Since she opened Tabor Road Vet Hospital in Bryan several years ago, Dr. Val Hartwick has treated her fair share of pets with diabetes, Including several currently.
"In the practice right now I have 5 dogs that have diabetes. I don't have any cats with it right now, but that is something we also see in cats."
Veterinarians across the country are in a similar situation. A new study, done over four years, finds vets have seen a 32% jump in dogs with diabetes and a 16% increase in cats.
Dr. Hartwick says, "It's a huge concern. Unregulated blood sugar can result in ketoacidosos and that's a life threatening condition."
There are several warning signs to watch for.
"Their dog is drinking tons and tons of water, urinating a lot. That's the most common thing I hear. Another thing we see is that the dog has unexplained weight loss."
Getting the problem under control is possible, but it takes a lot of dedication, and a lot of Vetsulin. You have to give your pet a shot of it twice a day.
She says, "The owner really has to be committed to giving the shot and administering it correctly. That's what makes it challenging to have an animal with diabetes."
Sometimes diabetes is genetic, so there's nothing an owner can do to prevent it. Other times, though, it can be linked back to the simple fact that your pet is overweight. Depending on the size of your pet, it may not take much to push them into the obese category.
"A small dog can be four pounds overweight and be obese. If you have a normal size cat and it's 18 to 20 pounds, you're certainly getting to the area of obesity."
Diabetes is pretty easy to diagnose, so if you think your pet is sick, Dr. Hartwick says it's best to bring them to the vet right away. The sooner you catch it, the better chance your pet has of leading a normal life.
Dr. Hartwick told us she sees a lot of owners who want to try the newest fad diet for their pet, which can be a problem, because they are so new, no one really knows the consequences.
If you're thinking of switching your pets food, check with your vet to make sure it's a good idea.