“The Good Word” by Dr. Carol Good – Rockford Animal Hospital

*How Sweet is it?*

     When a dessert has the right amount of sweetness, it’s a good thing, but if the sugar level is over the top, that’s a problem. Well, the same thing applies to a pet’s body. There should be just the right amount of sugar in the blood stream. If it’s too high (hyperglycemia) and the pet’s body can’t fix it, they have a disease called Diabetes. This disease is fairly common in older dogs and cats but fortunately, it can be treated with insulin, weight control, exercise and dietary changes. On the other hand, if it’s ignored, they will get very sick.

So, how do you know if your pet has Diabetes? Well, there are some telltale signs that point to Diabetes. They are: unexplained weight loss, increased thirst, producing large amounts of urine and more frequent urination. But, the real clincher is measuring the sugar level in a blood or urine sample. If it’s high, then Diabetes is suspected.

I know what you’re thinking. “I’m not sure I want to know if my pet has Diabetes. After all, how am I ever going to give my pet a shot?” It’s really not as bad as you might think. The size of the needle for insulin injection is so thin and the amount of liquid so small that most pets don’t seem to mind getting this type of shot. Also, my team and I have a lot of experience showing pet parents how to do it. We’re pretty confident we can teach almost anyone how to give their pet an injection of insulin. Besides, giving a shot is nothing compared to the good you’ll do for your pet by treating Diabetes at its early stages, not to mention that it costs a lot less to treat a relatively healthy diabetic pet than a critically ill one.

So, don’t put off finding out if your pet has diabetes.   I’ll even give you another good reason to have this test done right now. Since March is “Diabetes Awareness Month”, every senior pet that comes in during this month can get a free diabetes test. Just contact our office and set up an appointment for a technician to collect a blood or urine sample* and have your cat or dog screened for Diabetes. Your pet will stay healthier and you will have peace of mind.

*Your pet must fast from food for at least 6 hours before having the blood test or have a full bladder so a urine sample can be collected for the urine test.

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