What Causes Cat Diabetes?
Diabetes in Cats You may have heard that cats can get diabetes. Is diabetes in cats the same as in humans? In some ways it is: Diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin, the hormone that regulates how sugar is absorbed and used by cells and tissues in the body, human or cat. Some Signs of Diabetes You May Want to Look For: 1. Extreme hunger or thirst. 2. Eating and drinking far more than normal and still losing weight. 3. Increased urination. Impact of a Healthy Diet Fortunately, the disorder can be managed with medicine and diet. If you notice any signs of extreme hunger or thirst in your cat, contact your veterinarian immediately. We hope these signs will help you keep your eyes open for possible signs of diabetes in your cat. Continue reading >>
Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins articulates the need to adhere to common-sense principles in feeding cats as carnivores in this insightful article, which she has very kindly given me permission to publish on this site. If you have an overweight cat or a cat that has been diagnosed with or is at high risk for diabetes, read what Dr. Hodgkins has to say. For more on feline obesity, please see my web page on that subject as well as the terrific page that Dr. Pierson has on her website. The best resource I know for getting educated about Feline Diabetes is Dr. Pierson's page here. Finally, be sure to have a look at Dr. Hodgkins' super-plucky book, published in 2007, Your Cat: Simple Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life. And if you'd like to see two key excerpts of that book translated into French? Good news: Susan Holt has provided exactly that; click here. Feline Diabetes and Obesity: The Preventable Epidemics (excerpted) © 2004 Elizabeth Hodgkins DVM, Esq. Today, the cat is the favorite house pet in the United States, at least if your definition of "favorite" is "most numerous." The cat has outnumbered the dog, the previously "most numerous" pet species, for a decade or more and this trend shows no signs of reversing itself anytime soon. Those of us involved in any of the pet care industries or professions know very well that we are seeing more and more well-cared-for felines, belonging to people and families that are intensely bonded to their kitty family members. Men, as well as women, in all socioeconomic strata, are attached to their pet cats in a way that I could never have anticipated in 1977 when I graduated from veterinary school. In short, the cat has become not only legitimate as a pet underfoot, but also a focus of attachment and affection for humans who are often willin Continue reading >>
Diabetes In Dogs And Cats
Diabetes definition Type 1 Diabetes (the type which affects dogs) arises when the pancreas is not able to provide sufficient insulin. Insulin is required to help control and balance blood sugar levels, and to ensure that the glucose in the blood is able to reach the cells of the body, where it’s needed. Like humans, some dogs can also develop gestational diabetes, during pregnancy, but this resolves shortly after the litter is delivered. Type 2 diabetes (the type which affects humans and cats) is caused by insulin resistance, is linked to diet and obesity. Type 2 diabetes isn’t thought to affect dogs. How diabetes affects pets An insulin deficiency prevents glucose from entering the cells and causes blood sugar levels to become too high, which is compounded by the release of glycogen form the liver. Levels of glucose in the urine are also increased in diabetes. Since the cells can’t metabolize the glucose they need, the pet begins to feel weak, hungry and thirsty – and to urinate excessively in an attempt to remove the some of the excess blood sugar. Side effects of diabetes include inflammation of the pancreas (whose role is to produce insulin), weight loss, urinary tract problems and cataracts. Diabetes has become very common in the United States in recent years. An overload of refined carbohydrates (sugars), processed foods, sweet treats and excessive grains are thought to be the main contributors to what has become for dogs (just as for humans), an epidemic. Diabetes is almost unheard of in pets who consumer a healthy, properly balanced, whole food diet and a healthy lifestyle – though some diabetes cases are thought to have a genetic link. Obese pets are less likely to be responsive to insulin and also more likely to suffer from pancreatitis, which can le Continue reading >>
Diabetic Cat Food
Source Diabetic cat food may help you better manage your cat's diabetes. Diabetic Cat Food All cat foods are not created equal, but choosing a diabetic cat food that works well for your cat can play an important role in controlling his diabetes. While there are a number of diabetic foods on the market for felines, not all of them will be right for your cat. Before you change your cat's diet, you should consult your veterinarian. If you have a particular cat food you want to try, talk to your vet first. In many cases, not only do doctors look at a cat's diabetic condition, but they also consider how the new diet might affect any other medical conditions your cat may have. Contributing Conditions Often. a cat that suffers from diabetes also has other conditions that may be related and/or cause additional problems. In this case, both the diabetes and the other conditions must be addressed. Common conditions that are often related to diabetes include the following: Obesity: People who suffer from diabetes often have to manage their weight gain. They typically limit excess carbohydrates and, of course, sugars. The same can be true for cats. Limiting a cat's carb intake will make it easier to control his blood glucose. Kidney problems: While many cats benefit from a high protein diet, those with kidney disease may need lower amounts of protein. Pancreas problems: Conditions of the pancreas, such as pancreatitis, may be controlled by a low-fat diet, and this in turn may improve a cat's diabetes symptoms. Food Choices In the majority of cases involving cats with diabetes, owners are advised to feed their cats a low-carbohydrate/high-protein diet. Because a cat is considered a carnivore, its body is designed for high protein foods. Deciding whether to purchase canned or dry cat Continue reading >>
What Food Is Best For A Cat With Diabetes?
