How To Treat Diabetes In Cats?

How To Treat Diabetes In Cats
Insulin injections are the preferred method of managing diabetes in cats.

  1. You can do it!
  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.

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How long do cats live with diabetes?

Feline Diabetes Overview Fact Sheet UPDATE: Please be aware that our opening hours have changed on Monday 19th September. Please contact us for any emergency care. Diabetes mellitus (known most frequently simply as ‘diabetes’) is a condition whereby there is a deficiency in naturally-produced insulin within the body. This can be either an ‘absolute deficiency’ (not enough insulin is produced) or a ‘relative deficiency’ (where the body does not respond adequately to the insulin available) or a combination of both.

Insulin is vital for maintaining blood sugar levels within the acceptable range, and is also integral in facilitating the cells of the body to utilise blood sugar (glucose) for energy. The lack of insulin causes glucose to become dangerously high in the bloodstream, leading to it being lost into urine.

High blood sugar combined with glucose in the urine are the cardinal signs of diabetes. Diabetes can be split into many types, with the two most common being Type I and Type II. Cats suffer almost exclusively from Type II diabetes, which is characterised by a reduction in response of the body to insulin (called insulin resistance), often alongside an inadequate amount of insulin being produced.

Obesity Diet and exercise routine Genetics Some drugs / medications (e.g. steroids) Other diseases (e.g. pancreatitis, hormone diseases)

Cats who develop diabetes as a result of one or more of the above risk factors initially develop insulin resistance. Insulin’s role is to lower blood sugar levels. This is in part by stimulating glucose to be stored and in part by allowing cells to use up glucose as fuel, and so resistance to this action leads to higher blood sugar levels and to cells being starved of energy.

High blood sugar then has a toxic effect on the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, reducing the amount of insulin they can produce. This reduced insulin level causes blood sugar to increase even further and simultaneously prevents the cells of the body from accessing the energy they need. It is the combination of high blood sugar and the inability to use the available energy that causes the clinical signs we recognise in cases of diabetes.

The most common clinical signs associated with diabetes are increased drinking, increased urination, a normal-to-increased appetite and weight loss. The increased urination is often profound and happens as a result of the glucose passing through the kidneys into the urine.

  • This prevents the kidneys from retaining water normally (‘osmotic diuresis’), leading to significantly increased urine production.
  • To prevent becoming dehydrated as a result of this, cats with diabetes therefore have to drink a lot more water to compensate for the high urine production.
  • Weight loss occurs as a result of the inability to use the blood glucose for energy.

To compensate for not being able to use blood glucose for energy, the body has to utilise fat and protein stores, leading to breakdown and loss of both fat stores and also muscle. Cats with diabetes typically develop a reduced muscle volume, but because many cats who develop diabetes were overweight-to-obese in the first place, this can be more challenging to appreciate in some patients.

In cats with severe or uncontrolled diabetes, the breakdown in fat and muscle can lead to a further syndrome called ketoacidosis which, if left untreated, will progress from vomiting, diarrhoea and severe dehydration to coma and death. Other signs can also be seen as a result of other underlying diseases that contribute the development or worsening of diabetes.

The most common of these diseases are urinary tract infections, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and some hormone diseases, such as hyperthyroidism or Cushing’s disease. Diagnosis of feline diabetes is generally relatively straightforward and is based on the presence of a persistently high blood sugar level, the presence of glucose in the urine, and compatible clinical signs.

Blood and urine glucose can be measured easily by a veterinary surgeon. A slight complication in the diagnosis of diabetes is that cats often show a temporary increase in blood sugar as a result of stress (referred to as ‘stress hyperglycaemia’). Generally, this is so short-lived that it does not cause measurable amounts of glucose to enter the urine, and as such the measurement of urine glucose is integral to the diagnosis to prevent a wrong diagnosis being made.

Further evidence to support the diagnosis of diabetes can be gained by demonstrating that high blood glucose is persistent by measuring it on multiple occasions, or by measuring a further parameter called fructosamine. Fructosamine acts as marker for the average blood sugar over the previous two weeks, and so would only be expected to be high in patients with persistently elevated blood glucose levels.

At the time of diagnosis of diabetes, it is also important to check further general blood parameters to screen for any of the previously discussed diseases that contribute to its development, as these may need treating at the same time as the diabetes for the treatment to be effective. If there is suspicion of other diseases, further blood tests for specific diseases (with or without x-rays of the chest and ultrasound scanning of the abdomen) may be recommended.

