Cats and Diabetes
According to Cornell University, diabetes mellitus, is a condition in which the body cannot properly produce or respond to the hormone insulin. This results in elevated levels of the sugar glucose in the blood, which is the main source of energy for the body. In cats if left untreated, it can lead to weight loss, loss of appetite, vomiting, dehydration, and severe depression, problems with motor function, coma, and even death. (Cornell Feline Health Center, 2021) Thomas Graves, a former feline practitioner, associate professor and section head of small animal medicine at the University Of Illinois College Of Veterinary Medicine research is focused on diabetes and geriatric medicine. It is estimated that .5 to 2% of the feline population may be experiencing diabetes. Dr. Graves believes it may also be under diagnosed (Eckstein, 2012).
Legends Pet Care Services often cares for cats with diabetes and administers insulin shots while owners are away. Recently, unbeknownst to anyone, we were caring for a very sick kitty. Insulin shots were administered at the prescribed time but kitty was not well though he didn’t show it until it was too late. One of our staff members arrived to a visit, with her caring concern and with quick action realized the situation was dire and got him to the ER where he was in treated.
Some of the main signs and symptoms are increased thirst and urination, and is most common in obese cats. Speaking with your veterinarian is always the first step to determine course of action related to your animals. Some cats will also have a ravenous appetite because their bodies cannot use the fuel supplied in their diet. While diabetes is not curable starting treatment earlier than later will help keep blood sugar under control and it can go into remission. Using a low carb diet may help prevent diabetes, but clinical studies haven’t been done to show any proof. “Obese cats are up to four times more likely to develop diabetes than ideal weight cats, so the most important thing a cat owner can do to decrease their risk of developing diabetes is to maintain a healthy weight and encourage physical activity through daily play.” (Cornell Feline Health Center, 2021)