Care and Control of Pet Diabetes: Spike the Dog's Point of View (with Help from His Friend Sugar the Cat)
Hi, I’m Spike, and recently, something scary happened to me. I started to be thirsty all the time and kept begging to go outside to use the bathroom. I even had a couple of “accidents” in the house. I also felt really tired — so tired that I didn’t want to play fetch with my dad, Josh, anymore, which is my favorite thing in the whole world to do.
One day, I was talking to my friend Sugar, who has pet diabetes, and she asked me if I was having any other signs, including drinking large amounts of water, frequent bathroom breaks and/or having “accidents” in the house, always being hungry, weight loss despite good appetite and acting sluggish or depressed. I’d been experiencing a couple of these signs for a while, so she suggested that I might have pet diabetes, too. So, I asked Josh to bring me to the veterinarian. It helped that Sugar’s family told Josh all about my friend’s diabetes and encouraged him to call the veterinarian. She ran some tests and diagnosed me with pet diabetes based on my blood sugar levels.
Both Josh and I were scared at first, but my veterinarian assured us that with the right care and control, pet diabetes is a manageable condition. That is why Sugar and I are working with Merck Animal Health to provide pet owners with the tools they need to help manage their pets’ diabetes.
What We Learned About Pet Diabetes
My dad, Josh, didn’t know anything about pet diabetes, but my veterinarian said she was happy that he brought me in to see her. She knew a lot about the condition and was able to answer all of our questions. And since Sugar’s diabetes has been well-regulated for almost a year now, she’s been a huge help too (she claims she is a purrfect patient). With help from my veterinarian and Sugar, we learned that:
* Diabetes isn’t just a human condition. Diabetes affects the amount of glucose, or sugar, in your blood whether you are human, a dog or a cat. This happens when your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it properly.
* Pet diabetes is more common than you think. Since 2006, the number of cats and dogs diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. has grown by an average of 49 percent — and those numbers are expected to continue to rise.
* Any dog can develop diabetes, but it is most frequently diagnosed in middle-aged to older dogs. Female dogs are twice as likely to be affected as male dogs, though the numbers are approximately equal in neutered populations.
* For cats, diabetes is most commonly found in those that are older, but it has been diagnosed in cats of all ages and breeds. Obese or inactive cats are also at higher risk for developing diabetes.
Diabetes is a Manageable Condition, with the Right Care and Control
If you ask Sugar, she’ll tell you to work with your veterinarian and educate yourself about how to take care of a pet with diabetes. My veterinarian helped Josh develop a diabetes management plan that fit my needs. Your pet’s plan may include a prescribed diet, exercise, glucose monitoring and an insulin injection routine, depending on the animal’s individual needs.
At first, Josh was really nervous about giving me insulin injections, but the veterinarian taught him how to help me relax by petting me for a few minutes before or giving me the injection while I’m eating. Now, I sometimes don’t even know that it’s happening!
You also can download the free Pet Diabetes Tracker app on your iPhone or Android, like my family did, to help keep track of your pet’s activity, water and food intake, blood glucose and more. The best part — the app can send the information directly to your veterinarian!
Visit www.SugarandSpike.com for more information about pet diabetes and tips to help you manage your pet’s disease. Or if you suspect that your four-legged friend may have diabetes, talk directly with your veterinarian.