In some cats, it is possible for treatment of diabetes to lead to the disease resolving. The regularity with which this occurs is variably reported and depends greatly on the intensity of management and the circumstances within which the diabetes occurred.

  • Estimates of rates of remission vary from around 17-60% (with the lower estimates more likely to be accurate), and so, whilst remission can always be aimed for, expectations need to be tempered about the likelihood of success.
  • Remission is considerably more likely in patients who were previously treated with drugs that cause diabetes (and which have been stopped), patients who were significantly overweight or obese and who have undergone a controlled weight loss programme, and patients whose blood glucose can be tightly controlled relatively quickly after diagnosis.

Remission is also more likely in cats who will consistently eat a diabetic diet. Remission is thought to occur because of a combination of reduced pre-disposing causes of diabetes and reversal of the toxic effects of high blood sugar on the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, allowing return to normal production levels.

In cats who begin to enter remission, insulin treatment can be gradually reduced and eventually discontinued. It is important to note that cats who have entered remission will frequently develop diabetes again in the future and so continued monitoring is required even once treatment has stopped. Cats who are treated effectively for diabetes can live for very prolonged periods after diagnosis.

Average length of life after diagnosis is variable dependent on which study is examined, however, average lifespans of up to around three years are reported in some studies. Considering that diabetes is more common in older cats, this length of time can often represent something approaching a normal lifespan.

Quality of life in diabetic cats is typically good to very good. A common cause of treatment failure and euthanasia is owner stress about caring for diabetic cats, including issues with care during holidays, difficulty with managing work and life commitments alongside insulin injections, and financial difficulty.

It is very important to discuss any issues with management that you are having with your local vet, as there are often solutions to these issues if needed. Chasing the ‘perfect’ management of diabetes should never be at the expense of your or your cat’s quality of life and regimes can always be adapted to make them more manageable.

How do you treat diabetes in cats without insulin?

Strictly Controlled Diet As Possible Alternative – A strictly-controlled diet can be useful in controlling blood glucose levels in cats with diabetes. Feeding your cat special food by itself may or may not be completely effective, and it is most likely to work for cats who do not have severe diabetes.

The most commonly recommended food for a cat with diabetes is a diet containing high levels of protein and low levels of carbohydrates.   If you are feeding your cat commercial food, canned cat foods are preferred (as opposed to kibble or dry food). A high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet can be combined with one of the oral hypoglycemic medications to further help regulate your cat’s blood glucose levels.

It is possible that this may be more effective than using diet or medication alone.

What should diabetic cats avoid?

If your cat is diabetic, it is best to stay away from foods that are based on white flour. Generally, white flour is not a preferred food for both humans and animals and it should be strictly avoided in case your cat is diabetic. Instead, feed your cat food that is based on whole grains or even no grains.

How did my cat get diabetes?

Feline Diabetes What is Diabetes? Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the body cannot properly produce or respond to the hormone insulin. This results in elevated levels of the sugar glucose in the blood, which is the main source of energy for the body.

Like the human body, the cells in a cat’s body need sugar in the form of glucose for energy. However, glucose in the blood requires insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, to “unlock” the door to cells. Insulin attaches to cells and signals when the time is right to absorb glucose. By absorbing glucose, cells in fat deposits, the liver, and the muscles get vital fuel while lowering levels of glucose in the blood.

In Type I diabetes, blood glucose concentrations are high because of a decrease in insulin production. In Type II diabetes, glucose levels are high because cells in the body do not respond appropriately to insulin. In both Type I and Type II diabetes, cells cannot access the nutrients they need even though there is plenty of sugar in the blood, because insulin can’t transport the sugar from the bloodstream into the cells that need it.

Cats with diabetes most commonly suffer from the Type II form of the disease. It is estimated that between 0.2 % and 1 % of cats will be diagnosed with diabetes during their lifetime. Risk Factors The most important risk factors identified for the development of diabetes in cats include, increasing age, physical inactivity, male gender, and the use of glucocorticoids (steroids) to treat other illnesses such as feline asthma.

In some countries, Burmese cats appear to have a higher risk of developing diabetes than other breeds, but this may not be true in the United States.

  • Obese cats are up to four times more likely to develop diabetes than ideal weight cats, so the most important thing a cat owner can do to decrease their risk of developing diabetes is to maintain a healthy weight and encourage physical activity through daily play.
  • Clinical Signs
  • The two most common signs of diabetes noticed by owners at home are weight loss despite a good appetite and increased thirst and urination.
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Weight loss may be noticed at home or during a routine examination with the veterinarian. In both Type I and Type II diabetes, the cells in the body are unable to absorb glucose from the blood and become starved of energy. To get the energy it needs, the body turns to other sources, breaking down fats and proteins to feed glucose-starved cells.

