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Canine Gestational Diabetes mellitus (GDM) occurs when a female dog is pregnant and her body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it produces correctly.

Insulin is one of several hormones produced by a dog’s pancreas by certain specialized cells within the pancreas. Should a bitch develop Canine Gestational Diabetes, her cells are unable to take in enough glucose.

That glucose then begins to build up in her blood stream, and her cells begin to “starve” from the lack of the glucose that they require to function normally. Her internal organs begin to suffer damage from her sugary blood, and her inability to break down and use glucose causes sugar to begin to appear in her urine.

Gestational diabetes vs Diabetes mellitus

This type of diabetes has the same symptoms as Canine Diabetes Mellitus and the treatment is similar; diet and exercise and/or with insulin injections. Any breed of dog, as well as mixed breed dogs, can develop Canine Gestational Diabetes.

The Prognosis is very good as unlike Diabetes Mellitus, Gestational Diabetes usually goes away after the dog gives birth. Most women revert to non-diabetic status, but remain at higher risk for developing permanent diabetes than those who have never had gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is common in women with 2–12% of all pregnancies affected, but seems to be a rare disease in dogs with only 2 cases reported. Although dogs with GDM usually do not experience the classical clinical signs of diabetes mellitus (DM) at the time of diagnosis, the consequences may be substantial with complications such as macrosomia, dystocia, and neonatal hypoglycemia.

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes in Dogs

The most common symptoms of Gestational diabetes in dogs are:

  • Drinking excessively (much more than usual)
  • Urinating excessively (much more than usual)
  • Having a ravenous appetite
  • Losing weight rapidly or suddenly
  • Disorientation
  • Depression
  • Liver problems
  • Bladder problems
  • Vomiting
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Blindness
  • Seizures

Management of Gestational Diabetes in Dogs

Diabetic dogs require insulin therapy, which must be continued for life. Her veterinarian is the best source of advice as to the ideal insulin dosage she might need, which will depend upon such factors as her weight and the severity of her symptoms.

The goal of treatment is to regulate blood glucose using insulin and some probable diet and daily routine changes. It is very important that your dog’s diet, exercise and stress levels stay as consistent as possible. Significant changes to any of these parameters can dramatically affect the amount of insulin that your dog needs

The process may take a few weeks or many months and is similar as in type 1 diabetic humans. The aim is to keep the blood glucose values in an acceptable range.


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