Obesity and inactivity can create an increased risk of diabetes in cats. It’s necessary for cat parents to explore the causes of feline diabetes and know what can help lower the risk of their cats.
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Diabetes is perhaps the most commonly occurring hormonal disorder in cats. It can occur in as many as one in fifty cats and the proportion is increasing. Cats that have put on excessive weight and are inactive are at an increased risk of having diabetes.
Insulin, a hormone produced by pancreas, moves glucose from the bloodstream to various cells of the body where it can be used to get energy. When insulin lacks in the body or if the cells become resistant to insulin, diabetes occurs. Lack of insulin and insulin resistance are caused by excessive weight and inactivity.
Signs and Symptoms
One of the most prominent symptoms showing that your cat may have diabetes is that he urinates more than normal and drinks more water. It may be difficult to see how much urine the cat passes, particularly if he goes outside for the toilet. However, you can easily notice if he spends more time at his water bowl. He may also be hungry and wish to eat more than normal, still he’ll lose weight.
Diabetes can be diagnosed with urine and blood tests. If the cat has developed diabetes, his urine as well as blood will show abnormally high quantity of glucose.
This is a dangerous complication in diabetes. In this condition, the body starts breaking down fat stores for energy. In that case, your cat will be very ill. He won’t eat, will feel depressed and will vomit. His breath will smell like the nail paint remover, i.e. acetone. This is a serious situation and your cat needs medical care at once. In such a situation, you should give Gordon Vet Hospital a call today and get their help.
The commonest treatment for diabetes in cats is insulin injection twice daily. Your cat may have to stay in the hospital for a day or two. During his hospital stay, he will be administered insulin injections as well as frequent blood tests to decide the exact dose of insulin he will need to maintain his blood glucose within normal levels.
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After taking him home, you will need to give insulin injections to him on your own. This is not hard and even not painful because the needles are very small. In general, cats tolerate these injections well.
It’s essential that the routine of your cat should stay constant – he should be given a measured amount of food at the same time daily. This will make it easier to stabilise his diabetes.
Your cat can go into remission where he will no longer need insulin injections to regulate the blood glucose. This can happen if the cat is given a low carbohydrate wet food and he sheds excess weight.
Remember that weight loss in cats should be slow and steady since quick weight loss can result in hepatic lipidosis which is a serious condition. The loss of around 1% of body weight per week is safe.
As such it is impossible to prevent diabetes in cats. However, certain factors that increase risk of this disease can be controlled. For example, obesity is a great risk factor which can be prevented by keeping your cat lean.
Genetics too seems to play a role. For example, Burmese cats in Australia and New Zealand are at a higher risk of developing diabetes than other breeds. It has been suggested that feeding a cat a low carbohydrate wet food can prevent diabetes, though it has not been proven.
Diabetes management in cats takes time, commitment and effort from their parents. Ongoing expenses are also involved for blood tests, insulin and needles. With the right care and help from someone like the highly trained North Ryde vet staff from Gordon Vet, your diabetic cat can enjoy a normal life for years to come.