United Kingdom

symptoms and risk factors

Does My Pet Have Diabetes?

High levels of glucose in the blood pull fluid out of tissues, creating an increased fluid load on the kidneys. This results in the pet urinating more often, and thus increased thirst. Excess glucose in the blood can also affect appetite, behaviour and overall health.

Contact your veterinary surgeon if your pet is showing any of these signs.

  • Fatigue or Weakness
    • Sleeping more than usual
    • Acting sluggish or less playful
    • Appearing sick or not feeling well
    • Poor body or coat condition
  • Increased Hunger
    • Your pet has been eating more but has not gained weight
  • Excessive Thirst
    • You have been filling the water bowl more than usual
    • Your pet has been drinking water out of the tap or toilet
  • Frequent Urination
    • Your pet has been asking to go out more
    • Your pet has been having accidents in the house
    • You have to change the litter box more than usual

Signs of diabetes may recur after your pet is diagnosed and begins treatment. Always watch for these symptoms and let your vet know if any reappear. Reappearance of signs may indicate that your pet’s diabetes is not being properly regulated.

Risk Factors

Certain risk factors increase the chances of a pet getting diabetes. If your pet has one or more of these risk factors, consult your veterinary surgeon about a diabetes screening.

Risk Factors in Dogs

  • Older age
  • Unspayed females2,3
  • Obesity
  • Breeds with genetic predisposition for diabetes: Keeshond, Samoyed, Yorkshire Terrier, Australian Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Toy Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer, Bichon Frise, Spitz and Fox Terrier

Risk Factors in Cats

  • Older age
  • Neutered male1,2,3
  • Obesity
  • Indoor lifestyle or physical inactivity
  • Breeds with genetic predisposition for diabetes: Domestic, Siamese, Burmese

Sources: 1 Reusch C. Feline Diabetes Mellitus in Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine 7th Ed.; 2Tremayne J Education Key in Diabetes Maintenance Vet Practice News Dec 2009 (ALPHA-346); 3Rand J, Freeman L, Farrow H Canine and feline diabetes mellitus: Nature or nurture? J Nutr Aug 2004; Rand J, Roomp J www.uq.edu.au/ccah