Causes of Pet Diabetes


Causes of Pet Diabetes

As a caring and dedicated owner, you will be committed to helping your precious pet enjoy a long, happy and healthy life. Unfortunately, pets like dogs and cats can develop a variety of chronic health conditions. Since, in many cases, your furbaby will not be able to manage his own care, it will be down to you as his responsible owner ensure that any medications and health recommendations suggested by your vet are administered and implemented.


One of the conditions that could affect your pet, particularly as he gets older, is diabetes.

What is pet diabetes?

Diabetes is the same in both humans and animals. It occurs when your pet’s body either cannot produce enough insulin to regulate his blood sugar levels, or cannot respond properly to it. When this happens his blood sugar levels may get too high or drop too low. Both can make your pet very sick very quickly. Hyperglycaemia (too much glucose in his blood) can cause a range of problems including excessive hunger, dehydration, liver enlargement, nerve and tissue damage. Comparatively, if his blood sugar levels are too low the condition can be life threatening, and your pet may experience blurred vision, disorientation, heart palpitations, tremors and even seizures.


Pets that are diagnosed with diabetes will need to have their condition carefully managed so that they do not experience extreme fluctuations in their blood sugar levels. This can normally be achieved through a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.

What causes pet diabetes?

The single biggest contributing factor to the development of diabetes in pets is obesity and many of the other cited causes of the condition link back to obesity in some way or form. Carrying excess weight isn’t good for any living creature – your pet included, and since your furbaby is already a lot smaller than you are, a gain of just a few pounds might be sufficient to trigger the start of associated health problems. In the case of diabetes, excess fatty tissue makes your pet’s body cells more resistant to insulin. This means that he cannot regulate his blood sugar levels effectively and this will lead to dangerous fluctuations in them.


Age is another risk factor for diabetes, and whilst the condition can occur at any age, the majority of pets that are diagnosed are in their senior years. Often older pets are also overweight due to a combination of excess calories and not enough physical exercise, and these factors increase the likelihood of them developing diabetes.


Other potential causes for the development of pet diabetes include:

-         Your pet has an autoimmune condition or weakened immune system

-         A poor diet, particularly those which contain a high level of GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) in your pet’s diet. These are found in most corn and soy-based foods.

-         Chronic body inflammation caused by injury, infection and stress.

-         A diagnosis of a metabolic syndrome.

-         A diagnosis of pancreatitis.

-         Taking certain medications.

Symptoms of pet diabetes

Animals have a natural instinct to try and mask any illness that they experience. Nevertheless, there are some symptoms of pet diabetes that you may be able to identify. These include:


-         Weight loss

-         Excessive thirst and urination

-         Loss of appetite or sudden increase in appetite

-         Sweet-swelling breath

-         A coat that looks dull and dry

-         Lethargy

-         Disorientation / confusion

-         Loss of consciousness


If your precious pet exhibits any of these signs, we strongly recommend that you get him seen by your veterinarian as soon as possible.



If you are concerned about pet diabetes and would like further advice and support, our friendly and dedicated veterinary team would be happy to help. Please call or pop into our Evansville, IN clinic.