The great majority of diabetic cats have what is called Type 2 diabetes. This means that, early in the course of the disease at least, they are still producing levels of insulin that should be adequate for normal body function. The problem is that the rest of the body has become less sensitive to insulin, almost always due in large part to the hormonal effects of obesity. To have an effect on blood sugar levels, the pancreas has to crank out ever higher amounts of insulin, which eventually exhausts the pancreatic beta cells responsible for insulin production. If Type 2 diabetes is caught early and treated appropriately, enough beta cell function may remain, allowing the cat to eventually be weaned off insulin injections (called a diabetic remission). This is not usually true for more advanced cases, however. These patient’s beta cells are permanently worn out, and insulin injections remain necessary for the rest of the cat’s life. The ideal food for diabetes management must achieve three goals: Blunt the wild swings in blood sugar levels thereby decreasing the amount of insulin the body needs Promote weight loss to reduce the negative hormonal effects of obesity Cats must want to eat it Let me focus on point three for a moment. If a cat won’t eat a food, it obviously can’t have a positive effect on the patient’s condition. Equally important with diabetes is that insulin doses need to be modified based on how much food a cat takes in. A cat’s prescribed insulin dose is based on the assumption that the patient is eating a specific amount of food. If she eats significantly less, the dose must be lowered to avoid the potentially fatal complications of low blood sugar levels. Disease management is much easier and less dangerous if a diabetic cat looks forward to Continue reading >>
Best Diabetic Cat Food
The exact cause of diabetes in cats isn’t known but it seems to affect overweight and obese cats more than other cats. This is probably because being overweight makes the body less sensitive to insulin’s effects. Diabetes is also more likely to occur in older cats – which are also more likely to be overweight. Read Story If your cat is diagnosed with diabetes it is usually a frightening time for an owner. Symptoms typically include lethargy, increased urination, increased thirst, and loss of appetite. Your cat’s urine may be sticky to the touch because it literally contains sugar excreted from his body. Left untreated, diabetes can become life-threatening. However, many cats have diabetes and live long, happy lives with proper management. Following your vet’s diagnosis, you will probably have to give your cat regular doses of the hormone insulin to help control his condition. Feeding your cat a diet suited to his condition can also help manage his diabetes. Quick Look : Top 4 Best Diabetic Cat Foods Food Price Nutrition Rating You probably already know that cats require meat in their diets. They need more meat and protein than dogs and they are not as good at breaking down carbs and starches as dogs. This is even more true when it comes to diabetic cats. Their bodies have greater difficulty moving sugar/glucose from the bloodstream to distribute it to the cells in the body. This is why sugar builds up in the cat’s bloodstream and can become harmful. As you might guess, it makes sense to feed a diabetic cat a diet that has less starch in it so it won’t break down into more sugar/glucose. According to the latest research, diabetic cats can benefit from diets that are high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates. Kitten foods (especially canned kitten foo Continue reading >>
The Ultimate Review Guide To Picking The Best Cat Food For Your Feline Friend
