TYPE 1 Diabetes: Genetics is a
Other factors include
- Iatrogenic (caused by medical examination and treatment. Steroid medication, such as prednisone, can play a role.)
- Recurring pancreatitis.
- Parathyroid or pituitary malfunction
- Unspayed females
Food is not a direct factor in causing TYPE 1 diabetes. Food/obesity can certainly impact your dog's health and damage the pancreas but is not actually the predominant cause of canine diabetes.
Dogs develop Type 1 diabetes and will always be insulin-dependent. Diet alone will NOT be able to regulate your dog's blood sugar levels
Don't assume you did something wrong if your dog developed diabetes.
For many, this lifestyle change is a shock to the system. Your now administering shots to your pup every day, twice a day, on a structured schedule. This includes weekends. Your dog's wellbeing depends on this consistent schedule. It elevates the level of care you need to give to a whole new level.
A diabetes diagnosis is necessary before starting treatment. However, that might be the extent of help your vet provides. Your vet might be a bit dismissive when sharing the news because your dog can continue to live a long and fulfilling life when treated. For that to be true, it does require daily care and awareness. It might seem easy to a vet, but you are the one with these new responsibilities.
Sometimes the information your vet tells you isn’t what is necessarily best for your dog, because some know nothing more than what they read in a chapter during veterinary school. This does NOT mean your vet is bad or trying to put your dog at risk. They need to know a ton of information. And diabetes is not always a priority for them.
Therefore, you leave with only knowing you need to administer insulin shots twice a day, 12 hours apart, that you must give at their mealtimes for the rest of their life. They might also have a casual attitude towards shots. "It’s easy." (You'd hope it’s easy for the vet and vet techs because they are trained and professionally do it all the time.)
This all sounds simple, right? Well, no...that's not always the case. Many variables could impact this general information. Ideally, you leave the vet feeling confident and informed. However, you might leave feeling more confused, worried, sad, nervous, anxious, and full of questions. Now it’s our responsibility. And there are many people uncomfortable being around needles in general, who must use them twice a day, every day, potentially for years. And on your sweet little puppy.
Your vet is supposed to work with you, not against you. Be sure to find a vet open to learning as well and know how to apply potential alternatives, rather than just proceed based on general diabetes knowledge.
"Who knew I'd grow up to be a dog's pancreas..."
Just because it's manageable,
doesn't mean it isn't exhausting.
But when a dog with diabetes is a part of your family, you do become their pancreas. You are their source of insulin. You're doing for them what their pancreas can no longer do for themselves.
No one wants to do this. However, once you have to, you will want to do this for as long as possible, because that means they are still by your side.
And that's what we want.