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Can Dogs with Diabetes Be Treated Without Insulin Injections?

Are There Other Treatment Options Besides Insulin for Diabetic Dogs?

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Can Dogs with Diabetes Be Treated Without Insulin?

Insulin is almost always required for dogs with diabetes.
Photo courtesy of jcrowley001/Flickr.com

In almost all cases of canine diabetes, insulin is the recommended treatment. Insulin must be injected and often needs to be given twice daily. However, many dog owners are less than enthusiastic about the thought of giving their dog insulin injections.

If you are one of those people who do not like the thought of administering insulin to your dog, you may be wondering if there are other options available for treating your diabetic dog.

Are Options Other than Insulin Available for Dogs with Diabetes?

Unfortunately, other options for treating diabetes in dogs have proven to be less than successful. At one time, there was hope that the oral hyperglycemic agents that act to lower blood glucose when given by mouth would be useful in treating diabetic dogs. That has not proven to be the case in most instances.

Reasons Why Insulin Is the Best Treatment for Diabetic Dogs

The primary reason that insulin is the best treatment for canine diabetes is the fact that dogs with diabetes almost always suffer from insulin-dependent diabetes. This means that the cells in the pancreas that normally secrete insulin are no longer functional and the pancreas can no longer secrete insulin in quantities sufficient to regulate your diabetic dog's blood glucose levels.

This differs from the cat because, especially early in the disease, cats may suffer from non-insulin dependent diabetes, meaning that their pancreas still retains some ability to secrete insulin. Because some insulin-secreting ability exists for these cats, oral hypoglycemic products may (or may not) be effective. However, in dogs, these products do not work well because the canine diabetic pancreas simply cannot rally to secrete insulin.

So, in most cases of canine diabetes, insulin is a necessary part of treatment. In fact, insulin injections are really the cornerstone of treatment for diabetes in dogs. Remember though that, even though the thought of administering insulin injections to your dog may be scary at first, most people can be taught to give the injections easily. Your veterinarian can help teach you how to do that.

Treating your dog for diabetes, though it does involve insulin injections almost always, is not an impossible task and most dogs respond well to treatment.

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