|Updated: 4/17/2007 12:07 pm
||Published: 4/17/2007 12:07 pm
Diabetes is a disease related to insulin, a hormone that helps the body use sugar, or glucose (GLOO-kohs), for fuel. Due to insulin problems, people and pets with diabetes can't properly convert food to energy. Common warning signs are unusual thirst and hunger, frequent urination, and sudden weight loss. If diabetes goes untreated, severe or fatal complications can develop, including kidney failure, blindness, and coma. There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 is a condition in which the body produces no insulin at all. Most diabetic dogs have type 1 diabetes and therefore usually require insulin shots to control the disease. Owners are also advised to feed three or four smaller meals a day. In type 2 diabetes, the animal usually produces some insulin, but its body can't properly utilize the hormone. Type 2 diabetes is most often associated with excess weight and advancing age. Cats typically have type 2 diabetes and may or may not need shots. A few cats may respond to weight loss and dietary changes alone. Type 3 diabetes occurs as a secondary reaction to certain diseases or from the chronic use of drugs like corticosteroids (kor-tih-koh-STEER-oidz). Treatment of diabetes in pets often demands a daily routine of measuring glucose and giving shots, but is usually successful if the disease is diagnosed early.