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All About Cat Diabetes & It's Symptoms

All About Cat Diabetes & It's Symptoms

Diabetes is becoming increasingly common in cats around the world. Unfortunately, if left untreated this condition can greatly affect the quality of life of your cat. Our Stockton vets share some information about diabetes in cats and the symptoms that commonly accompany this condition.

Cat Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a condition that cat's can develop when blood sugar, or glucose, cannot be effectively utilized and regulated by the body.

Insulin is produced in the pancreas and controls the flow of glucose to the body's cells in order to provide energy. If your cat's insulin levels are too low, glucose is unable to reach the cells as it should. When this happens, the cat's body begins breaking down fat and protein cells to use for energy, while the unused glucose gradually builds up in the cat's bloodstream.

Type I and Type II Diabetes in Cats

  • Type I (Insulin-Dependent) - While rare in cats, Type I Diabetes occurs when the cat's body is unable to produce or release enough insulin into the body.
  • Type II (Non-Insulin Dependent) - Type II Diabetes is most common in overweight male cats over 8 years of age, and those cats which eat a high-carbohydrate diet. A cat with Type II diabetes produces enough insulin, but the tissues or organs do not respond appropriately to insulin and have become insulin-resistant. 

Cat Diabetes Symptoms

A diabetic cat’s body breaks down protein and fat instead of using glucose, which means that even cats with a healthy or ravenous appetite, will often lose weight. Untreated diabetes in cats can lead to a number of health complications and symptoms, such as:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Increased appetite
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Walking flat on backs of their hind legs
  • Unhealthy coat and skin

Diabetes in cats that is left untreated can lead to a variety of debilitating, expensive, and potentially fatal conditions. If your cat is showing symptoms of diabetes it is important to seek veterinary care. There is no cure for diabetes in cats, however, the condition can often be managed through treatment. 

Treatment Options for Diabetes in Cats

An official diagnosis from your cat's vet is the first step in the process. Your vet will then prescribe daily management of the condition with insulin injections, (which your vet may train you to give at home). You may also need to make changes to your cat's diet to ensure that they’re getting the right combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. In more severe cases, your vet may recommend a special prescription food to help manage your cat's diabetes.

If your cat is diagnosed with diabetes, regular visits to the vet for blood sugar tests will be essential, or if you prefer, ask your vet if testing your cat’s glucose at home is an option. You may also find it helpful to keep a diary of your cat's appetite and litter use so that any changes are spotted early and checked out.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat is showing signs of diabetes, contact our veterinary office in Stockton today to schedule a visit for your feline friend.

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American Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Stockton companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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