Diabetes mellitus in the dog, part 1.

Causes and diagnosis of diabetes mellitus in dogs

source: B. Holm
European Journal of Companion Animal Practice, vol VII (1) April 1997
starts p61, six pages long

Diabetes is cause by problems with insulin production, release or usage, affecting the way that glucose is metabolised, since insulin lowers glucose production. Growth hormone, adrenaline, cortisol and glucagon are insulin antagonists. A reduction in insulin production can occur for a number of reasons such as elevated insulin antagonist levels and pancreatitis. Around one percent of dogs with diabetes suffer an hereditary condition causing primary juvenile diabetes. This can affect Old English Sheepdogs, Labrador and Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Dobermann Pinchers and keeshonds. Secondary diabetes may also be linked to inherited tendencies, and can be triggered by high progesterone levels in oestrus and pregnancy, and Cushings syndrome. Contraceptive injections can also trigger diabetes between six and 12 weeks after the injections. Neutering, and treating animals suffering from Cushings syndrome may be enough to solve the problem. Obesity and high levels of stress hormones due to heart disease, trauma or other reasons may trigger diabetes, as can some drugs like thiazides, frusemide, and beta blockers.

Older and middle aged dogs are more likely to be affected, as are bitches and smaller breeds, such as some terriers, Poodles and Dachsunds, though German Shepherds, Irish Setters and Labrador Retrievers are also vulnerable. Affected dogs may urinate and drink a lot, and lose weight, and their blood glucose levels are high. They may also have cataracts and cystitis and swollen livers, and will have a high urine sugar content.