What is diabetes mellitus?
The clinical signs seen in diabetes mellitus are related to the elevated concentrations of blood glucose and the inability of the body to use glucose as an energy source.
What are the signs and sympoms of diabetes in dogs?
Is diabetes in dogs the same as in humans?
Type I Diabetes Mellitus (sometimes also caused Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus), results from total or nearcomplete destruction of the betacells.
This is the most common type of diabetes in dogs. As the name implies, dogs with this type of diabetes require insulin injections to stabilize blood sugar.
Type II Diabetes Mellitus (sometimes called Noninsulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus), is different because some insulinproducing cells remain.
However, the amount of insulin produced is insufficient, there is a delayed response in secreting it, or the tissues of the dog's body are relatively resistant to it (also referred to as insulin resistance). Type II diabetes may occur in older obese dogs. People with this form may be treated with an oral drug that stimulates the remaining functional cells to produce or release insulin in an adequate amount to normalize blood sugar. Unfortunately, dogs tend not to respond well to these oral medications and usually need some insulin to control the disease.
How is diabetes mellitus diagnosed?
The normal level of glucose in the blood is 80120 mg/dl (4.46.6 mmol/L). It may rise to 250300 mg/dl (13.616.5 mmol/L) following a large or highcalorie meal. However, diabetes is the only common disease that will cause the blood glucose level to rise above 400 mg/dl (22 mmol/L). Some diabetic dogs will have a glucose level as high as 700800 mg/dl (44 mmol/L), although most will be in the range of 400600 mg/dl (2233 mmol/L).
To conserve glucose within the body, the kidneys do not filter glucose out of the blood stream into the urine until an excessive level is reached. This means that dogs with a normal blood glucose level will not have glucose in the urine. Diabetic dogs, however, have excessive amounts of glucose in the blood, so it will be present in the urine. After the blood sugar reaches 180 mg/dl, the excess blood sugar is removed by the kidneys and enters the urine. This is why dogs and people with diabetes mellitus have sugar in their urine (called glucosuria) when their insulin is low.
How is diabetes mellitus treated in dogs?
Initially, your dog may be hospitalized for a few days to deal with any immediate crisis and to begin the insulin regulation process. The "immediate crisis" is only great if your dog is so sick that it has quit eating and drinking for several days. Dogs in this state, called diabetic ketoacidosis, may require a several days of intensive care. Otherwise, the initial hospitalization may be only for a day or two while the dog's initial response to insulin injections is evaluated. . At that point, your dog returns home for you to administer medication. At first, return visits are required every three to seven days to monitor progress. It may take a month or more to achieve good insulin regulation.
The financial commitment may again be significant if complications arise. Your veterinarian will work with you to try to achieve consistent regulation, but some dogs are difficult to keep regulated. It is important that you pay close attention to all instructions related to administration of medication, diet, and home monitoring. One serious complication that can arise is hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, which can be fatal. This may occur due to inconsistencies in treatment.
What is the prognosis for a dog with diabetes mellitus?
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