Diabetes in Reptiles

Diabetes in reptilian animals does occur, though far less commonly than it does in humans. The most commonly affected reptiles are turtles and tortoises. Just like in humans, reptiles suffering from diabetes don’t have enough glucose in the bloodstream, caused by a decrease in insulin production. Read more below as a Milford veterinarian discusses the disease itself, its symptoms, and what to do if you suspect your pet has diabetes.


Diabetes in reptiles can be caused by dietary changes, malnutrition, starvation, or environmental factors. In addition, other conditions like liver disorder, pancreatic disorders, and infections can lead to the development of diabetes. Your Milford veterinarian will be able to pinpoint the most likely cause of the disease in your particular animal.


Common symptoms of diabetes in reptiles include increased thirst and appetite, increased urination, lethargy, and sometimes dilated pupils and tremors. Turtles and tortoises may not be able to right themselves when on their back or side.

It’s important to note that the presence of some of these symptoms doesn’t automatically mean your reptile has diabetes—many of these symptoms can be caused by a variety of other disorders and conditions. Your Milford vet will perform the proper procedures to determine the cause of your pet’s suffering.


If you think your pet is suffering from diabetes, or if he exhibits any of the above symptoms either exclusively or in tandem with one another, take him to see your Milford veterinary professional. Even if diabetes is not confirmed, something else may be wrong.

Your veterinarian will take urinary samples and blood tests to diagnose diabetes. The level of glucose in the reptile’s blood will confirm diabetes to be the issue. From there, your Milford veterinarian will prescribe medications and a treatment plan designed to regulate insulin and blood glucose levels in your pet. Sometimes, dietary guidelines and other therapy may be required to help return your pet to full health.

Diabetes in reptiles isn’t exactly common, but it certainly can happen—the most important thing to do is make an appointment with your Milford vet as soon as possible if you suspect your pet may have the disease.


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