Diabetes mellitus is an absolute or relative insulin deficiency that primarily affects the carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
Insulin is a hormone made by certain cells in the pancreas. After every meal, the pancreas secretes insulin, which ensures that the sugar from the food reaches the body’s cells, where it is needed as a vital supplier of energy. The function of the insulin is similar to that of a key. Because it opens certain cell pores for the sugar molecules that are closed without insulin.
When there is an absolute lack of insulin, the pancreas no longer produces enough insulin. This can be caused by hereditary predisposition, inflammation, autoimmune diseases, Cushing’s syndrome or hypothyroidism. Disorders of the sex hormone balance in uncastrated bitches and certain medications can also trigger diabetes mellitus. We speak of a relative insulin deficiency when the pancreas produces enough insulin, but the cells no longer respond to the hormone. Insulin deficiency has two direct effects: 1. The body’s cells do not receive enough fuel in the form of sugar. And 2. A large amount of sugar accumulates in the blood.
The increased blood sugar damages the arteries in particular, and circulatory disorders occur in various organs and regions of the body. Consequences of these circulatory disorders can include, for example, blindness from cataracts or poorly healing wounds. In addition, the increased blood sugar level causes the kidneys to produce and pass significantly more urine. This is the cause of the two main symptoms of diabetes mellitus: constant thirst and large amounts of urine.
Another important warning sign is when the dog has a big appetite and eats more than before, but still loses weight because its body cells can no longer absorb sugar. This in turn has other consequences. Nerves, organs and muscles lose their efficiency. Since the body would like to fall back on other energy sources, e.g. fat, further problems can arise. Under certain circumstances, the burning of fat even produces toxins, the so-called ketones, which can lead to a life-threatening condition, diabetic ketoacidosis, with impaired consciousness, up to coma, vomiting and dehydration.
Castration can put an end to the spooky bitch, because diabetes mellitus is often triggered by an excess of the sex hormone progesterone. As a rule, however, diabetes is incurable and must be treated for a lifetime.
With a little consistency and a regular daily routine, a diabetic dog can live a good and long life. The regular injection of insulin is of central importance. During the first few weeks after diagnosis, the dog’s blood sugar should be checked several times a day. In principle, a dog with diabetes should lead a very regular life. Great exertion should be avoided as well as out-of-order meals. Because they can lead to hypoglycaemia or a rise in blood sugar levels.
Cushing’s syndrome, diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism