Obesity is known to cause diabetes and insulin resistance in cats and dogs. In obese pets, the number of insulin receptors on the fat and muscle cells are reduced, damaged or don’t function normally. There are several proposed reasons for this, and research is underway to discover the definitive mechanism. Regardless of exact cause, pets with obesity have too few properly working insulin receptors, leading to hyperinsulinemia. Making matters worse, excess glucose is left circulating, because the abnormal receptors don’t correctly bind insulin. One theory is the insulin-secreting beta cells of the pancreas fail over time, resulting in diabetes. This is speculated to be due to prolonged and high demand on these cells to produce insulin, oxidative damage or the toxic effects of persistent high blood sugar on pancreatic beta cells.
What you need to know is the relationship among insulin, obesity and longevity is intimately intertwined. Studies show that the more efficient a dog is at removing glucose from the blood after a meal, the longer its life expectancy and the higher its quality of life. In other words, the more sensitive a dog is to insulin, as opposed to an obese dog’s lack of response to insulin, the longer it is likely to live.
It is never too late to start making healthy lifestyle changes for you and your pet. Ask us today how we can help.