Feline Diabetes: Symptoms, Treatments and Causes

By Valdette Muller| June 4, 2018 | Blog

If your feline friend has diabetes, this long-term condition can be managed with treatment, and it does not need to impact hugely on your pet’s quality of life.

Diabetes in cats occurs once in every 200 cats.

There are various different types of diabetes in cats, just as there are in humans.

If your cat has a type of diabetes, your vet will let you know what it is and how it works.

The most common type of diabetes found in cats is called ‘Type II Diabetes’, also known as ‘Diabetes Mellitus’.

What is diabetes?

In basic terms, diabetes is a disorder where blood sugar, or glucose, cannot be effectively utilised and regulated within the body. Like the human body, the cells in a cat’s body need sugar in the form of glucose for energy.

There are several hormones within the body that play important roles in glucose metabolism. Insulin is an important hormone, and it is the hormone most central to the development and control of the diabetic state.

While glucose fuels the body, the insulin is the hormone that helps to transport the glucose to the various cells within the body.

Symptoms you can check for

Although the actual diagnosis of diabetes requires a thorough physical exam and laboratory testing of both blood and urine by your vet, there are certain signs that you as the owner might notice at home.

  • Excessive thirst (polydipsia): Many owners report their cat drinking from the dog’s water bowl, the sink, bathtub, or toilet. Apart from diabetes, this could also indicate kidney disease, certain liver disorders, and certain other hormonal disorders.
  • Excessive urination (polyuria): Often the first indication that a cat is urinating excessively is that there are more and larger spots of urine in the litter box, or urine spots outside the litter box. It is important that cats with excessive urination be examined by a veterinarian.
  • Increased appetite (polyphagia) often accompanied by weight loss: Many diabetic cats have a ravenous appetite, often pestering their owners for more food after clearing out their bowl. What may not be immediately apparent, especially if your cat has long fur, is that in spite of the limitless appetite, your cat may actually be losing weight.

Diabetes is usually easily diagnosed and is controllable. However, when undiagnosed or poorly managed, diabetes can be devastating to your cat.

Generally speaking, diabetes risk is increased by your cat’s diet and lack of physical exercise. Overweight or obese, cats are often referred to as ‘pre-diabetic’.

Ways to help prevent diabetes

  • Help your cats achieve and maintain an ideal body condition: This is more than just their weight, but also their muscle mass and body fat. Ask your veterinarian to help you assess your pet’s body condition.
  • Feed your kitten or cat a diet that is balanced: This means a higher protein and lower carbohydrate canned diet. Long-term feeding of a high carbohydrate and protein-depleted diet, which describes almost all dry cat food diets, increases your cat’s risk for obesity and diabetes (and is not good for their kidneys and urinary tract health). Keep your cat’s diet consistent, including food type, quantity of food, and timing of meals.
  • Make time for playing: This helps your cat get enough exercise, which helps to decrease their stress levels and keep their weight down.
  • Take your cat to your vet for an annual examination and evaluation: A thorough physical examination can uncover the first, sometimes very subtle, signs of disease. This includes a blood and urine test.

Giving insulin is not as hard as it seems

It is possible that if your cat is diagnosed as diabetic, that they will be prescribed insulin by your veterinarian.

Each diabetic cat responds differently to different therapies. Some cats are easier to regulate; others require more complex types of treatment.

Some cats can be treated successfully through changes in diet and with oral medications.

In cats with more severe diabetes, insulin injections may be required for the remainder of their lives.

Many cats require twice-daily injections of insulin. These injections are not painful to your cat, and they may not even notice when you give them. Dosage varies based on the size of your cat and their condition. Your vet will prescribe the proper amount, as well as teach you how to administer them.

All cats with diabetes will eventually require injections, and the amount and timing may also change as the disease progresses. Your vet will be able to help you look for signs that their prescription needs to be adjusted.


Sources: http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/feeding-the-diabetic-cat




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