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Does Your Min Pin Have Diabetes?

Miniature Pinscher standing at attention in a grassy field
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Finding out that your dog has diabetes is stressful for any pet owner. Roughly 1% of all dogs may develop diabetes over the course of their lives. Despite the serious nature of the diagnosis, treatment choices and management techniques can help your dog live a long, happy life.

This article covers everything about diabetes in Miniature Pinschers and the symptoms you might observe. Knowing about breed-specific health issues will help you create a preventative pet health plan in order to watch for and possibly avert foreseeable diabetes in your Miniature Pinscher.

All About Miniature Pinschers

Miniature Pinschers—lovingly known as “Min Pins” to their owners—were initially bred in Germany to hunt vermin in homes and stables. Canine authorities believe the breed is several centuries old and resulted as a cross of the Dachshund and Italian Greyhound. People commonly think Min Pins are mini Dobermans, due to their similar (but miniature) physique. 

Miniature Pinschers, often known as the “King of Toys” due to their regal appearance and confident demeanor, are fearless, active, and alert companion dogs who enjoy spending time with their people. They can live in apartments, but because of their high energy level, they require a lot of exercise. At about eight to ten pounds, Miniature Pinschers can be aggressive little dogs with lots of attitude.

Miniature Pinscher puppy in kitchen looking expectantly out of frame

Miniature Pinschers and Diabetes

Diabetes is a disorder that occurs when a dog’s body cannot create enough insulin to regulate its glucose (blood sugar) levels. When the nutrients from a dog’s food move from their stomach into their blood, their body converts the food into glucose.

In a healthy dog, insulin—a hormone created by the pancreas—helps cells convert that glucose into useful energy. However, the body cannot metabolize glucose if insulin production is too low or if the body becomes resistant to insulin.

Without enough insulin, cells become less able to convert glucose into energy. Glucose then remains in the bloodstream, elevating blood sugar levels, while cells are left to starve. Left untreated, this can cause many health concerns, such as skin diseases, behavioral changes, weight loss, dental disease, heart disease, and even heart failure.

Dogs can get one of two types of diabetes: insulin-deficiency (most common) or insulin-resistance diabetes. The former is when the dog isn’t producing suffient amounts of insulin, which can occur if the pancreas is not properly functioning. The latter happens when the pancreas is functioning, but the dog’s body simply is not using the insulin. Insulin-resistance diabetes occurs most frequently in older and obese dogs.

Causes of Diabetes in Dogs

There are various causes of canine diabetes. Certain pups may be more genetically predisposed to diabetes than others. Diabetes in Miniature Pinschers can be genetic, or it can arise because of other reasons like age, sex, and body composition.

Weight 

A big risk factor for the occurrence of diabetes is obesity. Hence, weight control is necessary to reduce the risk of developing the disease. Read on for a detailed look into how to help control your Miniature Pinscher’s diabetes through diet.

Other Causes

Hyperactivity of the adrenal gland in dogs (hyperadrenocorticism), pancreatitis, heart diseases, kidney diseases, Cushing’s disease, urinary tract infections, hypothyroidism, and skin infections are also conditions that can significantly impact the overall health of dogs and can lead to diabetes. Additionally, unspayed female dogs are twice as likely than male dogs to develop diabetes. 

Diagnosing Diabetes in Your Min Pin

Simple diabetes tests, such as checking for excess glucose and other anomalies in the blood and urine, may be performed by your veterinarian. This is to ascertain the level of the severity of diabetes-related problems. To confirm the diagnosis, the veterinarian will want to examine “fasting” blood glucose levels.

It’s true: Requiring your Min Pin to fast isn’t fun for anyone in the house, so make sure you give your pup some extra love and attention while they are uncomfortably hungry.

Your veterinarian might perform additional testing to determine if the pet has any infections or internal organ damage brought on by diabetes. Severe diabetes-related complications can occasionally necessitate hospitalization. Blood testing may also reveal additional diabetic symptoms, such as elevated liver enzymes and electrolyte abnormalities.

The sooner diabetes is discovered and treatment is started, the greater the pet’s chances of living a long life.

Treatment Options for Diabetes

Diabetic dog care necessitates ongoing medication and often, substantial changes to your pup’s diet. Your dog may require insulin shots in a secure, stress-free environment. Even though it’s not necessary, it is preferable if your Min Pin spends most of the time indoors, where fewer factors could disrupt their body’s internal clock, which is important for normal functioning.

