November marks Pet Diabetes Month, whose aim is to educate pet owners on the signs of the disease, and appropriate care.
Specifically, the campaign is designed to help pet owners understand the condition, its risk factors and what to do if they notice a change in their pet’s behavior or appearance that might indicate diabetes. Detection and management can help prevent serious medical complications, including heart and kidney problems, which can occur when the disease is left untreated, according to the campaign.
“Being well-informed about diabetes is crucial for every cat and dog owner,” said Randy Lynn, DVM, technical services manager at Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health. “An early diagnosis of diabetes can prevent or delay the development of complications that can have a negative impact on the quality of life for a pet and its owner.”
There is also a dedicated website about the disease, which includes a description of treatment options available through veterinarians, a pet owner’s quiz, a glossary and stories from pet owners describing their experiences with diabetic pets.
Diabetes in pets is very similar to diabetes in people. Healthy pets produce and utilize insulin normally but pets with diabetes do not. Common signs of diabetes are drinking large amounts of water, frequent urination and eating excessively while losing (or not gaining) weight. Several health problems can develop in diabetic pets, according to the campaign material. Typically, dogs can develop cataracts, causing blindness, and cats can suffer from weakness in the hind legs.
The campaign is sponsored by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health of Roseland, N.J., and supported by the American Animal Hospital Association.