The incidence of diabetes in cats is increasing, and if left unmanaged, it can jeopardize your feline's well-being and lifespan. Our veterinarians in Portland are here to share with you some of the indications of diabetes in cats and the available treatment methods.
Diabetes mellitus in cats refers to a medical condition where the body is unable to regulate and utilize blood sugar or glucose efficiently. The pancreas produces insulin that regulates glucose flow to the body's cells for energy. In case of insufficient insulin levels, glucose cannot reach the cells, leading to the breakdown of fat and protein cells for energy while excess glucose accumulates in the cat's bloodstream.
Type I or Type II Diabetes in Cats
- Type I (Insulin-Dependent) - The cat's body can no longer produce or release enough insulin into the body. This form of diabetes is relatively rare in cats.
- Type II (Non-Insulin Dependent) - With this form of diabetes, the cat's body produces enough insulin, but the tissues or organs do not respond appropriately to insulin and have become insulin-resistant. This type of diabetes is common in overweight male cats over 8 years old, and those that eat a high-carbohydrate diet.
Common Signs & Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats
Because a diabetic cat's body breaks down protein and fat instead of using glucose, cats with a healthy appetite, or even those with a ravenous appetite, will lose weight. Untreated diabetes in cats can lead to other health complications and symptoms, such as:
- Increased urination
- Increased appetite
- Lethargy or weakness
- Increased thirst
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Unhealthy coat and skin
- Walking flat on backs of their hind legs (from nerve damage)
If left untreated diabetes 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 as soon as possible. While there is no cure for diabetes in cats, treatment is available.
Diabetes Treatment Options for Cats
To properly manage your cat's diabetes, an official diagnosis is needed, followed by daily insulin injections (which your vet may train you to administer at home). Your vet may suggest dietary changes to ensure your cat receives the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. In certain cases, prescription food may be recommended to help manage your cat's diabetes.
Regular visits to the vet for blood sugar tests are essential, or you can ask your vet if testing your cat's glucose at home is an option. Keeping a diary of your cat's appetite and litter use can also be helpful to detect any changes early and report them to your vet.Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.