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5 Reasons to Test Your Dog for Diabetes

Reviewed by Dr. Peter Kintzer, DVM, DACVIM on Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Posted September 24, 2015 in Dog Diseases & Conditions A-Z

Did you know that some authorities feel that 1 out of every 100 dogs that reaches 12 years of age develops diabetes mellitus1?

Pet owner feeding their dogDiabetes mellitus (DM) is a hormonal problem where the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, the hormone that helps push sugar (“glucose”) into the body’s cells. Without the insulin, the body’s cells are starving for sugar; unfortunately, this then stimulates the body to produce more and more sugar (in an attempt to feed the cells). That’s why your dog’s blood sugar is so high (what we call a “hyperglycemia”) with diabetes mellitus.

Without insulin, the sugar can’t get into the cells; hence, why you need to give insulin to your dog with a tiny syringe twice a day. In dogs, this is a disease that can be costly to treat and requires twice-a-day insulin along with frequent veterinary visits for the rest of your dog’s life.

So how do you know if your dog has diabetes? Clinical signs of diabetes mellitus in dogs include:

As your dog gets older, it’s worth talking to your veterinarian about doing routine blood work to make sure your dog is healthy. This blood work will help rule out kidney and liver problems, anemia, infections, electrolyte problems and diabetes mellitus. The sooner you recognize the clinical signs, the sooner your dog can be treated with insulin and the less complications we see as a result.

So, if you notice any of the signs above, get to a veterinarian right away. Now, continue on for 5 important reasons to test your dog for diabetes:

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Justine has more than 18 years of experience in the veterinary industry and is a board-certified emergency critical care veterinary specialist and toxicologist as well as the CEO and founder of Vetgirl. She is also a founding member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.