Pet Diabetes Month

What is diabetes?

  • Diabetes is a serious, life-long health condition that is caused by a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to insulin.
  • Insulin is secreted by the pancreas and when a pet does not produce insulin or cannot utilise it normally, blood sugar levels elevate resulting in hyperglycaemia. If left untreated, this may cause many complicated health problems.
  • Diabetes is usually not curable but can be managed, with many stable patients able to live a normal happy life.


Which pets are prone to diabetes?

  • Any pet
  • Obese pets
  • Older pets (6 years +)
  • Certain breeds (Schnauzers/Dachshunds/Poodles/Keeshonds/Samoyeds)
  • Entire female dogs
  • Pregnant animals


What are the signs/symptoms?

If you suspect a pet may be suffering from diabetes, they may present you with the following symptoms:-

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Excessive hunger
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Cataracts
  • Sweet smelling breath (ketones)
  • Vomiting


When to see the vet?

If you suspect a pet may be suffering from diabetes, its important to have them examined as soon as possible. Early diagnosis is essential.

How is diabetes diagnosed?

  • Clinical examination
  • Blood and urine testing



In diabetic animals, the main treatment for regulating glucose is giving insulin by injection. Pets with diabetes will typically require injections twice daily along with dietary changes.


Vetpen vs Syringes

Two most commonly encountered methods of treatment offered to our clients in practice for insulin administration:

Vetpen                                   Syringe 

Cost                                                                            Cost

Convenience                                                             Convenience

Minimal preparation time                                        More ‘delicate’ dosing

Handy carry case                                                     Less stress?

Precise dosing

Reduces user error

Reduces insulin spillage

Eliminates air bubbles


Things to remember

  • Once primed, a Vetpen may be kept at room temperature. If refrigerated between uses, the change in temperature may degrade the product and produce air bubble which may lead to inaccurate dosing.
  • Needles/syringes are single use.
  • Caninsulin vials must be kept in the fridge at all times.



Once diagnosed, it is very important to continuously monitor the patient over the coming days, weeks and months to ensure stabilisation is achieved. The main aim of treatment is to eliminate the clinical signs of diabetes and maintain good general health of the patient.

Owners are encouraged to perform routine urine checks as well as record doses, timings and general demeanour (hunger, thirst, urination, defecation, vomiting/diarrhoea) into their diabetic diaries.


Diabetic emergencies:


A significant drop in blood glucose levels causing lethargy, lack of co-ordination, trembling, muscle twitches and weakness.


  • Over activity
  • Insulin overdose
  • Fasting
  • Concurrent illness (e.gUTI)

If you suspect your pet if suffering from hypoglycaemia, please seek veterinary advice. A honey or sugar water solution given orally can be used to help.

Pet Owner Information Leaflet