Types of Canine Diabetes

Everyone knows about diabetes. But not everyone knows that there are two major types of canine diabetes:

  1. Diabetes Mellitus (DM) or Sugar Diabetes.
  2. Diabetes Insipidus (DI) or Water Diabetes.

Each of the two primary types of diabetes has subtypes. In this article, we give you complete details about dog diabetes types and subtypes. Read on to discover more!

Dog Diabetes Mellitus

Dog diabetes mellitus, sometimes called sugar diabetes, is a metabolic disorder caused by pancreas dysfunction and the resulting abnormal regulation of blood sugar.

A dog suffering from diabetes mellitus.

There are two subtypes of dog diabetes mellitus, type 1 and type 2.

Dog Diabetes Mellitus Type I

Canine Diabetes Mellitus Type I is the more common type of diabetes mellitus in dogs. It is caused by insulin deficiency when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. This results in low blood sugar and low body energy.

Diabetes mellitus type one is not inherited as many people think. Instead, dogs can inherit a genetic predisposition to Diabetes mellitus type I, which places them at a higher risk of developing the condition.

So far, diabetes mellitus type I is irreversible. However, some studies suggest that diabetes mellitus type I could soon be cured in both dogs and humans. Until then, dogs with diabetes mellitus type I need to be given insulin daily to help their body use glucose. 

Dog Diabetes Mellitus Type II

Even though most people think dogs usually get Canine Diabetes Type II, this type of diabetes is rarer in dogs than diabetes mellitus type I.

Mellitus Type II is also called insulin-resistant diabetes because it is caused by the resistance of body cells to insulin once the pancreas produces it. 

Obesity, underlying health conditions, and continued use of certain drugs are all predisposing causes of canine diabetes mellitus type II.

Even though diabetes mellitus is incurable, it has been reversed in rare cases through weight loss, diet, and exercise.

Dog Diabetes Insipidus

Canine Diabetes Insipidus is a rare condition in which a dog’s kidneys do not concentrate urine correctly. Unlike canine diabetes mellitus, where a dog’s urine would taste sweet due to high sugar levels, the urine of a dog with diabetes insipidus is dilute and would be tasteless, which explains the name of the condition “insipidus”.

Diabetes Insipidus in dogs is thought to be caused by inadequate production of the antidiuretic hormone (ADH). It is characterized by excessive thirst, frequent drinking, and the production of high amounts of urine, to the point of causing incontinence in some dogs. Also, despite frequent drinking, your dog can easily become dehydrated.

A dog suffering from diabetes insipidus

There are four types of diabetes insipidus recognized in human medicine, but only the first two are recognized in veterinary medicine:

  1. Central diabetes insipidus
  2. Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus
  3. Dipsogenic Diabetes Insipidus
  4. Gestational Diabetes Insipidus

We will discuss the first two recognized in veterinary practice.

Central Diabetes Insipidus

Central diabetes insipidus is the most common form of diabetes insipidus in dogs. It is caused by damage to the pituitary gland (hypothalamus), which means poor production, storage, and release of the ADH. As a result, large amounts of fluids are released and expelled as urine.

Central diabetes insipidus can be caused by:

  • Genetic conditions.
  • Head trauma that damages the pituitary gland.
  • Illnesses that cause brain inflammation.
  • Insufficient blood supply to the pituitary glands.
  • Surgery.
  • Brain tumors.

Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus

Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is caused by rare genetic defects that damage the kidneys. This makes the kidneys unable to respond to the antidiuretic hormone.

Nephrogenic diabetes can be caused by one of the following:

  • Urinary tract blockage.
  • High calcium levels in the body.
  • Low levels of potassium in the body.
  • Drug use, such as tetracycline or lithium. 
  • Chronic kidney disease.

Dog Diabetes Types Summary

Canine Diabetes Mellitus

Canine Diabetes Subtypes

– Diabetes Mellitus type1
– Diabetes Mellitus type 2

Primary Cause

Low insulin due to pancreas dysfunction/ abnormal regulation of blood sugar

Common Symptoms

– Excessive thirst
– Frequent urination
– Increase appetite
– Loss of weight
– Lethargy 
– Poor sight
– Poor coat quality

Canine Diabetes Insipidus

Canine Diabetes Subtypes

– Central diabetes insipidus
– Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus

Primary Cause

Inadequate production of ADH/ Kidneys do not concentrate urine correctly.

Common Symptoms

– Excessive thirst
– Frequent urination 
– Diluted urine
– Dehydration
– Disorientation
– Seizures
– Weight loss