Canine Diabetes Wiki
Canine endocrines

The canine endocrine system. Shown here are the pituitary gland ( Acromegaly, a form of Cushing's disease, a form of Diabetes Insipidus), the ovary for females ( Diabetes Mellitus, Secondary Diabetes, Transient Diabetes), the adrenal gland (a form of Cushing's disease, Addison's disease), the thyroid gland ( Hypothyroid) and the pancreas (Diabetes Mellitus).

Diabetes refers to either diabetes mellitus or diabetes insipidus, with this site focusing mainly on Diabetes Mellitus.

Diabetes insipidus is a chronic condition of insufficient Antidiuretic hormone or resistance to this hormone.

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition of insufficient insulin or resistance to it, and high blood glucose levels.

Diabetes insipidus[]

See wikipedia:Diabetes insipidus for further information.

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Diabetes mellitus[]

Diabetes explained-difference in Type 1 and Type 2 as well as treatment.
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Diabetes Mellitus: When the beta cells of the pancreas either no longer produce insulin or aren't able to produce enough of it for the body's needs.

Diabetes mellitus is commonly divided into two types, [1] depending on the origin of the condition:

Type 1[]

Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called "juvenile diabetes", is caused by destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas. The condition is also referred to as Insulin-Dependent diabetes, meaning the sufferer must have insulin to replace the insulin his/her pancreas is no longer capable of producing or able to produce in enough quantity to properly supply the body's need for it. Dogs have Insulin-Dependent, or Type 1, diabetes. [2]

A Type-2 diabetes patient may be producing enough insulin for the body's needs but his or her body is unable to use it properly. This is why diet alone or diet and oral medications can keep Type-2 diabetes in control.

A simple analogy could be that of a well. In Type-1 diabetes, the well is dry and you can't draw water from it. In Type-2 diabetes, the well is working fine, but you have no bucket to draw water from it with.

Fast Facts-Diabetes Mellitus[]

  • The typical canine diabetes patient is middle-aged, female [3] and overweight at diagnosis.
  • The typical feline diabetes patient is middle-aged, male, and overweight at diagnosis. [4]
  • Cats are one of the few species capable of developing a form of diabetes which is very much like that of Type 2 in humans. Both can develop amyloid deposits which inhibit the endocrine pancreas from working properly. [5]
  • Type 2 diabetes is rare in dogs, but between 80-95% of cats with diabetes suffer from the Type 2 form. [6]
  • The number of dogs diagnosed with diabetes mellitus has increased three-fold in thirty years. Looking back on survival rates from almost the same time period, only 50% survived the first 60 days after diagnosis and went on to be successfully treated at home. With treatment, diabetic dogs are able to survive as long as non-diabetic dogs of the same age and gender. [7]

Similarities and Differences of Diabetes Mellitus in Canines and Felines [8]

Contributing Factors in Diabetes Mellitus

Felines Canines

Common endocrine disorder

Yes Yes

Primary diabetes is most similar to human Type II, NIDDM

Yes No [9]

Primary diabetes is most similar to human Type I, NIDDM

No Yes

Peak occurrence in middle-aged to older animals


Breed predispositions

No Yes

Initially presents as NIDDM and progresses to IDDM

No Yes

Can experience transient diabetes

Yes Yes

Obesity is a common factor

Yes Yes

Higher incidence in males versus females

Yes No

Higher incidence in females versus males

No Yes

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  1. Definitions and diagnosis of diabetes. World Health Organization.
  2. Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Intervet.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bruyette, David (2001). Canine Diabetes-Treatment Options. WSAVA.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Feline Diabetes. PetsHealth.
  5. Hoenig, Margarethe, et. al. (2000). A Feline Model of Experimentally Induced Islet Amyloidosis. American Society for Investigative Pathology.
  6. Rand, J., Marshall, R. (2005). Understanding Feline Diabetes Mellitus. Centre for Companion Animal Health-University of Queensland.
  7. Fleeman, L., Rand, J. (2005). Beyond Insulin Therapy: Achieving Optimal Control in Diabetic Dogs. Centre for Companion Animal Health-University of Queensland.
  8. Diabetes Mellitus in Canines and Felines. US Pharmacist (2002).
  9. Insulin Resistance Not Associated with Glucose Intolerance in Dogs Obese Due to Overfeeding-Page 78, Abstract #224. ACVIM (2006).
  10. Hess RS, Ilan I. (2003). Renal abscess in a dog with transient diabetes mellitus. Journal of Small Animal Practice.
  11. Transient diabetes-page 3. Intervet.
  12. Brooks, Wendy C.. Chronic Steroid Use. Veterinary Partner.

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