think my pet may be diabetic, what are the symptoms?
pet is having problems holding it's urine, does that mean it's diabetic?
much water should I let my pet drink?
pet was recently diagnosed, what advice would you give me?
pet has been diagnosed with Diabetes Insipidus, do you have any information
long will my pet live after diagnosis?
diabetes in animals similar to that of humans?
there other pet owner's I can talk to?
is the importance of making sure my pet is regulated?
long does it take to regulate a diabetic animal?
pet is ill, and not eating. Should I still give him/her an insulin injection?
can I monitor my pet's Blood Glucose level at home?
do I choose a Blood Glucose Meter?
do I get a blood sample?
is the life span of insulin?
else should I know about insulin?
there alternatives to injections?
I reuse insulin syringes?
do I dispose of insulin syringes?
I feed my pet before or after an injection?
can I give my pet as a treat?
does the typical diet consist of?
are the symptoms of Hypoglycemia?
think my pet is having a Hypoglycemic episode, what should I do?
I think my pet may be diabetic, what are the symptoms?
Excessive water consumption
My pet is having problems holding it's urine, does that mean it's
No, your pet could have a bladder or kidney infection, or some other medical
problem. If your pet is having problems holding it's bladder, you should
schedule a trip to the vet A.S.A.P.
How much water should I let my pet drink?
If your pet is diabetic, and drinking excessive amounts of water, give
him/her all they can drink. Your pet's body is trying to combat the high
blood glucose level by expelling the excess sugar out of their body through
the urine. Once your pet is regulated this will stop.
My pet was recently diagnosed, what advice would you give me?
Learn everything you can about diabetes. Talk to your vet, your personal
doctor, other owners of diabetic animals, and friends or relatives with
diabetes. Your pet's recovery will depend a lot on what you know.
You will need to work closely with your veterinarian, and offer your
input. Don't be afraid to ask questions, or ask for training from your
vet on giving injections and monitoring blood glucose levels.
My pet has been diagnosed with Diabetes Insipidus, do you have any
information on this?
No, this site does not contain any information on Diabetes Insipidus. Even
though the symptoms are similar, the causes and treatments for Diabetes
Mellitus and Diabetes Insipidus are completely unrelated. Visit our
bookmarks for the pages I have found on the subject.
How long will my pet live after diagnosis?
If your pet is older, the average life span after diagnosis is about 3
years. Each pet is different, and depending on overall health, your pet
could live longer than 3 years, or sometimes less than a year.
Is diabetes in animals similar to that of humans?
Yes, it is very similar. When looking for information, don't pass over
the information on human diabetes. They are often excellent resources.
Your pet will be using the same medications, equipment and monitoring methods
as human diabetics use.
Are there other pet owner's I can talk to?
Yes, See the Petdiabetes page for
What is the importance of making sure my pet is regulated?
If diabetes is left untreated or unregulated, it could cause many complications.
These include, cataracts, blindness, kidney and liver problems, and in
extreme cases, death.
How long does it take to regulate a diabetic animal?
Each pet's case is different. There is no way to put a specific time on
it. Sometimes the regulation process will require you to try several different
types of insulin, different amounts, and one to multiple injections a day.
Regulation can be achieved sometimes within a month, and in some occasions,
over a year from the time therapy first started. It is very important to
work closely with your vet during this process to avoid further complications.
Even after your pet is regulated, you will still need to maintain this
relationship with your pet's health care provider. Frequent check ups will
be necessary to maintain good health.
My pet is ill, and not eating. Should I still give him/her an insulin
Yes, you should not withhold insulin unless your pet is hypoglycemic. Dogs
which are off their food or need to be fasted as part of the management
of vomiting or diarrhea need to continue to receive insulin, since withholding
both food and insulin is likely to start the production of ketones and
this will make the dog more unwell. Usually half of the dog's normal requirement
will prevent ketoacidosis and will be safe. As always though, consult with
How can I monitor my pet's Blood Glucose level at home?
During the first phase of regulation, you can use urine strips such as
Diastix, to monitor your pets glucose level. They can be purchased in most
pharmacy's, and are fairly inexpensive. Your pharmacist can normally help
you find the right product if you are unsure. Once your pet is regulated,
and the strips start reading negative, they are no longer an accurate judge
of your pet's condition. They will only tell you if your pet's glucose
level is too high, but they will not give you an indication of it being
too low. This will require a blood glucose meter. These meters are very
accurate, and will give you a digital reading of your pet's current state.
They however, require you to take a blood sample from your pet.
How do I choose a Blood Glucose Meter?
Two words... very carefully! The good ones are not cheap, but if you don't
spend the money on them, you will more than likely regret it. If you buy
one, and it doesn't work, you can't return it, so it's important to get
it right the first time.
