Diabetic neuropathy is less commonly seen in dogs than in cats. Furthermore, clinical signs in dogs differ from those in cats. Primary clinical findings in cats are plantigrade posturing, subtle muscular weakness, neurologic deficits, and muscle atrophy; those in dogs include chronic and progressive hindlimb weakness that can also involve the forelimbs. This degree of weakness varies from mild paraparesis (Figure 1, above) to more severe involvement with tetraparesis and tetraplegia (Figure 2). Other signs include knuckling, hyporeflexia, muscle atrophy, and weakness.
Causative factors, as defined in animal and human studies, are controversial. They may include multiple mechanisms involving vascular factors, metabolic derangement of the Schwann cells, and primary axonal disease.