Our vets in Everett are diagnosing more and more cases of diabetes in cats. This condition can threaten your cat's quality of life and longevity if left untreated. In this post, our Everett vets list signs pet parents should beware of, and treatments available for cats with diabetes.
Cats can develop diabetes mellitus if their glucose (blood sugar) cannot be used and regulated effectively by the body,
The pancreas produces insulin, which controls the flow of glucose to the body's cells so energy can be provided. When a cat's insulin levels dip too low, glucose will be unable to reach the cells as it's supposed to. When this occurs, a cat's body will start to break down fat and protein cells then use them for energy. The unused glucose gradually accumulates in the cat's bloodstream.
Type I and Type II Diabetes in Cats
- Type I (Insulin-Dependent) -This type is rare in cats. However, when it occurs a cat's body will not produce or release enough insulin into the body.
- Type II (Non-Insulin Dependent) - The most common type of diabetes in overweight male cats over 8 years of age and in cats who eat a high-carbohydrate diet will result in the cat's body producing enough insulin. However, organs and tissues will not respond appropriately to insulin and become resistant to insulin.
Cat Diabetes Symptoms
A diabetic cat’s body breaks down protein and fat instead of using glucose, which means that even cats with a healthy or ravenous appetite, will often lose weight. Untreated diabetes in cats can lead to a number of health complications and symptoms, such as:
- Unhealthy coat and skin
- Increased urination
- Walking flat on backs of their hind legs
- Increased appetite
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Lethargy or weakness
- Increased thirst
Diabetes in cats that is left untreated can lead to a variety of debilitating, expensive, and potentially fatal conditions. If your cat is showing symptoms of diabetes it is important to seek veterinary care. There is no cure for diabetes in cats, however the condition can often be managed through treatment.
Treatment Options for Diabetes in Cats
An official examination and diagnosis from your cat's vet is the first step in the process. Your vet will then prescribe daily management of the condition with insulin injections, (which your vet may train you to give at home). You may also need to make changes to your cat's diet to ensure that they’re getting the right combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. In more severe cases, your vet may recommend a special prescription food to help manage your cat's diabetes.
If your cat is diagnosed with diabetes, regular visits to the vet for blood sugar tests will be essential, or if you prefer, ask your vet if testing your cat’s glucose at home is an option. You may also find it helpful to keep a diary of your cat's appetite and litter use so that any changes are spotted early and checked out.