Did you know that pets are susceptible to many of the same diseases as humans, including diabetes? In fact, the number of cats being diagnosed with diabetes is on the rise, and it is currently one of the most common endocrine diseases in cats.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus is a condition where the pancreas can’t produce insulin or the body’s cells can’t respond to insulin, making it impossible to regulate blood sugar.
Diabetes is typically classified into 2 types: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes in cats, and it happens when the body either can’t produce enough insulin or becomes resistant to insulin. Then, the cat becomes hyperglycemic, which means they have high blood sugar. Normal levels of glucose (a.k.a. sugar) in the blood are around 80-120 mg/dl, but diabetes typically causes the levels to rise above 400 mg/dl.
What are the risk factors?
Obesity is a major risk factor, but other risk factors include breed, gender (males), age (the older the cat, the higher the risk), a sedentary lifestyle, high carb diets, stress, certain medications, and conditions such as hyperthyroidism, infections, and others.
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms include increased appetite and/or thirst, increased urination, lethargy, and weight loss, but these signs can be difficult to recognize, especially in the early stages.
How are cats diagnosed with diabetes?
Diabetes is diagnosed through a combination of a physical exam, tests, and the cat’s medical history. Early detection of the disease makes an immense difference in a cat’s quality of life. With an early diagnosis, some cats even go into remission! Just another reason why keeping up-to-date on your pet’s routine exams is so important.
Is there a cure?
If left untreated, diabetes will shorten a cat’s lifespan and significantly decrease their quality of life. With the proper care, however, they can live long, happy lives! Along with maintaining regular communication with your vet, possible treatment options include home monitoring of blood glucose levels, insulin (usually given in the form of an injection twice per day), diet (i.e. high protein and low carb), and weight loss (if necessary).
If you have questions or concerns about your cat, then we welcome you to give us a call at (503) 968-6000 or schedule an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!