Here are a few more crucial suggestions for controlling your Miniature Pinscher’s diabetes. 

Mealtime Routines

It is also critical to keep a feeding schedule for your dog. Some pet owners leave a dish of food out at all times to allow their dogs to eat whenever they want (called free-choice feeding). However, this is not the best option for a diabetic dog.

Eating before each insulin injection, twice daily, is advised. If you can’t stick to a two-meal-a-day feeding schedule, you’ll need to figure out a way to track how much food your dog consumes and ideally, get them to wolf down most of their meals just before giving them insulin.

overhead view bowl of dog food on a wooden counter

Insulin

Insulin injections are the most common method of treating diabetes in dogs. Your veterinarian will review your dog’s treatment plan with you and provide insulin injection tips.

Some people may be hesitant to inject insulin at first because they are concerned about causing pain or injury to their pet. Insulin injections are now administered just beneath the skin, in areas where internal tissues are less likely to be harmed, with modern, disposable needles that are extremely sharp and cause minimal discomfort.

This said, it’s understandable that you may feel uncomfortable poking your beloved pup with a needle. But considering the alternative – your Miniature Pinscher suffers from diabetes-related complications – a quick injection is definitely the easier option.

Using Diet to Control Canine Diabetes 

As per the Merck Veterinary Manual, one out of every 300 dogs is diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes in dogs is alarmingly prevalent, particularly in older, senior, and obese pets. Your dog will probably require insulin for the rest of their life if they develop diabetes. Therefore, taking all reasonable steps to stop your dog from developing diabetes is crucial.

Adding these ingredients to your dog’s diet helps treat its diabetes and promotes your Miniature Pinscher’s immunity to other diseases, as well. 

A win-win for your Min Pin.

Antioxidants

Antioxidant-rich foods combat free radicals—a natural byproduct of normal metabolic activities – responsible for inflammation, aging, degenerative illnesses, and tissue damage. Antioxidant-rich options include berries and various bright fruits and vegetables. Look for foods with vitamins E, C, and A, as well as selenium and carotenoids.

Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial microbes that reside in the digestive system. Your dog’s intestines, fermented foods, and certain  supplements all contain these bacteria.

These beneficial gut bacteria maintain a healthy interior environment to shield against illness and improve health. Unfortunately, sometimes healthy microbes are harmed or eliminated, resulting in stomach issues and an overall loss of health. The best supplement you can offer your dog for gut health in this situation is probiotics.

Curcumin

Curcumin—one of the active compounds in turmeric—is a powerful antioxidant that has been found to aid in digestion and cell regeneration. It’s one of the few substances that may aid in regenerating beta cells. Including curcumin in your Miniature Pinscher’s diet may be helpful if their blood sugar levels have recently been borderline high – or simply just to promote better digestion.

As with any supplement, check with your veterinarian before putting your dog on a diet including curcumin. This is particularly crucial because turmeric may have serious interactions with certain prescription drugs.

ground and whole turmeric

Berberine

Berberine is a chemical with a sour taste and a yellow color found in some plants, including tree turmeric, Oregon grape, goldenseal, and European barberry. Berberine has long been used to treat diabetes in China, and has more recently gained popularity amongst Western practitioners. According to research, it lowers blood glucose via reducing glucose absorption.

In addition, in human diabetics, research shows that berberine reduces insulin resistance and is a viable alternative to the diabetes medication metformin. Because you don’t want to overuse berberine, consult your herbalist or holistic vet about the optimal dose for your pup.

Digestive Enzymes

Dr. Frederick Banting, the inventor of insulin, published his research in the Canadian Medical Journal in 1922. Banting found that pancreatic extract might reduce blood glucose. Pancreatic extracts are extracts from pancreatic tissue that might include pancreatic enzymes or other distinct, unidentified components or proteins with functions, which is what prompted Banting to isolate insulin as a diabetic treatment.

Digestive enzymes—including pancreatic extracts—may help your dog obtain more nourishment from their diet, lessen the stress on a damaged pancreas, and improve digestion. Your veterinarian can offer more information and the best options for adding digestive enzymes to your Miniature Pinscher’s diet.

