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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Diabetes, a disease not just in humans

During National Diabetes Week, people are being reminded to check their pets, as it is a disease not restricted to humans.

CHLOE PICKARD July 18, 2014 3:49am

Kieran and Jolyon Hogan with Toby.


Toby, a 12-year old chocolate border collie, has a disease not many people would be aware strikes in animals.

Toby was diagnosed with diabetes in January 2013 after being ill in the Christmas holidays.

Owner Brendan Hogan said Toby suffered from pancreatitis in the past, a major cause of diabetes in animals.

‘‘He would go downhill, then he’d improve, then he went downhill quite a bit at January last year,’’ he said.

‘‘We had him checked out thoroughly and they said he’s a diabetic dog.’’

Vet Mark Wheatley, who monitors Toby, said diabetes was caused by damage to Toby’s pancreas.

‘‘When you have a dog that’s had a few episodes of pancreatitis, it can affect the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin,’’ he said.

Symptoms of diabetes in animals include lack of appetite, lethargy, weight loss, drinking more water than usual and urinating more.

Dr Wheatley said testing an animal for diabetes was relatively straight forward.

‘‘It only takes five minutes to diagnose it,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a matter of finding high blood sugar in blood and sugar in the urine.

‘‘Both of those things (means) diabetic.’’

Toby’s diabetes is now treated by twice daily insulin injections with an insulin pen from the pharmacy.

Mr Hogan said the the family feeds Toby in a set period of time before injecting him.

‘‘We grab him behind the neck and inject him and then we give him some treats and he’s fine,’’ he said.

‘‘And he knows what’s going on now.

‘‘He comes up to the back door and sits and waits, and then we do our job and he’s fine.’’

Dr Wheatley said looking after an animal with diabetes was a big commitment even after the animal was stabilised.

‘‘It’s quite an investment in dollars and time to get them stabilised,’’ he said.

‘‘And then for the next few months, getting them in and adjusting the doses until you find the right levels.’’

Injections have to be given in a rigid structure to avoid any complications and the Hogans can not feed Toby outside his morning and nightly meals.

Mr Hogan said there was never any doubt the family would keep looking after Toby.

‘‘He’s grown up with these boys and he’s very much part of the family,’’ he said.

Chloe Pickard

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