Insulin injections are the preferred method of managing diabetes in cats. Figure 1: To administer an injection, pull the loose skin between the shoulder blades with one hand. With the other hand, insert the needle directly into the indentation made by holding up the skin, draw back on the plunger slightly, and if no blood appears in the syringe, inject gently. Tips for Treatment 1. You can do it! Treating your cat may sound difficult, but for most owners it soon becomes routine. 2. Work very closely with your veterinarian to get the best results for your cat. 3. Once your cat has been diagnosed, it's best to start insulin therapy as soon as possible. 4. Home glucose monitoring can be very helpful. 5. Tracking your cat's water intake, activity level, appetite, and weight can be beneficial. 6. A low carbohydrate diet helps diabetic cats maintain proper glucose levels. 7. With careful treatment, your cat's diabetes may well go into remission. 8. If your cat shows signs of hypoglycemia (lethargy, weakness, tremors, seizures, vomiting) apply honey, a glucose solution, or dextrose gel to the gums and immediately contact a veterinarian. Possible Complications Insulin therapy lowers blood glucose, possibly to dangerously low levels. Signs of hypoglycemia include weakness, lethargy, vomiting, lack of coordination, seizures, and coma. Hypoglycemia can be fatal if left untreated, so any diabetic cat that shows any of these signs should be offered its regular food immediately. If the cat does not eat voluntarily, it should be given oral glucose in the form of honey, corn syrup, or proprietary dextrose gels (available at most pharmacies) and brought to a veterinarian immediately. It is important, however, that owners not attempt to force fingers, food, or fluids into the mouth of a Continue reading >>
Complications Of Diabetes In Cats
What Complications You Have to Fear in Case Your Cat’s Diabetes is Not Well Controlled A complication is a disease, an injury or any side effect resulting from the initial disease and that usually aggravates the initial condition. In the case of cat diabetes, complications are often more severe than the diabetes itself and always occur if the diabetes is not treated. The primary goal of diabetes treatment is to prevent the onset of complications: Diabetic ketoacidosis Diabetic neuropathy Diabetic nephropathy Eye Damage Increased infection episodes Hepatic lipidosis Diabetes usually occurs in aging cats that have a limited life expectancy at the time they get their diabetes. Thus, complications of human diabetes that takes many years to develop are not usually seen in cats: nephropathy, vasculopathy, coronary artery disease… Diabetic ketoacidosis Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a very severe disease, fatal in many cases. It is an unavoidable outcome of untreated diabetes mellitus. Diabetic ketoacidocis is caused by an excessive amount of ketones in the blood. Ketones are a result of the metabolic process that uses free fatty acids (FFAs) as source of energy when glucose is missing. Insulin is a potent inhibitor of the formation of ketones from FFAs as well as an essential promoter of glucose utilization within the cells. Cats with DKA have an overt insulin deficiency. The lack of insulin is not the only reason for the development of a diabetic ketoacidosis. Glucagon hormone, catecholamines and epinephrine are believed to have a strong influence in the production of ketones. The production of ketones is not a problem in itself. In healthy animals, free fatty acids provide the body the energy it needs when food is lacking, and when glucose levels are low. However, in ca Continue reading >>
The Complications Of Having A Cat With Diabetes – By Rosalind Anderson
Around one in 200 cats get diabetes according to research carried out by Danielle Gunn-More, Professor of Feline Medicine, and Head of Companion Animal Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. Cats are slightly more prone to diabetes than dogs, she says. Fatter, older male cats that don’t have much exercise are generally at higher risk than other cats. Here, Rosalind talks about a typical day looking after her cat Jasper, aged 10, who has diabetes. I knew Jasper wasn’t quite himself. He’d lost some weight and had started sleeping against the wall behind the armchair – usually he’s on the settee or on my husband’s chair. He was also eating an awful lot. I’d looked up his symptoms and I was pretty sure it was diabetes – although I was surprised. I tend to know what’s wrong with one of the cats before I take them to the vet. (Last time I went to the vet with one of our other cats, I said ‘he’s got a haematoma in his ear’ and the vet had a look and said ‘so he has’.) The vet did blood tests and rang the next day and confirmed that Jasper had diabetes and had lost about a kilogramme in weight – which is quite a lot in a cat. His blood sugar was very high so he needed insulin to bring it down. I was worried as I’d got to inject him and had never done anything like that before. I thought he wouldn’t like it – and it would put him off me. I spent half an hour with the nurse at the vet. She showed me how to do the injections at the back of his neck (we injected water). Jasper was stoical but he wasn’t terribly pleased – he doesn’t like the vets anyway. I took the insulin home and started the injections. He wasn’t too keen but then I found some really nice dried chicken bits which he absolutely loves. Now when it’s time for his inject Continue reading >>
Life Expectancy Of A Cat With Diabetes?
