Diabete Mellitus in Your Pets

Diabetes is a disease that often affects humans, but did you know that your pet can also suffer from it? Diabetes mellitus, also known as diabetes, touches both dogs and cats and can be triggered by a variety of causes.

The Clinique Vétérinaire Beaubien informs you about this condition and helps you recognize it in your pet. Ideally located in the Rosemont–La-Petite-Patrie borough, the clinic is operated by experienced professionals who care for your pets.

What Is Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus is a health condition that has two main causes: the lack of insulin production by the pancreas or the cellular resistance to use the insulin produced. In both cases, the result is the same: insulin, the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar, cannot fulfill its role, which leads to an increase in blood sugar levels.

What Are the Causes?

As mentioned, the deficiency results either from the pancreas or from a cellular resistance. The causes of the disease differ in dogs and cats.

In dogs, the main causes are:

  • Immune-mediated disease
  • Vacuolar degeneration
  • Pancreatitis

In unsterilized female dogs, insulin resistance can also be caused by the hormonal cycle. If this is the case for your dog, spaying is the first recommended solution to the problem.

The average age of onset of the disease is 8 years, but it is more common between the ages of 4 and 14. Therefore, relatively young dogs can be affected by this condition: it is advisable to be vigilant.

In cats, diabetes is most often caused by:

  • Loss or dysfunction of the pancreatic beta cells
  • Pancreatic amyloidosis
  • Lymphoplasmacytic pancreatitis

If remission of diabetes is not possible with dogs, cats may recover from diabetes during treatment. Therefore, symptoms should be monitored closely when treating your feline with insulin. Diabetes usually occurs between the ages of 8 and 13 in cats.

What Are the Predispositions?

There are several risk factors that can lead to the development of diabetes in animals. Some breeds are more often affected than others simply because of genetic factors. In dogs, these include the Australian terrier, the beagle, the Samoyed and the keeshond. In cats, your Burmese may also be at higher risk.

Obesity remains the leading cause of diabetes in animals and is the source of many other conditions. If you notice weight gain or if your veterinarian has warned you about this issue, it is important to start a program so your pet can regain good health.

As with humans, dental and gum disease affects diabetes, including tartar and gingivitis. So don’t neglect dental care! Also, certain medications increase the risk of developing diabetes, including glucocorticoids and cyclosporine.

Other conditions and diseases are risk factors, especially when they affect the pancreas or hormone regulation:

  • Hypothyroidism in dogs
  • Hyperadrenocorticism
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pregnancy/estrus in non-spayed animals

Your veterinarian can help you prevent diabetes or inform you of your pet’s predisposition. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice!

How Do You Recognize Diabetes?

If your pet suffers from diabetes, you may recognize several symptoms. Most often, your dog or cat will drink more water and urinate more frequently or eat a lot and still lose weight. In more advanced cases, symptoms may include lethargy, vomiting and anorexia.

If you notice one or more of the symptoms mentioned, consult your veterinarian quickly so that a treatment plan can be put in place. In the next blog, we will discuss how to diagnose diabetes and how to treat it.

Prevention at the Heart of the Action

At the Clinique Vétérinaire Beaubien, our farsighted and proactive team helps you identify risk factors and respond promptly to any abnormality in your pet. For our professionals, prevention is key: your pets are in good hands. The Clinique Vétérinaire Beaubien is the one for you!


AAHA.orgTilley Larry P. (2005). The 5-minute veterinary consult canine and feline, 3rd edition, Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, pp. 347-351.