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Manage Your Pet’s Diabetes With These Helpful Hints | Health

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Manage Your Pet’s Diabetes With These Helpful Hints
Health, Pets
Manage Your Pet’s Diabetes With These Helpful Hints

(Welcome to our pet column, courtesy of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla. We post a new article each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)

Many people don't know that the diabetes epidemic in the United States isn't just striking humans — it affects pets, too. Diabetes can lead to health complications like recurrent infections, nerve damage and cataracts, says Dr. Debbie Olbrich, a veterinarian for Abbott Animal Health.

"If your cat or dog displays signs of diabetes like excessive thirst, frequent urination, increased appetite despite weight loss, or weakness or fatigue, see your veterinarian as soon as possible," says Dr. Olbrich. "By actively partnering with your veterinarian and providing a little extra attention at home, your pet's diabetes can be managed."

Some tips for caring for a diabetic animal that Dr. Olbrich recommends include:

Provide a Healthy Diet. Just like in humans, diabetic cats and dogs have special dietary needs to help maintain their blood sugar levels and control their weight. Special diets to help manage your pet's diabetes are highly recommended and an integral part of managing diabetes. These diets may decrease the amount of insulin your pet needs to be given, and they can help maintain more normal blood glucose levels. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet's dietary needs.

Get Your Pet Plenty of Exercise. For diabetic pets, physical activity is especially important because it can help control weight and manage glucose levels. It's important to include exercise in your pet's daily routine. Your pet's age, overall health and fitness level will determine what types of exercise are best.

Make Sure Your Pet Gets Proper Medication. There are several types of injectable insulins available to treat diabetes in cats and dogs. Your veterinarian will prescribe the most appropriate insulin for your pet. Insulin is generally given twice daily, and pets tolerate the injections well.

Monitor Your Pet's Blood Glucose Levels. Diabetic pets, like humans, also benefit from blood glucose monitoring. The American Animal Hospital Association recommends monitoring blood glucose levels at home. Handheld monitors, such as Abbott's AlphaTRAK Blood Glucose Monitoring System, are specifically designed for cats and dogs, simple to use and provide up to 25 percent more accurate readings than human meters. By monitoring your pet's blood glucose levels, you can help your veterinarian assess your pet's treatment and provide them with important information they can use to recommend adjustments to diet, exercise regimens or medications. Additionally, cats may get stress hyperglycemia, which is another reason monitoring blood glucose levels at home can be so beneficial.

"Diabetes in cats and dogs can be managed," says Dr. Olbrich. "If diagnosed and treated early, a small population of cats may go into remission. Regardless of what kind of pet you have, working with your veterinarian can provide your diabetic pet the best possible care."

For more information, visit AbbottAnimalHealth.com.


(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pet-Connection-Programs-inc-Marilla-NY/114420508616511?ref=ts. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)



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