Complete Guide to Diabetes in Cats
Diabetes mellitus in cats has increased incessantly in past few years. Approximately, 1% to 2% of cats are diagnosed with diabetes. When the body isn’t able to produce sufficient amount of insulin, it leads to diabetes. As a result, it causes imbalance in blood sugar levels and glucose.
Diabetes is a critical condition in cats. If left untreated, it can deteriorate the cat’s health and result in life-threatening metabolic disorders. However, diabetes is not a worrying cause now as there are plenty of treatments available. Early diagnose is the key to controlling this disease. If the treatment starts during the initial stage of diabetes, it increases the chances of remission.
It is crucial to have knowledge of diabetes, so you can recognize the signs and symptoms in your cat. Therefore, this article provides comprehensive information about the disease and its treatments.
Diabetes Type I
Type I diabetes is very rare in cats. In this case, the blood glucose level is very high because of insufficient insulin. Due to that, the cells cannot absorb glucose, which leads to diabetes.
Diabetes Type II
In diabetes type II, there is insulin, but the body is resistant towards it. It is the most common type of diabetes in cats.
Signs and Symptoms
In cats, there is a gradual onset of the disease and the symptoms may take months to appear.
Clinical signs include –
- Weight loss despite increase in appetite
- Excessive thirst
- Improper motor function
- Urination and vomiting
- Cat acting lethargic
- Problem in walking
Above listed are the obvious signs which you should look out for. Not paying attention to these symptoms may ultimately cause a collapse in the cat, followed by death.
Which Types Of Cats Are Prone To Diabetes?
Although the disease doesn’t discriminate between breeds of cats, there are a few breeds which are more prone to this disease. The breed most at risk is Burmese Australian cats. Studies have shown that diabetes in cats younger than 5 years is a rare occurrence.
The vet will conduct a physical examination and ask for any unusual signs and symptoms in your cat. In addition to that, he might recommend some blood and urine tests to rule out the disease.
Caring For Cats with Diabetes
The most common way to control diabetes is through insulin injection. Daily administration of these injections will regulate the blood glucose level. Generally, insulin is administered twice a day, after the cat has finished her meal.
It is imperative to measure glucose level on regular basis when starting insulin treatment (You can use Glucometer to measure the sugar levels). It has a fast effect so any imbalance in your cat’s body will be regulated in a short period.
Inculcating an exercise routine can be very beneficial for cat’s health. If your cat is obese, a gradual weight loss plan should be prepared. Losing weight during ongoing diabetes treatment can increase the chances of remission.
Observing Your Cat
It is crucial to have a record of behavioural changes in your cat. Observing cat’s demeanour towards eating, drinking and urinating can tell how effective the treatment is. Furthermore, keep a track of insulin doses. Never administer the dose later than suggested; skip that dose if possible.
You must be vigilant in controlling the food intake in order to regulate the sugar level. Preparing a low-carbohydrate diet will be fruitful in the long run, as well as help in controlling diabetes. You can find products like Royal Canin Feline Diabetic Food, Royal Canin Canine Weight Control Dog Food and Hill’s Prescription Diet M/D Glucose/Weight Management on our website. These products will help maintain glucose levels and burn excess fat.
The usage of oral tablets is very rare. Very few vets recommend this as it also has adverse effects on cat’s health. Still, some people do prefer oral tablets.
Remission is the stage where the cat doesn’t require support of insulin to control diabetes. If cat’s glucose levels are maintained for a month without any kind of treatment, there is a possibility of remission.
Around 1/4th cats with diabetes type II are able to achieve remission. The factors responsible for increased chances of remission are –
- Frequent monitoring and proper treatment
- Providing low-carbohydrate diet during first six months
- Timely administration of insulin without missing any dose
- Early diagnose of disease
- Cat is not suffering from any other disease
- Losing weight gradually along with treatment
Please note that remission is possible, not guaranteed. Moreover, the cats who achieve remission are not always immune to the disease; they may relapse. About 30% of cats have a history of relapse. Hence, the only way to avoid this is to maintain a proper diet, weight and overall health.
Taking care of cat with diabetes is certainly not easy. You may have to face many challenges. At the end, it is definitely rewarding when you know that your cat is safe from such a deadly disease.