Diabetes may be a disease more common in older, overweight dogs, but the disease comes in numerous forms that can affect dogs of all ages. Type 1 canine diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, can start affecting a dog's health at a very early age, and in some cases a puppy can develop the condition in its first 15 months of life.
If you are caring for a diabetic puppy that is less than fifteen months old, your first priority should obviously be maintaining its health. Diabetic puppies should be closely monitored by vets during the earliest stages of their life, and may require extensive rounds of treatment before they are well enough to live a normal life. Vaccinations are especially critical to your diabetic puppy's long-term health, and are even more vital if your puppy develops diabetes before its vaccinations are complete.
Why are vaccinations so important for puppies with juvenile diabetes?
Diabetes is an autoimmune condition, which means it is caused by the dog's own immune system attacking healthy tissues inside its body. The most well-known symptom of juvenile diabetes in dogs is an inability for the dog's body to produce insulin, a hormone essential for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Without regular insulin injections to replace the missing 'natural' insulin, a diabetic dog can quickly fall ill, and may fall into a coma or even die without prompt treatment.
However, juvenile diabetes also causes other problems in dogs, and it usually causes your dog's immune system to be weaker than that of a healthy dog. This makes them more vulnerable to catching serious infections, such as leptospirosis and kennel cough, and also makes them less likely to be able to fight off an infection without intervention from a vet. Since a puppy's immune system is naturally weaker than that of an adult dog, puppies with early-onset diabetes are particularly vulnerable.
When and how should I have my diabetic puppy vaccinated?
Dogs in Australia should always be receive 'core' vaccines -- these vaccines protect against some of the most common and dangerous canine illnesses, and are usually administered between 12 and 16 weeks old.
However, in some cases these vaccines fail to provide complete protection, and some dogs will need another round of vaccines 12 months after the core vaccines are administered. If your puppy has developed juvenile diabetes after its core injections (juvenile diabetes in very young puppies is almost unheard of), it is more likely to need additional vaccinations to help protect its weakened immune system.
As such, anyone who cares for a diabetic puppy should visit a pet vaccination clinic as soon as possible. The specialist vets and nurses at pet vaccination clinics can use titre tests and other methods to determine whether your puppy needs additional vaccine injections. If your puppy does need additional protection, these clinics will provide your dog with the needed injections, and monitor its health to prevent any allergic reactions or side effects.