Diabetes in pets on the rise

Diabetes in pets on the rise

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Diabetes is becoming a growing problem for pets.

The numbers may have you thinking twice before giving your dog Thanksgiving leftovers.

In fact, a 2016 pet health report from Banfield Pet Hospital found an 80 percent increase in dogs since 2006 and an 18 percent in cats.

"Nowadays more people are running pre-anesthetic blood work, senior wellness blood work, and so we're catching it earlier," Dr. Sean Byrd with Skyview Animal Clinic.

But, Dr. Byrd said the main reason it is becoming more prevalent has a lot to do with more dogs being overweight.

"We're putting too much in the bowl of food, but then we're giving them more treats and we're giving them table food," Dr. Byrd said. "We're just spoiling them you know. As childhood obesity goes up, pet-hood obesity, it's the exact same thing."

Treatment can be costly so it is important to know the symptoms.

Early signs: 

  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite

"As a dog gets over the age of 5 to 7 their risk goes up, obesity is the main risk factor, there are certain breeds that are worse than others," Dr. Byrd said. "The one that comes to mind is schnauzers. They're probably one of the most common ones that we see. Not all schnauzers have diabetes by any course, but of diabetes patients, we have that probably the most common one."

If it's caught early on, diabetes can often be controlled or even halted with a a diabetes specific diet change.

Once it's progressive, your dog with need Insulin.

That can not only be costly, but your dog would require insulin injections twice a day for the rest of it's life.

But untreated, it could be fatal.

"The biggest thing is without treatment the dog will lose weight,  it will continue to lose weight and it's organs with starve," Dr. Byrd said. "Most dogs with diabetes will develop cataracts within a year, probably about 90 percent of them will develop cataract with a year.  So they'll go blind.  Mostly with untreated they'll lose weight and they'll eventual die from it unfortunately. With treatment, they could live a long life."

If you are concerned about your pet, consult with your local veterinarian.

Click here to see if your dog could be a risk.

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