Should Your Pet Get Tested for Diabetes?
Did you know that dogs and cats can develop diabetes – just like people can? Yep, diabetes is a chronic, systemic disease that affects an estimated 1 in 300 dogs and 1 in 230 cats in the United States. When you consider that there are about 76 million companion canines and 58 million companion felines living in the country, that statistic feels a lot more significant. November is National Pet Diabetes Awareness Month, and we’re using the opportunity to help educate pet owners about the importance of screening pets for diabetes.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic health condition that is marked by the body’s inability to effectively process and use glucose (a type of sugar that is responsible for providing the body with fuel at a cellular level). Diabetes results in elevated levels of sugar in the blood and in the urine, and this can damage the body’s organs, especially the kidneys.
Why Should Pets Be Screened for Diabetes?
Since diabetes can result in serious organ damage, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of diabetes is important in order to safeguard the pet’s well-being and systemic health from permanent damage.
How Are Pets Tested for Diabetes?
Diagnostic tests to screen for and/or diagnose diabetes include both laboratory blood tests and urinalysis that can detect the level of sugar present in the pet’s blood and urine. These tests are typically performed after a 12-hour fast to ensure our lab doesn’t detect elevated sugar levels as a result of the pet just having eaten a meal.
Diabetes Treatment and Management
Diabetes is a chronic health condition, meaning it cannot be cured. However, it can be effectively managed with dietary adjustments and, when necessary, prescription insulin injections.
Is Your Pet at Risk of Developing Diabetes?
While any pet can develop diabetes, pets that belong to certain categories are at an increased risk. These risk factors include:
If your pet has any of the above-listed risk factors for diabetes, we might recommend routine annual or biannual health screening.