Recognizing and Managing Diabetes in Pets: PDSA Provides Advice for Owners

old cat, chronic kidney disease


Ahead of Diabetes Awareness Month in November, PDSA is issuing advice to owners on how to recognise and manage this disease in pets. The vet charity for pets in need is offering guidance after saving seven-year-old Dachshund, Roma.

Owner Sonny White (66), from Brighton, first noticed something was wrong with his beloved dog, who he describes as his best friend, when she started losing weight.

He said: “I have two pet dogs, Roma and Gypsy. My wife and I weigh them regularly just to make sure they’re in good health. Over a period of about a month, however, I noticed that Roma was losing weight quickly. She also started drinking lots of water – no matter how much she drank, it just didn’t seem to satisfy her thirst.”

Concerned, Sonny booked an appointment at his local PDSA Pet Hospital in Brighton where, following a urine and blood test, the team diagnosed Roma with diabetes.

PDSA Vet Tamara Drewett said: “Diabetes is a condition that develops when a dog can’t produce enough insulin to control their blood sugar level, causing it to become dangerously high. It’s usually caused when the body attacks and destroys its own insulin-producing cells (mistaking them for something else). Diabetes is an extremely serious condition that, without treatment, can be fatal.

“Thankfully, Sonny brought Roma to PDSA Brighton Pet Hospital as soon as he noticed her weight loss and excessive thirst – tell-tale signs of diabetes – and she’s been started on the appropriate medication.”

For Sonny, Roma’s diagnosis came as a complete shock. He was also concerned about the cost of the regular checks and medication she would need, as is unable to work following a stroke.

He said: “I hadn’t heard of PDSA before, but if it wasn’t for their help I probably would’ve had to have Roma put to sleep. I wouldn’t be able to afford her monthly prescription of insulin. On top of this I would have to pay for the syringes, blood tests, and urine tests too. I donate what I can though.”

Roma now requires two insulin injections daily, which Sonny was trained by the charity’s vets to give her, and regular check-ups at PDSA to manage her diabetes.

With the right care, pets with diabetes can continue to have a high quality of life. Signs to look out for include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Urinating more
  • Weight loss
  • Low energy

PDSA advises owners to contact their vet as soon as possible if they spot any of these signs, the quicker a pet gets the right care the better.

Finally, Sonny has a message for anyone who has supported PDSA: “Thank you! I honestly don’t know what I would do without PDSA. The vets and nurses are brilliant. Their support means everything to me. It’s a weight off my shoulders knowing that PDSA is there for Roma. Without donations, they couldn’t do the amazing work they do.”

Every day across its 48 Pet Hospitals, PDSA protects the special bond between owners and their four-legged friends. The teams provide veterinary care to sick and injured pets whose owners otherwise couldn’t afford to pay the full cost of treatment. The charity has been keeping people and pets together for over a hundred years. Find out more:

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