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Feline Diabetes Blog

Understanding Feline Diabetes

Understanding Feline Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (Feline Diabetes) is a common disease in which a cats body either doesnt produce or doesnt properly use insulin. During digestion, the fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in the diet are broken down into smaller components that can be utilized by cells in the body. One component is glucose, the sugar that provides the energy needed for all cells. Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas and is responsible for regulating the flow of glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. If the cats body produces too little insulin or if the cat is resistant to the insulin it produces then the body starts breaking down fat and protein stores to use as alternative energy sources. Diabetes mellitus is generally divided into two different types in cats: insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). Approximately one-half of diabetic cats have IDDM and thus require insulin injections as soon as the disease is diagnosed. The rest have NIDDMsome of these can be controlled with diet but others will eventually need insulin. Cats fed high carbohydrate diets ( kibble) Many conditions have been linked to diabetes in cats and these include: Excess cortisone ( in the form of injectable or oral medications like prednisone) Diabetes mellitus is diagnosed based on the cats signs, physical examination findings, laboratory test results, and the persistent presence of abnormally high levels of sugar in the blood and urine. Once diabetes has been diagnosed, immediate treatment is necessary. Left untreated, diabetes will shorten a cats lifespan. A dangerous, sometimes fatal condition called ketoacidosis may develop, indicated by loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, dehydration, and breathing abnormalit Continue reading >>

How I Got My Diabetic Cat “off The Juice”

How I Got My Diabetic Cat “off The Juice”

Learn about the how, when, where and who of managing feline diabetes. Today at Paws and Effect HQ, we’re celebrating Bella’s two-year “remissioniversary!” Bella came to us with insulin-dependent diabetes, and just a couple of weeks later she was in remission. If you have a diabetic cat, I hope you’ll take heart from our story and use some of the resources that helped me to help Bella. I met Bella at HART of Maine, a no-kill cat shelter in southern Maine. She and several other diabetic cats had been under the care of HART’s former “diabetic den mother,” Margaret B. When Margaret learned that I wanted to adopt Bella, she took time to teach me to test her blood glucose and how to give insulin shots. She was just a phone call or text away as I learned how to care for a diabetic cat. Thanks to her and my vet, I got Bella into remission, and here’s how I did it. 1. Join a support community Every caretaker of a diabetic cat should have a mentor. Margaret was a real blessing to me, and it would be awesome if everyone who lives with a “sugar kitty” had a Margaret of their own. But even if you don’t have a Margaret, you can find great information and support at FelineDiabetes.com. Through their Feline Diabetes Message Board, people with diabetic cats can learn and get emotional support as they get used to the idea of living with a diabetic kitty. 2. No kibble, ever Food that is low in carbohydrates and high in protein is key to managing diabetes. I feed Bella and the rest of the Paws and Effect Gang a freeze-dried raw food that I rehydrate with warm water. But you don’t have to go raw — there are quite a few canned foods that meet the criteria for managing diabetes, including a few brands you can find in the grocery store. Check out Dr. Lisa Pierson’ Continue reading >>

Does Dry Cat Food Really Cause Feline Diabetes

Does Dry Cat Food Really Cause Feline Diabetes

Does Dry Cat Food Really Cause Feline Diabetes The link between food and feline diabetes is a subject that weve talked about before but it keeps coming up so I think its a good idea to revisit the subject. One of the concerns surrounding dry food is the carbohydrate content in the foods. Dry foods tend to have moderate to high levels of carbohydrates. Many sources on the internet will tell you that feeding dry foods that contain high levels of carbohydrates will cause your cat to develop diabetes. But is this true and what is the real relationship here? We know that feeding a high-protein low-carbohydrate diet can be effective for controlling the glycemic response in diabetic cats and many diabetic cats fed this type of diet will actually go into diabetic remission. Many people make the claim that since feeding these diets to a diabetic cat is beneficial, then feeding a healthy cat a high-protein low-carbohydrate diet should prevent diabetes. However, the situation is actually much more complex than that. In 2011, at the World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress, Claudia A. Kirk, DVM, PhD, DACVN, DACVIM presented a session entitled Cats and Carbohydrates What is the Impact? These are some of the highlights of her presentation: Several studies have evaluated the potential role of carbohydrates in the pathogenesis of DM (diabetes mellitus) in cats. An epidemiological study of cats from the Netherlands found indoor confinement and low physical activity and not amount of dry food were associated with DM. High carbohydrate intake was not considered a risk factor for feline DM. But recent reports from these investigators have suggested an association of high carbohydrate foods with calcium oxalate urolithiasis. Indoor confinement and physical inactivity rather Continue reading >>

