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Tips for Dealing with Diabetes in Beagles

The growing diabetes epidemic that is sweeping the nation affects more than just people – it also affects pets. Recent studies suggest that as many as 1 in 200 dogs will develop the disease and Beagles are one of the breeds most prone. Because Beagles have an increased risk for diabetes, you should learn the signs and symptoms so you know what to look for. The sooner you catch the disease, the sooner you can start your dog on the appropriate treatment to manage the condition.

What Are the Causes and Symptoms?

When your dog’s body is unable to produce enough insulin, or fails to respond appropriately to insulin, it leads to diabetes. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and it helps to regulate your dog’s ability to break food down into glucose and to absorb and utilize that glucose as a source of energy. If your dog’s body stops producing enough insulin or if he becomes resistant to its effects, it can cause his blood sugar to rise – this is the most common symptom of diabetes. Left untreated, high blood sugar can lead to hyperglycemia which may increase your dog’s risk for serious complications.

There are two types of diabetes, both of which can affect dogs like your Beagle. Type 1 diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin production while type 2 is caused by impaired insulin product and/or an inadequate response to insulin. Some of the most common symptoms of diabetes in dogs include:

  • Changesin appetite
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Sweet-smelling breath
  • Lack of energy
  • Dehydration
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Cataracts
  • Chronic skin infections

Type 1 diabetes is the most common in dogs and it is often caused by autoimmune disease or it is an inherited condition. Obesity can increase your dog’s risk for diabetes and it can sometimes be secondary to other health problems like pancreatitis.

Treatment and Management for Diabetes in Dogs

The goal of diabetes treatment is to keep your dog’s blood sugar levels within the healthy range. In most cases, this requires supplemental insulin which is usually delivered via injection. In addition to treating your Beagle with insulin, there are some diet and lifestyle changes which may help with management of his condition. If your dog is overweight or obese, achieving and maintaining a healthy bodyweight will be extremely beneficial. Regular exercise as well as a high-fiber diet can also help to stabilize your dog’s blood sugar levels. Avoid giving your dog too many treats, and don’t feed him table scraps. You’ll also want to keep up with regular veterinary visits to monitor your dog’s condition.

Although diabetes in dogs is treatable, it should still be regarded as a serious condition. Not only can diabetes interfere with your dog’s ability to absorb and utilize energy, but it comes with a risk for some pretty serious complications. If you notice any of the signs or symptoms of diabetes in your Beagle, don’t delay – take him to the vet for a blood sugar test.

Photo credit: Sopon charoensuk/Shutterstock

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).