Diabetes in Animals

Although humans are the most talked about victims of diabetes, animals are often diagnosed with this metabolic disease as well. In fact, according to Pet Diabetes Monthly, up to 1 percent of cats and dogs develop diabetes.


Obesity decreases tissue responsiveness to insulin, and can thus put a dog or cat at greater risk for diabetes. Age is also a contributing factor, for most animals develop diabetes later in their lives.


Burmese cats may have a genetic predisposition to diabetes. Also, male cats are twice as likely as female cats to have diabetes.


Golden retrievers, German shepherds, miniature schnauzers, Keeshonden, and poodles all have the highest rate of diabetes, but all breeds are susceptible to the disease. Female dogs with diabetes outnumber male dogs three to one.


Both cats and dogs exhibit these signs of early diabetes:

  • Frequent urination
  • Drinkings large amounts of water
  • Increased appetite
  • Inexplicable weight loss
  • Rapid, labored breathing

Blood and urine tests can determine whether the animal has elevated glucose levels.

The signs of more advanced diabetes in both cats and dogs are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy

Dogs may also develop cataracts as the diabetes progresses.


For both cats and dogs, diabetes affects all of the organs, which means that diabetic animals have a greater likelihood of contracting infections or developing neurological problems if the diabetes goes untreated. It is therefore important for owners to continually bring the diabetic pet to the veterinarian to check for other health issues.


If a cat is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, they will have to receive daily insulin injections. The owners will administer these shots and will be shown the proper procedure by their veterinarian.

If a cat has type 2 diabetes, which is the most common type of feline diabetes, oral medication may be used instead of insulin injections, though usually they are administered as a supplement, not as a replacement, for the injections.

The third type of diabetes in cats is called "transient diabetes," which is when cats with type 2 diabetes begin to re-regulate their insulin intake, and consequently, they are able to stop receiving insulin injections.

No matter what type of diabetes your cat has, diet control will be a significant part of his or her treatment. A high-protein, low-carb diet is recommended.

Also, continual blood and urine tests and physical exams by the veterinarian are necessary. Usually, a diabetic cat will need to be taken to the vet every few months.


Dogs can develop either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, though type 1 is the most common form found in dogs. For both types, daily injections of insulin are used to regulate the diabetic dog, the dose of which is established by the veterinarian and dependent upon the individual dog.

Insulin therapy is started at home immediately, and after a week of treatment, the dog returns to the vet to go through testing. This testing determines when the blood sugar of the dog spikes and lowers throughout the span of 12-24 hours.

The owner of the dog will administer the insulin injections and may monitor urine glucose levels. Both of these procedures will be explained to the owner by the veterinarian.

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to BattleDiabetes.com who, in addition to 3rd party partners, may contact you with updates, products and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy and terms and conditions.

More Articles

More Articles

For decades people with type-1 and advanced type-2 diabetes relied on painful and often flawed insulin injections to regulate blood sugar...

Scientists have discovered that a single gene forms a common link between type 2 diabetes and...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Could a person's risk for type 2 diabetes be written in their genes?

According to a study recently published in ...

Women who frequently shift around their sleeping hours could have worse metabolic health outcomes than their peers who stick with a...

The presence of the hormone leptin may hinder prenatal development, which could explain the origin of type 2 diabetes, according to...

An analysis of fossilized Native American feces shows that our ancestors ate up to sixteen times the fiber that we do today, but our...

Managing diabetes is hugely challenging for people of any age, but a new study suggests that young people may suffer all the more....

Disruptions to the gut’s ecosystem could be a future symptom facing young children who take antibiotics, which makes them more susceptible...

Breastfeeding a newborn holds many benefits for mommy and baby; it reduces the baby's risk for colds and viruses, it helps his bones (and yours)...

Fans of the Dexcom G5 Mobile have something to smile about.

At yesterday's hearing with the U.S. Food and Drug...

If you start your day with a cup of tea and end it with a glass of red wine, your blood sugar may thank you.

At least that...

As medical experts continue to debate whether or not "healthy obesity" can even exist, one new study suggests that risk for heart disease...

For years, type 1 diabetics have been anxiously waiting for that medical marvel that can stop the constant injections: the artificial...