Diabetes

In animals, we most commonly refer to diabetes mellitus- a broad term encompassing a complex group of syndromes that have in common a disturbance in the body’s ability to process and use glucose. This is secondary to a malfunction in beta cells of the pancreas whose function is the production and release and insulin. Insulin is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Type 1 diabetes (most common in dogs) is insulin-dependent and is comparable to the juvenile onset form noted in children. There is a very low insulin level in the body to begin with (due to a deficiency in secretion by the pancreas), and the level does not increase appropriately when glucose is increased (such as through ingestion of a meal). Type 2 diabetes is non-insulin dependent, similar to the adult onset form in humans due to pancreatic damage. There is high or normal level of insulin present, but the response of the tissue receptors is diminished, and glucose still cannot be metabolized properly. This is the type most commonly seen in cats. In both cases, treatment with injectable insulin and diet modification is often used, and may be life-long. : For more information on diabetes please ask our veterinarians or visit www.veterinarypartner.com.