Almost everybody knows about the dangers of type 2 diabetes for us humans, but many often overlook that the same condition can occur to pets as well.
There is an undeniable link between the diabetes epidemic and obesity, which applies to both humans and animals.
A new British study has shown that approximately 85,000 pets in the United Kingdom suffer from a life-threatening form of diabetes.
That number is absolutely massive, and unfortunately, it’s often caused because the owners overfeed their pets or simply because of a lack of exercise. When pets suffer from diabetes, they don’t produce enough insulin to regulate their blood sugar. Furthermore, the working of their insulin also weakens.
According to a survey conducted by MSD Animal Health, about 1 in 200 cats and 1 in 300 dogs suffer from diabetes.
Some owners give their cats or dogs foods that aren’t meant for them, give them too much food or don’t go on regular and long enough walks. All those things can eventually end up in them developing diabetes, sometimes with a fatal outcome. A lot of people also have no idea that their pets are overweight, with all the consequences that it entails.
“Sadly we do see a growing rise in pets with obesity-related problems such as diabetes. This is mostly as a result of their lifestyle, including diet and exercise,” Caroline Allen, the chief veterinary officier for the RSPCA, told the Daily Mail.
It’s estimated that ten percent of all pets diagnosed with diabetes have an unmanageable condition and need to be put down.
A British animal charity, The People’s Dispensary For Sick Animals, says that a worrying amount of pets is overweight. Almost half of all dogs and about a third of cats are either overweight or obese and have a greatly increased risk of developing diabetes.
“Pets who are the right weight are less likely to develop diabetes,” nurse Kirstina Shirley said.
“Many owners don’t know whether their pet is overweight. We work hard to encourage owners to feed their animals a balanced, age and activity appropriate diet and weigh out their food to avoid excess weight gain.”
Not too long ago, an 11-year-old Border Collie named Bopper was dubbed as ‘Britain’s fattest dog’.
With the scale registering no less than 112 pounds, Bopper is twice his healthy weight.
He also can’t fit in kennels because of his size.
Veterinarians sounded the alarm and he is now constantly being monitored. Bopper is now forced to undergo plenty of physical exercise and he also needs to follow a specific diet regime.
What to do when your dog or cat is overweight or has been diagnosed with diabetes?
If you suspect that your pet is overweight, the best course of action is to schedule an appointment at the vet. A veterinarian will be able to determine whether or not your pet is suffering from diabetes and will set up a recommended diet and/or exercise plan.
Insulin can also be given to pets by injection, and this usually needs to happen two times a day. In other words, these insulin injections will have to become a part of your pet’s daily routine.
When the pounds start to come off, your pet’s condition should noticeably improve. Their cells will become better at using the insulin and blood levels should slowly revert back to a more healthy state. It’s important not to give insulin injections to a dog on an empty stomach because that usually ends up making your pet sick.
Also, it’s essential to keep track of your pet’s activity and weight, but perhaps the most important factor of all is nutrition. There isn’t a general consensus on which type of food is best for pets that are overweight, although vets will usually advise a diet that is low in fats and high in fibers. As long as the calorie intake is limited, your pet should start to lose weight.
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