This breakdown results in weight loss, despite an increased appetite. Excessive thirst and urination can also signal diabetes in a cat. High levels of sugar in the blood can overwhelm the ability of the kidney to filter glucose, allowing sugar to “spill out” of the blood and into the urine. This high urine glucose concentration can actually pull excessive amounts of water into the urine, resulting in increased urine volume, increased urinary water loss, a propensity for dehydration, and a compensatory increase in thirst.

In rare cases of uncontrolled diabetes, cats may experience damage to the nerves in the hind limbs, resulting in a “plantigrade” stance of the hind limbs (walking or standing with their hocks on or close to the ground). This is not painful, and will often resolve with treatment.

  • Diagnosis Your veterinarian will diagnose diabetes mellitus by demonstrating persistently elevated glucose levels in a cat’s blood and urine.
  • This testing, along with consistent clinical signs, will lead to the diagnosis of diabetes.
  • A single blood glucose reading in a veterinary clinic may not be sufficient to diagnose diabetes in all cases.

Cats can develop a short-term elevation in blood glucose as a response to stress, known as stress hyperglycemia. In these uncertain cases a lab test known as a fructosamine concentration can be helpful. This test gives a rough average of a cat’s blood glucose concentration over the last two weeks, so would not be affected by stress hyperglycemia.

  1. Other tests will likely be recommended by the veterinarian to rule out other diseases which might be contributing to a cat’s clinical signs, such as a urinary tract infection, chronic kidney disease, pancreatitis or hyperthyroidism.
  2. Treatment
  3. The main goals of treatment for feline diabetes are:
  • Restoring normal blood glucose concentrations
  • Stopping or controlling weight loss
  • Stopping or minimizing signs of increased thirst and urination
  • Avoiding inappropriately low blood sugar due to treatment (hypoglycemia)

These goals are best achieved through a combination of insulin and dietary therapy. Insulin Therapy Injectable insulin is a mainstay of treatment for feline diabetes. Unlike humans with Type II diabetes, oral medications to reduce blood sugar such as glipizide have not shown to be consistently effective in cats.

There are multiple types of insulin preparations that can be used for cats in the treatment of diabetes, such as lente insulin (Vetsulin), ProZinc or glargine insulin. These types of insulin vary in cost, duration of action, and concentration, so it is important for an owner to discuss the pros and cons of each type with their veterinarian when deciding which insulin is best for their cat.

It is also important to note that each insulin type has a specific syringe size (U-100 or U-40), so it is vital that a cat owner ensure that they are using the appropriate syringe for their cat’s insulin. Insulin injections are given under the skin (subcutaneously) approximately every 12 hours.

While giving injections may seem daunting, most owners can be taught to administer these injections at home quite easily and due to the very small needle size, cats tend to tolerate these injections very well. Though ideally injections should be spaced 12 hours apart, varying injection times by 1-2 hours when needed will not adversely affect a cats’ treatment.

Dietary Therapy A diet low in carbohydrates has been shown to improve blood sugar regulation in diabetic cats. There are several prescription food options that are available in both wet and dry food forms, though feeding a wet-food only diet may be beneficial for many cats.

For cats who are overweight when diagnosed with diabetes, slow, controlled weight loss under the close monitoring of a veterinarian is very important to achieve better control over blood glucose levels. The optimal timing of meals for diabetic cats is controversial. Many veterinarians recommend feeding at the time of insulin injection to avoid a dangerous drop in blood glucose levels.

However, there is no definitive evidence that the timing or frequency of meals in diabetic cats protects them from insulin-induced hypoglycemia. With a low carbohydrate diet, free choice feeding may be acceptable for cats who prefer to “graze” throughout the day, especially if a longer-acting insulin preparation is used.

If food must be withheld for any reason, such as an anesthetic procedure, it is generally recommended to give 50 percent of the usual dose of insulin, with careful follow-up monitoring to ensure good glycemic control. Monitoring Close monitoring by both the owner and the veterinarian is an essential part of treatment for a diabetic cat.

Regular monitoring will help determine the ideal insulin dose for each cat as well as help avoid complications, such as hypoglycemia or uncontrolled diabetes and diabetic ketoacidosis. Regular assessments of weight, water intake, and appetite should be recorded to help determine if treatment goals are being met.

