Can Canine Diabetes Be Cured?

Sick dog on table with vet behind it

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If your dog has been diagnosed with canine diabetes mellitus, you are probably hoping that there is a cure for this disease. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Canine diabetes cannot, in most cases, be cured. Diabetes is a treatable disease for most dogs but treatment for dogs with diabetes is typically life-long. If treatment is discontinued, the symptoms of disease return quickly.

Why Isn't It Curable?

Diabetes mellitus in dogs is almost always insulin-dependent. This means that in a dog with diabetes the cells of the pancreas that normally secrete insulin are no longer able to do so. Insulin is necessary in order to regulate the blood glucose (blood sugar) level in a dog. Without insulin, the blood glucose level rises to dangerously high levels and the life of the dog is at risk.

Is It Always Fatal?

Canine diabetes is generally fatal if left untreated. However, with treatment, most diabetic dogs do very well. Treatment usually consists of insulin injections and insulin injections typically need to given twice daily. Attention must be paid to diet and exercise as well.

Can Dogs Recover?

In most cases, no. Dogs usually do not recover from diabetes. However, there are instances where the disease can be temporary. A good example of this is gestational diabetes in which hormone levels impact the ability of insulin to regulate the blood glucose level. Once the pregnancy is over, the dog may recover.

There are other diseases and even some drugs that can cause a similar effect. When the disease is successfully treated or the drug is withdrawn, the dog may return to normal.

These cases are the exception rather than the rule though. In the future, it is possible that new technology may bring new hope for a cure.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.