I’ll refer to type II diabetes, called diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes). You will not find a clean, definitive answer to the question in the title because it is a poorly formulated question. Type II diabetes can be managed. With dietary management and daily injections of insulin you can regulate most diabetic cats enabling them to live normal lives. Conversely, in advanced cases of feline diabetes there is loss of appetite, vomiting, weakness, acetone breath, dehydration, lethargy and coma. About 70% if diabetic cats will require at least some insulin. Many cats enter a phase when the diabetes corrects itself when there is no need for insulin. There is a type of diabetes called ‘transient diabetes’. These are type II diabetics requiring insulin initially but over time they don’t need it; moreso if their diet is improved to a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet. In the human world it has been shown in a recent study that weight loss can literally cure diabetes in a substantial percentage of diabetics depending on the amount of weight lost. I see no reason why this does not apply to cats. One veterinarian says that if you take a diabetic cat off dry cat food and onto high quality wet he’ll lose weight and cure his diabetes. This is a change to a low carb. high protein diet. What I am getting at is that if the diabetic cat’s owner commits to excellent management of diet and insulin administration for as long as it is required the life expectancy of their cat should be normal (around 18 years today on average for a random bred cat). However some diabetic cats, because of circumstance, live shorter lives. If, then, we are to take an average life expectancy we have to factor in these shortened lives. The average will drop. I’ll have to guess by how much becaus Continue reading >>
How Long Will My Cat Live?
Will my cat be my companion for many years, just how long will my cat live? The answer to that depends upon several factors. The care that you give your cat, the quality of the food that your cat eats, the kind of lifestyle that your cat lives. All these things play their part in the chances of your cat enjoying a long life. Veterinary medicine has made some great advances in recent years, and this is one of the reasons the average age of domestic cats is increasing. A well cared for cat that is kept indoors and is fed a good nutritional diet, would be expected to live for about 15 years. Some cats do live to 20 plus years and there are records of a few cats reaching over 30 years. These sort of ages for a cat are very much the exception however. The genetic make up of a cat can be a factor in determining its life span, some breeds of cat appear to be more resilient than others. Selective breeding can have the effect that some breeds are hereditarily prone to ailments which shorten their life expectancy. Mixed breeds, the typical moggie or mouser, is usually more vigorous in its genetic make up and may expect to live slightly longer than a pure breed cat. Cats that are kept strictly as indoor only cats stand a better chance of living to a ripe old age than cats that are allowed outside. The reasons for this are many. Outdoor cats face danger from traffic, from being attacked by other cats or by other animals. They run increased risk of being accidentally poisoned by pesticides or deliberately poisoned by malicious humans. Outdoor cats are also at risk from catching feline diseases particularly from the feral cat population. The are many things to consider in deciding to keep your cat as an indoor only cat or an outdoor-indoor cat, life expectancy is only one of them. Ho Continue reading >>
Diabetes mellitus, or “sugar” diabetes, is a common disorder in cats, striking one in every 400. It is caused by the inability of the hormone insulin to properly balance blood sugar (glucose) levels. Symptoms Symptoms of diabetes in cats are similar to those in humans, including: increased appetite weight loss lethargy poor hair coat excessive urination weakness in the rear legs Diagnosis Your veterinarian can determine if your cat is diabetic by checking blood, urine and clinical signs. Treatment Diabetes is definitely treatable and need not shorten an animal’s lifespan or life quality. However, diabetes is life-threatening if left alone. Untreated, the condition leads to increasingly weak legs in cats, and eventually malnutrition, ketoacidosis and death. Early diagnosis and treatment by a qualified veterinarian can not only help prevent nerve damage, but in some cases even lead to remission so that the cat no longer needs injected insulin. Treatment generally entails giving insulin injections once or twice a day, though in a small number of cats, diabetes may be controlled through diet and oral medication. Diet is a critical component of treatment, and is in many cases effective on its own. It is becoming clear that lower-carbohydrate diets will significantly lower insulin requirements for diabetic cats. Carbohydrate levels are highest in dry cat foods, so diabetic cats are best off with a low-carbohydrate, healthy canned diet. Oral medications that stimulate the pancreas and promote insulin release work in some small proportion of cats, but these drugs may be completely ineffective if the pancreas is not working. A slow-acting dose of insulin injected twice daily, along with a low-carbohydrate diet, keeps the blood sugar within a recommended range for the entir Continue reading >>
