What is Diabetes Mellitus?
Do cats have only one type of Diabetes?
Type I Diabetes Mellitus results from total or nearcomplete destruction of the betacells. This appears to be a rare type of diabetes in the cat.
Type II Diabetes Mellitus, is different because some insulinproducing cells remain. However, the amount produced is insufficient, there is a delayed response in secreting it, or the tissues of the cat's body are relatively resistant to it. Obesity is a predisposing factor in Type II diabetes, which appears to be the most common type of diabetes in the cat.
How common is Diabetes in cats?
estimated one in four hundred cats; it is seen more frequently in middle to old age cats and is more common in males than females. While the exact incidence is unknown, the number of diabetic cats is increasing at an alarming rate due to the tremendous increase in the number of overweight and obese cats. It is important to note that a cat three pounds over its ideal weight is considered obese. That means the average domestic cat that weighs 13 pounds or more is at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus.
What are the signs my cat may have Diabetes?
How is Diabetes diagnosed in cats?
Is Diabetes in cats treatable?
All cats with diabetes mellitus benefit from being fed a wellbalanced diet; many cats with this disease appear to benefit from a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. A low carbohydrate diet decreases the amount of glucose absorbed from the intestinal tract and lowers the requirement for insulin.
If there are no predisposing causes, or if correction of the predisposing causes does not lead to resolution of the diabetes, specific treatment is required. Although a small proportion of cats will respond to oral hypoglycemic medication, most cats will require insulin injections to control the diabetes.
During the initial stages of treatment, your cat will require several hospital visits until an appropriate insulin dosage is determined. Most cats will achieve initial stabilization within a few days to a few weeks, and will require once or twice daily injection of a small dose of insulin. Very small needles are available which cause no pain to the cat, and within a short time the procedure becomes routine. Your veterinarian will determine the appropriate administration times, dosages and type of insulin that your cat requires.
Monitoring: Who, What, How
To assist in the care of your cat, it is particularly valuable to keep accurate records of the following information:
- Time of insulin injection
- Amount of insulin injected
- Amount and time of food fed and eaten
- Amount of water drunk
- Weight of the cat
Changing Insulin Levels
If a cat receives too much insulin, it is possible for the blood sugar level to drop dangerously low. For this reason, it is important to be very careful in ensuring the cat receives the correct dose of insulin. The typical signs displayed by a cat with a very low blood sugar level are weakness and lethargy, shaking, unsteadiness and even convulsions. If a diabetic cat shows any of these signs it is important to seek immediate
veterinary advice or attention. In mild cases of hypoglycemia, you may observe "wobbling" or "drunken" walk or appearance and the cat may not arouse when you call or pet them. In cases of mild or early hypoglycemia, you should administer approximately a tablespoon of corn syrup, honey or sugar solution by mouth. If your cat is showing more severe signs such as ataxia or severe incoordination and unsteadiness during walking, or convulsions, you should seek immediate veterinary care. Your veterinarian can advise you on specific emergency treatment of low blood sugar in your cat.
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