Cases of cat diabetes are rising. Untreated, it can threaten your cat's quality of life and longevity. Today, our Norristown vets explain some of the symptoms of diabetes in cats and the available treatment options.
Diabetes mellitus in cats is a condition in which the body's ability to use and regulate blood sugar, or glucose, is impaired. The pancreas produces insulin, which regulates the flow of glucose (blood sugar) to the body's cells to provide energy. When your cat's insulin levels are too low, glucose does not reach the cells as efficiently as it should. When this occurs, the cat's body begins breaking down fat and protein cells for energy, while unused 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) - The cat's body produces enough insulin in this form of diabetes, 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 the age of eight, as well as those who consume a high-carbohydrate diet.
Common Signs & Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats
Cats with a healthy appetite, or even those with a ravenous appetite, will lose weight because a diabetic cat's body breaks down protein and fat instead of using glucose. Diabetes in cats, if left untreated, can lead to a variety of health complications and symptoms, including:
- Increased urination
- Increased appetite
- Lethargy or weakness
- Increased thirst
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Unhealthy coat and skin
- Walking flat on the backs of their hind legs (from nerve damage)
Diabetes, if left untreated, can lead to a number of debilitating, costly, and potentially fatal conditions. If your cat is exhibiting diabetes symptoms, it is critical that you seek veterinary care as soon as possible. While there is no cure for diabetes in cats, there is treatment.
Diabetes Treatment Options for Cats
Your cat will need an official diagnosis first, followed by daily management of the condition with insulin injections (which your vet may train you to give at home). Your veterinarian may also advise you to make changes to your cat's diet to ensure that they are getting the proper balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. In some cases, your veterinarian may advise you to use a special prescription food to help manage your cat's diabetes.
If your cat has diabetes, regular blood sugar tests at the vet are required, or you can ask your vet if testing your cat's glucose at home is an option. It may also be beneficial to keep a diary of your cat's appetite and litter use so that any changes can be detected early and reported to your veterinarian.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.