Diets For Diabetic Dogs
Diabetes and Insulin requirements for dogs Diabetes Mellitus is a significant and debilitating chronic disease that causes poor quality of life for both pets, and owners, and significantly reduces life expectancy. Diabetes in dogs and cats used to be quite a rare disease, but has been increasing in recent years to become a more common diagnosis. Diabetes in pets tends to be the insulin dependent type (as compared to type 2 diabetes in people), but is certainly more common in older pets, as it is in people. Diet does play a significant role in the development of diabetes in both pets and people. Signs of diabetes can vary, but most pets will primarily show an increase in drinking (and urinating), a very aggressive appetite (always hungry) and some gradual and progressive weight loss despite the good appetite. As the disease progresses to become toxic, affected pets will then lose their appetite, and show signs of vomiting and lethargy, and often will have a characteristic ‘acetone’ smell on their breath. Dogs and cats that present like this are in a critical condition, and are at a high risk of dying. Diabetes is caused by a failure of the body (special cells in the pancreas) to produce adequate insulin, which is required to allow cells in the body to absorb glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream. Diabetic patients end up with very high blood sugar, but with body cells starving from lack of sugar – this results in a long-term breakdown of body tissues (as a source of energy), and production of toxic metabolites (called keto-acidosis). Stabilising diabetic pets involves the use of specific insulin injections with a once or twice a day injection program, combined with very strict diets, exercise and feeding regimes. Well managed pets can remain stable for several years Continue reading >>
How Long Do Cats Live?
The cliché is that cats have nine lives, though their actual longevity depends on more than folklore. The Internet is littered with tales of cats in their 20s and 30s. England's " Daily Mail," profiled a 24-year-old feline in a prominent article and the "Guinness Book of World Records" reports that the world's oldest cat died at age 38. Most of us are ecstatic if our cats hit their teens (human equivalent of the 70s). Cats mature quickly during their early years, reaching the equivalent of 24 human years by time they turn 2, then aging about eight to five times in human years each subsequent year (the number decreases as the cat gets older). So your 12-year-old tabby would be about 65 years old -- eligible for Social Security! While there's no easy answer on just long your cat will live, we'll look at life spans for different felines, plus discuss how to prolong those golden years. Life Span for Indoor Living An indoor cat's world is a safe, cozy haven, with tasty meals dished up on time, and protection from the changeable weather. Her only experience with a predator is probably a zealous owner who wants to groom her coat or trim her claws. Life with a clean litter box, a private place to catnap and attention from one or more humans who offer affection and care -- what more could a cat want for a stress-free existence? If she's grown up indoors, she'll likely have no interest in exploring the great outdoors, especially with stimulating playtime and toys to keep her stalking instincts keen. With routine vaccinations and vet checkups, plus a spaying or neutering can cause an indoor cat to easily thrive into her teens or beyond. The average life span is 12 to 15 years. Outdoor Life By contrast, an outdoor feline, whether a lifelong feral or one who's been dumped by a form Continue reading >>
Life Expectancy And Aging Problems Of Cats
Aging cats have the same problems as aging humans. Joints start hurting, almost everything leads to weight gain and risk of illness increases. Although your fluffy friend may slow down a bit, getting her regular checkups at the vet and feeding her a premium diet can keep her healthy. Life Expectancy In the early 1990s, cats were only living to be about 4 to 6 years old, explains Dr. Dawn Ruben, a research and teaching veterinarian with Johns Hopkins University. As of 2012, cats live much longer, although living conditions play a big role. When kept indoors, your purring pal can live up to 18 years or possibly longer. However, outdoor kitties have a much shorter life expectancy of four or five years. Outdoor felines are more likely to get sick, become injured from fights with other animals and suffer trauma from getting hit by a car. Joint Problems One common aging problem among felines is joint pain and arthritis. Degenerative joint issues develop over time and might make it difficult for your lovable companion to move around. Getting in and out of the litter box suddenly becomes more difficult, but you can help her out by getting her a pan with low sides or cutting an inlet into one of the sides. If you have stairs in your home, put a litter box on each floor, as well as food and water dishes. This gives her access to what she needs so she doesn't have to struggle up and down the stairs. Weight Gain Obesity in felines is common as they grow older. Carrying around extra weight adds even more stress to your cat's joints and also increases her risk of chronic diseases. Your furry companion may be consuming more calories than she needs, since she isn't quite as active as she used to be. Your veterinarian will probably put her on a weight-control or senior diet to keep her Continue reading >>
