Sometimes clients ask me, “What did I do to cause this?” More often than not I can’t tell them. Heck, I’d have a Nobel Peace Prize if I could tell them exactly what caused the state that the pet is now in. I think of the phrase told to me 23 years ago as a first-year sleep-deprived vet student, “Don’t blame yourself”.

Sometimes it is what it is. It isn’t necessarily your fault that your pet is now ill! Don’t take the blame for your pet’s diseased state.

The cause of diabetes is multi-factorial, especially for dogs. Dogs are likely to be insulin dependent diabetics. The cause might be a gradual immune-mediated destruction of pancreatic cells. Diabetes might occur after a raging or even smoldering case of pancreatitis. There may be a genetic predisposition for some breeds. Or it could occur after a course of medication such as steroids.

Cats are more like humans regarding diabetes. With the rampant obesity (particularly in indoor cats with less physical activity than indoor/outdoor cats) and high carbohydrate foods (often calorie dense dry foods), we have seen a rise in insulin resistance and in the incidence of feline diabetes. Cats typically start as non-insulin dependent diabetics and with time become insulin dependent diabetics. There is hope, especially early in the disease course, of a diabetic cat regressing to a non-diabetic state with weight control and low carbohydrate diets.

So, if you have a pet that has had pancreatitis, don’t feed them fatty foods. The skin off your piece of fried chicken is a bad choice to sneak to your dog if there is a history of pancreatitis! If you have an obese cat, strive for portion control and increased exercise. Canned foods are lower in calories and carbohydrates than dry foods, and some dry foods are lower in carbohydrates than other dry foods. Even if your tubby cat is not diabetic, consider feeding them a low carbohydrate canned diet.

You are probably reading my newsletter because you have a diabetic pet. You may be one of those clients that asked yourself what you did to cause it. You probably cannot take credit for the situation. You love your pet and will do whatever is needed to keep your pet healthy. Still, it’s a good idea for all your pets to avoid fatty foods that might trigger pancreatitis and to keep your pets lean!

NOTE: Consult your Veterinarian first to make sure my recommendations fit your special health needs.