ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- While diabetes kills about one in every 10 Americans every year, one local veterinarian says pet owners must be on the lookout before our dogs and cats become victims as well.
"We were told that he wasn't going to make it through the night," said Suzanne Hollander.
Hollander's poodle, Bailey, was on the brink of death, not believed by doctors to have much longer to live.
The 11-year-old was diagnosed with diabetes.
"You think that's the end of the world," said Hollander. "I'm very surprised because I had not had friends of mine or anybody that had animals with diabetes. We were shocked."
Hollander now must inject Bailey twice a day with insulin.
Doctor Kari Kubas with Hillcrest Animal Hospital says owners must be proactive because it can be treated if diagnosed in time.
"What you want to look for is increased thirst, weight loss, lethargy, the dog may start having accidents in the house, the urine may be sticky or have an odd odor, and towards the end of the course of disease, these dogs can become very sick, end up vomiting and actually develop a life threatening crisis situation," said Kubas.
Diabetes in dogs and cats can be genetic, and some doctors say one thing we can do to prevent it is to watch our pets' food and make sure they do not become overweight.
"With a little bit of extra care and not that much, you may be able to get some really good days and he may have some more longevity because we took the time to do what needed to be done," Hollander said.
Hollander wants to remind all owners to always be on the lookout for those symptoms because she is just one of the lucky ones.
Kubas says pet owners in the stateline should also be on the lookout for lyme disease and blastomycosis, both of which can kill animals as well as humans.