Diabetes In Cats Part 2 – Things You Should Know About Diagnosis & Treatment
3 53 Remember Stephen? Stephen is having a cat nap. So I guess it’s up to me to tell you all a little bit more about diabetes in cats. In my previous article – What Does a Cat With Diabetes Look Like? I talked about what diabetes mellitus actually is, what I think about people who taste urine to check for its sweetness, and gave some pointers on signs to watch out for that might indicate your cat has this disease. Now it’s time to have a quick look at how diabetes in cats is diagnosed and most importantly, what the heck we can do about it. How Can My Veterinarian Tell if My Cat has Diabetes? There are two main test results required for a vet to be able to diagnose diabetes in a symptomatic cat: A high fasting blood glucose (i.e. loads of glucose floating around in their blood even when they haven’t eaten recently) Testing these parameters is a piece of cake! See what I did there? But here’s where it gets tricky. Cats can get enormously stressed out by a visit to the vet (kind of like I feel about sitting in the dentist’s chair), and a really important effect of this stress can be a transient elevation in their blood glucose, which can even be significant enough to see glucose spilling over into the urine. What this means is that cats who do not have diabetes may have a high blood glucose reading, and even occasionally glucose in their urine. These tests aren’t always diagnostic on their own. It is best to run a full blood profile rather than just checking the glucose alone. This assists us with detecting any other illnesses that may either be the sole cause of your cat’s problems or could just be lurking around complicating the situation. If there is any doubt about the diagnosis of diabetes, a good test to do next is a plasma fructosamine level. This te Continue reading >>
Life Expectancy For Cats With Diabetes
I recently was forced to put my cat down because her diabetes got too bad. I first learned of her diabetes when she was 5 and had it pretty under control for 9 years. She found it well, but with her again her body could not maintain it anymore and she became very weak and a failing liver. My vet told me that only option would be to put her down, and even though I tried to push for some kind of medicine or surgery, but the vet said nothing would help, so I put her down. If correctly treated and maintained, the cat can live a long life with diabetes. I've got a 17.5 year old cat who has lived with diabetes for the past twelve years. He's near the end - in too much pain from osteoarthritis and neuropathy - but with twice daily insulin (it took several tries to get him on a kind that worked) and diet changes, he's been my happiest, most long-lived cat to date. I watched him being born in April 2000, so we have a special attachment...not sure what I'll do without him. But this goes to show that with loving care (and, alas, a lot of money and time) a diabetic cat can thrive and be happy. Please don't put your cat down or worse, leave the diabetes untreated (a slow, painful death). If you can't afford or commit to treatment, you might be able to find someone who is willing to care for a diabetic kitty. Best of luck. Continue reading >>
Tanya Schoeman BVSc(Hons)MMedVet(Med) Dipl ECVIM-CA Cape Animal Medical Centre, 78 Rosmead Avenue, Kenilworth, Cape Town Abstract Feline acromegaly is more common in cats than once thought. This article emphasises the importance of being open to this diagnosis, particularly in diabetic cats. Some cats do not demonstrate the physical changes associated with this disease. Although these changes remain important disease markers, they are not required to pursue the diagnosis of acromegaly. In addition, acromegaly can cause significantly diminished quality of life from insulin resistance and poorly regulated DM, as well as concurrent problems (eg, congestive heart failure). Definition Hypersomatotropism represents the excess production of growth hormone (GH). Most cases of feline acromegaly are caused by a functional benign pituitary tumour originating from the acidophilic cells in the pars distalis of the anterior pituitary. In addition rare cases of pituitary hyperplasia have been reported. This is in contrast to the situation in dogs, where it occurs as a consequence of dioestrus-induced GH production by the mammary gland. Acromegaly refers to a clinical syndrome as a result of the hypersomatotropism, which includes the physical changes that occur in the patient when exposed to the excess GH over a longer period of time. However, these classical acromegalic features take time to appear and are therefore not consistently present in our feline patients. Technically it is therefore better to use the term hypersomatotropism (overactivity of somatotrophs or GH producing cells), which might or might not result in the complete syndrome of acromegaly. Admittedly, both terms are however often used interchangeably, with acromegaly being the more popular term. Significance Acromegal Continue reading >>
Diabetes In Dogs And Cats