Mid Atlantic Cat Hospital

Mid Atlantic Cat Hospital

More Food, Less Exercise: A Recipe for Illness In honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month, I thought I would take this opportunity to discuss the prevalence of diabetes in our pet cats. As in their people, the epidemic of diabetes in cats is growing all of the time. As we keep getting bigger and pay less attention to what we eat and how we exercise, diabetes becomes more and more common. Similarly, our cats keep getting bigger, and this combined with less than ideal nutrition, we are seeing more and more diabetic cats. As in people, diabetes can be prevented in many of our feline patients. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition is a great step in avoiding this potentially life-threatening disease. Meal feeding and using a high protein/low carbohydrate diet can't be underemphasized. Although there are exceptions to everything, diabetes is most common in middle aged (5-11 years), overweight, male cats. Common symptoms include drinking more, urinating more, eating more, and losing weight. A lot of us never see our cats drink, so sometimes just noticing them at the water bowl is the first clue. Maybe they start asking for water from the sink, or start wanting to lick the shower when you are done what we are looking for are changes in behavior. In addition, maybe instead or one or two urine clumps in the box per day there are 4 or 5, or the urine clumps go from walnut sized to lemon sized. Again, changes are the important factors. Diagnosis of diabetes is usually pretty straightforward, using blood and urine tests. Most cats will require insulin, but there is a small minority of cats who can be managed with a diet change. It can take several weeks for a cat to become regulated on insulin, and close contact with your veterinarian is imperative. It's also imp Continue reading >>

Managing Feline Diabetes: Current Perspectives

Managing Feline Diabetes: Current Perspectives

Managing feline diabetes: current perspectives Published 19 June 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 3342 Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman Editor who approved publication: Professor Young Lyoo 1The Cat Clinic, Brisbane, QLD, Australia; 2School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland, Gatton, QLD, Australia Abstract: Diabetes mellitus is a common endocrine disease in cats. While type 2 diabetes is the most common form seen in cats, other underlying causes may contribute to insulin resistance. Guidelines for diagnosis vary and often do not take into account prediabetic cats. The goals of treatment are to maximize the chance of remission, while minimizing the risks of hypoglycemia. This article presents a further overview of current treatment and monitoring recommendations for diabetic cats. Keywords: diabetes mellitus, glucose tolerance, diabetic remission, gluconeogenesis, feline, cats This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License . By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms . Continue reading >>

Diabetes In Cats: Symptoms & Treatment

Diabetes In Cats: Symptoms & Treatment

Diabetic cats are more common than we think. So, if you have a cat you may be curious about feline diabetes, which is becoming an increasingly troublesome issue for our feline friends. We’ve compiled what you need to know about feline diabetes symptoms, medical complications, and the three main treatment options. Identifying signs early on can help extend and improve your kitty’s quality of life. What is feline diabetes? Like human diabetes, feline diabetes has to do with the production and use of insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas, which plays an important role in regulating the level of glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose is like cellular fuel that cats, people, and all living things need to stay alive. With human or feline diabetes, the pancreas either isn’t producing enough insulin or the body can’t use it properly to balance glucose levels. When there’s too much insulin in the body, glucose builds up and causes a condition called hyperglycemia. What is hyperglycemia in cats? Feline hyperglycemia is the technical term for high blood glucose in cats. When a sick cat becomes hyperglycemic, the body can’t use glucose for fuel and starts breaking down fats for energy. This process results in a waste product called ketones. If the level of ketones gets too high, it causes ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening situation that requires immediate medical attention. If you have a diabetic cat, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of hyperglycemia, such as: ● Acetone or fruity smelling breath ● Lethargy ● Increased thirst ● Shortness of breath Treatment for cat hyperglycemia may include fluid therapy, insulin, and hospitalization. What types of feline diabetes are there? Feline diabetes is classified into two dif Continue reading >>