  • Blood glucose curves are the ideal way to monitor blood sugar regulation during treatment.
  • During a blood glucose curve, the cat’s blood sugar will be checked right before receiving an insulin injection, and then every 1-4 hours throughout the day.
  • This helps make sure that the average blood glucose is within an acceptable range, and that the value does not drop dangerously low at any time throughout the day.

These assessments may need to be performed every few weeks when a cat is first diagnosed with diabetes in order to determine the appropriate dose of insulin, but can be spaced out further once the diabetes is more well-regulated. Even in a stable cat, blood glucose curves should still be performed every 3-4 months, as insulin needs can change over time.

Eventually, many cat owners can learn to perform blood glucose curves at home. This helps avoid stress hyperglycemia and inappetence experienced by many cats in the veterinary clinic, and can therefore give more accurate results. Blood can be collected at home from an ear vein or paw pad, and should be read on a blood glucose monitor that has been validated in cats.

Alternatively, some veterinarians may utilize a continuous blood glucose monitoring system to help determine blood sugar concentrations at home. With this approach, a small monitor is implanted on the cat’s skin in the veterinary clinic, and it stays in place and records blood glucose readings every few minutes for up to two weeks.

Though this can provide a lot of information without repeated needle pricks, not all cats will tolerate the monitor for long, so it is not a viable option for all owners. It is very important that owners who monitor blood glucose readings at home do NOT change their cat’s insulin dose without first consulting with their veterinarian.

If performing a blood glucose curve is not an option, a fructosamine concentration can be used to get a rough estimate of blood sugar control over the last two weeks with a single blood sample. However, this is not an ideal way of monitoring a diabetic cat, as it only measures the average, rather than the blood sugar highs and lows throughout the day, and these are often more important in determining the success of their treatment.

  1. Prognosis and Remission Though there is no cure for feline diabetes, the prognosis for a good quality of life is good with adequate management at home.
  2. With early, aggressive treatment of diabetes, many cats will enter a state of diabetic remission, meaning they are able to maintain normal blood sugar levels without insulin injections.

Older cats, cats who have previously received steroid medications, and cats treated with glargine insulin have been shown to be more likely to go into diabetic remission, but the most important factor is starting insulin therapy early and monitoring closely.

If a cat has not entered diabetic remission within the first six months after diagnosis, it will almost certainly require life-long insulin injections. Cats who have achieved diabetic remission should continue to be fed a low-carbohydrate diet and receive close monitoring, as some will eventually require insulin therapy again.

Last updated 2021 : Feline Diabetes

Is there a pill form of insulin for cats?

December 8, 2022 Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first oral new animal drug to improve glycemic control in otherwise healthy cats with diabetes mellitus not previously treated with insulin. Bexacat (bexagliflozin tablets) is also the first sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor new animal drug approved by the FDA in any animal species.

An SGLT2 inhibitor is not insulin and is not for use in cats with the type of diabetes mellitus that requires insulin treatment. The labeling for Bexacat includes a boxed warning regarding the critical need for appropriate patient selection and the potential for certain severe adverse reactions. As with people, the cells of a cat’s body need sugar in the form of glucose for energy.

Cats with diabetes mellitus cannot properly produce or respond to the hormone insulin, which helps cells use glucose as a source of energy for normal function. Without treatment, cats with diabetes mellitus will have high levels of glucose in their blood and urine.

The first symptoms of diabetes mellitus are usually increased thirst and urine output, weight loss, and increased appetite. Diabetes mellitus in cats often requires lifelong therapy. Cats with diabetes mellitus have been traditionally treated with a combination of insulin therapy and diet. Insulin therapy requires owners to administer insulin injections, usually twice a day, roughly 12 hours apart at the same time each day.

Bexagliflozin, the active ingredient in Bexacat, prevents the cat’s kidneys from reabsorbing glucose into the blood, causing excess glucose to be passed out in the urine and resulting in lowered blood glucose. Bexacat is given to cats orally once daily via a flavored tablet.

Although there are notable safety concerns with the use of Bexacat, they can be mitigated by carefully screening cats before starting the drug, continued diligent monitoring regardless of the duration of or response to treatment, and knowing how to promptly recognize and appropriately treat serious and life-threatening adverse reactions.

The data from two 6-month field studies and an extended use field study demonstrated that Bexacat was over 80 percent effective in improving glycemic control in cats with diabetes mellitus. However, potential patients must be selected carefully and screened to evaluate for kidney, liver and pancreatic disease, as well as ketoacidosis (a high level of a type of acids, known as ketones, in the blood).

Bexacat should not be used in cats who have previously been treated with insulin, are receiving insulin treatment, or who have insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, as serious adverse reactions can occur. Bexacat should not be initiated in cats who are not eating well, dehydrated, or lethargic when diagnosed with diabetes mellitus.

