Diabetes in Cats

kittenOne in 400 cats will have diabetes in their lifetimes. There are a few theories about the source of diabetes in cats. It is known that overweight cats are more likely to have diabetes than ones who are not overweight. Many thin cats also have diabetes that leads to a supposition of a genetic predisposition to the condition.



Dry cat food or canned cat food?


Diet may have a part in making cats more susceptible to diabetes. One theory is that a constant diet of dry cat food, high in carbohydrates, creates a constant flood of sugar that can cause obesity in cats, which can lead to diabetes.  Most indoor cats eat dry cat food and a combination of this as well as a sedentary lifestyle makes them more likely to become diabetic.



Symptoms of diabetes in cats


A diabetic cat will exhibit increased thirst as well as increased urine output. If you observe these, take your cat to the vet immediately to prevent systemic damage to the kidneys, liver, muscles, and eyes. Other common symptoms of diabetes in cats are vomiting, diarrhea, and listlessness. As the condition progresses, cats may also exhibit impaired walking. They won’t walk on their toes, but rather on the back portion of their hind legs.



How is diabetes in cats treated?


Some vets maintain that with aggressive treatment, more than 80% of all cats newly diagnosed with diabetes can achieve normality again.

Aggressive treatment of diabetes in cats uses blood glucose monitors, syringes, and insulin. Blood glucose is monitored through the ears in cats. A prick of the cat’s ear can release enough blood to test the glucose. Since cats have fewer nerve receptacles for pain in their skin than humans, this is relatively painless. You can acquire pet glucose monitors either from your vet or online.

Your veterinarian will instruct you on how to test and monitor blood glucose and then administer carefully formulated PZI insulin through u-40 insulin syringes (also known as a vet syringe). These u-40 insulin syringes hold 40 cc of insulin. The vet will give you a prescription both for the insulin and the vet syringe to facilitate getting them. Insulin costs roughly $75-$100 per bottle, but lasts a while under refrigeration. The vet syringe can be acquired either through your local pharmacy or online for about $14.00 per 100 syringes. You’ll need a sharps container for the vet syringes after they’ve been used to help keep them from becoming a hazard in your household. Often vets will accept the contents of sharps containers for disposal.



How do I monitor the glucose in my cat’s blood?


Use a glucometer somewhat like the ones humans use for home testing. Many vets have these for sale, but you can acquire them online. Do your testing about every twelve hours to monitor the efficacy of the treatment. Your vet will tell you the optimum level of sugar in the cat’s blood.

With careful treatment and attention to diet, your cat can live a long, happy life, whereas ignoring diabetes can lead to life-threatening complications.


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