Troublesome signs every owner of a diabetic pet should know


Managing a diabetic pet can be tough and even with the best care possible, sometimes things can go wrong. Below are a few of the common conditions that affect diabetic pets and the signs you should watch out for.

Pancreatitis: One of the most common conditions plaguing diabetic pets is pancreatitis, or an inflammation of the pancreas. This can not only make your pet feel sick, but may also make it harder to regulate their blood sugar appropriately. If your pet is suffering from pancreatitis, you may notice vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain and a loss of appetite. If you notice any of these signs in your diabetic pet, they should visit the veterinarian as soon as possible.  

Infections: Diabetes can make it harder for your pet to fight off infections. Urinary tract infections are especially common in diabetic pets due to the increased sugar being excreted in their urine. If you notice signs like frequent urination, straining to urinate, blood in the urine or licking at the genitals, it’s time for a visit to your veterinarian.

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA): DKA is a severe and life-threatening complication of diabetes. It happens when your pet’s body starts burning fat as its primary fuel source, producing high levels of ketones. This quickly leads to dehydration, changes in pH, electrolyte imbalances and extremely high blood sugar levels, which will make your pet feel really sick and typically causes vomiting, lethargy and lack of appetite. DKA is an emergency and must be addressed by a veterinarian right away.

Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia, or excessively low blood sugar, can occur in diabetic pets due to an overdose of insulin, strenuous exercise or not eating enough prior to an insulin dose.  Sometimes the blood sugar can be low enough to be life-threatening. Signs of low blood sugar include weakness, disorientation, vomiting, diarrhea and seizures. Pets with these symptoms should be seen by their veterinarian immediately.

Diabetic pets are much more susceptible to illness than their healthy counterparts.  Any time you notice new symptoms or a change in your pet’s health, it is important to seek veterinary care right away to catch any new problems early.

Be prepared for any situation with unlimited 24/7 Live Chat through the myVCA app, where our licensed veterinary professionals are available to answer all your pet health questions. 

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