It’s not widely known that November in the UK is Pet Diabetes Month, but perhaps more of us should know, as it can cause mayhem.
All of which explains why British vets are very keen to raise awareness.
Diabetes in pets is similar to that in humans, as it affects the blood sugar levels and is most common in overweight or older animals.
Dr Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, says: “Statistics show there are around half a million undiagnosed diabetic people in the UK.
“We can only imagine how many pets are undiagnosed.
“Owners should take their pet for a check-up if they’re displaying any of the classic signs, such as increased thirst, frequent urination, changes in appetite or tiredness.
“Pets that are older, overweight or are a certain breed such as terrier and corgi dogs or Burmese cats, are have a higher risk of becoming diabetic.
“Once diagnosed, diabetes in pets can usually be managed well.
“We recommend regular insulin injections, a healthy diet and regular exercise.”
Treating pets with diabetes is now even easier with the development of the VetPen.
This is an alternative to vials and syringes and uses reusable insulin cartridges for minimal preparation time.
“The VetPen is similar to insulin pens used to treat diabetes in humans and was designed to help pet owners to easily manage their pets’ diabetes at home,” added Huw.
“If pet owners are uncomfortable using syringes or worried about properly setting up the correct dosage, they can use the VetPen as a simple and accurate form of treatment.
“Whilst there’s unfortunately no cure for diabetes, careful management of the condition can enable your pet to live the healthiest and happiest life possible.
Common symptoms of diabetes in pets can include some or all of the following — frequent urination, weight loss, increased thirst, tiredness and lack of energy, changes in appetite or deteriorating coat condition.
It can also involve cataracts, where the lens of the eye becomes opaque, resulting in blindness.
Middle-aged to older dogs are more affected than younger ones, as are unspayed females.
Among breeds mostly affected are the likes of Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Dobermann Pinschers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Pomeranians, terriers and Toy Poodles.
In cats, the older ones are more affected, as are neutered males.
Bear in mind that other disorders or diseases can cause insulin reduction, and look out for chronic pancreatitis, obesity or physical inactivity.
Further info can be found at www.vets4pets.com/pet-diabetes