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Diabetes in Cats and Dogs

 See Supplements to Help Pets with Diabetes

Signs, Symptoms and Natural Treatments for Diabetes in Pets

Balancing your diabetic dog or cat's blood sugar levels is key to controlling their diabetes.

Approximately 1-in-400 cats and 1-in-500 dogs suffer from diabetes. Despite the large number of animals that develop this disease, it is definitely treatable and many pets go on to live long and happy lives. However, untreated, your family pet can suffer blindness (dogs) and increasingly weak legs (cats) and ultimately death. 

What is Feline and Canine Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease of the pancreas that affects the body's ability to control its blood sugar levels. The pancreas is responsible for producing a hormone called insulin which keeps blood sugar levels balanced.

With cat or dog diabetes, the body either produces insufficient quantities of insulin or does not utilize insulin effectively. Glucose then builds up in the bloodstream and causes an elevated blood sugar level.
 
High levels of glucose can lead to a number of complications such as cataracts, liver and kidney disease, increased infections, heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders and even coma and death.

What are the symptoms of diabetes in cats and dogs?

Symptoms for feline and canine diabetes can take weeks to become fully apparent. Cats that are over seven-years-old are more apt to develop diabetes than younger ones. However, dogs are susceptible throughout their entire lives. Symptoms differ slightly between the two:

Symptoms of Dog Diabetes:  

  • Severe weight loss or gain
  • Excessive drinking and frequent urination
  • Cataracts and Blindness

Symptoms of Cat Diabetes:

  • Severe weight loss or gain
  • Excessive drinking and frequent urination
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Weakness in the back legs
Because some of these symptoms are seen in other diseases, a blood sugar test is recommended for proper diagnosis of diabetes.

What causes diabetes?

The exact cause of diabetes is unknown. However there are certain risk factors. These include obesity, an unhealthy diet, cortisone treatments, stress and shock. Genetics may also play a role.

What is the conventional treatment?

Conventional treatment for diabetes in cats and dogs usually includes regular insulin injections and/or a strictly controlled diet.
Current research indicates that a low-carbohydrate, high protein diet is beneficial for cats and dogs with diabetes.

How can herbal remedies and supplements help?

Along with a change in lifestyle (healthy diet, exercise...), natural remedies can also benefit a family pet that is suffering from diabetes. If you, as the owner, are looking for a more holistic approach to dealing with pet diabetes, look for medications with the following ingredients:
  • Galega Officinalis The use of Galega Officinalis improves the part of the pancreas that is responsible for the production of insulin.
  • Chromium Chromium is effective in improving the effectiveness of insulin. It is also helpful in balancing cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Bilberry Bilberry is a natural ingredient that can stimulate insulin production as well as reducing the blood sugar levels in animals suffering with Type II diabetes. Billberry has also shown an ability to improve vision, promote speedy recovery wound and tissue healing and other circulation issues associated with diabetes.