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Hyperglycemia in Dogs: Signs, Symptoms and Causes

Hyperglycemia in Dogs: Signs, Symptoms and Causes

Can dogs have high blood sugar (hyperglycemia)?

It is often not considered, but just as much as there is risk for it in humans, your dog may be at risk of developing hyperglycemia. Canine hyperglycemia is evident as a marked increase in a dog’s blood glucose levels. It can be caused by inflammation of the pancreas—pancreatitis—which may decrease the dog’s ability produce insulin to regulate its glucose levels. 

Unfortunately, hyperglycemia in dogs are not as carefully studied as it is in humans. As such, the exact cause and mechanism for developing this condition is still being studied.

Signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia in dogs

Elevated glucose levels may also be indicative of pre-diabetes or diabetes in dogs. The clinical signs observed in hyperglycemia in dogs can resemble canine diabetes, so it is important to make sure that your dog is appropriately tested to find the true cause of its elevated glucose.

Some of the main signs can include:

  • anorexia,
  • vomiting,
  • lethargy ,
  • dehydration.

Other symptoms to watch for are:

  • increased urination,
  • depressed behavior,
  • excessive hunger.

It has been noted in studies that if hyperglycemia is indicated as being caused by diabetes, it often takes a form that is similar to type 1 diabetes in humans—being caused by a decreased ability to produce insulin. As of now, there has been little evidence to show that a form homologous to type 2 diabetes in humans can be seen in dogs. As such, while it is important to ensure a healthy diet and healthy levels of activity for your dog, there is little evidence to show that obesity is linked to the development of diabetes.

Is my dog likely to develop diabetes?

Research has shown that dogs between 5 to 12 years old typically develop canine diabetes. It is also more observed in female dogs. In some cases, spaying the dog has shown to decrease the risk of developing diabetes and has allowed for remission of some dogs being treated. The incidence of diabetes can also vary across species. In North America, miniature schnauzer, bichon frise, miniature poodle, samoyed, and cairn terrier are breeds that are most susceptible to showing signs of elevated glucose that can lead to diabetes.

How can I treat my diabetic dog?

The treatment involved in caring for dogs with hyperglycemia is not far removed from the human treatment protocol. When blood sugar is elevated, insulin must be given to help bring it back down.

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