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Insulin required for dog’s diabetes

Q: Smokey, my 10-year-old small mixed-breed dog, started drinking excessively and urinating in the house. Her veterinarian diagnosed diabetes mellitus and prescribed twice-daily insulin injections.

Many humans control their diabetes without insulin, by managing their diet and exercise. Does Smokey really need insulin?

A: Yes. After your veterinarian teaches you how to inject the insulin, you’ll be amazed at Smokey’s improved energy. Moreover, she should stop drinking excessively and urinating in the house.

Three types of diabetes mellitus afflict humans: 1) type 1 diabetes, sometimes called insulin-dependent diabetes; 2) type 2, or non-insulin-dependent, diabetes; and 3) gestational diabetes, which occurs during some pregnancies.

Most humans with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. At least initially, they produce adequate amounts of insulin, but their bodies don’t respond to it properly.

Conversely, diabetic dogs have type 1 diabetes, a condition in which the pancreas stops producing insulin, so they require daily insulin injections.

Insulin is a hormone that enables cells throughout the body to absorb glucose from the blood. Glucose, a type of sugar, is essential for energy production and normal cell function.

Like people, diabetic dogs do best when they eat and exercise on a consistent schedule. Every day, Smokey should eat the same food in the same quantities at the same times – and she should receive her insulin injections at meal time. Smokey’s veterinarian will recommend the appropriate diet.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com

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