There was an error in this gadget

Friday, June 18, 2010

Canine Diabetes

Like humans, dogs can acquire diabetes too. Dogs with diabetes need utmost care and support because it is a life-threatening disease that every pet owner should be very concerned about.

Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the beta cells of the endocrine pancreas either stop producing insulin or can no longer produce it in enough quantity for the body's needs. The body's energy "fuel" is glucose; without insulin, cells are not able to use the glucose for its intended purpose, so glucose begins building up in the blood where it can be seen as hyperglycemia or high blood glucose levels. This most common form of diabetes (There is another form not covered here, Diabetes insipidus.) strikes 1 in 500 dogs. The condition is treatable, and need not shorten the animal's life span or interfere with quality of life. If left untreated, the condition can lead to cataracts, increasing weakness in the legs (neuropathy), malnutrition, ketoacidosis and/or dehydration, and death. Diabetes mainly affects middle-aged and older dogs, but there have also been juvenile cases. The typical canine diabetes patient is middle-aged, female and overweight at diagnosis.

There are two types of diabetes, and dogs may acquire either of these types if they’re not cared for properly. The two types are diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus. Diabetes is an endocrine disease that is brought about by the malfunction of the endocrine glands.

Diabetes insipidus is characterized by the lack of vasopressin. Vasopressin is an anti-diuretic hormone whose job is to control the kidney’s absorption of water.

Diabetes mellitus is characterized by insulin deficiency. It is a condition where the dog’s body can’t metabolize sugar well. This is the more common and more dangerous type of diabetes that dogs can possibly acquire.

Generally there's a gradual onset of the disease over a few weeks, and it may escape notice for a while. The main symptoms are:

* excessive water consumption-- Polydipsia
* frequent and/or excessive urination-- Polyuria --possible house "accidents"
* greater than average appetite-- Polyphagia --with either weight loss or maintenance of current weight
* cloudy eyes-- Cataracts

Early diagnosis and interventive treatment can mean reduced incidence of complications such as cataracts and neuropathy. Since dogs are insulin-dependent, oral drugs are not effective for them,[9][15][16] and must instead be placed on insulin replacement therapy. Approved oral diabetes drugs can be helpful to sufferers of Type 2 diabetes because they work in one of three ways-by inducing the pancreas to produce more insulin, to allow the bodies to more effectively utilize the insulin it produces, or by slowing the glucose absorption rate from the GI tract. Unapproved and so-called "natural" remedies make similar claims for their products. All of this is based on the premise of having an endocrine pancreas which has beta cells capable of producing insulin. Those with type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes, have beta cells which are permanently damaged, thus unable to produce insulin. This is the form diabetes takes in dogs-insulin-dependency-and the reason why nothing except using insulin by injections, insulin pump, or islet transplants can be considered real and effective treatment.

The most common form of this treatment is an intermediate-acting basal insulin (NPH/isophane, Caninsulin/Vetsulin), with a regimen of food and insulin every 12 hours, insulin following the meal. With Lantus (insulin glargine) being unreliable in dogs, it is rarely used to treat canine diabetes. Most dogs don't require basal/bolus insulin injections.

The management of dog diabetes starts with a proper diet. There are foods that your dog should eat in order to help this condition. On the other hand, there are certain foods that can possibly make your dog's diabetes become worse. When your dog is suffering from diabetes, regular visits to the vet are essential. You may also be required to start using prepared meals instead of giving your dog its regular food.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Which Foods Could be Dangerous for My Dog?

Some foods which are edible for humans, and even other species of animals, can pose hazards for dogs because of their different metabolism. Some may cause only mild digestive upsets, whereas, others can cause severe illness, and even death. The following common food items should not be fed (intentionally or unintentionally) to dogs. This list is, of course, incomplete because we can not possibly list everything your dog should not eat.

Items to avoid

Reasons to avoid

Alcoholic beverages

Can cause intoxication, coma, and death.

Baby food

Can contain onion powder, which can be toxic to dogs. (Please see onion below.) Can also result in nutritional deficiencies, if fed in large amounts.

Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources

Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.

Cat food

Generally too high in protein and fats.

Chocolate, coffee, tea, and other caffeine

Contain caffeine, theobromine, or theophylline, which can be toxic and affect the heart and nervous systems.

Citrus oil extracts

Can cause vomiting.

Fat trimmings

Can cause pancreatitis.

Grapes and raisins

Contain an unknown toxin, which can damage the kidneys. There have been no problems associated with grape seed extract.


Unknown compound causes panting, increased heart rate, elevated temperature, seizures, and death.

Human vitamin supplements containing iron

Can damage the lining of the digestive system and be toxic to the other organs including the liver and kidneys.

Large amounts of liver

Can cause Vitamin A toxicity, which affects muscles and bones.

Macadamia nuts

Contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscle.


Can depress the nervous system, cause vomiting, and changes in the heart rate.

Milk and other dairy products

Some adult dogs and cats do not have sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk. This can result in diarrhea. Lactose-free milk products are available for pets.

Moldy or spoiled food, garbage

Can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting and diarrhea and can also affect other organs.


Can contain toxins, which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock, and result in death.

Onions and garlic (raw, cooked, or powder)

Contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia. Cats are more susceptible than dogs. Garlic is less toxic than onions.


Seeds can cause intestinal obstruction and enteritis.

Pits from peaches and plums

Can cause obstruction of the digestive tract.

Potato, rhubarb, and tomato leaves; potato and tomato stems

Contain oxalates, which can affect the digestive, nervous, and urinary systems. This is more of a problem in livestock.

Raw eggs

Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.

Raw fish

Can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. More common if raw fish is fed regularly.


If eaten in large quantities it may lead to electrolyte imbalances.


Can become trapped in the digestive system; called a "string foreign body."

Sugary foods

Can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly diabetes mellitus.

Table scraps (in large amounts)

Table scraps are not nutritionally balanced. They should never be more than 10% of the diet. Fat should be trimmed from meat; bones should not be fed.


Contains nicotine, which affects the digestive and nervous systems. Can result in rapid heart beat, collapse, coma, and death.

Yeast dough

Can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.

Xylitol (artificial sweetener)

Can cause liver failure.