Difficult Diabetics – help is here


Recent survey results suggest that 1:200 cats and 1:300 dogs suffer with diabetes mellitus (Niessen et al 2015, Mattin et al 2014). We also know that owners have difficulties in coping with their newly diagnosed diabetic pets and 20% of newly diagnosed pets are euthanased in the first month and one third are lost within the first three months. All of this and more is presented within The Vet Report.

Although various breeds are pre-disposed, all breeds can be affected. Many cases will present with classical signs of polyuria and polydispsia and weight loss.

Whilst many cases are straightforward to treat, the daily and lifelong administration of injectable medications can be too much for some clients and pets. Owners typically worry about injections, needles, holidays and  cost. Up to 84% of pet owners consider quality of life to be adversely affected with diabetes (Niessen et al 2012).

There is clearly a huge role here for both vets and nurses in helping owners manage their diabetic pets and giving them that quality of life. Of course there are some diabetics which do develop complications with the pet requiring further diagnostics and the owner needing support. Cases we commonly see are those diabetics that are difficult to stabilise, either due to concurrent disease or insulin resistance. Diabetics can become critical and we have the facilities and expertise to be able to manage ketoacidotic crises and hypoglycaemic episodes. We work closely with local ophthalmologists to both prevent and treat the formation of diabetic cataracts.

With a combination of our specialists and nurses our aim is to work with you, your team and your client to stabilise their pet. As well as employing current thinking in diabetes we can help you deal with compliance problems, diet related concerns, exercise and use of concurrent medications to give the best chance of successful long term management from the outset.

So how can we help with those difficult cases? The investigation of concurrent disease is often a key factor and we will work closely with you on this. It is wise to warn owners in the initial stages of treatment that it may be necessary to conduct further tests if their pet does not respond well to insulin. Our diabetic clinic is designed to help you and your clients at every stage of diabetes management.

Tips & Rules

  • Never change the insulin dose based on one glucose measurement or urine glucose
  • Do not change the insulin dose daily
  • Glucose curves should always performed over 24hrs
  • Continuous glucose monitoring reduces stress