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Diabetes is a really common illness that we get. It is a hormonal condition, normally happens around middle age in dogs and cats. And they often get the type 1 diabetes mellitus. So that is the one where they are insulin-dependent. There are some trigger factors. So the predisposing factors could be obesity or poor diet, but in a lot of cases, diabetes will happen even if those are not in play. So what we normally find with most of the cats and dogs that are diabetic is that owners will come in reporting that there has been a sudden increase in drinking and then urination as well. The most common is a weight loss as well, that they would have noticed. If it is picked up early, they will not have noticed that weight loss yet and it would be the increased drinking that they first see. And it really is excessive. So they will go from drinking very little, especially in cats, they don't tend to drink that much. And then diabetic cats, people will have noticed this obsession with drinking from taps, drinking from glasses, both, anything you leave out, they're just trying to get that water.

And so we will normally have a look at the urine sample first and this is something that if you are concerned but you do not want to bring your cat in immediately, you can do at home. You can get a urine sample and bring that into the vets. They can look at that, if there is a sign of glucose on the urine, then they will ask you to bring your cat in for further tests. Same with dogs, bring your urine sample in first and if there is an indication that your dog may be diabetic, then they would need to come in for a blood test to confirm that.

Once we diagnose diabetes in dogs and cats, we would then get them on to daily or twice daily insulin injections. There are different types of insulin and different types of insulin between dogs and cats as well because they both metabolize the insulin slightly differently. It is quite important when you have a diabetic animal to keep in touch with your vet regularly. They will make a plan, but there is so much information that you need to know, that you do need to just keep in contact, just to be reminded of what you need to be doing and write down things, monitor glucose at home through doing glucose urine sticks. Very easily done, you do not need to collect the urine sample, you can even just dip the stick into urine on the floor. Write this down and when you are having your monthly visit with your vet or however frequently it is, you can go through those records and to see if you need to change anything for your pets.

The other thing that is coming into play nowadays is you can also do your own blood sampling at home. So you can do a glucometer as you would in a person, do a little prick test to get the blood and to measure the glucose like that. We normally do that on pets' ears because they have some nice little capillaries in their ears that we can get enough blood from to do a glucose reading. Whenever you are testing glucose at home, blood glucose, or even at the vets, they will have specific glucometer monitors to measure that and there will be different codes that calibrate that glucometer. So even between dogs and cats, we have to change the code on that glucometer. We would not recommend you start using a human diabetic kit to try and measure your dog's glucose. Always stick to one that you have purchased from your vet or one that your vet.