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Older Dogs Diabetes: Risks, Complications, Treatment and Monitoring (Part II)

Older Dogs Diabetes: Risks, Complications, Treatment and Monitoring (Part II)

Older Dogs Diabetes: Risks, Complications, Treatment and Monitoring (Part II)

One of the most common endocrine-related diseases which affects middle-aged to senior dogs is diabetes. It occurs rarely with younger dogs who are less than a year older, and is more common with females and neutered males rather than intact males.

Known Risks

Some dogs with a specific breed are speculated by researchers to have a higher risk in getting diabetes due to genetic reasons. Siberian Huskies, Bichon Frise, Fox Terriers, Spitz, Schnauzers, Australian Terriers, Samoyeds, Poodles, Miniature Pinschers, Cairn Terriers, Pulis and Keeshonds are among the different breed connections that have high risks in developing diabetes.

A 50 percent estimate of cases on older dogs diabetes are likely linked to autoimmune disorders resulting to pancreatic damage. Autoimmune disorders have varying causes which includes environmental factors, genetic predisposition, and even an overstimulation of the immune system caused by multiple vaccinations and processed foods.

In 30 percent of cases, chronic pancreatitis or an inflammation of the pancreas may contribute to diabetes. Aside from diabetes, the presence of pancreatic diseases can cause other illnesses such as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency which results in digestive enzymes deficiency. When a dog develops both diabetes and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, symptoms on diabetes typically appears before the EPI symptoms.

While genetic predispositions of diabetes are known and established when it comes to dogs, 20% of dogs are estimated to develop insulin resistance from other known reasons. Cushing’s disease, acromegaly and even a long-term use on steroid drugs such as prednisone are among the reasons for acquiring diabetes.

In female canines, the heat cycle may be one of the reasons for insulin resistance or it may occur within pregnancy. In cases like this, the symptoms may disappear after the heat cycle or the pregnancy is at an end. Symptoms may also disappear once the Cushing’s disease is treated, and the steroid-use is stopped.


While there are treatments which helps keep diabetes at bay, pet owners have encountered several complications which makes it difficult to control. Concurrent disorders such as Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, infections, liver insufficiency, renal insufficiency, chronic inflammation, cardiac insufficiency, hyperlipidemia, severe obesity, EPI and cancer are among those which makes it challenging to control diabetes. Over 40 percent of human patients develop diabetic nephropathy on a period of many years. This risk often associated with canine patients is unknown but is rather more common with cats.

Canine Treatment and Monitoring

When it comes to the medication of canine diabetes, the best adviser is always your veterinarian. There are various insulin products were individual response differs. It is only fair to say that the right insulin for your pet dog might require certain experimentation on the different products available. (read more here)

Upon the first diagnosis of diabetes, frequent monitoring must be done for two weeks or probably until the patient is stable and doing well. Once the patient is stable, it is advised to monitor vet exams such as blood tests, urinalysis and urine culture should be monitored for a period of three to six months.

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