My dog has diabetes

2019-04-18 11:33
Claudia discovered that her dog had diabetes. (PHOTO:Getty/Gallo Images)

Claudia discovered that her dog had diabetes. (PHOTO:Getty/Gallo Images)

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It was at the beginning of December that YOU reader Claudia Sherrin (35) from Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal first started to notice minor changes in her beloved 10-year-old male pug, Zappa.

“He seemed more lethargic, which was mainly noticeable on his daily walks. For the most part we thought the slowing down was age-related as Zappa’s overall health was outstanding" 

"He still showed a willingness to walk and play but his excitement and energy just didn’t seem to carry much stamina.”

In February she and her husband took Zappa to their local vet for an annual check-up and were shocked when a weak heartbeat was detected. They were advised to take their dog to a specialist.

“We drove to Joburg to see Dr Gary Eckersley, who’s a renowned veterinarian specialist. Within the first five minutes of the consultation he was able to diagnose Zappa with full-blown diabetic ketoacidosis!"

“At first we felt overwhelmed as we were thrown in at the deep end of a disease we knew nothing about,” Claudia says.

“But thankfully we were able to educate ourselves by talking to others who’ve been through the same situation"

“We also joined a Facebook group called Canine Diabetes Support and Information, which was helpful. Our goal isn’t only to educate ourselves but also others.”

What is canine diabetes?

Two kinds of diabetes affect dogs.

Insulin-deficient diabetes - occurs when the dog’s body doesn’t produce enough insulin because the pancreas isn’t working properly. This is the most common type of diabetes in dogs.

Insulin-resistance diabetes - occurs when the pancreas produces some insulin but the dog’s body isn’t using it as it should. This often occurs in older, obese dogs. Without insulin to convert glucose in the bloodstream to fuel, high levels of glucose build up in the blood. Eventually this acts like a poison and leads to multiple-organ damage.

Treatment

Daily insulin injections are needed to regulate blood-sugar levels. How much insulin to give and how to administer it will be explained to you by your vet and will depend on factors such as the dog’s age and weight. Also ask your vet for an exercise and food programme for your dog.

Warning signs of diabetes

  • An extreme, unquenchable thirst.
  • Loss of energy and shortened stamina.
  • Excessive sleeping and lethargy.
  • Change in appetite.
  • Loss of eyesight, especially the development of cataracts.
  • Unusually sweet, fruity or acetone smelling breath.


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