Pet First Aid for Pet Professionals Level 3 (VTQ)

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Understanding Diabetes in Dogs and Cats


Diabetes is a prevalent hormonal condition that affects dogs and cats, typically manifesting around middle age. This article explores the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and management of diabetes in pets.

Causes and Symptoms

Diabetes Type: Dogs and cats often develop type 1 diabetes mellitus, requiring insulin therapy.

Predisposing Factors: Obesity or poor diet may contribute to diabetes, but it can occur even without these factors.

Common Symptoms: Owners may notice increased drinking, excessive urination, and weight loss in their pets.


To diagnose diabetes, veterinarians typically examine urine samples for glucose presence:

  • If concerned, owners can collect a urine sample at home and bring it to the vet for analysis.
  • For dogs, a blood test may be necessary to confirm diabetes.


Insulin Therapy: Once diagnosed, pets require daily or twice-daily insulin injections tailored to their needs.

Regular Monitoring: Owners must stay in touch with their vet and monitor their pet's glucose levels at home using urine or blood tests.

Glucose Monitoring at Home

Owners can perform glucose monitoring at home using:

  • Urine Glucose Sticks: Easily done at home; results help monitor glucose levels over time.
  • Blood Glucose Tests: Glucometer devices allow owners to measure blood glucose levels using a small prick on the pet's ear.

Important Note

When conducting glucose tests at home, always use veterinary-recommended glucometer devices tailored for pets, rather than human diabetic kits.