By David Vilallonga, DVM, MS, PhD, CVA

Your pet just got diagnosed with diabetes? Don’t you worry, it’s not the end of the world. There are things that you can do to make them have a completely normal life and control the symptoms.

Basically, diabetes is a metabolic disease that causes the patient to have abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood due to a low production of insulin (diabetes type I, more typical of dogs) or to a resistance to the insulin normally produced (diabetes type II, more typical of cats). Insulin is the hormone synthesized by the pancreas that makes the cells use the glucose that is circulating in the blood stream.

The two pillars of any good treatment plan to control the glucose levels will include insulin administration and diet. In some instances, especially in cats, diabetes can be reversed and it may be a temporary condition. The Doctor will tailor a plan that specifically suits the patient’s and owner’s circumstances to achieve that good glucose control that we mentioned before.

If you are open to holistic options, there is acupuncture, herbs and supplements that may help decrease the amount of insulin the patient needs.

So, all in all, pets, like people, can have a normal life if they are diabetic as long as you take some small steps to make it happen.