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Canine diabetes advice Grove Lodge Vets SussexCanine Diabetes mellitus: an owner helpsheet

Diabetes mellitus is a condition where the body fails to control sugar (glucose) levels in the blood. Normally INSULIN a hormone that comes from the pancreas aids the transfer of the blood glucose to the body tissues. Diabetics do not produce sufficient insulin so the blood glucose becomes too high and spills over into the urine. The increased sugar in the urine draws out excess water meaning they urinate more and drink lots more.

As diabetes progresses we start to see other changes such as weight loss, eye damage (cataracts), kidney damage, hypertension and severe illness. The body is unable to use the glucose in the system, as it remains in the blood stream so it resorts to using alternatives such as fat. When fat is broken down, toxic by products called ketones are produced. These ketones lead to signs such as vomiting, appetite loss, lethargy, and possibly death.

By controlling your animals' diabetes with injectable insulin we can avoid the above effects and your pet can live a relatively normal life. Insulin treatment is normally a life long commitment but the injections should quickly become part of your normal routine.

  • The key to stabilising any diabetic pet is to develop a regular routine. Without this then it can prove very difficult to achieve a good quality of life for your pet. Your individual vet will go through feeding and insulin requirements with you.
  • Try to keep feeding regimes to a regular time and ensure that you avoid all titbits, as these tend to lead to fluctuations in your pets' glucose levels. Often your vet will advise a specific diet to help stabilise the diabetes, it is important to try to stick to this.
  • If you are having problems with any aspects of the treatment suggested please let us know. Often there are solutions to these difficulties.
  • To help your vet make sense of your pets' condition and to improve stabilisation it is important for you to keep records so that we can advise the best treatment.
    Charts are available from the surgery and will be provided with your diabetic information pack.
  • Monitoring urine glucose (see below) is helpful but other observations such as monitoring water intake can also be very valuable. It is also useful to record observations such as changes in appetite or demeanour.
  • At any point please do not hesitate to phone the surgery with any queries. We always have experienced nurses and vets on call 24 hours a day.

Below is a list of useful pointers to help you through the initial period when your animal comes home.

  • Initially every morning we advise that you get a urine sample from your pet so that we can monitor the glucose levels (sugar) in the body. The urine sample needs testing with the keto-diastix provided. Dip the stick into the urine and time 15 seconds, at this point you need to measure the ketone levels as marked on the side of the pot, at 30 sec you need to measure the glucose levels. The nurse/vet will go through this with you.
  • If the results of the urine test are either very high or consistently low then it is advisable to phone the surgery for veterinary advice to see if you need to alter the insulin for that day. Remember to keep good records.
  • It is important to ensure that your pet is eating daily as directed. Keep the quantity and the type of food constant to try to avoid any fluctuation in your pets' insulin needs. Avoid all titbits.
  • Once the urine has been tested and your pet is eating you need to inject your pet with the insulin. The insulin should always be kept in the fridge. Gently roll the insulin bottle to mix the contents. Never shake the bottle, as this will deactivate the contents.
  • Draw up the required amount into the syringes provided. Ensure there are no air bubbles in the syringe and inject your pet in the loose skin at the back of the neck.
  • Try to vary the injection site slightly to avoid the skin becoming sore or thickened. Depending on the type of insulin you may need to give the injections once or twice daily.
  • Keep the times of injection as regular as possible i.e. every 12 hours or 24 hours.
  • Finally do not be tempted to re-inject if you think you missed the first time. It is much better and safer to continue as normal at restart the insulin at the next set time.


  • Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)
  • Signs
  • Weakness
  • Fainting collapse
  • Consistently negative glucose readings


Use hypostop or, feed or apply honey/glucose solution on to gums Do not inject insulin

PHONE VET 01903 234866

  • Hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) Signs
  • Excessive drinking and urination
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse and coma
  • High glucose readings Positive for ketones