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Starvation in the midst of plenty

Annelise Enslin    

Diabetes Mellitus is a disease condition where either the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or the body is unable to use insulin correctly and causing insulin resistance.

What does it do?

Both of these pathways prevents glucose from being absorbed into cells to be used as an energy source, causing large amounts of glucose floating around in the blood. Some of this glucose washes through the kidneys. Here it pulls water with it, making sure that patients need to go toilet more often because more urine is produced. In turn this also makes them thirsty because of the abnormal fluid loss

What to look out for?                                                                                

 Affected patients often come across as starving with ravenous appetites even though they are losing weight. An abundance of energy available in the form of glucose but the body is unable to utilise it and therefor it is referred to as the disease of starvation in the midst of plenty.

Treatment and complications?                                                                               

Treatment involves insulin injections morning and night and even more importantly, a very well controlled diet. The key to successful treatment often lies in being consistent when meals are dished up, making sure that it is close to the same every feed time and making sure that the level of exercise remains similar every day.

Because sugar is a great growth medium our patients are at greater risk of other infections. Common ones we come across in clinic are dental and bladder infections.

High blood sugar also predispose diabetic patients to cataracts and over time will develop in most patients regardless of treatment.

When to call the vets?

If you are all of sudden filling up the water bowl way too often, or if you are concerned that the four footed family member is losing condition regardless of eating very well, have him or her checked over by one of our small animal vets. The quicker we catch on the better!

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