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Taking Feline Diabetes Down

Feline diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is being found in a startling number of cats and if left untreated, the consequences can be fatal. It’s essential to be attentive of the signs potentially suggesting the presence of this condition so you can give your cat the best possible treatment at a chance of a quality life.

What is diabetes mellitus?

In a healthy cat, sugar in the form of glucose, is required by the body for energy. The pancreas produces the hormone, insulin, which attaches to cells and indicates when to absorb glucose. This absorption provides essential fuel to the liver, muscles and cells in fat deposits, simultaneously reducing the glucose levels in the blood. Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which some feline bodies are unable to produce or respond to the hormone insulin, thereby causing a dangerous surge in sugar glucose levels.

Type I diabetes is when the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient levels of insulin, resulting in higher concentrations of glucose. Type II diabetes is caused by the body’s cells’ inefficiency to respond properly to insulin. Cats with diabetes typically suffer from Type II.

Clinical Signs

  • Weight loss irrespective of increased appetite
  • Excessive thirst and urination, thereby causing a possibility of dehydration
  • In neglected cases, nerve damage to the hind limbs may occur
  • Depression
  • Coma
  • Death

Diagnosis

Your vet will not only enquire about potential symptoms your cat maybe experiencing, as mentioned above, but they will need to test blood and urine to establish the glucose concentrations therein. Although these symptoms could signal your kitty has diabetes, they may also be the result of several other diseases.

Blood tests to diagnosis diabetes are not always clear-cut because even healthy cats may display elevated glucose levels in their blood, resulting from stress onset by a veterinarian visit, otherwise known as hyperglycemia. Therefore, healthy cats that don’t have diabetes, may have temporary heightened blood glucose concentrations when tested by a vet. To avoid this misconception, veterinarians will alternatively measure the levels of fructosamine in the blood. Cats with acute diabetes will show increased levels of fructosamine which is assumed not to be considerably influenced by stress levels. Fructosamine levels are therefore, accurate in ascertaining the valid blood glucose measures, thereby establishing an accurate diagnosis of diabetes in cats.

Treatment

Treatment of cats with diabetes aims to:

  • Reduce and/or prevent any further weight loss
  • Reduce and/or prevent any further indications of excess thirst and urination
  • Regulate appetite
  • Re-establish blood glucose to normal levels

Insulin Therapy

Diabetic cats are typically treated with injectable insulin and owners can learn to execute the procedure at home. With practice, owners and cats will feel more at ease with the process. Insulin preparations vary in terms of duration and the outcomes associated with fluctuations of blood glucose. Your vet will periodically administer insulin over a duration of between 12 – 24 hours, as a control to determine the type of insulin and dosage rate that ideally manages your cat’s particular blood glucose concentrations.

Diet

Low carbohydrate diets have proven to control blood glucose concentrations in the body. If your cat is underweight, because of the diabetes, ensure to feed them numerous meals a day or allow them unlimited access to their food, both day and night. On the other end of the spectrum, ask your vet to prescribe a diet suitable for an overweight cat which will likely assist their bodies in maintaining more balanced glucose levels.

Management and Monitoring

Although there is no cure for feline diabetes, it can be managed if the owner is well-informed and dedicated to treating the condition. If the disease is treated with commitment, a cat can live a high-quality life for an extended number of years. In some cases, cats may go into remission, no longer depending on insulin treatments. However, owners should still be consistently vigilant of any clinical symptoms of diabetes and maintain a low carbohydrate diet.

Parents of diabetic cats should closely watch their purry pal’s appetite, body weight, water consumption, urination frequency, the quantity of insulin given as well as blood or urine glucose levels. All this information should be recorded and conveyed to your veterinarian on a regular basis. Weakness, lethargy, tremors, seizures and vomiting are signs of hypoglycaemia. In such cases, a glucose solution, dextrose gel or honey should be smeared onto your kitty’s gums followed by an immediate consult with your veterinarian.

As daunting as feline diabetes appears, it really is manageable, and your cat can still live a long, high quality life. With some research and education from reputable sources; commitment to administering the necessary treatments and keeping a watchful eye on your kitty, you’ll be able to take feline diabetes down!

Written for inFURmation
by Taliah Williamson

 

 

Understanding pet diabetes

Globally, and in South Africa, pet diabetes is on the rise, and pet owners are looking for health management plans to keep their fur babies happy, healthy and living longer lives.

“It’s so important for pet owners to understand that diabetes is not a death sentence for their pet,” says Tarryn Dent, Diagnostic and Technical Manager at Zoetis South Africa, a global animal health company

“We’ve found that a lack of awareness can either lead to a missed diagnosis because pet owners don’t know what to look for or, if a pet is diagnosed with diabetes, many owners think that there is nothing left for them to do when the reverse is true. With consistent management, diabetes should have a minimal impact on pet owners and their pets’ daily routines.”

This management includes at-home blood glucose monitoring, insulin, diet and an exercise plan, through which every pet can live an active and happy life with diabetes.

Proactive health management

Type I and Type II diabetes in pets is more common than many pet owners think. Indications that could point to pet diabetes include unexplained fatigue or weakness, excessive thirst, frequent urination, an increased appetite and sudden weight loss.

“Pet owners who recognise any of these signs should ask their veterinarian to check for diabetes,” says Dent. “It’s a simple blood or urine test, and then a management plan can be put in place.”

Dent has long advocated for proactive diagnostics for pets, and diabetes screening is a perfect example of how beneficial diagnostics can be for pet owners whose pets are members of the family.

“Annual screenings can track if there have been any changes, particularly in insulin and glucose levels. The sooner an issue is picked up, the sooner it can be managed.”

Home screening is another option for pet owners who know that their pets experience elevated levels of stress at the vet or outside their normal routines, as stress can cause non-routine blood spikes in sugar levels.

