Causes/Risk Factors

Diabetes is a common disorder of middle-aged and older cats or dogs.

In some cases it can be seen in younger animals. Some causes/risk factors include:

  • Corn, in all forms. This should be avoided as it is suspected to be linked to feline diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Poor quality diet, high in grain and devoid of nutritional value

Symptoms and Complications

Symptoms and complications may include:

  • Weight loss (in spite of increased appetite)
  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Breakdown of body fat which may result in severe illness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Breath that has a chemical aroma


Hypoglycemia – low blood sugar – can occur as a result of the body producing too much insulin, or an insulin overdose. Signs of hypoglycaemia include:

  • Seizures
  • Wobbliness
  • Dullness

Treatment and Prevention

Insulin is the recommended treatment for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in pets and is prescribed by a veterinarian. Diabetes can often be managed and controlled through diet. Low GI Foods (foods that provide constant energy levels rather than spiking blood sugar) are important to all diets as a preventative measure. Regular exercise is also very important.

Tips on Using Insulin

  • Store insulin in the refrigerator
  • Mix before using by gently rolling the vial in the palm of your hand – do not shake
  • Don’t use insulin beyond the expiry date
  • Clip pet hair to better inject insulin
  • Monitor blood glucose

In spite of the complications, diabetes is treatable. Many diabetic dogs and cats do well with the proper treatment and care