Life throws some strange coincidences at you occasionally that make me you scratch your head and wonder. What are the chances of two dogs that are mother and son, being diagnosed with diabetes at the same time, when one comes in for diarrhoea? Animal Diabetes Australia informed me that there is a family link with diabetes but unbelievable for it to occur at the same time in close relatives!

Diabetes causes weight loss and drinking lots of water. So when the scales and records showed a 20% loss of weight and both dogs finally had a waist line back after years of obesity, something was up! A quick urine test showing the presence of glucose and a blood test on both dogs confirmed the presence of diabetes. Their owners, who are very committed to these pooches, have taken on the responsibility of life- long twice daily injections without hesitation. It is a big commitment but seeing the 2 smiley, happy dogs recently it is easy to understand their dedication. So it was just as well there was a bout of GI upset to get them on the scales – and that they go everywhere together! The one dog got on the scales and vet and owner were surprised by the weight loss when compared to the previous visit not long ago. Obligingly the other dog hoped on (not wanting to miss out on the treats being offered) and had a similar weight loss. On further questioning the owner had actually noticed that the water bowl was being filled up more frequently lately but had dismissed it as not important. The fact that the constant” battle with the bulge” was finally being won in both fur-babies was not obvious as they are hairy dogs.

Diabetes is a common disease of dogs affecting 1 in 200 pets. Usual presenting complaints are weight loss despite a good appetite, drinking lots and urinating more or having accidents in the house, or sudden loss of vision from cataract development. If left untreated ketosis develops which is life-threatening from vomiting, dehydration and anorexia. It is less common in cats (1 in 500) with similar signs.

Another committed owner had the cat in for her annual comprehensive oral treatment and diabetes was picked up on the blood test prior to her anaesthetic last week. No weight loss or change in water intake had been noted. If she hadn’t needed dental attention who knows how long it would have been before she got the insulin she needs. If your pet is over 8 it is well worth having an annual blood test to look for problems as there are many issues we can find before it is a problem and have your pet lead a long and healthy life.

They can’t ask for help, they never complain and keep eating despite diseases that would put us humans in hospital many times. And remember that age is not a disease! None of these pets were what we could consider old. A regular check- up with blood tests is essential to help keep your pet happy and healthy for as long as possible.

– Fiona Cameron,
Shepp Vets