Type I and Type II Diabetes: What’s the Difference?

Many misconceptions exist about the differences between Type I and Type II Diabetes, a disease which affects 29.1 million people in the United States.1  Diabetes is a chronic disease, in which the pancreas produces less of or completely stops producing the hormone insulin. Insulin is essential in order to live. It breaks down the sugars in the body, converting them to energy.

Type I Diabetes, also referred to as juvenile diabetes, is commonly diagnosed in children and young adults. However, older adults can also contract Type I. It occurs when the pancreas completely stops producing insulin. The exact  cause of Type I is still unknown, but genetics and viral infections are thought to play a part.2 Treatment for Type I involves taking artificial insulin either by injections via a syringe or insulin pen or a pump, a device that delivers insulin through a catheter underneath the skin.3 Rapid-acting insulin begins decreasing blood  sugars within 10-30 minutes and is good to take before eating. Long-acting insulin helps stabilize sugars over a longer period of time (20-24 hours).4

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Managing Pet Diabetes

So the vet just diagnosed your pet with diabetes mellitus, which means that your pet isn’t producing enough insulin which is required for the body to efficiently use sugars, fats, and proteins. Diabetes mellitus is most often diagnosed in older dogs, primarily female dogs and older cats, most often male cats. Younger animals can also be afflicted.

Can diabetes in animals be managed? For most animals, diabetes is managed long term by the injection of insulin once or twice a day by the owner or caretaker. While some diabetic cats can be treated with oral medications instead of injections, oral medications are rarely effective in dogs. According to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University, there are three general types of insulin used in dogs and cats:

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