Diabetes in Cats – Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
Diabetes is a disease that requires a lot of care and control to allow the patient to lead a normal life, and not only affects humans, but also several animal species, such as cats.
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At YourCatCareguide we know that when it is suspected that your cat suffers from diabetes it can feel worried and distressed, so we will offer you a guide on the most relevant aspects about this disease.
If you want to know everything about diabetes in cats, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, keep reading this article.
What is feline diabetes?
It is a disease that every day affects more cats around the world, especially those at home. It consists of the impossibility of developing the feline organism to correctly process the glucose and other organic compounds present in foods, necessary for the healthy reproduction of the cells and the obtaining of energy.
This impossibility occurs because of a failure in the production of insulin , a hormone generated in the pancreas that is responsible for processing the glucose that enters the blood.
In this sense, there are two types of diabetes :
- Type 1 : occurs when the body of the feline itself is responsible for destroying the deposits where it produces insulin, so you do not get the necessary amount of this hormone.
- Type 2 : The pancreas works flawlessly releasing insulin, but the cat’s body resists it, so it does not allow the hormone to work properly. This is the most frequent type in cats.
By not processing glucose, the cat’s body loses the energy needed to go through normal life, so it begins to take energy from other cells, which triggers various health problems.
Causes of diabetes in cats
There are some factors that make your cat more likely to develop diabetes, such as the following:
- Obesity (more than 7 kilos);
- The age;
- The genetic disposition;
- The breed (Burmese suffers more from diabetes than other breeds);
- Suffering from pancreatitis;
- Suffering from Cushing’s syndrome;
- The use of steroids and corticosteroids in some medical treatment.
In addition, castrated male cats tend to suffer from diabetes in greater proportion than females.
What are the symptoms of diabetes in cats?
- Excessive thirst.
- Voracious appetite.
- Decreased weight.
- It increases in the frequency of urinating, as well as in the abundance of it.
- Poor appearance of hair.
- Neglect in hygiene.
- Difficulty jumping and walking, occurring a weakness produced by muscular degeneration, which causes the feline not to rest on the paws but rather on the hocks of the back, the area that resembles the human elbows.
These symptoms of diabetes in cats may not all occur together, but 3 of them are necessary to consult the veterinarian to determine whether it is diabetes or any other disease.
With diabetes, your cat may consume a greater amount of food and even then lose weight quickly, so this symptom is unmistakable.
If the disease is not treated and controlled, complications , such as diabetic retinopathy, can cause problems in sight and even blindness; neuropathy and hyperglycemia, which is a constant accumulation of high blood sugar levels.
In addition, it is necessary to be aware of possible developments of urinary infections, renal failure and liver problems.
How is the diagnosis made?
When it comes to diabetes in cats, blood and urine tests are needed to determine the level of blood sugar in your feline. However, for many cats the trip to the veterinarian can be a stressful experience, for the simple fact of having to leave the house. When this happens, the blood test is likely to show results on glucose levels that are not 100% safe.
That is why, after a first examination by the veterinarian, it is recommended to collect a urine sample at home after a few days when the cat is relaxed in its natural environment. In this way, a more accurate diagnosis can be obtained.
In addition, it is also recommended to perform a test to measure the presence of fructosamine in the blood, a key analysis when checking whether or not you are with a cat with diabetes.
What is the treatment?
The treatment of feline diabetes is designed to keep under control the symptoms that affect the normal life of the cat, as well as avoid complications and prolong the life of the animal, ensuring a healthy existence.
If your cat suffers from type 1 diabetes , the treatment requires insulin injections , which should be given to you daily. If, on the other hand, you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes , the most important thing is to introduce a drastic change in your diet , and may or may not require some insulin injections, it will all depend on how the patient develops.
A change in the diet of the diabetic cat is focused on reducing the levels of glucose present in the blood. It is no secret that most of the processed foods for felines that are marketed today contain large amounts of carbohydrates, when in fact the diet of cats must be based on proteins.
That’s why feeding diabetic cats relies on minimizing the amount of carbohydrates their pet consumes by increasing their protein levels, whether with food you prepare at home or with moist cat food.
For insulin injections , only the veterinarian can determine the exact dose your cat needs. It should be administered a maximum of twice daily up the skin of the neck. The idea of insulin treatment is to provide the cat with the tools necessary for your body to perform its functions as normally as possible, avoiding complications.
The veterinarian’s instructions regarding the dose of insulin and the frequency of the dose should be followed in order to be effective. Before reaching a definitive dose, the cat needs to be monitored for a while to determine the behavior of its glucose levels.
There are also oral medications called hypoglycemic agents that are used to replace insulin, but only the veterinarian can tell you which of the two treatments is right for your cat.
This article is purely informative, in YourCatCareguide.com.br we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.
If you want to read more articles the description of Diabetes in cats – Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment we recommend you to enter our section of Other health problems .