Connersville Veterinary Clinic

808 East County Road 250S
Connersville, IN 47331


Diabetes and Your Pet

Diabetes in your cat or dog is caused by the lack of the hormone Insulin, or an inadequate response to Insulin.  After your cat or dog eats, its digestive system breaks down the food into components.  One of these components is Glucose.  When a cat or dog does not produce Insulin, or utilize it normally, their blood sugar can elevate.

Just like humans, your pet can have either Type 1 Diabetes or Type 2 Diabetes.  Type 1 is when your pet does not produce enough Insulin.  Type 2 is when there is impaired Insulin production or an inadequate response to the Insulin Hormone.  The most common form in pets is Type 1 (this means your pet is Insulin Dependent).  This occurs when the pancreas is incapable of producing or secreting adequate levels of Insulin.  If your pet is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, they will require Insulin Therapy in order to survive.

There are signs and symptoms to look for in your pet if you're worried about Diabetes.

          - Change in Appetite                                                      - Dehydration
          - Excessive Thirst/ Increased Water Intake                   - Urinary Tract Infections
          - Sweet Smelling/ Fruity Breath                                     - Vomiting
          - Lethargic                                                                     - Cataract Formation/ Blindness
          - Skin Infections

Although there is no known cause as to why your pet becomes Diabetic, there are a few things that play a major role in it.  Obese dogs and female dogs tend to run a greater risk of developing Diabetes later in their life (ages 6-9 years).  Some breeds tend to have a greater risk of developing Diabetes, although may never have it.  These breeds include Schnauzers (miniature and standard), Poodles, and Dachshunds.  The other reasoning behind diabetes could lie with Autoimmune Disease, Genetics, Obesity, Chronic Pancreatitis, and Abnormal Protein Deposits in the Pancreas.


In order for your pet to be properly diagnose with Diabetes, there are steps that need to be taken by you the owner, and by your Veterinarian.  If you notice any symptoms (indicated above) we highly suggest making an appointment with your Vet.  At this point they will collect significant information about your pets Clinical signs.  They will also do a complete physical exam and Urinalysis.  The test strips used during the Urinalysis may show Glucose.  This will then prompt your Vet to confirm the diagnoses with Blood Work.


One of the secondary effects from Diabetes is Diabetic Neuropathy.  This is caused by changes in the nervous system resulting from the diabetes.  You will notice some cats will walk or stand with their Hocks touching the ground (as pictured above), while others may appear to limp or have hind limb weakness.

Cats with Diabetes are more prone to develop infections. Recurrent UTIs are often a sign that the cats insulin is not well regulated.

Diabetic Cataracts are a leading cause of blindness in dogs.  The majority of canine patients with diabetes develop cataracts within 6 months of diagnosis, and 80 percent develop cataracts within 16 months of diagnosis.  Cataracts can be treated surgically by a referral vet.

The good thing is, if your pet is diagnosed with Diabetes, it is treatable!  The will need to eat a restricted amount of food every 12 hours.  After your pet has eaten, you will need to administer the prescribed amount of insulin.  Regular exercise can help with weight loss and may also help lower blood sugar levels.  It is best to allow your pet to exercise the same length of time at the same intensity every day.  

Glucose checks are required periodically.  This helps determine if the amount of insulin being administered is appropriate.



A prescription diet is often recommended for a pet with Diabetes.  These diets are usually high in fiber and low in fat.  The fiber slows down the entrance of Glucose into the bloodstream and helps your pet feel full.  Low fat diets have fewer calories that will help maintain or decrease your pets weight.