Cats treated with Bexacat may be at an increased risk of serious adverse reactions, including diabetic ketoacidosis or euglycemic diabetic ketoacidosis, which can be fatal. Cats with diabetic ketoacidosis or euglycemic ketoacidosis should be treated as emergencies, including discontinuation of Bexacat and initiation of insulin therapy.

  1. All cats who receive Bexacat should be examined and have blood tests at regular intervals following initiation of treatment.
  2. Cats should be carefully monitored for lack of appetite, lethargy, dehydration, and weight loss.
  3. Cat owners who note any of these signs should stop Bexacat treatment and immediately take the cat to a veterinarian, who should assess the cat for diabetic ketoacidosis or euglycemic diabetic ketoacidosis.
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Clients whose cats receive Bexacat should receive a Client Information Sheet informing them of the potential risks associated with Bexacat treatment, signs to watch for, and what to do if their cat becomes symptomatic. There will also be educational outreach to veterinarians to familiarize them with the appropriate use of the product.

The outreach and materials will be available so veterinarians can learn about the product before prescribing its use. As with all new animal drugs, veterinarians and clients should report any adverse events to the sponsor, which is required to provide those reports to the FDA. Veterinarians and clients may also report directly to the FDA,

Bexacat oral tablets are administered to cats weighing 6.6 pounds (3.0 kg) or greater once daily, at approximately the same time each day, with or without food and regardless of blood glucose level. Bexacat is supplied in 15mg flavored tablets in 30 and 90-count bottles.

Freedom of Information Summary Client Information Sheet Dear Veterinarian Letter advising veterinarians of important safety conditions associated with the use of Bexacat (bexagliflozin tablets) for improving glycemic control in certain cats with diabetes mellitus

Issued by FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine. For questions, Contact CVM,

What food is best for diabetic cat?

How to Feed Diabetic Cats – Consistency is key when it comes to feeding diabetic cats, particularly if they are on insulin. Cats should eat the same amount of food at the same time each day. Most diabetic cats receive two daily insulin injections that are given 12 hours apart.

Ideally, food should be offered just before the next dose of insulin is due. That way, if a cat does not eat a full meal, the amount of insulin can be reduced. Your veterinarian will put together a detailed plan regarding when and how to adjust insulin dosages. If in doubt, do not give your cat any insulin and call your veterinarian for advice.

Treats should be limited to 10 percent of a diabetic cat’s diet and given at the same time every day. Good options like freeze-dried chicken, beef, salmon, tuna, and liver are high in protein and low in carbohydrates, just like the foods recommended for diabetic cats.

  • Stop giving treats if they interfere with your cat’s appetite at regular mealtimes.
  • Finally, never make any changes to your diabetic cat’s insulin dose or diet without first talking to your veterinarian.
  • Diabetes management is a delicate balance between diet and insulin levels.
  • Changing one almost invariably necessitates a change in the other to keep cats safe from potentially fatal fluctuations in their blood sugar levels.

: Best Food for Cats with Diabetes

Is a cat with diabetes in pain?

Diabetes in Cats: Frequently asked questions Most cat parents overlook the concern of diabetes in cats and they end up spending lots of time and money to get the health concern under control. As a cat parent, it is inevitable for you to arm yourself with some information regarding cat diabetes, like diabetes symptoms and some prevention tips.

  • Cat diabetics is easily preventable diabetes, provided you invest some time, effort and foresee some scenarios.
  • Maintaining an active working relationship with your veterinarian can be handy to take timely actions.
  • Here is a list of frequently asked questions about cat diabetics.
  • What are the reasons for cat diabetics? The exact reason for diabetes in cats is still unknown, however, some cats, by breed are more vulnerable to diabetes when compared to the other.

For instance, Burmese cats are 3.7 times more vulnerable to diabetes when compared to other breeds. This condition is increasingly more in older cats. What are the earliest symptoms of diabetics in cats? Some of the earliest symptoms of cat diabetes are frequent thirst, urination, and increased appetite.

Cat trying to drink water from unusual sources like kitchen sinks and bathtubAn unusually excessive quantity of urine in the litter boxCat demanding more food than usual

What are the latter symptoms of diabetics in cats?

