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Cat Diabetes: Signs & Treatment

Cat Diabetes: Signs & Treatment

Diabetes in cats is becoming more common, and if not treated, it can harm your cat's health and lifespan. Today, our veterinarians in Ypsilanti will discuss some of the symptoms of diabetes in cats and some treatment options.

Cat Diabetes

Diabetes in cats is a condition where their body can't properly use and control blood sugar or glucose. Insulin, made by the pancreas, typically helps glucose reach the body's cells to provide energy. But if a cat doesn't have enough insulin, glucose can't enter the cells correctly. Instead, the cat's body starts breaking down fat and protein for energy, and extra glucose stays in the blood.

Type I or Type II Diabetes in Cats

  • Type I (Insulin-Dependent) - The cat's body can no longer produce or release enough insulin into the body. This form of diabetes is relatively rare in cats.
  • Type II (Non-Insulin Dependent) - With this form of diabetes, the cat's body produces enough insulin. Still, the tissues or organs do not respond appropriately to insulin and have become insulin-resistant. This type of diabetes is common in overweight male cats over 8 years old, and those with a high-carbohydrate diet.

Common Signs & Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats

Because a diabetic cat's body breaks down protein and fat instead of using glucose, cats with a healthy appetite, or even those with a ravenous appetite, will lose weight. Untreated diabetes in cats can lead to other health complications and symptoms, such as:

  • Increased urination
  • Increased appetite
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Increased thirst
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Unhealthy coat and skin
  • Walking flat on the backs of their hind legs (from nerve damage)

If diabetes in your cat isn't treated, it can cause serious and costly heat issues, even life-threatening ones. If your cat is showing symptoms of diabetes, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. While there is no cure for diabetes in cats, treatment is available. 

Diabetes Treatment Options for Cats

First, your vet will conduct some tests, and your cat will receive an official diagnosis, then daily management of the condition with insulin injections (which your vet may train you to give at home). They might also suggest changing your cat's diet to make sure they eat the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. Sometimes, your vet may recommend a special prescription food to help manage your cat's diabetes.

If your cat has 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. It's a good idea to keep a diary of your cat's eating habits and litter box use. This helps spot any changes early so that you can tell your vet. 

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 you think your cat might have diabetes, contact our Ypsilanti veterinary hospital immediately. Prompt treatment is key to helping your kitty maintain their health and happiness.

Caring for Pets in Ypsilanti

Michigan Avenue Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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