Types of Diabetes in Dogs

Image of a chubby dog.

Most people have heard of diabetes and associate it with needing to administer insulin. But actually there are two different kinds of diabetes: diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus. Their symptoms can be similar, but their causes are totally different and thus their treatments are completely different.

Diabetes mellitus is the more common of the two; it is caused by a lack of insulin in the affected dog. Insulin helps to move glucose into cells. If there is no insulin, glucose builds up in the blood, and cells do not get the energy they need. Diseases such as Cushing's and pancreatitis can lead to diabetes mellitus. The use of steroids and being overweight can also predispose dogs to this condition. Diabetic dogs are all Type 1 diabetics in that they all require insulin (the oral medications that people with Type 2 diabetes use do not work in dogs) for the rest of their lives. Dogs with diabetes mellitus also frequently develop cataracts and urinary tract infections.

Both types of diabetes cause extreme water consumption; this symptom is called polydipsia. This leads to increased urination, and commonly accidents in the house. Polydipsia can be caused by many diseases, so laboratory tests are needed to confirm that it is being caused by diabetes.

Diabetes insipidus is caused by a reduced amount of ADH (antidiuretic hormone), a hormone that regulates water metabolism. ADH helps to keep water in the body, thus when there is too little ADH, the body can't conserve water well, and too much is released into the urine. The dog has to drink a lot of water to keep hydrated.

The drug vasopressin is used to treat diabetes insipidus. This may be administered by tablets given orally, or by drops put into the eye. Treatment is needed for the rest of the dog's life.

For both types of diabetes, it is important that water never be restricted. If the dog is polydipsic, her body is telling her to drink. There can be further organ damage if your dog is not allowed to drink enough water.

If your dog develops polydipsia, your veterinarian will need to get a good, thorough history, perform a physical exam, and do blood and urine tests. Your veterinarian can then help you and your dog develop a treatment plan.

Source:

"Water Diabetes in Dogs." Pet Health & Nutrition Information & Questions. PetMD, n.d. Web. 28 Aug. 2014.

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

7:30 am-12:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Feedback from our clients

  • "I have been taking my 16 year old lab, Oscar, to this vet since he came to me in 2004, and I wouldn't take any of my dogs anywhere else! They are so wonderful with both pets and people. I would recommend any of the doctors and staff to anyone."
    Erin H
  • "We have been going to another vet for years. We wanted to have our year old Wheaten Terrier, Rylee spayed by laparoscopy so she would have less pain and be back to her usual activity in 2-3 days instead of 10-14 days. Our vet does the traditional spay. We had a consult meet and greet with Dr. Courtney Pierce. She answered all our questions and so friendly and professional. They have a state of the art OR suite. Rylee did great. On post op day three she spotted a squirrel and did an all out chase with no ill effects! All the staff were great."
    Linda A
  • "I love Dr. Jernigan at AHLB and would never take my dog anywhere else! The staff is excellent with animals and always professional, courteous and respectful to owners. I have trusted this animal hospital for all of my dog's care, including check ups, surgeries (she's had three!) and for boarding when we have to go out of town. Every experience I have had here has been wonderful and I highly recommend their services to anyone looking for a veterinary office for their furry children!."
    Avery C