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What is Diabetes in Rodents?

Diabetes is a condition in which the body can not (adequately) absorb, use and store the sugars from food. The result of this is an increased sugar value in the blood. This is also called hyperglycemia.
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What is diabetes in rodents?

Diabetes is a condition in which the body can not (adequately) absorb, use and store the sugars from food. The result of this is an increased sugar value in the blood. This is also called hyperglycemia.


The body needs nutrients to function, these are obtained from the food we give the animals. Good health falls and stands with a proper diet that is tailored to the nutritional needs of the animal. The diet mainly consists of lipids (fats), proteins (proteins) and glucides (sugars, starch products). These elements provide the body with the energy it needs to function.

When an animal eats its sugar level goes up. This is because the glucides mainly change into glucose. The pancreas (pancreas) notices this increased glycemia (sugar value in the blood) and in its turn releases insulin so that the glucose can penetrate into the body's cells. Insulin is a hormone that allows the glucose to penetrate into muscle, fat tissue and liver, but also into the conversion of glucose into fat for a later moment. Without insulin, sugar does not enter the cells and therefore remains in the blood.

There are roughly 4 types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, MODY and gestational diabetes.


This type is also called child and young adult diabetes. This is because it originally occurred mainly in young people. However, we see in rodents that this type can also occur in old age and not necessarily a type of diabetes for young animals.

When diabetes type 1 happened is very special. The cause seems to be an inflammatory mechanism whereby the body suddenly and out of the blue produces antibodies against its own pancreas and attacks the beta cells. The part of the pancreas that deals with insulin production is then just destroyed. The pancreas can not produce insulin at all and thus no longer convert glucose into something useful.

If the body of an animal can not produce insulin at all, the only treatment is to administer insulin. The dose must be exactly adjusted to the sugar values and in the blood, but also to the nature of the meal. In humans this happens by injecting subcutaneous insulin several times a day. This is almost impossible for rodents.

If there is too much glucose in the blood, the body will try to eliminate it in other ways. This happens thanks to the kidneys that filter the blood. The large amount of glucose pollutes the animals properly and as a result we see a lot of drinking and a lot of urinating back in animals with diabetes.


Also called old age diabetes, does not just need to occur at an older age, because we see it coming back at different ages. This is the most common type of diabetes.

Diabetes type 2 is very closely related to the diet. By giving a wrong diet for a longer period of time, this type of diabetes can arise.

As we know, the body uses insulin to turn glucose into something useful for the body. This system normally works perfectly and without problems, but if the diet contains a lot of glucose, but also because of the aging process, the cells in the body can gradually build up a resistance to insulin. As a result, the pancreas has to produce more insulin to convert the glucose. This will make the pancreas too much in the long run. What you see then is that the pancreas simply can not produce enough (qualitative) insulin to regulate sugar levels in the blood. This causes chronic hyperglycemia, or diabetes type 2.

The annoying thing about type 2 diabetes is that it does not have to give symptoms for a long time. With a wrong diet it just gets a little worse with the day until it is so bad that the symptoms appear and there is no way back for the animal.

Diabetes type 2 can not be cured. It is no longer possible to turn back. However, the symptoms can be treated (increased sugar value in the blood) by adjusting the diet in particular. In people, type 2 diabetes is treated by a combination of diet, medication and exercise. The drugs work against insulin resistance and lower blood sugar.


That's just a mouth full of diabetes! This type of diabetes occurs in humans in children, teenagers and young adults. Unlike in type 1 diabetes, this is not an autoimmune disease. This type is hereditary and is transferred within a family.


  • Very thirsty
  • A lot of urine
  • Fast weight loss



Glycemia is the metabolism of sugar in the body. Use is made here of receptors in the cell membranes and in the brain. The glycemia is thus regulated by the hormone insulin. If an animal eats sugar, it is detected almost immediately and the pancreas receives a signal that it has to make insulin. This ensures that sugar comes into the cells. The insulin is then transported to the liver, which stores the sugar in the form of glycogen (fat).

Every time an animal receives sugar, insulin is released in the right proportion. That means the more sugar the body will soon get, the more insulin has to be made. Insulin is a very strong hormone that has two important main functions: ensures that sugar enters the cells and ensures the storage of unused sugar in the fat cells.

Cells have special insulin receptors that detect this hormone. As soon as insulin arrives at the door, the cell literally opens the door for her and lets the sugar inside. It is therefore important that the insulin continues to beat at the door. Without insulin, the sugar will not get access to the cell and the cell will die without food. You can imagine that this can lead to life-threatening situations in type 1 diabetes. The incoming sugar penetrates into the cell and provides energy (nutrition).


Our animals live in places. They are 100% dependent on us and that is why it is so important to study the nutritional needs of your animal. If an animal receives the wrong food day in, day out, the body must fight against it to stay healthy. The body is strong and can have a lot, but somewhere is a limit.

If an animal receives "too much" sugary food and snacks every day and does not get enough exercise, the pancreas must work hard to separate more and more insulin. Because of too much sugar and too short a movement, the body will store more reserves. Because the fat cells become overcrowded and because of this an oxygen gets too short, there are inflammatory reactions everywhere in the body. The body detects this problem and hears the nut cries of the cells and only has one solution ... ... to release the sugars in the bloodstream. This is a process that is also called pre-diabetes. It is not yet far advanced to be a type 2, but the decay has already begun. If the body is wrong at this point to turn it back. In animals see that there are still no symptoms visible, but there is for example if glucose in the urine is measurable.


After reading the previous article you probably have banished all sugars ... .. but it is not that simple ☹ Sugar is the fuel of every cell in the body can not survive without sugar.

Sugar is very scarce in nature. The animals have to look for them actively and the chance that they find large quantities of them is nil. In our home it is very different if we do not look forward. You must be very careful about sugar. In humans, the receptors that detect sugar on the tip of our tongue and because it is so scarce in nature, we humans also have a special urge for sugar. We long for it because it gives so much energy and we quickly become addicted to it. This is no different with our animals, they also detect sugar and know that this gives a bomb of energy which in nature gives a good chance of survival.


Because type 1 diabetes can only be treated with insulin injection, we only discuss treatment for type 2 here.

The disease can not be reversed. Once there is no damage, there is no way back, but thanks to good treatment, further damage can be prevented and stabilization of the condition can occur. The two main components of the treatment are: nutrition and exercise. An advantage is that we can regulate the nutrition of our animals 100%, the movement becomes a different story.

This is the way sugar travels in the body

  • Intake via digestion (intestines)
  • Signal to the (brain)
  • Excretion of insulin (pancreas)
  • Storage of glucose (liver)
  • Filtering and uptake of glucose (kidneys)
  • Consumption and storage of glucose (muscles)
  • Storage of glucose in the form of fat (fatty tissue)

diabetes in rodents, mice, dwarf hamster, mouse, gerbil, degu


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