Vet Patrick explains how diabetes can affect pets

November 7, 2023

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To help raise awareness for Pet Diabetes Month this November, we wanted to share some information on the condition. Read on to find our about signs and symptoms along with treatment options following a diagnosis.

If you are concerned your own pet may have some symptoms of diabetes, then do not hesitate to contact Clarendon Street Vets’ reception team on 01223 359021

Contact us to book a diabetes check

Understanding diabetes

The most common pets we treat for diabetes are cats and dogs. There are risk factors that can predispose your pet to diabetes. These include obesity, breed, genetics and age.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, and occurs when the normal chemical reactions in your pet’s body malfunction. Insulin is created to help regulate blood sugar levels, and it is crucial in facilitating the uptake of blood sugar into cells. When an animal develops diabetes, the body starts to attack the insulin produced by the body and the regulation of blood sugar levels is affected. High levels of blood-glucose are known as hyperglycaemia. Alternatively, your pet’s body may start to produce too much insulin, a condition called hypoglycaemia. This is a veterinary emergency and can be fatal if left untreated.

Symptoms of diabetes in your pet

Early detection of diabetes is key in providing your pet with the medical treatment they need to manage the condition. The following symptoms are all indicators that your pet may be suffering from diabetes:

  1. Increased thirst and urination: when your pet’s blood-glucose becomes too high, it overflows from the blood stream into their urine, often with copious amounts of water. This is why a diabetic pet will urinate and drink more.
  2. Weight loss: as the unused blood-sugars get lost in your pet’s urine, there is no sugar to power the cells of the body. The body will then start to break down its fat reserves, hence the weight loss.
  3. Increased appetite: your pet is no longer able to efficiently absorb nutrients from their food so have an increased appetite as they try to regain nutrients.
  4. Lethargy: Sudden lethargy could be a sign that your pet is suffering from hypoglycaemia. Contact Clarendon Street Vets immediately on 01223 359021 if your pet seems, wobbly, spaced-out, or very hungry.
  5. Behavioural changes: these could be an indicator that your pet has an underlying health condition, such as diabetes, that needs veterinary attention.

Contact our team to discuss the above symptoms and to book your pet in for a diabetes check.

Diagnosis & treatments available for pet diabetes

The first step to diagnosing diabetes in your pet is to perform a blood test. The vet will extract a small vial of blood from your pet and will test their blood-glucose levels. They will also test a urine sample. If you are booking an appointment to test whether your dog has diabetes, it could be useful to collect a fresh urine sample before coming to your pet’s appointment. Chat to our reception team on 01223 359021 for more information.

Following the tests, your vet will then create a management plan, involving insulin injections to be given at home, along with controlled exercise and feeding schedule.

Help your pet live with diabetes


Your pet’s nutrition plays a big part in helping them to cope with diabetes. Our vets will recommend the types and brands of food that will work best for your individual pet. Looking for foods that slowly release sugars and removing all treats from their diet will help to keep their blood-glucose levels consistent.


Regular exercise is essential when it comes to managing diabetic pets. It helps to prevent weight gain and also helps your pet’s glucose regulation. Our vets will recommend an exercise regime to help keep them healthy.

Monitoring blood-glucose levels

If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes, our team will train you on how to monitor your pet’s blood-glucose levels at home using a glucometer. This will help you to identify any deviations from your pet’s normal blood-glucose levels and intervene early.

Routines are key!

If your dog does receive a diabetic diagnosis, routine is key to keeping them as healthy as possible. Your feeding and walking schedule will need to happen at certain times of the day, along with monitoring and medication. Creating a stress-free environment with constant access to plenty of fresh water will also help their overall wellbeing.

We hope our advice will help owners with undiagnosed diabetic pets to receive the diagnosis and treatment they need. Remember, early intervention is key in your pet living a happy and comfortable life. Contact us on 01223 359021 if you have any questions or concerns and we will be more than happy to help.

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