I changed my 8yo Jack Russell onto a raw food diet about four months ago. A few weeks later she started having little urine accidents in the house which she’d never done before. Concerned I took her to the vets.
A few hours later I received a panic call to say her ketones were very high and her glucose curve none existent – at the time this meant nothing to me – and that she had diabetes. Since then I’ve been injecting her with insulin twice a day.
The vet tried to get me to change her food to diabetic kibble but I refused. So they have accommodated my determination to keep her on raw food, checked the diet I use (it’s fine and balanced but without carbs) and I monitor her ketones and glucose everyday.
Here’s my problem. I’ve done lots of research online and feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place. Whilst there is very little about dogs there’s lots about humans and ketogenic diets. What that tells me is that ketone levels rise dramatically when you remove carbs from your diet and your glucose curve flattens (as you don’t have glucose spikes because you’re not eating carbs). This seems to suggest high ketone levels in my dog are normal – it’s obvious really, she doesn’t eat carbs so she needs ketones in her blood to process the protein; and that the standard measure of diabetes (glucose curve) might not to relevant either!
So here’s my quandary. I don’t know if my dog actually has diabetes anymore. I wonder if everything is a function of her diet. That leads me to be concerned as, if I’m giving her insulin she doesn’t need I’m poisoning her and she’ll create triglycerides that are very harmful to her.
Does anybody have a view? Any research or papers I can read?
Hi Alan I,
I don’t have a reference handy for you but my understanding is that dogs are very resistant to dietary ketosis compared to people. I think this is why you can’t find much on dietary ketosis in dogs. I wouldn’t expect one would see ketones in the urine of a low carb fed dog unless another problem was present.
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