The reluctance of your cat to engage in any kind of physical activity like to jump and walk.Hind legs of your cat touching the ground when she walks.Lack of appetite and vomiting are considered to be serious signs of diabetes in cats, which indicates that your feline is seriously affected by the health concern.Preventing diabetes in cats

How do you treat a cat with diabetics? Feeding your cat an appropriate diet is the first thing that you need to consider for alleviating the concern of cat diabetes. Prepare a diet which is low in carbohydrate. Almost all dry cat food is rich in carbohydrate and low in protein, therefore, it is ideal to stay away from dry cat food.

Canned cat food or homemade food for your feline companion can be your one-stop solution. If the concern seems out of hand, your cat will need an insulin injection that can be prescribed and administered by your veterinarian. Veterinarians can train to administer insulin at your home. Once you start treating your cat for diabetes, schedule a regular checkup to track the blood sugar level and her response to the treatment.

Regular exercise is another ideal means to keep the concern of cat diabetes at bay. Provide her with plenty of playtime, stage a play area in your house or backyard by installing cat scratch poles or cat trees.

How can a veterinarian help to control cat diabetes? A veterinarian can help you to decide on a diet plan that your cat’s system is designed to handle and also the type of steroids that you can use with respect to her health condition. Using steroids in a cat vulnerable to diabetes is something that you need to consider twice as it can easily worsen the health condition of your cat. Is diabetes painful for cats?

Diabetic cats are vulnerable to neuropathic pain. It is a condition that affects the body’s nerves. This can pain can affect the hind legs and even the spinal cord. : Diabetes in Cats: Frequently asked questions

What is late stage feline diabetes?

What are the final stages of diabetes in cats? – In the early stages of diabetes in cats, you may notice symptoms such as frequent urination, increased thirst, and weight loss. As diabetes progresses, your cat may begin to lose more weight as a result of a loss of appetite, and you may notice your cat walking strangely due to weakness in their hind legs.

Does dry cat food cause diabetes?

Feeding cats dry food could increase feline diabetes risk Feeding cats dry food could increase their risk of developing feline diabetes, according to new research. A number of animals can develop diabetes, with cats much more prone to the condition than dogs.

Feline diabetes can be tricky for owners to manage, but the diabetes management principles are the same as in humans: keep blood glucose levels at a normal range and make sure they receive their medication, most likely insulin. The study, which was conducted in Swede, was based on just over 6,700 cats.

The owners of the cats were asked to participate in an online survey which featured 48 questions based on an animal’s breed, age, sex, whether it had been neutered and its general health. The researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences also asked about the condition of each cat’s body size, exercise levels, diet, general behavior, current medications and the type of food it ate.

  • A total of 1,369 cats already had diabetes at the beginning of the study; the remaining animals did not.
  • The cat owners’ answers relating to food were broken down into three different groups: dry, wet and mixed, which meant they gave their pet both.
  • The owners were also asked to judge their cat’s body type, which was also grouped into three categories: underweight, normal weight and overweight.

The findings showed a link between feline diabetes and cats that ate a lot of food, stayed indoors most of the time and did not exercise. Lead researcher Malin Ohlund, DVM, said: “Through our research we found that while obesity is a very important and prominent risk factor for diabetes mellitus in cats, there is also an increased risk of diabetes among normal-weight cats consuming a dry food diet.

“This correlation, compared to normal-weight cats on a wet food diet, is a new and interesting finding that warrants further research, as a dry food diet is commonly fed to cats around the world.” Ohlund and colleagues suggested that this increased diabetes risk could be explained because dry food puts an “increased demand” on the cat’s insulin secretion.

As dry food is such a common way to feed cats, the researchers have recommended “further attention” on the subject is needed. The findings have been published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. : Feeding cats dry food could increase feline diabetes risk

Can cats with diabetes eat dry food?

Diet and Feeding Instructions – Cats need to be on a low-carbohydrate diet. The good news is that there are a lot of suitable foods available in the grocery store. The bad news is that none of them are dry. Dry foods, every one of them, contain too much carbs for diabetic cats.

  • Click here for a huge list of suitable cat foods.
  • You can use any food on the list that has 7% carbs or less.
  • That’s the third column from the left.
  • Switching to a low-carb diet will at least help reduce the amount of insulin your cat will need, will increase the chances of going into remission, will make your cat’s insulin dose much easier to regulate, and may even be enough to manage the diabetes without insulin.

It is very important that your cat eat reliably in the morning and evening at insulin injection time. For this reason, it is vital that they not be allowed to free-feed. You need to have control over when they are hungry. If you can feed your cats a few snacks during the day and still get him or her to eat dinner reliably, you can do that, but if the cats do not eat when it is time for insulin there can be big problems.

How often should diabetic cats eat?

