I get lots of questions about diabetes in dogs. Here’s a recent one.
My Miniature Schnauzer has diabetes, but he is 170s one week and then 330s the next. Any feedback on what is going on? We are giving him four units of insulin now, which was increased from three units.
Diabetes mellitus, commonly known simply as diabetes, is a disease of blood sugar regulation. Dogs with diabetes suffer from chronically high blood sugar, which can lead to increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss, immune system compromise, and a host of other issues. In dogs, diabetes usually occurs when the pancreas produces insufficient insulin. Diabetes therefore usually is treated with synthetic insulin. There are many types of insulin available for dogs.
Diabetes is a famously frustrating condition. Because every dog responds differently to insulin, an initial dose is calculated. The dog’s response is measured, and the dose is adjusted as necessary. Several rounds of adjustment can be necessary before stability (known as regulation) occurs.
But some dogs, such as Cheryl’s, are especially hard to regulate. Their blood sugars can vary significantly from day to day despite no changes in insulin protocols (a blood sugar of 170 is basically normal; 330 is unacceptably high). Several steps are recommended in such situations.
I’m sorry to say it, but in some dogs, all of these steps fail. That’s because in some dogs the pancreas produces insulin in an unpredictable fashion. Some days the pancreas produces more insulin, and thus the dog needs less to be administered. On others the dog produces less insulin, and thus needs more to be administered. These dogs are best managed through regular home glucose measurements prior to insulin administration, but these cases are complicated and, unless the owner is extremely well-informed, there is a very high potential for complications.
Our Most-Commented Stories