Before we answer the question at hand….let’s understand the disease.
What is Diabetes?
Did you know that cats and dogs can have diabetes, too? Like in humans, diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin or the body’s inability to make insulin which affects the level of glucose (sugar) in your pet’s blood.
Glucose is an important source of energy; it is created by the body as food is broken down. Diabetes usually only affects 1% of cats and dogs but experts believe it is on the rise. Commons signs of diabetes include loss of appetite and lethargy. The red flag – increased drinking and urinating.
Pets with diabetes can also develop cataracts, nerve damage, and muscle wasting. The better an owner controls their pet’s diabetes, the more likely it is that the pet is NOT going to suffer from some of the side effects.
How do people control diabetes in their pets at home?
Believe it or not -almost the same way you would in humans. Veterinarians use the same medications and almost the same types of equipment and monitoring systems.
There are two ways to monitor your pet’s blood glucose at home:
- Urine Test Strips: These strips test the number of ketones in your pet’s urine. Insulin must be present in order to for your pet’s body to utilize the glucose as fuel. If there is not enough insulin to utilize glucose, your pet’s body begins to break down fat cells. As it breaks down the fat cells, ketones are made.
- Glucometer: This handheld device tests the amount of glucose in the blood. Like in humans, you need a drop of blood on the test strip for the meter to determine the blood glucose level.
The AlphaTrack Glucometer is currently the only device made specifically for pets. This is a more accurate way of monitoring your pet’s blood glucose because you’re actually testing the blood. It is important to talk to your veterinarian about this option to decide if it is right for you and your pet.
What about insulin injections?
Your veterinarian will tell you how much insulin to administer to your pet depending on the results of the urine test strips or blood glucose readings. Some clients make a log book of the date, time, test result readings and amount of insulin given. This is helpful to give the veterinarian so the doctor is given a clear view of how the blood glucose levels have been doing at home.
Like in humans, insulin in pets is administered every 12 hours. Getting your pet into a routine really helps to make giving the insulin injection easier for the pet owner.
It is important that insulin is stored properly. It should be kept in the refrigerator and taken out only to give the injection and immediately returned to cold storage. You should NEVER shake the insulin vial; instead, roll it between your hands for a few seconds before drawing up the correct dosage.
Do we care for Diabetic Pets?
Yes, we do! Taking care of diabetic pets is how we first started our pet sitting business. With fourteen years experience in diabetic care, our staff is specially trained in how to utilize the urine strips or AlphaTrack systems, interpret their results, and give insulin in the least stressful way for your pet.
What if I’m not comfortable monitoring my pet’s BG or administering the insulin at first?
Our specially trained pet sitters can come to teach you how to take a BG reading and administer the insulin in the least stressful way for your pet. We will come as often as it takes until you feel confident caring for your pet.
Need a Night Off? Planning a Vacation?
What would you do if you wanted to go away on vacation or even out for the day? It is important to have someone care for your pet that completely understands the disease, its complications, and how to properly monitor your pet’s eating, testing, and administration of the insulin.
We can care for your diabetic pet while your away on vacation, working late, on a day trip or when an emergency arises and you can’t be home.
It’s always a great idea to have a backup plan in case you can be there for your pets. It’s especially important when your pet has diabetes.