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Diabetes In Dogs
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Diabetes In Dogs

Jasper passed away on 4th February 2010 after being ill for a week. He started being sick occasionally, drinking/urinating excessively, more than usual, and seemed weak and lethargic. At first we thought he probably had a tummy bug so boiled his water, gave him bland food to eat and kept an eye on him, but there was no improvement. We took him to see his veterinarian, armed with a urine sample. He tested Jaspers' urine, did blood tests and diagnosed him with diabetes. He was immediately put on a drip for 24 hours. However, things were not that simple. Jasper also had renal failure, probably due to the diabetes going undetected for several months or the kidneys may have even been the cause of the diabetes. Hydration therapy was tried on Jasper to try to save the kidneys but it was too late. Too much of the kidney had been damaged and Jasper suffered a Pulmonary Embolism - the water was by-passing the kidneys and going straight to his lungs. His breathing became difficult and he started to get distressed by this so we had no alternative but to take our beloved friend to his veterinarian and have him "put to sleep". It was one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make, but we could not let our beloved friend be afraid and suffer. We had to be his voice as the look in his eye said it all. We feel totally devastated by what has happened. Losing Jasper has been a tremendous sadness and loss, but the worst of it is that it may have been avoided if we had recognised the signs/symptoms of diabetes.

For a few months prior to Jasper becoming ill, he started to have quite a ferocious appetite/put on weight, could never get enough to eat. We just put that down to getting older, fatter and greedier like any of us. He started to get what we thought was "dandruff" so just bathed and brushed him more often. He started to drink more than usual, but not excessively and didn't seem to urinate anymore than normal. These, unbeknown to us, were Jaspers' symptoms of diabetes, quite simple, but nevertheless so dangerous. Nothing to be concerned about, or so we thought. We learnt the hard way.. 

We do not want this to happen to anyone else if it can be avoided so we are trying to make all dog owners aware of this "Silent Killer"

Symptoms Of Canine Diabetes

Diabetes in dogs is a hormonal condition in which the dog is unable to control his blood sugar levels. It is a disease that has to be addressed early so that its effects can be reversed. If not recognised it could be the cause of the eventual death of a dog.

Underlying causes: Lack of insulin production  by the pancreas or failure of tissues to the effects of the hormone leading to, particularly,  raised sugar levels in the blood (hyperglycaemia). The underlying cause may be quite serious, as it may indicate that the dog's pancreas is not producing enough insulin, perhaps due to an abnormality of the pancreas or through the natural ageing of the organ. In some breeds the condition is thought to be hereditry e.g the German Shepherd, Labrador, Retrievers, Rottweillers and Samoyeds. It can however occur in almost any dog, most commonly those over eight years of age. Unspayed bitches and obese dogs of either sex are also at increased risk.

There are several signs/symptoms that you need to be aware of, such as:

* Lethargy/Limpness: As you probably already know, lethargy can be a symptom of many illnesses/diseases and not just diabetes. Lethargy/limpness are acute symptoms and could indicate likely ketoacidosis and/or dehydration.  It is very imporatant to take note of any changes in your dogs condition/activity. Is he/she as responsive as usual? If not please take him to your vet for a diagnosis. Better to be safe than sorry.

*Excessive Water Consumption: A dog that drinks water excessively can possibly have diabetes or a kidney problem. Diabetes may cause a dog to consume too much water because of the overproduction of glucose, or because the glucose cannot be metabolised by its body properly. Don't hang about, get it checked out immediately.

*Increased Urination: If a dog is drinking more water than usual, then naturally he will urinate more. These two symptoms are linked to each other. See your vet asap.

*Weight Gain/Weight Loss: An increase in a dogs appetite may cause weight gain. A ferocious appetite is a symptom of diabetes but also is a lack of appetite. Also, lack of activity will cause your dog to put on weight. This may also be because he cannot burn as much sugar because of the insulin deficiency it is suffering from. Any abnormal weight gain/loss whether or not it is caused by diabetes is a cause for concern.

*Thinning Of The Skin: Pet owners should watch for noticeable thinning of the skin and apparent fragility. These signs are serious and indicate that the dog is metabolising (breaking down) its own body fat and muscle to survive. Does your dog have what looks like dandruff? If he does, take him to your vet.

*Cataracts: Cataracts are a frequent occurrence in diabetic dogs. A cataract is a clouding that develops in the crystalline lens of the eye or in its envelope, varying in degree from slight to complete opacity and obstructing the passage of light.

The  most challenging thing about Canine Diabetes is the fact that it may not have any symptoms at all. Hence the reason it is called "The Silent Killer".

In some cases, diabetes can slowly disrupt the functions of the body without showing any real signs/symptoms, as it did with our beloved Jasper.

There are many books on the market/websites with information on this and many other diseases.

A  permanent cure for canine diabetes is yet to be discovered but treatment of the condition can be completely successful, provided that the vet is consulted before the condition becomes chronic. A dog can live a normal life with diabetes despite their condition. A few lifestyle changes and regular medication will however be necessary. Possible treatments may include, weight loss, spaying, insulin, medication, a special diet and increased exercise. Whatever the treatment, it will inevitably involve quite a lot of work over a prolonged period of time and expense, but he/she is worth it!

Our beloved friends give us so much unconditional love. They are worth anything that we have to go through to repay them for their love and loyalty, including the pain of losing them.

They certainly leave behind their

 "Paw Prints In Our Hearts!"



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