When Should My Cat Eat? – For cats that are getting insulin twice daily, it is recommended to split the daily calories in to two meals, which are fed before the insulin dose. For cats on once daily insulin, they should be fed also twice daily with the first meal before the insulin injection and the second meal at the time when the insulin peaks which can be determined based on knowledge of the insulin and the glucose curve.

Most diabetic cats are fed twice daily. Give ½ of the daily calories approximately 30 minutes before the insulin injection. After your cat eats, his blood glucose will naturally increase. The insulin will help drive the glucose levels back to a normala normal level. Give the other half of the daily calories before the second insulin injection (this is assuming you are giving insulin every 12 hours).

Another method is to feed your diabetic cat ¼ of its daily calories in the morning before the insulin injection, and another ¼ of the calories 6 hours later when the insulin is peaking, another 1/4 of the calories at dinner and the last fourth 6 hours later.

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Can cat diabetes go away?

What is diabetic remission? – The primary goal of treating diabetes is to regulate blood glucose quickly and reach a point where the cat no longer needs insulin therapy. Diabetic remission occurs when a cat maintains a normal glucose level for more than four weeks without insulin injections or oral glucose regulating medications.

Not all cats go into remission, but those that do may stay that way for months or years. There are varying reported rates of remission depending on various factors. The key factors in achieving remission are the quick institution of insulin therapy post-diagnosis and strict adherence to a low-carbohydrate diet.

Frequent monitoring with appropriate adjustments of insulin dosage increases the odds of remission. Considering the effort required to care for a cat with diabetes, remission, even short-term, is a welcome relief for both cat and cat owner.

At what age do cats get diabetes?

Incidence – Diabetes mellitus (DM) is the second most common endocrine disorder in cats, with an estimated incidence of 0.5% (1 in 200-250 cats). Its incidence appears to be increasing, probably due to an increase in obesity in the cat population. Several risk factors for DM have been identified: age, obesity, neutering and gender.

Age has been identified as the single most important risk factor. Diabetes occurs in a wide age range of cats, but most cats are over 6 years of age when diagnosed. The average age at diagnosis is 10 years and the peak incidence is between 9 and 13 years. Diabetes in young cats is extremely rare. Obesity increases the risk of developing diabetes 3- to 5-fold.

Given that the prevalence of obesity in cats between 5 and 11 years old in the U.S. is over 40%, the high prevalence of feline diabetes mellitus is understandable. Neutered cats have nearly twice the risk of developing DM and male cats 1.5 times the risk.

How much does it cost to treat a diabetic cat?

How Much Does Cat Insulin Cost? – Insulin costs for cats vary depending on where you get their medication and the brand name. You can typically expect to pay $50-$100 per month, but prices can be as high as $300 per month. You can purchase generic drugs, which work just as well, to save some money on your cat’s prescriptions.

Generic medications for cats have the same active ingredients and desired effects as their name-brand counterparts; they simply cost less. To find the best cat insulin cost, you’ll need to know about the different brands available. Your vet will likely ask you whether you want the brand name or generic, but if they don’t, you can still rest assured they’re sending you home with a quality medication or a prescription for quality medication.

Your vet might choose particular insulin based on the duration of action, which tells you how long the drug will be effective. These are the brands of insulin for cats: Lente : Lente is an intermediate-acting medication that’s FDA approved for pets and has a 12-hour duration of action.3 Name brands include Vetsulin and Merck Animal Health.

  1. Glargine : Glargine is a long-acting medication that’s ideal for most cats and may be effective at controlling blood sugar levels in diabetic cats.
  2. Glargine also has high remission rates associated with its use and can be used by dogs.3 Name brands include Lantus and Sanofi.
  3. PZI : Protamine zinc insulin (PZI) is a long-acting medication and is FDA approved for use in cats only.3 PZI may be prescribed by vets to use once daily to minimize the potential for hypoglycemia in cats.

Name brands include ProZinc. NPH : NPH is a short-acting insulin that’s typically used in dogs and is not recommended for cats because it has a short duration of action.3 Detemir : Detemir is long-acting insulin for dogs and cats that offers prolonged absorption for a steady duration of action.3 The insulin dose your cat needs will depend on their body weight. How To Treat Diabetes In Cats

How long can a diabetic cat go without insulin?