I wrote this article some time ago, but search engines still default to it. So instead of reading it: If you have a diabetic cat, go here. If your pet is a dog, go here. What Is Diabetes? Diabetes mellitus is a disease of your pet's endocrine gland system. One of these endocrine glands, the pancreas, is responsible for regulating your pet's blood sugar level. There are two forms of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is caused by a deficiency of insulin - the hormone that regulates how sugar is absorbed and utilized by the cells of the body. This Insulin is produced by the pancreas gland which is nestled among the loops of your pet's small intestines. A situation similar to Type l diabetes is the most common form in dogs. A situation similar to Type ll diaetes is the most common form in cats. Two things influence your pet's susceptibility to diabetes - its weight and its genetics. As in humans, pets that are overweight are more susceptible to developing Type 2 diabetes. Certain breeds also appear more susceptible to developing diabetes. These include miniature schnauers, toy and miniature poodles, samoyeds, australian terriers, elkhounds, dachsunds, westies, and pugs (ref) as well as burmese cats (ref). Other breeds, like german shephers, pit bulls and golden retrievers rarely develop the problem. Neutered dogs are considerably more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than un-neutered pets, quite likely due to the known tendency for neutered pets to become fat , but just being a female pet apears to add risk as well. The mean age that dogs develop diabetes is 7-9 years. with cats tending to develop the disease a year or two later in life. Your pet's many endocrine glands work in tandum, often relying on the hormonal signals of one gland to stimulate the activity Continue reading >>
Diabetes Mellitus Diabetes Mellitus is a disorder in the regulation of blood sugar. It is caused by dysfunction of the pancreas, the organ that produces insulin. Insulin is required to get carbohydrates (sugar) from the blood stream into the cells, where it supplies energy for normal metabolism. Diabetes is fairly common in older pets, especially cats. How is it diagnosed? Most patients with diabetes present with increased thirst and weight loss. These symptoms are often insidious in cats and more dramatic in dogs. The diagnosis is made with bloodwork, which shows increased blood glucose; always over 300mg/dl and most commonly over 400mg/dl. Pets with diabetes will also have glucose in their urine and may have changes in their liver values. Is it curable? Diabetes in cats is often similar to Type II or Adult Onset Diabetes in people, and can often be “cured”, or at leas reversed to a subclinical state by weight loss and dietary changes. In most dogs, diabetes is more like to Type I or Juvenile Diabetes in people. Most diabetic dogs require lifelong insulin injections. Is Diabetes Painful? In most cases, we do not think diabetes is painful. Occasionally pets may develop diabetic neuropathy. Since this condition can be painful in people, we assume the same for dogs and cats. In addition, it is important to remember that many diabetic dogs and cats have other conditions, such as arthritis, that are painful. Pain and the chronic stress conditions that it creates can undermine the successful treatment of diabetes, and therefore must be addressed. What treatment options are available? Most dogs and nearly all cats are initially treated with insulin injections. Most pets require injections twice daily, though some cats may do well with once daily treatments. If otherwise h Continue reading >>
Doctor, You Aren’t Listening To Me... What If I Do Nothing?
A month ago my sister wanted to know if her Jack Russell Terrier could be sick because he was drinking and peeing all the time. I told her he needed to go to the vet; he could have a simple urinary tract infection or he could have more going on. Inside my head, I was screaming “diabetes” as polyuria/polydipsia (drinks a lot and pees a lot), or PU/PD as medical types call it, is a hallmark for diabetes mellitus in dogs, cats, and people. In dogs, diabetes mellitus rarely responds to dietary changes - unlike some people and some cats - and almost always requires twice daily insulin injections to control the disease. Having seen clients react to a diagnosis of diabetes, I wondered how my sister and her husband would react if they had to take care of this chronic condition that requires significant planning and scheduling. It’s not for every owner: while it’s not expensive, it requires insulin injections every 12 hours, 7 days a week for the rest of the pet’s life, with no time off for good behavior. It requires considerable commitment, which can be particularly difficult for people like my sister and her husband who work outside the home and can’t drop everything to give a pet medication at the appropriate times. I wondered what they would choose to do if their dog did have diabetes rather than a urinary tract infection. Receiving a diagnosis of a chronic disease can be difficult to wrap your mind around. During my years in practice, I noticed that there are some pretty universal questions most clients ask. “What are my options and what will happen if I do nothing?” When I hear this, I translate this into: a. How will the disease progress? Will this be a disease that progresses quickly or is it going to be something that is a nagging problem for years to co Continue reading >>