Saturday, May 13, 2017

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Diabetes, Histoplasmosis, and more ...

Diabetes in Dogs: Type 1 vs. Type 2

Dr. Hanie Elfenbein/petMD

Photo Pixabay
"Diabetes in dogs is not a death sentence. It takes dedication, but your dog can still live a long, happy life." ~Dr. Hanie Elfenbein

I think we all have a decent idea what diabetes is. It is a disease that results in an inability to regulate blood sugar levels and getting the glucose where it ought to be (for storage or to the cells).

There are two types of diabetes. Type I in which the dog's pancreas is unable to produce sufficient amounts of insulin. Insulin is the hormone that takes care of moving glucose out of blood wherever it ought to go.  With type II, insulin is being produced, but the cells ignore its attempts to do its job. The result is the same. The blood is full of glucose that shouldn't be there, and the cells are starving for energy. Bad things happen.

Dogs typically get type I diabetes but rarely can suffer from type II as well, particularly secondary to some diseases or medications. Type II diabetes can often be reversed through diet and exercise. Type I requires insulin supplementation.

Do note that a dog can also develop type I diabetes after a severe bout of pancreatitis if enough of the pancreas gets damaged.

To learn more about diabetes, its symptoms and treatment and options, check out Dr. Hanie's article.

Related articles:
Medical Jargon Explained: Hypo- versus Hyperglycemia


Histoplasmosis in Dogs & Cats – A Funky Fungal Infection

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

Bacterial infections can be sometimes scary and dangerous. But viral or fungal infections scare me more. If I were to choose which I consider worse, I don't know if I could pick between the two.

Histoplasma, like any other fungi, prefers warm, moist and humid conditions. Dogs can get infected from contaminated soil.

The problem with histoplasmosis is that the symptoms are non-specific and can look like any other disease. Symptoms include lethargy and depression, weight loss, loss of appetite, diarrhea, coughing and difficulty breathing, jaundice and eye problems. You might be inclined to rush to a vet with some of these symptoms, but some can often be dismissed as nothing serious.

Histoplasmosis requires a lenghty, aggressive treatment. I hope none of my dogs and none of your dogs ever gets this infection. But I always believe that any symptoms, particularly if severe or ongoing, need thorough investigation. Never underestimate what your dog's symptoms might signal.


Vestibular Disease in a Canine

Dr. Krista Magnifico




Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Dr. Jean Dodds

This is one of the questions which seems to be right up there with "what came first, the chicken or the egg?" There are many theories but very little consensus.

I think that one of the reasons for that is that dogs might eat grass for more than one reason. I know that my own dogs would eat grass for at least two of them. Yes, they eat grass when their stomach is upset. But they also sometimes seem to eat grass simply for the enjoyment of it. Only rarely grass-eating is followed by vomiting in my dogs.

Dr. Dodds' article talks about a few studies that were trying to get to the bottom of this. One of the interesting findings was that type of diet or fiber content have no impact on this behavior. Beyond that, we seem to remain at hypotheses.

It is an interesting article, though, I recommend you read.


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