Things to consider:
Cost of Meter
Cost of Test Strips
Blood sample size required
Method of getting the blood on the strip
Ease of use
Out of experience, and buying the wrong one the first time, I chose the
Glucometer Elite by Bayer. It requires one of the smallest sample sizes,
and believe me, that is very important. It is also one of the few meters
that actually draws the sample into the strip. Most require you to strategically
"drip" the blood onto a target, and the blood cannot go out of the boundaries
of the target, or it could give you a false reading. Try doing that with
a dog that doesn't want to cooperate!
How do I get a blood sample?
First thing, know that sometimes it is virtually impossible to get a sample.
The more practice you get, the better you will be at determining this.
If after the first couple sticks, you don't get a good sample, just wait
a while and try again. Let your pet sit outside in the sun for a few minutes,
or take them for a walk. This usually warms them up and gets the circulation
Testing from the Lip a complete picture by picture tutorial
Daisy Picture Tutorial on how to take blood from above the tail
Home Blood Glucose Test Site for more information and specific techniques.
What is the life span of insulin?
If kept refrigerated, it will have a longer life span. There are different
theories on this, but when it comes to your pets health, why take a chance.
Each time you puncture the insulin vial, you risk contaminating it with
Unopened, refrigerated insulin is good till the expiration date on the
Unopened, room temperature insulin is good for 4 weeks
Opened insulin should be discarded after 30 days, or 100 punctures
Insulin should be refrigerated before first use to ensure potency
For more information, contact the manufacturer of your particular brand
What else should I know about insulin?
Always have a spare vial on hand (You'll always break one when the drug
store is closed!)
Keep it in it's box to protect it from light
Keep it refrigerated when possible
If it has gotten too hot, or frozen, discard it immediately
See the Insulin page for more information
Are there alternatives to injections?
There are oral medications that are helpful in humans and felines, but
right now, injections are the only treatment for Canine Diabetes Mellitus.
Should I reuse insulin syringes?
Many doctors, vets, and pharmacists will tell you it is ok to reuse syringes.
This is a personal decision. If you do reuse syringes, you risk giving
your pet an abscess, or infection, that complicated by diabetes can be
a chore to get over. I recommend using syringes once, and disposing of
How do I dispose of insulin syringes?
The guidelines for each community is different. You will need to check
with your own. Most find it acceptable to dispose of the syringes in a
"sharps container" (available at your drug store), milk jug or coffee can
that has been properly labeled and thrown in the trash. Sometimes your
vet will also dispose of them for you.
Should I feed my pet before or after an injection?
It is very important that your pet eats along with it's injection. This
helps prevent Hypoglycemia. The safest method is to feed your pet first,
then give the injection (about 20 minutes later). This way, if your pet
does not eat, you will have the chance to reduce the dosage if needed.
What can I give my pet as a treat?
Your vet will be the best person to determine your pet's diet, as he/she
best knows it's needs. Ask them about treats. They can probably help you
find a restricted calorie treat for your pet, such as Eukanuba Restricted
Calorie Rewards or Science Diet Light Formula Treats. You may also be able
to give an occasional natural treat such as Rawhide or Pig Ears.
What does the typical diet consist of?
To keep diet constant from day to day it is best to use commercially produced
rather than home made diets. Certain prescription or veterinary diets can
be a useful adjunct to insulin therapy such as Waltham Canine High Fiber,
Hill's w/d or r/d. These diets should be avoided in underweight diabetics
which need Waltham Concentration Diet, Hill's p/d or i/d. If special diets
are unavailable then standard canned pet foods are acceptable. If your
pet has been fed "people food" only and will not eat dog foods, check out
Canine Cuisine for ideas.
What are the symptoms of Hypoglycemia?
In diabetic animals treated with insulin there is some risk that hypoglycemia
may occur. It is rare for a dog or cat to die of this condition but it
is possible and owners should be appropriately warned and trained by the
veterinary team responsible for their pet's management. It is most likely
to happen if the animal is accidentally over-dosed with insulin, over-exercised
or fails to eat its morning meal. The first noticeable clinical sign is
hunger followed by lethargy and sleepiness. If untreated, stumbling and
staggering ensue followed progressively by twitching, convulsions, coma
I think my pet is having a Hypoglycemic episode, what should I do?
If the animal is still conscious, treatment is by offering food. If it
is unable to eat, then glucose must be administered by mouth or by intravenous
injection. Dissolved glucose powder or syrup (such as Karo white corn syrup)
will be absorbed quickly through the mucosa if poured into the side of
the mouth. It is not necessary for it to be swallowed. HYPOSTOP or GLUTOSE
45 are a 40% dextrose gels which are convenient to carry and easily administered
orally. There are also 20 and 40% dextrose (a form of glucose) solutions
available for the veterinarian to use in emergency treatment.