Whether you have just gotten your first kitten or your kitty is entering his “grumpy, old man” phase, you want him to be healthy and happy so naturally you want to give him the best food you can. Cats in general need a high protein diet – they are what we call “obligate carnivores”, which means cats need meat to survive. Cats are unable to manufacture certain amino acids (taurine and arginine) and vitamin A themselves and must get them from their food; in the wild this would be the prey animals they hunted. So, why is it so hard to find the right type of cat food? The answer lies in the sheer quantity of different products available. Conflicting sources don’t make the process easier. That’s why we have teamed up with a veterinarian to provide you our (and her) top picks for your cat. Finding the right food for your cat takes research and knowing exactly what your animal needs to stay healthy. Use the quick links below to find a specific type of food, or scroll down to read more about how to ensure you’re feeding your cat the correct food. Why the Right Food Is Important There are innumerable diets available and every cat has different requirements depending on their activity levels, breed, age and whether or not they have any health concerns. Indoor vs. Outdoor Cats: If your pet lives indoors, he or she will be less active than most outdoor cats and will devote a lot of time each day to grooming and sleeping, thus a lower calorie food may be more suited to prevent excessive weight gain. When cats groom, they ingest some of their hair, thus high fiber foods will help eliminate hairballs. Age: As your pet ages, her appetite will likely decrease. Even subtle metabolic changes by age ten warrant changes in nutrition. Health: Pregnant or nursing queens will n Continue reading >>
Understanding Diabetes In Cats
Feline diabetes mellitus: a serious, but usually controllable, disease It’s estimated that 1 in 200 cats seen by veterinarians is affected by feline diabetes. If your cat is one of them, you should know that cat diabetes is a serious disease that may require your active participation on a daily basis, but with proper care, most diabetic cats can lead active, playful lives. Feline diabetes, or a deficiency of insulin, can be diagnosed at any age. Cats at the greatest risk for developing diabetes are most often older than 6 years of age and/or overweight. Understanding diabetes in cats After a meal, glucose is released into a cat’s bloodstream. When this occurs, the pancreas secretes insulin, which allows glucose to enter cells where it can be used for energy, but when a cat has feline diabetes: The pancreas is impaired and the cat can experience an insulin deficiency As a result, glucose continues to be produced, but it can’t enter cells to be used for energy, and glucose builds up in the blood The glucose levels rise in the blood and eventually in the urine, drawing water out of a cat’s body, resulting in increased urination and thirst As the cells of the body are deprived of glucose, the cat must find another energy source and starts breaking down its own fat and muscle for energy; that’s why your cat may lose weight, despite an increase in appetite When a cat’s body breaks down fat for fuel—instead of glucose—the liver converts some of that fat into “ketones” Excess ketones in the blood and urine can lead to additional complications, including acidosis, an accumulation of acid in the blood. Other potential problems of diabetes include hepatic lipidosis (excess fat in the liver) or urinary tract infections Diagnosing feline diabetes Your veterinaria Continue reading >>
Cats are carnivores – for this reason, their ability to break down carbohydrates is not as well developed as their human counterparts. It is particularly important in the case of diabetic felines that their diet is primarily made up of proteins and very few carbs. Similarly, it’s best to choose a wet food over a dry food. Our 95% Premium Meat canned cat food may be just the food your Veterinarian would suggest to help ward off diabetes and or overweight issues. I encourage you to show your veterinarian the ingredient panel. My hunch he or she will whole heartily agree that Dave’s 95% cat food is a fabulous food for your cat. As the name suggests, meat is the main ingredient. It is grain, corn, cereal, gluten and wheat free. More great news? It comes in a variety of flavors because as pet parents we understand that one flavor does not fit all! For more information on feline diabetes, please take a look at this resource from veterinarian Lisa Pierson, DVM: www.catinfo.org Continue reading >>
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Does Dry Food Really Cause Diabetes In Cats?
