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Canine diabetes – Insulin is the key

Insulin is the key
Animals eat food that the body changes to energy for growth, maintenance, and daily activity. Digestive enzymes convert food nutrients to chemicals that can be used by the organs to carry on body functions and leave some energy for running, playing, working, and looking for tomorrow’s dinner. The bloodstream then carries these chemicals to the cells for fuel. Glucose, a simple sugar, is the body’s main fuel and is thus a critical product of the metabolic process, but the mere presence of glucose isn’t enough – it must be moved from the blood to the cells for use.

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the Beta cells which are located in areas of the pancreas (a small organ near the bottom of the stomach and the small intestine) known as Islets of Langerhans. (The word insulin means island.) The pancreas produces both hormones and digestive enzymes. When the insulin-producing cells are damaged or destroyed by disease or affected by genetics, Diabetes Mellitus is the result.

This essential hormone not only opens the pathways for glucose to get from the blood to the cells, it helps prevent the liver from producing an excess amount of glucose, and aids the body in storing the sugar for future energy use. Diabetes Mellitus occurs when the endocrine system fails to produce enough insulin to do all three jobs. The result is too much glucose in the blood and too little in the cells, a condition that forces the cells to seek energy elsewhere and seriously disrupts body functions.

Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM)
IDDM is considered to be the most common hormonal disorder in dogs and is also common in dogs. Most affected dogs are obese. Onset of the disease is generally between seven and nine years of age. Reproductive hormones may place unspayed female dogs at higher risk; Keeshonds, Pulis, Miniature Pinschers and Cairn Terriers seem to have a genetic predisposition to IDDM; and Poodles, Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, and Beagles may have increased potential for developing the disease.
IDDM can also be triggered by infectious virus diseases, immune deficiencies that result in destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, pancreatic infections, steroids and reproductive hormones, and Cushing’s disease.

Highest occurrences are found in dogs between the ages of 5 to 7, and female dogs appear to be more susceptible.

Dogs with Diabetes usually drink more water, go to the bathroom more frequently (may start to urinate in the house), and can begin to lose weight.



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