Is Your Pet at Risk for Diabetes?

Is Your Pet at Risk for Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a condition that can affect dogs and cats as well as humans. Although diabetes can’t be cured, it can be managed very successfully. There are certain risk factors that can increase the chances of a pet getting diabetes, so it’s important to be familiar with them and keep an eye out.

Risk factors of diabetes in dogs

  • Age (dogs that are 5 years old or older)
  • Being unspayed for females dogs
  • Breeds that appear predisposed to diabetes[1]:
    • Australian Terrier
    • Bichon Frise
    • Cairn Terrier
    • Fox Terrier
    • Keeshond
    • Lhasa Apsos
    • Miniature Poodles
    • Miniature Schnauzer
    • Samoyeds
    • Spitzes
    • Toy poodles
    • Yorkshire Terriers.

If your dog has one or more of these risk factors, ask your veterinarian about diabetes testing.

Risk factors of diabetes in cats

  • Being neutered
  • Obesity
  • Age
  • Physical inactivity
  • Breeds that appear predisposed to diabetes:
    • Burmese cats[2]

If your cat has one or more of these risk factors, ask your veterinarian about diabetes testing.

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Signs of diabetes in cats and dogs

Fatigue or weakness

  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Acting sluggish or less playful
  • Appearing sick or not feeling well
  • Poor body or coat condition

Frequent urination

  • Asking to go out more
  • Having accidents in the house
  • Litter box requires more frequent changing

Excessive thirst

  • Drinking water out of the faucet or toilet
  • Water bowl requires more frequent refilling

Weight loss despite increased appetite

  • Eating more but losing or not gaining weight

If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes, don’t panic. With good veterinary support and a glucose monitor, you should be able to provide the right care for your pet and ensure you both many more happy years together.

Richard E. Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM), DECVIM‑CA

Richard E. Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM), DECVIM‑CA

Dr. Goldstein graduated from the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in 1993 and completed a residency in Small Animal Internal Medicine at the University of California, Davis. He was a faculty member at Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine from 2001-2011, then joined the Animal Medical Center as Chief Medical Officer.

He is currently the Chief Medical Officer and Executive Director of Medical Affairs, Zoetis Petcare. His clinical and research interests are the infectious renal and genetic diseases of dogs and cats. He has published over 70 peer reviewed manuscripts and book chapters and is the recipient of the Norden Distinguished Teaching Award.

  1. Nelson RW. Canine diabetes mellitus. In Ettinger SJ, Feldman EC, eds. Textbook of veterinary internal medicine, 7th ed. St. Louis: Saunders-Elsevier; 2010; 1782-1796.
  2. Reusch, C. Feline diabetes mellitus. In Ettinger SJ, Feldman EC, eds. Textbook of veterinary internal medicine, 7th ed. St. Louis: Saunders-Elsevier; 2010: 1796-1816.

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