflammation of the urinary tract (cystitis), prostate gland (prostatitis) or skin (dermatitis).
- Weakened eyesight – In extreme cases cataracts might make the eyes appear cloudy
Treatment options for diabetes mellitus include the following:
- Dietary changes to help regulate imbalances in sugar levels. National Pet Pharmacy carries special condition foods meant for diabetic dogs.
- Insulin intake – Can be administered either orally or hypodermically
- Prescription of glycocemides – To stimulate natural insulin production
This form of canine diabetes is relatively rare and is not inherited, but acquired. It is usually caused by a growth on the pituitary gland that results in reduced function and consequent reductions of ADH hormone secretion. Similar problems in the hypothalamus gland can also help trigger the condition.
Dogs affected by diabetes often exhibit the following symptoms:
- Frequent urination
- Extreme thirst
A veterinarian might also be able to observe lesions in the hind brain as well as compression in the hypothalamus.
Treatment options for diabetes insipidus focus primarily on the use of medicated drops to help treat dryness in the eyes and nasal passages as a result of frequent urination.
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