Health and Nutrition

Diabetes Mellitus

This is a group of conditions in which there is a deficiency of the hormone insulin or an insensitivity to it. A diabetic animal has insufficient insulin to stop glucose production by the liver or to efficiently store excess glucose derived from energy giving foods. Therefore, the blood concentration of glucose rises and eventually exceeds a level beyond which the kidneys can dispose of it into the urine. This causes larger than normal volumes of urine to be produced. The excessive loss of water in urine causes increased water consumption.

The main clinical signs of a dog affected by Diabetes Mellitus are:

  • Excessive urination;
  • Excessive water consumption; and
  • Weight loss.

Other clinical signs may include: cataracts, increased appetite, exercise intolerance and recurrent infections. If the production of ketones by the liver is excessive a condition called ketoacidosis occurs which makes the affected dog very sick.

The normal treatment is insulin by injection. Unfortunately, oral hypoglycemics are not useful in the treatment of dogs with Diabetes Mellitus.



  • Canine Diabetes — Information for owners of Canine’s with Diabetes Mellitus.

Note: This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website is intended as a source of information only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional care. Always consult with your Veterinarian about health related matters.

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