If you are worried that your pet may have diabetes, the first thing to do is to check whether their symptoms fit in with the typical signs seen in diabetes. The key symptoms seen in diabetic animals are:
- Excessive thirst
- Increased urination
- Weight loss
- Increased appetite
- Lethargy and depression
Other symptoms which can occur include:
- Deteriorating eyesight caused by cataracts
- Poor recovery from wounds or infections
If you do think that diabetes could be affecting your pet, the next step is to visit your vet where they will be able to make a firm diagnosis, and it usually takes only a matter of minutes for a vet to rule this condition in or out. The first test is a very simple urine test using a dip stick which checks for the presence of glucose in the urine. In a normal animal there should be no glucose in the urine at all, so finding significant levels of glucose in the urine is a definite sign that the animal is diabetic.
If the urine test does show that there is glucose in the urine, the next step is a blood test. This gives the vet an accurate picture of the level of glucose in the bloodstream as well as checking the internal organs such as the liver and kidneys. The normal level of glucose in the bloodstream of a dog or cat is generally between around 3 and 8 mmol/l but in diabetic patients it is usually at least 15 or 20 and can get as high as 40 or even 50.