4 simple steps to managing pet diabetes

The goal of any diabetes treatment is to control the amount of glucose in a cat or dog’s blood, which will reduce symptoms and help minimise or prevent complications.

Each diabetes plan is personalised to the pet and its owner and could include all or some of these protocols:

1. Insulin injections

Insulin dosing involves giving a pet a small insulin injection based on a specific dose and schedule. The injection is painless but it’s important to keep track of the time and amount of insulin that a pet receives.

2. Diet

Diets that eliminate or reduce sugar surges are usually preferred and can help pets lead long and healthy lives. Any changes in diet should be monitored, however, and the amount of food and water consumed should be tracked, as this will help a veterinarian determine if the diet is having a positive impact on an animal’s diabetes.

3. Exercise

Consistency in a pet’s daily exercise schedule is critical for diabetes management. If daily activity levels vary, an animal may require different amounts of insulin. Weekly weight checks can also monitor a pet’s health.

4. Blood glucose monitoring

Monitoring a diabetic pet’s blood glucose gives veterinarians the data they need to better manage a diabetes treatment plan. Typically, a veterinarian will either need to take several readings over a specified time frame, or a pet owner can take the readings at home using an at-home glucose monitor. Although it may initially appear daunting to a pet owner to be monitoring their pet’s glucose levels at home, there are benefits to this. Stress, and changes in an animal’s eating regime can have significant effects on glucose levels. Home testing allows veterinarians to get a complete picture of the pet’s glucose in their natural environment, eliminating the effects of being in hospital.

Fortunately, there are animal-specific, accurate and, most importantly, easy-to-use glucometers available that require a very small sample size to help pet owners easily do at-home testing for their diabetic animals.

Getting the most accurate representation of an animal’s glucose throughout the day allows a veterinarian to put the best management plan in place, which helps to minimise or avoid emergency room expenses and long-term diabetes complications.

A long, healthy life

According to Dent, with consistent management, diabetes should have minimal impact on the daily lives and routines of pets and their owners. “Veterinarians work closely with pet owners to ensure the health and wellness of their pets, and there are a range of diagnostic tools to support them. Diabetes is thankfully completely manageable, and pets with Type I and Type II diabetes can live long and happy lives.”  

Source: East Coast Radio

Pet diabetes is not a death sentence

Pet diabetes is not a death sentence

Monitoring a diabetic pet’s blood glucose gives veterinarians the data they need to better manage a diabetes treatment plan.

Globally, and in South Africa, pet diabetes is on the rise, and pet owners are looking for health management plans to keep their fur babies happy, healthy and living longer lives.

“It’s important for pet owners to understand that diabetes is not a death sentence for their pet,” said Tarryn Dent, diagnostic and technical manager at Zoetis South Africa, a global animal health company.

“We’ve found that a lack of awareness can either lead to a missed diagnosis because pet owners don’t know what to look for or if a pet is diagnosed with diabetes, many owners think that there is nothing left for them to do when the opposite is true.

“With consistent management, diabetes should have a minimal impact on pet owners and their pets’ daily routines.”

This management includes at-home blood glucose monitoring, insulin, diet and an exercise plan through which every pet can live an active and happy life with diabetes.

Proactive health management

Type I and Type II diabetes in pets is more common than many pet owners think.

Indications that could point to pet diabetes include unexplained fatigue or weakness, excessive thirst, frequent urination, an increased appetite and sudden weight loss.

“Pet owners who recognise any of these signs should ask their veterinarian to check for diabetes,” said Dent.

“It’s a simple blood or urine test, and then a management plan can be put in place.”

Dent has long advocated for proactive diagnostics for pets, and diabetes screening is a perfect example of how beneficial diagnostics can be for pet owners.

“Annual screenings can track if there have been any changes, particularly in insulin and glucose levels.

The sooner an issue is picked up, the sooner it can be managed.”

Home screening is another option for pet owners who know that their pets experience elevated levels of stress at the vet or outside their normal routines as stress can cause non-routine blood spikes in sugar levels.

Four simple steps to manage pet diabetes

The goal of any diabetes treatment is to control the amount of glucose in a cat or dog’s blood, which will reduce symptoms and help minimise or prevent complications.

Each diabetes plan is personalised to the pet and its owner and could include all or some of these protocols:

  • Insulin injections
    Insulin dosing involves giving a pet a small insulin injection based on a specific dose and schedule. The injection is painless but it’s important to keep track of the time and amount of insulin that a pet receives.
  • Diet
    Diets that eliminate or reduce sugar surges are usually preferred and can help pets lead long and healthy lives. Any changes in diet should be monitored, however, and the amount of food and water consumed should be tracked, as this will help a veterinarian determine if the diet is having a positive impact on an animal’s diabetes.
  • Exercise
    Consistency in a pet’s daily exercise schedule is critical for diabetes management. If daily activity levels vary, an animal may require different amounts of insulin. Weekly weight checks can also monitor a pet’s health.
  • Blood glucose monitoring
    Monitoring a diabetic pet’s blood glucose gives veterinarians the data they need to better manage a diabetes treatment plan. Typically, a veterinarian will either need to take several readings over a specified time frame or a pet owner can take the readings at home using an at-home glucose monitor.

Although it may initially appear daunting to a pet owner to be monitoring their pet’s glucose levels at home, there are benefits to this. Stress and changes in an animal’s eating regime can have significant effects on glucose levels.

Home testing allows veterinarians to get a complete picture of the pet’s glucose in their natural environment, eliminating the effects of being in hospital.

Fortunately, there are animal-specific, accurate and most importantly, easy-to-use glucometers available that require a very small sample size to help pet owners easily do at-home testing for their diabetic animals.

Source: Benoni City Times