Diabetes Mellitus


Diabetes Mellitus in dogs is type 1, or insulin dependent diabetes: a lack of insulin production due to destruction of pancreatic beta cells. Current research indicates no evidence of type 2 diabetes in dogs. Among the causes of diabetes mellitus in dogs are autoimmune disease or severe pancreatitis. Forms of diabetes which may not be permanent, depending on the amount of damage to the beta cells of the endocrine pancreas, are transient and secondary diabetes.


Some causes of transient or secondary diabetes are Cushing's syndrome, glucocorticoid, progestin or other steroid use, and the hormones of pregnancy or heat. In these cases, correcting the primary medical issue may mean a return to non-diabetic status. Common signs include weight loss, increased drinking and urination, and cataracts. Treatment involves twice daily insulin doses (replacement therapy) and use of a diet high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. Oral diabetes medications are not able to be used for dogs because none are capable of repairing or surmounting the permanent damage to the beta cells of the pancreas.