Less Is More With Feline Diabetes

Less Is More With Feline Diabetes

Recently, I started taking a bit of a "less is more" approach to treating diabetes in cats. Most of my feline patients resent being brought into the veterinary clinic frequently, resent being restrained for blood draws, resent having their ears pricked for at-home glucose monitoring (you get the idea). Since I believe that the goal of medical intervention should be an improved overall quality of life, I began to ask whether my previously more aggressive treatment approach was really doing my diabetic feline patients any favors. Turns out lots of veterinarians have been thinking the same thing, and one renowned feline expert, Gary D. Norsworthy, DVM, DABVP, has even put a name to this "less is more" attitude the Ultra Loose Control Approach. He developed his technique primarily because too many cats were being euthanized due to the hassles and expenses associated with his previous recommendations. Dr. Norsworthy says that his Ultra Loose Control Approach is built on the premise that Cats tolerate hyperglycemia with minimal/tolerable clinical signs. Cats do not have significant complications from diabetes such as cataracts, peripheral vascular disease, and renal disease. Cats tolerate hypoglycemia with no or minimal clinical signs (though this shouldnt be overstated because severe hypoglycemia can be fatal). When trying to simplify the care of a diabetic cat, more emphasis is put on monitoring and resolving the patients clinical signs (e.g., increased thirst, appetite and urination; weight loss; reduced activity levels, etc.) than on precisely controlling blood glucose levels. The process basically boils down to feeding the cat a low carbohydrate diet (canned if at all possible) and if initial blood glucose levels are high enough, starting twice daily injections of a lon Continue reading >>

Binky's Page

Binky's Page

Binky died not from diabetes but due to general failure of all systems. His obituary can be found here. Au revoir, sweet boy. Binky was my adorable, plush, extremely loving, beige tabby cat, who was diagnosed with diabetes in January 2000. Several years ago, with major input from the wonderful and supportive community at the Feline Diabetes Message Board (FDMB), as well as many others who have sent me information on cat foods, I compiled several useful documents, which are listed below. Continue reading >>

Cat Diabetes, Dog Diabetes, Feline Diabetes, Canine Diabetes,pet Diabetes | Blog | Carlson Animal Hospital, Oak Park

Cat Diabetes, Dog Diabetes, Feline Diabetes, Canine Diabetes,pet Diabetes | Blog | Carlson Animal Hospital, Oak Park

Diabetes Mellitus In Cats and Dogs: A General Understanding The increase in diabetes mellitus in cats and dogs mirrors the increase in people; itcan be serious and is on the rise . Because of this, we recommend an annualphysical examinationto address any early warning signs. With early detection we can increase the chances of the most favorable outcome.When we test fordiabetes mellituswe recommend a physical examination,a simple blood test, and urinalysis. Pancreas and its role in diabetes mellitus To understand diabetes, lets start with a briefunderstanding of the pancreas and one of its main functions. The pancreas has several functions, but we will focus on the role of insulin production. The pancreas produces insulin and regulates blood glucose levels. Glucose , as well as sucrose and fructose, are carbohydrates (we often refer to them as simple sugars). A normal pancreas should produce insulin as a response to increasing glucose in the blood (after a meal, for example) or when the body recognizes that the cells need glucose. The insulin then regulates the flux of glucose out of the blood stream and into cells. This is avery important cellular function. Without insulin, glucose cannot enter the cells and provide the energy they need. Without cellular glucose, the body thinks it is starving and searches for an alternate energy source. This sets off a cascade of protein (muscle)and fat breakdown within the body as an alternate energy source.This in turnleads to harmful metabolic by-products such as ketones formation and weight loss.This occurs while there is an abundance of glucose in the body just waiting to be used as energy, but it is unable to be utilized. An increase in appetite coupled with weight loss might be an indicator of illness. Dr. Leslie weighing a fel Continue reading >>