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Fiber-Rich Diet

Feeding dogs with diabetes a diet high in insoluble fiber may help them maintain normal blood glucose levels. If your Miniature Pinscher eats a high-carbohydrate, low-fiber diet, they may experience blood sugar spikes. A diet high in insoluble fiber helps to mitigate these effects.

Low-Fat Diet

Fiber-rich diets may help overweight dogs lose weight, but they do not benefit lean dogs. Your Miniature Pinscher may require ultra-low-fat diets for underlying illnesses that contribute to diabetes, such as pancreatitis. Your pet’s veterinarian can help to recommend a healthy nutrition plan.

Is the Treatment for Diabetes Expensive?

As a loving Miniature Pinscher owner, you must invest time and money in caring for your pet. You should ensure your dog gets routine care when you are on vacation or at work. Treatment costs may vary depending on how quickly your dog’s glucose is stabilized on insulin and whether there are any other underlying issues causing diabetes.

Depending on their glucose levels, diabetic dogs need insulin injections once or twice daily to properly control their blood sugar. Many Miniature Pinscher parents may also need to make dietary changes. For example, setting up a regimented feeding amount and time schedule is super important. Even though the dog may go a day or two without insulin without experiencing a crisis, treatment must be considered part of the dog’s daily routine.

You must constantly monitor the progress of your dog. Monitoring is a joint undertaking in which owners and veterinarians must collaborate. Most dogs will need more regular monitoring at first. Blood and urine tests will normally be conducted every one to three months once the dog has been stabilized and you are comfortable giving insulin and providing the prescribed diet.

miniature pinscher in a blanket on the couch

Symptoms of Diabetes in Miniature Pinschers

Early recognition of your pet’s diabetes is the most crucial part of caring for them. The earlier the diagnosis, the better your pet’s chance of living a longer, healthier life. Watch for the following symptoms in your Min Pin for an earlier diagnosis:

Increased Urination and Thirst

Your Miniature Pinscher may regularly want to go outdoors and begin to have “accidents” in your home. Increased urination and thirst occur when the body attempts to eliminate excess sugar by excreting it via urine and water that binds to glucose. Dogs are thirstier because the excess glucose makes their kidneys work overtime; thus, more liquid is filtered out along with the excess glucose. Your Miniature Pinscher will drink more regularly, so watch the water bowl as you may need to more frequently fill it.

Loss of Weight

Your Miniature Pinscher may lose weight despite regularly eating. While the body breaks down the food consumed into glucose, the glucose cannot be processed by the cells. Thus, the body must use stored body fat and muscle as a backup energy source because the cells cannot get glucose. This is why diabetic dogs lose weight and have an increased appetite.

Consequences of Diabetes in Miniature Pinschers

Diabetes has significant long-term consequences if it is not controlled or managed. The following are some common long-term and secondary consequences:

Cataracts and Corneal Dystrophy

Diabetic pet owners must watch for long-term issues like cataracts, which frequently appear in diabetic dogs. Similar to human cataracts, canine cataracts are caused by protein buildup in the eye’s lens, which causes the lens to become cloudy and impair vision. Blindness, either partial or total, may arise from cataracts.

Unfortunately, diabetes increases the risk of cataract development in dogs: 75-80% of diabetic canines develop cataracts within a year of their diagnosis. Cataracts form in diabetic dogs because of the disruption of normal lens metabolism. 

When corneal dystrophy—an inherited, progressive condition—is present, one of the layers of the cornea develops tiny white crystal deposits. To date, no known medical procedure can effectively remove the deposits. Normal disease progression is slow, painless, and only slightly obstructs vision, although partial or total blindness is possible. Surgery may be considered in difficult situations, but regrettably, the crystals may come back.

Hepatopathy

In diabetic dogs, liver diseases—also known as hepatopathy —are more prevalent. Lack of glucose absorption results in lipid mobilization, which builds up in the liver as fat. These are called hepatic lipidosis: fatty liver diseases. Additionally, diabetes is frequently seen in conjunction with hepatocutaneous syndrome, a form of liver failure followed by skin sores.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)

When the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to regulate blood glucose levels, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) can develop. DKA is when your pup’s blood and urine are filled with not only an excess amount of sugar, but also something called ketones. Ketones are strong acids and if they build up, your Miniature Pinscher can experience metabolic acidosis.

