Diabetes mellitus is a complex but common disease in cats in which the cat either doesn’t produce or doesn’t properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the cat’s pancreas and is responsible for regulating the flow of sugar from the bloodstream into the cells of the body for energy. When insufficient insulin is produced, the cat starts breaking down tissue such as fat to use as an alternative energy source.
Feline Diabetes Mellitus
- High levels of sugar in the bloodstream
- Chronic pancreatitis or other hormonal diseases
- Drugs such as corticosteroids
- Exact cause is usually unknown.
How is it diagnosed?
- Diagnosis is based on a combination of clinical signs, physical examination, urinalysis and blood tests
- Persistent and abnormally high levels of sugar in the blood and urine or high levels of fructosamine in the blood
- Tests may need to be repeated over a few days to confirm diagnosis
- May need additional laboratory tests to check for other diseases.
- Increase in urination
- Compensatory increase in thirst
- Weight loss
- Increased appetite
- Weakness and unsteadiness
- Poor coat
- Urinary tract infections.
- More common in male cats
- Older age
- History of chronic pancreatitis or other hormonal diseases
- History of certain drugs
- Genetic susceptibility in Burmese breed.
- Most diabetic cats will need injectable insulin to control blood sugar levels
- Regular monitoring of glucose levels by a veterinarian to determine insulin dosage during initial stages
- Diet with moderate to high levels of fibre, high protein and reduced carbohydrates
- Gradually reducing weight in obese cats
- Low-stress environment
- No cure but can be controlled with insulin, exercise and proper nutrition.
- Maintain cat’s healthy weight
- If your cat is obese, implement a weight loss program
- Consistently feed your cat a healthy, balanced diet
- Encourage exercise – even an indoor cat can be active.