Feline Diabetes: Signs And Treatment

Feline Diabetes: Signs And Treatment

Feline diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body cannot properly produce or respond to insulin. Type 1 diabetes results in high levels of glucose due to the lack of insulin, and type 2 diabetes occurs when the body cannot respond properly to insulin. Cats generally suffer from type 2 diabetes. If your cat shows signs of increased thirst or hunger while experiencing significant weight loss, you should consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible to determine the cause of your pets condition. Normalizing blood glucose concentration through a carb-restricted diet Even cats with a successful treatment plan will need to be closely monitored. Some cats may go into remission and no longer require insulin shots, but this usually occurs in overweight cats that reach a healthier weight. There is no cure for feline diabetes and even those who do go into remission may require more treatment in the future. Most cat owners can expect to spend between $20-$30 per month on insulin, syringes, and other diabetic supplies. Although that may not seem terribly expensive when compared to other conditions or surgeries pets may require, these costs can really add up. 4Paws pet insurance can help alleviate some of these costs*, so you can focus on what really matters caring for your cat! * Please note that 4Paws does not cover pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is an illness, disease, injury, or change to your pets health that first occurs or shows symptoms before coverage is effective or during a waiting period. This includes conditions that are related to, secondary, or resultant from a pre-existing condition. In basic terms, if your pet has or had any condition, diagnosed or not, before enrollment or during the policy waiting periods it is a pre-existing condition. Continue reading >>

What You Need To Know About Feline Diabetes

What You Need To Know About Feline Diabetes

Guest post by JaneA Kelley November is Pet Diabetes Awareness Month, and with diabetes on the rise in cats and dogs, it’s important to know the facts about this disease and how to manage it. I’m going to focus on feline diabetes because it’s a topic I know quite a bit about, having adopted a diabetic kitty and gotten her into remission. You’ll also notice that I’ve included the gray ribbon, the symbol of diabetes awareness, with all the photos in this post. You probably know diabetes as a disease associated with sugar, and that’s sort of right, but let me start out with some background information. What is diabetes? When a cat eats sugar or carbohydrates, a gland called the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin. Insulin is crucial in turning sugar and carbohydrates into energy the body can use. In diabetes, one of two things happens: Either the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin (Type 1 diabetes), or the pancreas produces insulin but the body doesn’t know how to use it (Type 2 diabetes). What causes diabetes? Most cats have Type 2 diabetes, and this is primarily brought about by obesity. According to a recent study, 58 percent cats are overweight or obese. That’s a lot of cats at higher risk of getting diabetes. Steroid use can sometimes cause transient diabetes – that is, diabetes that goes away after the medication is stopped. A few cats also have other disorders such as acromegaly that can cause diabetes. The most commonly noticed symptoms are polydipsia (drinking excessively) and polyuria (peeing excessively). Another common symptom is weight loss despite a large appetite. As the cat’s blood glucose increases, he can become lethargic and depressed; this is the precursor to a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which requires Continue reading >>

How To Feed Cats With Diabetes

How To Feed Cats With Diabetes

Diet plays a key role in the successful management of the diabetic cat. Because cats are obligate carnivores (1-3), diabetic cats are relatively carbohydrate intolerant and respond best to a low carbohydrate diet. This differs from dogs, which are omnivores and are quite tolerant of a moderate to high carbohydrate meal, even when diabetic (4,5). Evolutionary events shaped the cat’s core metabolism such that their systems are uniquely set up to metabolize a diet which is high in moisture, high in protein, and very low in carbohydrates. Because this is the diet they have relied upon for tens of thousands of years, they do not have the ability to process carbohydrates very efficiently and show relative carbohydrate intolerance (1-3). This becomes extremely important when selecting a diet for cats with diabetes. Postprandial Glycemia in Man, Dogs, and Cats As a result of these differences, plasma glucose clearance rates are longer in cats compared to dogs or humans after feeding a moderate to high carbohydrate meal — in other words, even normal cats have much more prolonged postprandial period of hyperglycemia than might be expected. In healthy humans and dogs, postprandial hyperglycemia normally persists for 2 to 6 hours (4,6). In contrast, recent studies of healthy cats found that both serum glucose and insulin concentrations remained significantly increased for a median time of 12 hours following ingestion of a moderate carbohydrate meal (25% of calories), and that both glucose and insulin concentrations remained above baseline values for 24 hours in approximately 20% of the cats (7,8). Most feline diets contain even higher amounts of carbohydrate (greater than 25%) and, therefore, would be expected to result in more severe postprandial hyperglycemia and a longer tim Continue reading >>

