What is Feline Diabetes?
A Manageable Disease!
Feline Diabetes Mellitus presents as one of two types: Type 1, caused by the insufficient production of insulin, and Type 2, related to the body's cells inability to handle insulin efficiently. Although diabetes can strike cats of any age, it is more prevalent in older, obese cats, and is found more often in male cats.
Secondary Diabetes can be caused by drugs or diseases that either impair the natural secretion of insulin, or its effects on tissues. Ovoban and corticosteroids are suspects, as well as hyperthyroidism and certain pancreatic conditions.
What are the symptoms of Feline Diabetes?
|Excessive thirst and urination||Weakness, especially rear legs, and/or walking on hocks|
|Loss of weight||Poor skin and coat condition|
|Loss of appetite||Dehydration|
How is Feline Diabetes Diagnosed?
Cats presenting with the above symptoms will be tested both for blood sugar levels and levels of sugar in the urine. The reason for both tests is that stressed cats (as is typical in the veterinary office) may have temporary increases of the blood glucose level.
How is Feline Diabetes Treated?
|Diet and Weight Control||A diet high in fiber and complex carbohydrates is recommended for obese diabetic cats, not only for the purpose of weight reduction, but to help control blood glucose levels. Your veterinarian can recommend the best form of diet for your cat, taking into consideration any other physical problems. Feeding several small meals a day instead of just one or two big ones will also help in regulating blood levels.|
|Insulin by injection||Ideally, your veterinarian will conduct an 18-24 hour blood glucose profile to determine the amount and frequency of insulin injections. This test is done in hospital, and consists of injections of insulin followed by close monitoring of the blood glucose values|
|Oral Medications||A diabetic cat in otherwise good health may be treated successfully using an oral hypoglycemic medication.|
|Careful monitoring of Glucose and Insulin levels||An overdose of insulin can create hypoglycemia, a potentially fatal condition. Symptoms are lethargy, weakness, followed by a lack of coordination, convulsions, and coma. This condition can be counteracted by giving the cat its normal food if it is able to eat, or a bit of Karo syrup rubbed on the gums, followed, of course, by a trip to the veterinarian. Some owners monitor their cat's blood glucose level, using a "human" monitoring kit, which can help avoid the stress of regular trips to the vet. (Of course, you should clear this with your own vet before proceeding.)|
|Nutrient and Botanical Supplements||Vanadium shows promise as an adjunct to regulate blood insulin, and antioxidants help to relieve oxidative stress on tissues. However, natural supplements may have negative side effects, and should be used only under supervision of a veterinarian familiar with their uses.|
All info is from internet sources and is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice. C.A.R.E. is not a veterinary facility. Consult a licensed veterinarian if your pet exhibits any unusual symptoms or behavior.