Diabetes mellitus (Dm) is also known as sugar diabetes because of the increased blood and urine sugar levels that occur with this disease. Dm arises when the pancreas gland does not produce enough insulin. Insulin is the hormone that allows many tissues of the body to utilize blood sugar (glucose). As insulin levels falls, blood sugar becomes elevates, producing many adverse side effects in the body.

Clinical Signs

The miniature schnauzer, miniature poodle, toy poodle, Samoyed, and pug are at increased risk.  The usual age at onset is 7-9 years. Females develop DM more often than males. Common clinical signs include increased appetite, and weight loss. Because glucose cannot be utilized by the body, weight loss occurs even with more food intake. Some dogs may develop cataracts very suddenly and go blind.

Diagnostic Test

Dm is diagnosed when the fasting blood sugar concentration is significantly evaluated.  A urinalysis may also show sugar and ketonein the urine. Additional tests are often indicated to look for other diseases that may accompany DM. Such tests include a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, urinalysis, urine culture, abdominal x-rays, etc. If Cushing’s disease is also suspected, hormonal tests may be performed.

Treatment Options

Most Dogs with DM require injectable insulin to control their disease.  Insulin comes in three forms: Short-acting, and intermediate acting. Twice-daily injections are needed by most dogs, even when the longer-acting insulin’s are given. In addition to insulin, the diet may be changed to a low fat, high-fiber type of food that contains complex carbohydrates.  Several such foods are available by prescription through your veterinarian  Exercise and activity levels are often regulated so that they do not fluctuate widely from day to day.

Follow-up Care

Monitoring is extremely important to keep the blood sugar within the desired range. Too much insulin or too little food intake ( poor appetite, vomiting) may result in hypoglycemia ( low blood sugar). Too little insulin results in persistently high blood sugar that may lead to ketoacidosis. Home monitoring often involves keeping track of water intake and the frequency of urinations, checking urine for sugar and ketones, using a glucometer and pricking the skin or the ear to measure blood sugar, and monitoring appetite and food intake.