It is crucial that cat owner understand how to spot the symptoms of cat diabetes. Eventually around 1 percent of all cats will suffer from diabetes somewhere. Diabetes is a disease in which the body produces excess glucose levels, either because it does not produce enough of the hormone insulin (Type I) or because the body does not respond appropriately to the insulin (Type II).
Type II is the most common type of feline diabetes, and it develops over time. The good news is that cats with diabetes have plenty of treatment options and many can lead long , healthy lives.
What is Feline diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the body is unable to properly produce insulin or respond to the hormone. This results in high levels of sugar glucose, which is the body ‘s principal source of energy.
Like the human body the cells in the body of a cat need energy in the form of glucose. However, insulin, a hormone released by the pancreas, requires glucose in the blood to “unlock” the door to the cells. Insulin binds to cells and signals when the time to absorb glucose is right. Cells in fat deposits, liver, and muscles get vital fuel by absorbing glucose, while lowering blood glucose levels.
Glucose concentrations in Type I diabetes are high due to a decrease in insulin production. In the case of type II diabetes, glucose levels are high because insulin is not adequately responded to by cells within the body. Cats with diabetes most often suffer from the disease’s Type II form. Between 0.2 and 1 per cent of cats are believed to suffer from diabetes in the general population.
How can you tell if your cat has signs of diabetes, or not? What are the symptoms of cat diabetes?
1. DRASTIC WEIGHT LOSS
It may be that weight loss is the most common sign of feline diabetes. If insulin can not be processed correctly by a cat’s body, cells can not absorb glucose. Given that glucose is an important source of energy for cats, the body then starts breaking down fats and proteins to feed its glucose-hungry cells. It is particularly important to note if the weight loss of your cat occurs in tandem with regular eating (or even an increase in appetite), as this is a surefire sign that the energy processing system of your cat is not working properly.
2. THIRST AND URINATION INCREASE
A sharp uptick in thirst and/or urination may be an early warning sign of diabetes developing in cats (and in humans!). As excess glucose is produced by a cat’s body, more of it enters urine. In fact, high levels of glucose can pull extra water into the urine, making the volume much larger than normal. One of the most definitive ways of testing for diabetes in cats is a urinalysis to test for glucose concentration.
Cats with diabetes may not use all of the calories they consume properly, even if they eat more than normal. They may turn up listed, tired, or less energetic than normal. A cat with undiagnosed diabetes could start losing muscle mass and show apathy for physical exercise. They may even stop pampering for energy conservation, appearing greasy or disheveled.
In a few rare instances, feline diabetes may start affecting the central nervous system. This can lead to a condition called “diabetic neuropathy” where a cat walks on the ground with its hocks touching. A veterinarian should assess any substantial changes in your cat’s gait.
HOW DO CATS DEVELOP DIABETES?
It is a very good question. Just like in humans, there are a number of risk factors that increase cats’ chances of developing diabetes. Obesity, physical inactivity, male and old age all make a cat more susceptible to diabetics. Whilst the symptoms of cat diabetes can also be the symptoms of other illnesses, it is crucial to always follow up with a qualified vet if you suspect your cat has symptoms.
Testing to determine if a cat has diabetes isn’t always a simple process. Although testing for elevated levels of glucose in the blood and/or urine is a good start, stress-like the kind many cats experience at the vet’s office-can throw away readings. In some cases, veterinarians will measure the concentration of a molecule in the blood called fructosamine to further demonstrate a case of chronic diabetes.
TREATING DIABETES IN CATS
Call us immediately if you have any reason to suspect that your cat has developed diabetes or is even at risk of developing symptoms of Diabetes. Depending on the severity of the case, there are many different treatment options available and not all of these involve medication. You have options, from insulin therapy to weight-management.