Pugs are one of the breeds at high risk for developing diabetes mellitus, according to statistics from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. That's not surprising, considering their tendency toward obesity. It's just one more reason to keep your pug at a healthy weight.

Diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas gland and is a common problem in older dogs. It occurs when the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin — a substance the body uses to drive glucose, or blood sugar, into the cells — or stops producing insulin altogether. The result is that glucose levels build up in the bloodstream, causing high blood sugar. Contributing factors include obesity and genetic predisposition.

Signs of diabetes include excessive thirst and urination, which often leads to accidents in the house, weight loss despite a ravenous appetite, and sudden blindness. If your pug shows any of these signs, take him to the veterinarian. Diabetes is diagnosed through blood work and urinalysis.

Diabetes can't be cured, but it can be managed successfully. Pugs with diabetes will require one or two daily insulin injections to keep the disease under control. Your veterinarian can show you how to give the shot. Most dogs don't seem to mind the injection, especially if they receive a treat or a meal immediately afterward. Weight loss through exercise and dietary control is another factor in successfully managing diabetes.

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