Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Diabetes mellitus in cats

5 April 2021

The pancreas has very important functions in every living organism. Among other things, it is responsible for the production of insulin, an extremely important hormone. Insulin is necessary for the various organs in the body to receive glucose, supplied by the blood. Glucose, in turn, is the fuel for our bodies to produce energy and allow our bodies to function properly. If there isn't enough insulin in the body, blood sugar levels rise dangerously - as glucose is not delivered to any organs. Excess sugar is removed by the kidneys, which are overloaded in such a case. The body has to look for new sources of energy, using the reserves of protein and fat. This leads to a gradual impairment of certain body functions. Ketone bodies, which are a by-product of these processes, are an additional attacking and destructive factor.

Diabetes mellitus in the cat

There are three basic types of diabetes. The first two belong to primary diabetes, the third - to secondary diabetes.

Type 1 is quite rare. In this case, the body's defense mechanisms begin to attack the cells of the pancreas, leading to its gradual destruction. Type 2 involves amyloidosis of the pancreas. Most often it is a natural effect of ageing.

Type 3 is caused by hormonal factors. Ailments such as hyperthyroidism and adrenal insufficiency predominate here. There are also factors such as continuous stress, use of certain hormonal medications and steroids.

In the group of the greatest risk of developing diabetes mellitus are slightly older cats, above 10 years of age. Exotic breeds such as Siamese and Burmese cats are also susceptible to this disease.

Diabetes mellitus in cats - causes

Diabetes mellitus can be caused by many different factors. There are, of course, natural conditions, such as genetics, that greatly increase the risk of getting the disease. However, some factors are related to things that are within our control. The risk increases significantly in cats suffering from obesity, so it is always important for owners to ensure that their pets eat a healthy diet and exercise. The risk is also increased by taking certain medications and diseases such as pancreatic cancer or hyperthyroidism.

Diabetes mellitus in cats - symptoms

A diabetic cat becomes weak and lacks energy. A characteristic unpleasant odor begins to emerge from the muzzle. The animal also often has problems with retracting and extending its claws. The appetite increases but the body weight is constantly decreasing. The cat has an increased thirst. It is connected with excessive urination, which leads to dehydration.

A characteristic feature in diabetic cats is so called diabetic neuropathy. It is enough to look at the way our pet walks - in case of such ailments, he will put his whole foot on the ground.

Some symptoms of diabetes in cats are the same as in humans. Here, too, the disease damages the eyesight, so that cataracts occur. At some point, when the disease is already quite advanced, severe diarrhea and vomiting occur. This is a symptom of ketoacidosis. Such acute poisoning of the body can already pose a direct threat not only to health, but also to the life of the cat.

The basic diagnostic test here is morphology, which is to determine the level of sugar in the blood.

diabetic cat's diet

Diabetes mellitus in cats - urine test

A thorough morphology and urinalysis are mandatory things for a cat suspected of diabetes mellitus. Creatinine and urea levels should also be determined. If your pet is experiencing excessive thirst, he may be suffering from kidney failure. The most important thing, however, is to test the animal's blood and urine sugar levels. If it is markedly elevated, then we are almost certainly dealing with diabetes.

It is important to make sure that the tests are not too stressful for the cat at the same time. Stress leads to an increase in the sugar level, so the results are not reliable.

Diabetes in cats - treatment

There is no cure for diabetes mellitus. Only medications are used to regulate blood sugar levels and allow the animal to live a normal life without pain.

Diabetes mellitus in cats - prognosis

Sometimes drug therapy does not bring the intended results. Then the administration of insulin begins. However, cats have a different metabolism than humans, so it is necessary to use appropriate doses. Sometimes a few weeks of insulin administration is enough for the symptoms of diabetes mellitus to significantly withdraw.

Diabetes in cats - diet

Diabetes cannot be controlled without a proper diet - this applies to both humans and cats. The food of a sick animal should contain as many easily digestible carbohydrates as possible and protein with high digestibility.

Diabetes in cats - food

Special foods for diabetic cats are available in stores. They usually contain an increased amount of protein but fewer carbohydrates as the latter cause a rise in blood sugar levels. It's important to remember that it's necessary to keep constant control over the sick cat. Only an owner who knows his pet's needs is able to control whether it eats the right food at the right time.