Has your best friend been diagnosed with diabetes? Diabetes mellitus, often called sugar diabetes, is a common ailment in dogs. The escalating diabetes epidemic has not limited itself to people; diabetes mellitus is increasing among dogs, cats and other animals as well. Diabetes is a result of insufficient production of insulin by the islet cells in the pancreas. The condition occurs when health problems, such as increased blood glucose, and increased cholesterol levels develop with the potential to increase the risk of other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes (Tvarijonaviciute, Ceron, Holden, Cuthbertson, Biourge, Morris, and German 2012).
There are many of aspects that raise a canine’s possibility of developing diabetes. These can include weight, diet, virus infections, breed, age, gender, or an inflamed pancreas. Islet cell destruction can also occur in some cases of pancreatitis, chronic inflammation of the small bowel, Cushing’s disease (excessive production of cortisol), and long-term use of progesterone-like drugs or steroid drugs. Diabetes has many severe costs that can only be prevented by maintaining blood glucose levels at values that are extremely close to those of non-diabetics levels in normal animals. Overall, it is assumed that most dogs generally get Type 1 diabetes, but the actuality is more complex (Graham 1995).
Although there are no commonly accepted definitions of dog diabetes, the United Kingdom’s Royal Veterinary College identifies two forms: insulin-deficiency diabetes (IDD) and insulin-resistance diabetes (IRD). Neither matches any kind of human diabetes exactly. With IDD, a dog loses beta cells and no longer makes enough insulin to keep glucose levels under control. Causes may include: genetic flaws, inflammation of the pancreas and immune system attacks (as in human Type 1 diabetes).
In IRD, something has been found that inhibits the animal’s insulin from working effectively. That “something” may be a: pregnancy, diestrus, endocrine disease, or treatment with steroids or progesterone-like hormones. The most common cause of IRD is diestrus, which is approximately two months of high levels of progesterone (a female hormone) between stages of estrus (when in heat). Hormonally, diestrus resembles pregnancy, which makes this type of IRD similar to human gestational diabetes.
The mechanism of diabetes is relatively simple to describe. Just as cars use gas for fuel, body cells run on a sugar called glucose. In diabetes mellitus, cells do not assimilate enough glucose, which then builds up in the blood. As a result, cells starve, and organs are inundated in sugary blood, and damaged. The body obtains glucose by breaking down carbohydrates in the diet. Cells extract glucose from the blood with the help of insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas in specialized cells called beta cells. (The pancreas, an organ situated behind the stomach, produces several hormones.) Normal blood sugar for a nondiabetic dog is pretty much like normal blood sugar for people. It falls generally between 75 and 120 mg per deciliter (mg/dL). Anything significantly below 80 mg/dL is in the low or hypoglycemic range, and blood sugar lower than 60 is a crisis, especially if it is likely to drop further (Graham 1995).
When blood sugar that persistently exceeds about 180 mg/dL, it causes the body to spill glucose into the urine. There are a number of conditions which can be connected with insulin insensitivity, and consequently, a higher level of insulin required. One of these results is from insulin antagonism that is produced by progesterone in bitches, which have recently been in season or have had treatment to prevent them from having seasons.
Another is caused by high levels of cortisol in diabetic dogs which also have hyperadrenocorticism (Cushings disease), or which have had repeated long acting steroid injections. The best tests for hyperadrenocorticism are the low