Feline Diabetes Part 1 | Blog | 3p Naturals

Feline Diabetes Part 1 | Blog | 3p Naturals

Has your cat been diagnosed with diabetes? Not exactly fun! So what now? Here's what you need to know: Feline diabetes (mellitus) is a disease characterized by a cat's inability to either produce adequate insulin or use insulin properly to stabilize their blood sugar levels. Common symptoms of feline diabetes are: increased urination, increased thirst, overweight, and lethargy. So what is happening in your cats body is this; the food taken in by your cat is broken down into smaller molecules (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) which your cats body will utilize as energy. One molecule of concern is glucose, a simple sugar or monosaccharide. Glucose is kept within very specific parameters in the bloodstream. The body does this by releasing a pancreatic hormone called insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates how glucose and fats are used and stored within the body. When it's not being produced or used correctly, things go wrong. Sugar can build up in the blood stream and if there's too much, it will start being excreted by the kidneys via the urine. Often obesity is a precursor to feline diabetes. If your cat is overweight, save yourself and your cat some grief and sort it out NOW! Read our blog on obesity here. Thankfully, with a species-appropriate diet, most diabetic cats can be managed without insulin. Some cases will even go into remission. One of the many issues with commercial diets is that they contain large amounts of carbohydrate. YES, even the grain-free ones do! Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and if there's too much glucose in the body, insulin is released. If this happens every day of a cat's life, bodily functions can start breaking down. Insulin release becomes harder and harder as time progresses. Thankfully, with species-appropriate nutr Continue reading >>

Canine & Feline Diabetes: Clinical Signs, Treatment, And Prevention

Canine & Feline Diabetes: Clinical Signs, Treatment, And Prevention

Do you know that pets can get diabetes? It’s one of the more common endocrine (glandular) diseases affecting pets and it’s actually mostly preventable. Your pet’s diagnosis of diabetes is a life-changing one, so I suggest always doing your utmost to prevent it from occurring. What is diabetes? Diabetes is a metabolic (glandular) disease involving hormones that regulate water balance and blood glucose (sugar) levels. There are two primary types of diabetes: insipidus and mellitus. Diabetes insipidus less commonly affects pets and mainly involves hormones that help to regulate water retention and excretion. Diabetes mellitus (Type I or II) is more common and results from the lack of or insufficient production of insulin from the pancreas. As diabetes mellitus is the most common of the two types of diabetes affecting pets, let’s focus on diabetes mellitus for this segment. How bad is this problem in canines & felines? The problem is so bad that diabetes has its own commemorative month. November is National Pet Diabetes Month, which raises awareness of the disease and strives to help owners with both preventive and treatment measures. Diabetes severely compromises a dog’s or cat’s quality of life and alters the care provider’s schedule, budget, and emotional state. According to VPI Pet Insurance claims data, diabetes related veterinary expenses totaled more than $1.5 million in 2007, with an average invoice of $200 per visit. When it comes down to it, can pet owners afford the expenses associated with the ongoing management of a diabetic pet? If no, then owners should be extra vigilant in taking measures to prevent the potential for their pet to become diabetic. How does a cat or dog develop diabetes and is it a different process for cats and dogs? Type I diab Continue reading >>

Feline Diabetes | San Diego Humane Society

Feline Diabetes | San Diego Humane Society

Meet Bob. Bob was an office cat at San Diego Humane Society up until his adoption. He, like millions of other cats, has been living a happy, healthy life with feline diabetes. While the diagnosis itself can sound intimidating, feline diabetes is actually a very common condition among the global cat population especially among overweight cats. Pet parents around the world are actively managing this disease for their beloved companions and you can, too, with some basic knowledge and patience. Heres the lowdown on how to help your cat survive and thrive with feline diabetes: Feline diabetes is a condition in which a cats pancreas either doesnt produce insulin or the bodys cells do not use insulin effectively. The most common form of the disease is diabetes mellitus (DM), which can take shape in a cats pancreas in one of two ways: Insulin Dependent diabetes (IDDM): insulin injections are required to maintain normal blood sugar levels. About one-half to three-quarters of the cats have this type. Non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM): insulin injections are not immediately required. Diet and medications are adequate to maintain normal blood sugar levels. However, cats will sometimes switch from one type to the other. Most cats with NIDD will end up needing insulin injections. Some cats with IDDM may have periods of time where diet and medications are adequate to control blood sugars, although this is often transient. Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM): Daily insulin injections are required for cats diagnosed with IDDM. While daily injections may seem like an intimidating daily task at first, most pet parents find it quite easy and gratifying to be able to help their animal in such a crucial way. Still skeptical? Remember our friend Bob that we introduced you to at t Continue reading >>

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