Warning: This is serious stuff. DKA can be fatal. But if you catch it early enough, it is also completely treatable.

How do you know if your Miniature Pinscher is experiencing DKA? In addition to other diabetes signs like increased thirst and urination, a change in appetite, and lethargy, your pup’s breath might smell sort of fruity: This is acetone—one type of ketone.

Get your Min Pin veterinary assistance if you suspect DKA. They will do blood and urine tests to determine if DKA is the culprit.

Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic syndrome (HHS) is a fairly uncommon type of “diabetic crisis” that can happen in pets who have severe high blood sugar and virtually no ketones.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Over time, high blood sugar levels might harm the tiny blood vessels that nourish your Miniature Pinscher’s nerves. This prevents vital nutrients from getting to the nerves. The nerve fibers may sustain damage or perhaps even perish as a result.

Though uncommon, your beloved Miniature Pinscher can develop diabetic neuropathy, a rare consequence of diabetes mellitus. Affected pups often move awkwardly and are uncoordinated, with partial hind limb paralysis. 

Clinical signs, laboratory proof of diabetes mellitus, and nerve biopsy are used to make the diagnosis. Although the prognosis is uncertain, insulin therapy may result in partial or whole recovery.

Reddish Miniature Pinscher lying on its back on the couch

Diabetes Isn’t the Only Issue

Diabetes is a serious condition that should be treated as soon as possible. If canine diabetes goes unchecked, it can result in further complications and medical issues including cell depletion, organ damage, alopecia, and dental issues. 

Cell Depletion

When a Minicher Pinscher has diabetes, muscle and organ cells are deprived of the glucose “fuel” needed for energy. Consequently, the body begins to break down its fats and proteins for use as an alternative fuel.

Organ Damage

Numerous organs—kidneys, eyes, heart, blood vessels, or nerves—can be harmed when blood sugar levels are high. This is because when there is no insulin to help convert glucose into cell fuel, the glucose builds up in the blood, essentially poisoning the organs

Alopecia

If your Miniature Pinscher is suddenly losing hair, this may be due to diabetes. Alopecia is atypical hair loss in which patches of hair fall out without growing back as they would during shedding. The skin may also appear particularly thin or agitated, in addition to hair loss.

Dental Problems

For diabetic Miniature Pinschers, bad teeth can become an issue. Board-certified veterinary dentist Dr. Kris Bannon believes that diabetic pups more frequently have periodontal (gum) disease and that periodontitis and diabetes can impact one another in a “viscious cycle.” 

Dr. Jason Nicholas, chief medical officer at Preventive Vet, agrees with Bannon that even veterinarians cannot also tell if the periodontal disease or the diabetes came first and which one “caused” the other to occur. Nicholas says your Miniature Pinscher’s blood-sugar metabolism can be affected by the painful inflammation and infection of periodontitis.

Thorough, regular dental care are check-ups for your Min Pin are going to help identify if periodontitis is an issue and will help treat your pup’s aching mouth if it is. Your vet might need to do a periodontal cleaning and prescribe antibiotics to help treat dental issues and help prevent future problems. 

closeup of a dog's open mouth from the side as it pants

Final Thoughts

Although diabetes is a common condition in dogs (and humans), certain instances may be more difficult to control. However, most cases of Miniature Pinscher diabetes cna be effectively managed without problems.

From delivering injections to regularly checking glucose levels, you will be the main caregiver for your Miniature Pinscher. Therefore, please continue to be dedicated to watching them and to taking care of their medication doses and diet alterations. Good health care and pet health insurance can help you improve your Miniature Pinscher’s health.

Of course you will want to try to prevent your precious Miniature Pinscher from getting diabetes as much as you  possibly can. But if your dog still develops diabetes, the information provided in this article will help you manage the health of your Miniature Pinscher and may reduce the need for insulin.

Sure, diabetes can be scary, but it is also very manageable when caught and treated early. Keep your Miniature Pinscher by your side for years by keeping yourself informed and up to date on the warning signs and what you must do when you suspect your pup might be diabetic. 

Best practice? Just pay attention. You know your Miniature Pinscher better than anyone else does. If their behaviors, habits, or temperment changes, there may be a serious health problem afoot. Do your part by monitoring your pup and don’t delay in seeking veterinary assistance if you believe there may be a problem.

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