Diabetes Mellitus is a disease characterized by dysregulation of blood sugar. This can either be due to a decrease in insulin production, Type 1, or because the body’s cells are unable to take in sugar from the bloodstream, “Insulin Resistance” or Type 2.
Insulin is a crucial hormone. Without it, cells cannot make use of sugars. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and any injury to this organ, such as pancreatitis, can decrease its ability to produce Insulin when it’s needed resulting in Type 1 diabetes.
Without sufficient Insulin, blood sugar in the cells decreases and the blood becomes overloaded with sugars, hyperglycemia, which act like sharp little particles in the blood causing damage to blood vessels, kidneys and eyes. When there is too much sugar in the blood it ends up in the bladder causing perfect conditions for bladder infections.
Being over weight decreases the ability of Insulin to regulate blood sugar resulting in Type 2 diabetes.
People with Diabetes know they must limit their intake of all kinds of sugars, including fruit sugars and sugars from the breakdown of carbohydrates.
Our pets’ diets have evolved differently from ours and do not (should not) include any simple sugars. Even cats and dogs have different sugar requirements. Cats have a very low tolerance for sugars in any form as they are Obligate Carnivores – they require meat protein. Therefore veterinary feline diets aimed at controlling blood sugar are high in highly digestible protein, low in carbohydrates and have no simple sugars. Take home – there should not be fruit in your diabetic cat’s diet.
Dogs are Omnivores – evolved eating both meat and plants – just like us.
Veterinary diets for diabetic dogs have higher levels of fiber which slows the breakdown of carbs into sugars allowing a slow release of sugar into the blood. Diabetes is a destructive disease in our pets just as in us. The good news is, many cases of diabetes can be prevented, or, if caught early, even reversed through proper nutrition. When your pet is in for an annual physical and we suggest blood work and a specific diet, we are trying to catch diseases such as Diabetes early so we have a chance to stop the progression of the disease and in some cases even reverse it.