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 Continue reading