Nearly everyone who knows anything about cats agrees that our feline friends are obligate carnivores. This fact is often cited as the reason why cats should eat meat and only meat. It’s also used to support the belief that any food containing an amount of carbohydrates that exceeds the level found in cats’ natural diet in the wild will cause obesity and, worse yet, diabetes. But does eating dry cat food really cause cats to develop diabetes? What have we learned about cats, carbs and disease? Although several studies have investigated the risk factors for diabetes and the link between carbohydrates in cat diets and various health issues, there’s still much more to be learned. Speaking at the 2015 North American Veterinary Community Conference, board-certified veterinary nutritionists Martha Cline and Andrea Fascetti (who’s also a board-certified veterinary internal medicine specialist) addressed the cat and carbohydrate conundrum, including whether carbs in food cause diabetes in cats.1 Their review of the veterinary research literature identified several studies looking into the connection between carbohydrates in food and feline diabetes, including cats’ blood glucose and insulin responses. Here are some of the relevant study findings they presented: In a study in which cats were fed six experimental diets, each containing a different plant-based starch (a type of carbohydrate), the results suggest starch had less effect on cats’ glucose and insulin responses than those of dogs and people. The amount of carbohydrates present in today’s commercial cat foods hasn’t been shown to cause elevated blood glucose levels in cats. Three population studies — using a S.-based colony of cats, insured cats in the United Kingdom and client-owned cats in the Netherl Continue reading >>
Wet Vs. Dry Cat Food
Asking a vet to declare which cat food type is best – canned cat food or dry cat food – treads controversial waters. No matter what answer I give, I’m sure people will disagree. Dry cat food is best for: Cats with dental issues. Dry cat food, especially prescription dental dry foods, creates a bit of abrasive action on cats’ teeth when crunched, and thus slows down tartar accumulation rates on cat teeth. Underweight cats. Cats who need to gain weight benefit from dry cat food, because dry food for cats tends to have more calories than canned food. Canned, wet cat food is best for: Nutritionally challenged cats who need to put on weight. Canned cat food smells more strongly and entices cats, so cats who need to eat more benefit. Conversely from the above, overweight cats. Canned cat food has fewer calories and is better for weight loss when fed on a controlled cat diet. Cats with urinary issues. When fed a canned diet, cats get more hydration out of canned food, which is wet. Cats with constipation issues also do better when fed a canned diet, as these diets contain more moisture. Much has been written about dry cat food, carbohydrates and feline diabetes. Many people believe that cats on a mainly dry cat food diet face increased feline diabetes risk because of dry cat food’s common high carbohydrate content. Carbohydrate content, however, does not necessarily increase incidence of diabetes in cats. Dry foods could more likely lead to obesity in cats, therefore increasing the risk of cat diabetes. Look for quality above all, in either wet cat food or dry cat food. Feeding a little canned cat food in the morning and evening, and having some dry food out for the cat to snack on during the day is a reasonable approach; cats like to eat multiple small meals through Continue reading >>
Low Carb Diet For Diabetic Cats | Ask Dr. Joi
Oftentimes, I am amazed at how diligent the parents of diabetic pets are. Not only are you on top of your pet’s diabetes management, but you’re all so willing and wanting to learn more to keep your pets as happy and healthy as possible. Below is an email from someone who is clearly on top of what her cat needs to stabilize his blood sugar levels with insulin therapy and a specialty low carb diet. Have a read. Maybe there is something you can grab from our interaction and apply to how you are managing your sweetie. Q: Can you please tell me what brands and types of canned cat food are low in carbs? I have a 17-year old cat who has been diabetic for 7 years and takes Prozinc insulin injections twice daily to control his diabetes. I feed him Royal Canin Light formula dry food and he does well, but if I could supplement that with a low-carb canned food I could feed him even less of the dry food and possibly lower the amount of this costly insulin that he needs. He is given 7.5 units twice daily of the Pro Zinc. Thank you in advance for any suggestions you can give to me! Answer: Great question! Carbohydrate content makes a big difference for diabetic cats. (Note: Diabetic dog families, this low-carb discussion does not pertain to diabetic dogs). I would expect if you took your diabetic cat off dry food altogether you will be able to lower his insulin dose. I’ve seen it happen lots of times. I once treated a cat whose blood glucose was in the 400s and 500s when we met. The family was feeding him dry W/D, which is a quality pet food. He was eating dry food only, and he had been diabetic for several months. Since I believe in low-carb diets for diabetic cats, I changed his diet and left the insulin dose the same. Changing him to canned-only without dry food dropped the b Continue reading >>
What Is Cat Diabetes?
