The Management and Prevention of Diabetes in Cats

While there may not be a cure for diabetes in cats, it can be managed quite successfully.

A Quick Overview of Diagnosing Diabetes in Cats

The following can help diagnose diabetes in cats:

  • Confirm clinical signs
  • Test glucose levels in urine
  • Test glucose levels in blood
  • Measure concentrations of fructosamine (a molecule) in the blood

Diabetes Treatment Goals

  • Normalize appetite
  • Reduce or eliminate signs of weight loss
  • Restore normal blood glucose concentration
  • Reduce or eliminate signs of increased thirst and urination
  • Avoid causing inappropriately low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) through therapy

The objective is to eliminate signs of diabetes while avoiding associated complications.

Complications of Diabetes

  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Low blood sugar
  • Impaired coordination
  • Poor hair coat (not grooming)
  • Plantigrade stance caused by nerve damage
  • Recurring ketosis (body doesn’t have enough glucose for energy)
  • Poor glycemic control caused by simultaneous infection, inflammation, hormonal disorders or neoplasia

Treating & Managing Diabetes in Cats

Dietary Management

  • Possibly a diet restricted in carbohydrates
  • Weight loss programme for overweight cats
  • Diet that combats weight loss associated with diabetes, if applicable
  • Multiple meals per day or unrestricted access to food if weight loss is problem

Insulin Therapy

  • Initial insulin therapy
  • Frequent evaluations
  • Insulin therapy adjustments
  • Continue above until an effective treatment protocol is determined

Owners can learn how to administer insulin injections and (along with their cats) usually adapt well.


Preventing Diabetes in Cats

You can reduce your cat’s risk of developing diabetes by taking the following steps:

  1. Watch your cat’s weight
  2. Encourage and provide means for physical and mental exercise
  3. Proper diet: some recommend a high-protein, low-carb, grain-free diet
  4. Never skip regular check-ups and contact your vet if you’re concerned about any changes
  5. Take your cat for regular blood and urine screenings

There’s Hope

Cats with diabetes can live a high quality life for many years if the condition is properly controlled.

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