Diabetes Mellitus | German Shepherd
Diabetes mellitus is relatively rare in younger German Shepherd dogs; however, the likeliness of the disease increases with your dog's age, although some German Shepherd dogs are genetically predisposed to the disease. It is caused by a failure on the part of the pancreas – the part of the body that produces digestive enzymes – to produce sufficient insulin in order for the German Shepherd dog's body to efficiently break down and use fats, sugars, and proteins. Without enough insulin, sugar builds up in the bloodstream, spilling over into the urine without being suitably absorbed. This in turn causes the dog to pass a large amount of urine, to drink a great deal of water, and to be very hungry yet not absorb necessary nutrients. There are two main kinds of diabetes: uncomplicated diabetes and diabetes with ketoacidosis, a serious variation on the disease that may lead to vomiting, depressing, and severe illness in dogs.
Symptoms include dogs who display a great appetite yet are constantly losing weight, experiencing weakness in the muscle or an abdominal gait, or cataracts in the eyes. This latter symptom is caused by the accumulation of water in the lens and can eventually lead to the German Shepherd dog becoming blind if untreated. Diabetes in dogs is diagnosed by a large increase in blood sugar and an increase of sugar in the dog's urine. Those German Shepherd dogs suffering from ketacidosis may also have a greater amount of waste products.
Dogs with uncomplicated diabetes and diabetes with ketoacidosis should be treated differently. Ketoacidotic diabetics should receive both intravenous fluids and rapid acting insulin until the dog ceases vomiting and begins to eat normally again. At this point, dogs with ketoacidotic diabetes should continue the same treatment as is given to uncomplicated diabetes-suffering dogs – once or twice-daily injections of insulin.