Diabetes in Cats

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We have recently seen an increase in Feline Diabetes so I wanted to share the following information on Diabetes Mellitus in Cats.

The most common form of diabetes that we see in cats is Diabetes Mellitus. This is often times referred to by owners as “sugar diabetes”. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. Insulin allows the body to use blood sugar. The drop in the insulin level causes a rise in the blood sugar level. The exact cause of diabetes mellitus in cats in unknown, but it is most common in middle-aged obese patients.

Some signs and symptoms:
• Weight gain
• Weight loss
• Excess drinking
• Excess urination
• Poor appetite
• Lethargy
• Weakness in rear legs

Diabetes Mellitus is generally diagnosed with bloodwork, a urinalysis, and sometimes x-rays to rule out other possible diseases. Typically, high levels of glucose are found in the bloodwork and urine of a cat with diabetes. Treatment requires frequent veterinary visits to test the blood glucose level and find the accurate dose of insulin needed for the pet. Generally, insulin injections are required once or twice daily and must be given AFTER MEALS. Dietary changes are also frequently recommended. A prescription diet that is low-fat and high in fiber with complex carbohydrates such as Hills Prescription w/d is an example of a diabetic diet.

Diabetes can be very difficult to monitor with home testing kits. For this reason, we recommend that owners do not test at home. Home testing can increase stress levels and stress increases the blood sugar levels.

Cats can live many long healthy years with diabetes as long as it is properly regulated and maintained.