Diabetes mellitus is caused by insufficient insulin production by the pancreas (type one diabetes) or the inability of cells within the body to respond to normal concentrations of insulin (type two diabetes), either of which results in excessively high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood and low levels of glucose within cells.
Typical symptoms of diabetes include increased urination and thirst, weakness, weight loss despite a good or even ravenous appetite, recurrent infections (especially of the urinary tract), and the development of cataracts. Over time, severe, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to dehydration, electrolyte abnormalities, and death. A veterinarian will usually diagnose diabetes based on a combination of an animal’s clinical signs, elevated blood glucose levels, and the presence of glucose in the urine.
Diabetic dogs are usually treated with insulin injections, dietary modifications, and sometimes oral medications.