This is Jake, a 12 year old Parsons Jack Russell Terrier who belongs to Mr and Mrs McCutcheon from Maybole. Jake first presented to us in March when his owners noticed he was drinking and urinating a lot more than usual. He had also started vomiting and became very lethargic. Blood and urine tests confirmed our suspicions that Jake was suffering from diabetes. Diabetes mellitus or DM for short is quite a common hormonal disease of dogs and cats and is caused by a deficiency of insulin. A lack of insulin means that glucose cannot be transported from the bloodstream to the cells of the body. This causes high levels of glucose in the blood and also the urine.
Jake’s blood glucose was so high that he started to break down his own muscle to try and produce energy for the cells of his body. This led to a condition called ketosis. This is a very serious condition which must be corrected as soon as possible so Jake was kept in the surgery on intravenous fluids and started on injections of insulin. The insulin injected, replaces the natural insulin produced by the body which is lacking in dogs with DM. After a couple of days in the surgery Jake was well enough to go home. Treatment at home had to continue however, as Jake will need insulin injections for the rest of his life. This can be a daunting task for a lot of owners but Jake and his owners got used to the procedure pretty quickly after a bit of guidance. The injections are given through a tiny needle which most animals barely feel especially if they are eating a meal at the time!
It took a couple of weeks with a few ‘ups and downs’ until we managed to get Jake’s DM under good control and found the correct insulin dose for him. The dose may need to change occasionally in the future so regular blood and urine checks are carried out.
Jake was a star patient which made the whole treatment process a lot easier!
There are many factors which can contribute to an animal becoming diabetic, some of which cannot be avoided. Obesity is one of the major factors which can contribute to animals developing the condition so it is advisable to keep your pets slim to avoid increasing their risk. Jake used to be overweight as you can see in the photo below:
Thankfully Jake’s owners realised there was a problem and did a fantastic job of dieting Jake in a controlled manner until he reached his ideal weight. Jake was very unlucky because he was in good body condition when he was diagnosed with DM but unfortunately some of the damage may have already been done.
Here is Jake keeping up the good work eating a carrot stick!
Jake was getting on brilliantly but unfortunately at the end of June he came in to see us with acute onset blindness. One of the complications of diabetes is development of cataracts at a very quick rate. Jake now has mature cataracts and therefore has very limited sight. This doesn’t seem to have set him back however and Jake still lives life to the full every day!