Do treated cats need to be monitored? – Yes, it is important to monitor treatment to make sure it is working properly, and to determine if any insulin dosage adjustments are necessary. You will be taught by our staff how to perform blood glucose curves on your cat in the comfort and convenience of your home and schedule. The first curve will take place 5-7 days after insulin administration begins as well as each time the dosage of insulin is changed. Once your cat is stabilized as determined by the doctor, curves are to be done monthly. A curve involves taking a blood glucose (BG) measurement, using a glucometer, at the time of insulinadministrations and every two hours in between for a 12 hour period. At the time your cat is due for insulin the BG must be > 230 for it to be safe to give insulin. If the BG is < 230 do not give insulin and contact our office for instructions. If it is a Sunday do not give insulin and call our office Monday morning with an A.M. BG reading. Do not give insulin again until we tell you otherwise. It is safer to go without insulin, even for 36-48 hours, than to risk giving too much insulin and possibly causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar/glucose). BG curve readings are to be recorded and then reported to our office the next business day either by phone (770-579-6001) or fax (770-579-6013). The receptionists will give this information to a doctor who will interpret the data, decide if a change in insulin dosage is required, what that change will be and when do to the next curve. Our office will then call you back with this information. It is not necessary to take BG readings on a daily or twice daily (at time of insulin administration) basis. The weekly or monthly curves are sufficient to assess insulin need and anticipate changes in that need. In addition, cats will typically begin to resent such frequent BG testing. You will also be educated about the signs of hypoglycemia in cats so you will know what to look for on a daily basis and can always check a BG if you suspect low blood sugar.

Are diabetic cats in pain?

Diabetes in Cats: Frequently asked questions Most cat parents overlook the concern of diabetes in cats and they end up spending lots of time and money to get the health concern under control. As a cat parent, it is inevitable for you to arm yourself with some information regarding cat diabetes, like diabetes symptoms and some prevention tips.

Cat diabetics is easily preventable diabetes, provided you invest some time, effort and foresee some scenarios. Maintaining an active working relationship with your veterinarian can be handy to take timely actions. Here is a list of frequently asked questions about cat diabetics. What are the reasons for cat diabetics? The exact reason for diabetes in cats is still unknown, however, some cats, by breed are more vulnerable to diabetes when compared to the other.

For instance, Burmese cats are 3.7 times more vulnerable to diabetes when compared to other breeds. This condition is increasingly more in older cats. What are the earliest symptoms of diabetics in cats? Some of the earliest symptoms of cat diabetes are frequent thirst, urination, and increased appetite.

Cat trying to drink water from unusual sources like kitchen sinks and bathtubAn unusually excessive quantity of urine in the litter boxCat demanding more food than usual

What are the latter symptoms of diabetics in cats?

The reluctance of your cat to engage in any kind of physical activity like to jump and walk.Hind legs of your cat touching the ground when she walks.Lack of appetite and vomiting are considered to be serious signs of diabetes in cats, which indicates that your feline is seriously affected by the health concern.Preventing diabetes in cats

How do you treat a cat with diabetics? Feeding your cat an appropriate diet is the first thing that you need to consider for alleviating the concern of cat diabetes. Prepare a diet which is low in carbohydrate. Almost all dry cat food is rich in carbohydrate and low in protein, therefore, it is ideal to stay away from dry cat food.

  • Canned cat food or homemade food for your feline companion can be your one-stop solution.
  • If the concern seems out of hand, your cat will need an insulin injection that can be prescribed and administered by your veterinarian.
  • Veterinarians can train to administer insulin at your home.
  • Once you start treating your cat for diabetes, schedule a regular checkup to track the blood sugar level and her response to the treatment.

Regular exercise is another ideal means to keep the concern of cat diabetes at bay. Provide her with plenty of playtime, stage a play area in your house or backyard by installing cat scratch poles or cat trees.

How can a veterinarian help to control cat diabetes? A veterinarian can help you to decide on a diet plan that your cat’s system is designed to handle and also the type of steroids that you can use with respect to her health condition. Using steroids in a cat vulnerable to diabetes is something that you need to consider twice as it can easily worsen the health condition of your cat. Is diabetes painful for cats?

Diabetic cats are vulnerable to neuropathic pain. It is a condition that affects the body’s nerves. This can pain can affect the hind legs and even the spinal cord. : Diabetes in Cats: Frequently asked questions

Is diabetes terminal in cats?

Feline Diabetes Symptoms to Watch For –

Weight loss, even though your cat has a good appetite Increased water consumption (most common symptom) Increased urination, possibly urinating outside the litter box Increased appetite (early stages) or loss of appetite (late stages) Lethargy Vomiting

Sometimes a cat will develop a plantigrade stance—that is, he will stand and walk with his hocks touching or nearly touching the ground. Instead of walking only on his paws, it would look like his whole foot is touching the ground. This is a form of diabetic neuropathy.

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