Canine diabetes

Your dog has diabetes mellitus. You're not alone, an estimated 1 in 500 dogs has canine diabetes.

Normal glucose metabolism

During digestion, food is broken down into components that can be used by the body. Carbohydrates (starches) are converted into sugars, including glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the intestines into the blood and provides the body cells with energy.

Glucose can only enter most cells if the hormone insulin is present. Insulin is produced by specific cells in the pancreas, a special gland situated near the intestines.

What is diabetes mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus or “sugar diabetes” is caused by a lack of available insulin.

Diabetes is caused by:

  • Insufficient insulin production by the pancreas
  • Failure of the body cells to respond to insulin

The results are:

  • The cells cannot absorb enough glucose
  • Blood glucose concentrations are too high

Are all dogs susceptible to diabetes?

Diabetes most typically occurs in middle aged to older dogs.

The following dog breeds appear to have an increased risk of developing diabetes:

  • Keeshond
  • Poodles
  • Samoyed
  • Daschund
  • Alaskan malamute
  • Miniature schnauzer
  • Chow chow
  • Beagle
  • Doberman
  • Labrador retriever
  • Hungarian puli
  • Golden retriever
  • Miniature pinscher
  • Old English sheepdog
  • Springer spaniel
  • Schipperke
  • Finnish spitz
  • West Highland white terrier
  • Cairn terrier

These are dog breeds in which veterinarians most commonly diagnose diabetes. Reports may be biased due to breed popularity. Pedigree analysis has, however, identified a genetic predisposition in Keeshonds and Samoyeds.