Diabetes in felines may not be overly common, but it is most definately a health issue to be concerned about.
In a longitudinal study conducted over a 5-year period in 2009, it was found that 93 cats out of 12,576 were diagnosed with diabetes at some point. Although the odds seem quite good, diabetes is a serious threat to your cats mortality.
The research into diabetes in cats
Research into the prevalence of diabetes in cats is scarce, however studies have indicated that Brumese cats in Australia are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes more than other breeds. Next in prevalence were Abyssinian and Chinchilla felines, who were found to have a higher tendency to contract diabetes than other breeds.
The health concerns for diabetic cats is no different to diabetic humans. Diabetes in cats is similar to Type II diabetes in humans, caused by lifestyle issues. Cats that are more likely to develop diabetes are overweight, inactive, older, and often male, cats. It is also more common in cats on some medications like steroids or hormones.
Signs of diabetes in cats
Cats with diabetes may show one or more of the following signs:
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Always hungry
- Lethargic, quiet, sleeping more
- Changes in fur coat
- Overweight cats losing weight, despite diet
Diagnosis and treatment
Diagnosing diabetes in your cat can be difficult. Most vets will consider the signs mentioned above, as well as blood and urine test results. As these signs can occur with other diseases, these will be screened for as well. Dr. Selma Gotsbacher, from Dr Paws, suggests that treatment for your diabetic cat focuses on insulin injections and diet:
"Cats, like other pets, are surprisingly well-behaved for their insulin injections. There are currently many diabetic cats living happy lives with their owners giving daily injections,” she says.
A special vet-prescribed diet is recommended for your diabetic cat. In many cases, cats that eat the special diabetic food and especially if they reach their target weight, will actually resolve their diabetes. This will eliminate the need for insulin injections and will cure the disease, provided optimal weight is maintained.
In addition, diabetic cats are carefully screened early on and monitored for things that will make it difficult to control their diabetes. These include:
- infections, especially bladder, kidney, skin and gums
- liver problems
To ensure your cats diabetes remains under control, monitoring the cats urine and blood through tests is required. Although much of this can be done at home once we show you how. At home testing is less stressful for cats and will give better results in the long term. There will be some regular blood and urine tests needed as well.
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