Cat Diabetes Diabetes mellitus, the clinical name for "sugar diabetes," is a condition that affects the concentration of glucose, a type of sugar, in a cat's blood. Diabetes in cats is rarely the result of a shortage of insulin (Type I Diabetes). More commonly, diabetes results when a cat's body has trouble using the insulin it has made properly (Type II Diabetes). Insulin affects the way a cat's body uses food. When a cat eats, food is broken down into very small components that the body can use. One component, carbohydrate, is converted into several types of sugars, including glucose. Glucose is absorbed from the intestines into the blood. Once in the bloodstream, glucose travels to cells where it can be absorbed and used as a source of energy-if insulin is present. Without enough insulin, glucose can't enter cells and builds up in the bloodstream. So a cat may act hungry all the time and eat constantly, but still lose weight because its cells can't absorb glucose. Most cats develop Type II Diabetes, in which their cells no longer respond normally to the amounts of insulin produced by the pancreas. While many cats initially require daily insulin injections, the treatment goal is to correct the factors or conditions causing insulin resistance. If these factors, such as obesity, can be adequately controlled, many cats will experience temporary remission or permanent resolution of their diabetes. Many cats with Type II Diabetes will experience marked improvement in their insulin sensitivity when changed to a species-appropriate high protein, low carbohydrate food. However, not all cats with diabetes are suited to this type of diet. Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough evaluation and recommend the most appropriate diet and treatment for your cat's diabetes. Diabetes Continue reading >>
Feeding Your Diabetic Cat All members of the feline species are OBLIGATE CARNIVORES – this includes lions, tigers and our domestic cats. The feline genetic makeup requires cats to eat the tissue of other animals in order to thrive primarily because their digestive tracts are not able to adequately process a diet saturated with high carbohydrates from plant matter. The food we feed our cats is directly responsible for their overall health. Until an illness like FD is diagnosed, most of us haven’t given a second thought about the specific ingredients in the canned or dry kibble we feed our cats. Because of life stage and convenience “claims” made on pet food labels, coupled with veterinary advice we are given based on less than optimal and questionable education offered at the university level by the pet food companies themselves; we assume the foods we’re feeding are in fact species appropriate when more often than not, that isn’t remotely the case! A diet high in carbohydrates is a recipe for poor health for our cats and contributes heavily to diabetes in cats. Many cats with FD will even stop needing insulin once dry food is removed from their diet, certainly most diabetic cats will need less insulin once they are changed to a species appropriate diet. Feeding your cat dry food is the equivalent of raising your children on a steady diet of donuts and candy! That said, before you toss that bag of kibble in the trash, if your cat is already on insulin, please do not simply remove the dry food – this is a recipe for disaster which can and does result in clinical hypo. Before making any changes to your diabetic cat’s diet, please join us on Forum for important Detox information to help you make the transition from dry food to low carb wet food safely. Becau Continue reading >>
Feline Diabetes: The Influence Of Diet
Feline diabetes mellitus is similar to human type II diabetes, also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes. In these patients, the pancreas is able to produce insulin, though it is not enough to adequately control blood sugar. This may be due to damage from inflammation of the pancreas, overwork/exhaustion of the pancreas due to chronically elevated blood sugar and/or if the cells of the body have become somewhat resistant to insulin. Whatever the cause or causes, the end result is the insulin produced by the pancreas is no longer enough to control blood sugar.¹ Glucose is a sugar, so the terms blood glucose and blood sugar are used interchangeably. Certain disease states can contribute to or cause diabetes if they damage the pancreas or cause sustained increases in blood sugar. These conditions include pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas, hormonal diseases such as hyperthyroidism or hyperadrenocorticism, and persistent infection, such as that from chronic dental infection. Certain pharmaceutical drugs that cause increases in blood glucose, most notably steroids, may also contribute to diabetes in cats.² Lastly, obesity contributes to diabetes. Obesity in cats leads to peripheral insulin resistance. A substance called amyloid which interferes with pancreatic function has also been found to be present in the pancreas of obese cats.³ Certain breeds of cats seem more likely to develop diabetes, primarily Burmese cats. The more common reasons for obesity and peripheral insulin resistance in cats however, are quite simple. An inappropriately high-carbohydrate diet in a carnivorous species coupled with low physical activity.⁴ In order to understand how this occurs, we must try to understand the feline, their dietary needs, and what their bodies do not ne Continue reading >>