MEET Zeus. He’s is a bright and happy two-year-old Labrador that has been a regular visitor to Wear Referrals veterinary hospital for the last two years. He was diagnosed with juvenile onset diabetes mellitus at just ten weeks of age in 2017.

In most healthy animals, the food they eat is turned into glucose (sugar) which enters the bloodstream and provides energy for cells in the body. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps glucose enter the cells.

Patients diagnosed with diabetes cannot regulate their glucose levels because they might not produce enough insulin (insulin dependent, Type I) or the cells don’t respond normally to insulin (insulin resistant, Type II). If less glucose enters the cells it builds up in the bloodstream (hyperglycaemia) and passes into the urine (glucosuria).

The Northern Echo: ZeusZeus

This has widespread effects on the body, including urinary tract infections, kidney disease, liver disease and eye disease.

Diabetes can be a life-threatening illness, but fortunately with early diagnosis, the majority of patients can be successfully treated.

What are the signs of diabetes?

  • Increased urination – larger amount, more often and sometimes at night;
  • Increased thirst;
  • Possible increase in appetite;
  • Weight loss;
  • Odorous urine due to infection (or the presence of ketones in animals having trouble regulating blood sugar levels);
  • Listlessness or tiredness.

Zeus enjoys his hospital visits and gets lots of attention from his nursing fan club.

As part of Zeus’s treatment, he requires lifelong daily insulin injections, a strict feeding/exercise regime and frequent veterinary examinations.

The Northern Echo:

Instead of Zeus having to have lots of blood tests to check his glucose levels, he has a glucose sensor placed on his skin, which can stay in place for up to 14 days and is continually reading his levels, every 15 minutes.

The readings are taken using a scanning device or by downloading an app specifically designed for the sensor and can be uploaded onto a computer for the vet to observe any trends in his glucose levels.

Zeus does not get bothered when he is wearing his sensor and enjoys life as a very happy chap.

Wear Referrals provides specialist veterinary care for pets across the North of England and the Scottish borders.