While the technical term is diabetes mellitus, cat diabetes is essentially a disease that occurs as a result of insulin deficiency. As the hormone produced by specific cells in the pancreas, insulin is necessary for the cat’s body to absorb blood sugar.
In human terms, food that we digest is broken down to elements of sugar and subsequently fed to each cell. If there’s a lack of insulin, sugar remains in the blood stream and does not enter the cells. As a result, the sugar eventually passes into the urine which creates an increase in urine production and thirst. Then, hunger increases because the body can’t absorb sugar in the blood. For the case of cat diabetes, when it progresses, chemicals accumulate which result in vomiting and dehydration. As for the worst case scenario? That includes coma and death in untreated cats. While cat diabetes isn’t 100% curable, with appropriate administration of insulin and a proper diagnosis, it can be controlled. In fact, the prognosis is good.
While cat diabetes tends to affect middle-aged and older cats, male cats are more likely to succumb to the disease than females. Actually, male cats get the disease twice as frequently as their female felines. Typically these cats are overweight and undiagnosed diabetes will cause weight loss over a period of time. Interestingly enough, some cat owners may not recognize the overweight factor as a sign of cat diabetes. Instead, they may notice their cat will start to urinate outside the litter box. Essentially, if you notice any change in your cat’s behavior or appearance it’s wise to consult with your veterinarian.
At that point, your veterinarian will measure the level of glucose in your cat’s blood and urine. Your vet will also check for other diseases which may be the cause of these signs. Keep in mind, if your cat has high blood sugar it may not equate to a diagnosis of cat diabetes. If your cat for instance is on medication for another ailment, he or she may develop a temporary elevation of blood glucose. It won’t be uncommon if this is the case for your vet to recommend another test in a few days or week.
Once your cat is diagnosed, keep in mind there are a few categories of cat diabetes. Cats with insulin-dependent diabetes will require daily insulin injections. This means they are unable to produce sufficient insulin on their own. On the other hand, cats with noninsulin dependent diabetes can produce insulin but they simply don’t respond to the insulin as they should. In order to determine if your cat needs insulin and if so, what levels, your veterinarian will need to measure the blood glucose of your cat. If the current glucose level is slightly above average, your vet may simply advise to closely monitor the diet before he or she recommends insulin injections. On the contrary, most cats diagnosed with cat diabetes will typically require insulin. This requires the pet owner to give injections. Although pills may be prescribed, it may be easier to give the injections with tiny insulin needles. As with other medication, any time you inject your cat with insulin it’s important to give praise and affection towards your cat.
For more information about cat diabetes The Dog Bowl suggests you contact your local veterinarian for professional assistance. Also click here to see more questions to ask the vet.