Symptoms, Causes and Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus in Cats

When your cat is suspected of having diabetes

In the early stages, the onset of symptoms of diabetes mellitus in a cat can be difficult to notice. However, one should not forget about the danger of this serious illness.

Factors provoking diabetes mellitus

There are factors that contribute to the onset of diabetes in cats.

  • In the case of sterilization or castration – when the hormonal background changes, if you do not monitor the cat’s nutrition, the pet gains weight very quickly; 
  • Genetic predisposition – if the parents of your pet were sick with diabetes, then the likelihood of this disease in a cat increases; 
  • Belonging to the Somali or Abyssinian breed – representatives of these breeds most often get sick with diabetes, while cats are more likely to get sick than cats. 

Symptoms of diabetes

You should be wary if your cat or cat from a cheerful and lively pet has turned into an obese, sedentary and lethargic animal. In addition, if your pet drains a bowl of water several times a day and also often goes to the toilet, then it is better not to delay the visit to the veterinarian.

The prevalence of diabetes in cats is significantly lower than in humans. Among cats, for every 5 hundred pets, there is one animal with diabetes.

If you suspect diabetes mellitus, the veterinarian will prescribe a number of standard laboratory and clinical studies, which include blood and urine tests, ultrasound of internal organs.

How to determine your cat’s sugar level

If your veterinarian has diagnosed diabetes, then it becomes necessary to monitor your pet’s blood sugar. There are two ways to control your glucose level. Modern veterinary medicine offers test strips and veterinary blood glucose meters . To use the test strips, you need to put a few drops of urine on the strip and it will change color depending on the amount of sugar. This method is quite simple, but not entirely reliable. A more accurate way to measure blood sugar is with a veterinary blood glucose meter . It requires a little mastery and trust from the cat. It is necessary to make a puncture of the capillary with a glucometer needle where it is closest to the skin surface. This is usually the outer edge of the ear. If your cat has thick and long hair, then it is better to remove it in order to more accurately perform the puncture. Veterinarians advise keeping a diary for some time, measuring the blood sugar in the cat to determine which food triggers the rise in blood glucose.

Prevention of feline diabetes

Just like in humans, the main and most influential cause of endocrine ailments is extra pounds.

Nutrition for cats with diabetes

The weight of the food eaten during the day should not exceed 3-4% of the cat’s weight. If the animal is already overweight, then the calculation of the amount of food is made on the ideal weight, which depends on its breed, age and gender.

Veterinarians recommend that the daily amount of food be divided into several doses, since the digestion of cats is very similar to the digestive process in humans. Fractional nutrition helps the pancreas to work in the correct mode: bile is produced in small volumes with each meal, there is no stagnation of bile.

Diabetes mellitus is much more common in cats, which is secondary. The accumulation of glucose occurs due to inflammatory and traumatic processes in the feline body, and especially the digestive organs: stomach, liver and pancreas.

The cat’s diet should be completely free of sugar in any form, chocolate is especially dangerous for domestic predators. In case of diabetes mellitus, the best option would be to switch to ready-made feeds designed specifically for animals with diabetes mellitus. Major cat food manufacturers are producing medicated foods for pets with diabetes. These feeds are distinguished either by the complete absence of carbohydrates, or by their minimal content.

Even when using medicated feeds with zero carbohydrates, feed should be monitored to reduce the stress on the pancreas.

If your cat ate regular food before the illness, it is better to maintain its usual diet, significantly limiting the intake of carbohydrates. In this case, the diet of the sick animal will consist of chicken, veal and pork with a minimum content of fat, as well as lean sea fish.

Movement is life for a diabetic cat

An important factor in the development of diabetes mellitus is the physical activity of the animal. There are breeds that are distinguished by a calm disposition and phlegmatic temperament. These cats prefer to doze for days on end or watch out the window what is happening on the street. For each owner of his pet, it is possible for his pet to arrange a little physical activity: take your cat for a walk, buy him toys and a ball for him to run after. Good “fitness” and entertainment for representatives of the cat family can be a “maze” of all kinds of boxes or boxes. As with humans, physical activity is a good way to keep your glucose levels in the normal range.

Scientists have found that animals, including cats, can suffer from depression from lack of movement and lack of need to seek food. Stress, persistent or prolonged, is also a powerful provocateur of endocrine disorders, including diabetes.

How to treat a cat for diabetes

Be sure to see your veterinarian as diabetes damages all systems in your feline body. With the right therapy, your pet can live to a very old feline age.

A distinctive feature of the treatment of diabetes mellitus in cats versus the treatment of diabetes mellitus in humans is that sugar-lowering tablets are not used as drug therapy . Domestic felines are prescribed insulin injections of various durations. The dose and intervals between injections can only be determined by a doctor. The veterinarian may order periodic laboratory tests in order to monitor the risk of secondary diseases that accompany diabetes. Diabetes mellitus provokes:

  • Disruption of fatty acid metabolism, which in severe cases can lead to diabetic coma and death of the animal; 
  • The accumulation of glucose in muscles and nerves leads to severe neurological damage. Most often, the hind legs are affected, which leads to an unsure “drunk” gait; 
  • Disorders in the kidneys and urinary system. In cats, due to anatomical features, the kidneys are a “weak point”. To avoid the threat of kidney failure, it is necessary to monitor the cat’s diet and avoid inflammatory diseases. 

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