Dogs can develop diabetes at any age. However, the most common cause of diabetes in dogs is old age. It’s estimated that 10 percent of dogs are diabetic by the time they reach the age of 10.
Seizures in dogs with diabetes are not an uncommon occurrence. Up to 40 percent of diabetic dogs will experience seizures at some point.
Seizures are common in people with diabetes.
Research has found that most dogs with seizures have diabetes. The exact cause of seizures in dogs with diabetes is unclear. However, it’s believed that insulin spikes can trigger seizures.
Most dogs with seizures are treated with medication. With the proper treatment, a dog‘s quality of life is often just as good as it would be for a dog without diabetes.
What Is Canine Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which your dog’s blood glucose (sugar) levels are too high. Insulin helps convert glucose into energy.
In dogs with diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t use insulin properly. This creates high blood glucose levels, damaging your dog’s body over time.
Diabetic dogs have an increased risk of developing other health problems. For example, dogs with diabetes often have problems with their kidneys or heart. They also are more likely to experience seizures than healthy dogs.
What Causes Diabetes In Dogs?
The risk factors for developing canine type 1 diabetes include the following:
- Age: Most diabetic dogs develop the disease as they age.
- Breed: Some dog breeds are predisposed to developing diabetes. These include miniature poodles and boxers.
- Nutrition: If your dog’s diet is deficient in specific nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, this can contribute to diabetes.
- Health factors: If your dog has a serious health condition such as pancreatitis or Cushing’s disease, this can increase your dog’s risk of developing diabetes.
In addition to genetic and dietary factors, environmental factors can also contribute to the development of canine diabetes.
Why Might My Pet Have Seizures?
Seizures in dogs with diabetes are quite common. A seizure happens when your dog’s brain goes into a seizure state called ictus. During a partial seizure, your dog’s brain may exhibit a number of physical signs, such as twitching, drooling, and elevated heart rate.
In some cases, your dog may exhibit abnormal behavior during a seizure. Your dog may be lethargic or need clarification or more coordinated.
During a generalized seizure, your dog may shake or stiffen like a rag doll. Your dog may fall or act confused or unresponsive.
Seizures in diabetic dogs are sometimes caused by hyperglycemia (high blood glucose). Hyperglycaemia can occur if your dog does not eat regularly or if there is an unexpected increase in his activity level. This can cause your glucose level to rise to dangerous levels and cause seizures.
Seizures caused by hyperglycemia are usually short-lived and may last less than five minutes. However, occasionally seizures caused by hyperglycemia can last longer.
Seizures caused by hypoglycemia or low blood glucose are much more severe and can result in death.
Can My Dog Have Seizures Without Diabetes?
Yes. While seizures are a common symptom of canine diabetes, seizures can occur in healthy dogs.
When your dog is healthy, his blood glucose level should be maintained within the normal range of 90 to 180 mg/dl (4 to 10 mmol/L). Abnormally low levels of glucose can lead to seizures.
If your dog is diabetic, he might not show any signs that he has elevated blood glucose. This means you may not realize that he has diabetes until his condition worsens and he develops a disease complication, such as kidney damage.
When your dog’s blood glucose level is too low, his body may resist the insulin that typically helps his body turn glucose into energy. As a result, his blood glucose level falls too low. This causes your dog’s muscles and nerves to become weak, which can lead to seizures.
In some cases, a dog with hypoglycemia might also have a seizure after drinking too much water or taking certain medications.
When a dog has a seizure caused by hypoglycemia and survives it, he can become more prone to seizures in the future.
How Can I Tell If My Pet Has Diabetes?
Dogs with diabetes may show all the symptoms listed above. However, some may not exhibit any of the first signs of the disease. The only way to tell for sure that your dog has diabetes is to perform a blood test. This test measures the amount of glucose in your dog’s blood.
Your veterinarian can determine your dog’s blood glucose levels using a glucose meter. When you take your dog to the veterinarian for a check-up, ask your veterinarian to perform a glucose test on your pet.
What Treatments Are Available For Canine Diabetes?
Diabetes treatment is the lifelong management of the disease. This includes regularly monitoring your dog’s blood glucose level and providing your pet with regular insulin injections to reduce the risk of seizures.
The treatment of diabetes varies by the dog’s breed and age.
In dogs under one year of age, insulin injections are given through a syringe or insulin pen. If your dog is older than one year, your veterinarian might suggest using an insulin pump.
Types Of Insulin
Your veterinarian might prescribe several types of insulin for your dog. The kind that your veterinarian prescribes will be based on your dog’s breed, age, and other factors.
Most dogs with type 1 diabetes receive multiple daily injections of insulin. This means that they receive insulin injections throughout the day. The insulin is usually given two to three times a day.
In dogs with type 2 diabetes, your veterinarian may prescribe an insulin injection one or two times a day, depending on your dog’s needs.
In dogs taking insulin with a feeding tube, your veterinarian might use an insulin pump instead of multiple daily injections.
What Tests Do I Do To Monitor My Dog’s Health?
It would help if you always take your dog to your veterinarian for regular check-ups. Your veterinarian will take your dog for a complete physical exam during each check-up.
They will also perform a complete blood count (CBC) and a biochemistry profile (biochemistry panel) on your dog. In addition, your veterinarian may run tests for ketones in your dog’s urine and a urinalysis to check your dog’s kidney and bladder health.
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