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Diabetes Mellitus

Cat on pillowThe symptoms of diabetes in cats are similar to dogs but the treatment is quite different.

Like dogs, cats need to have the daily insulin injections but because they have a quicker metabolism, they usually have to have the injections twice daily.

Compared to dogs who will eat a couple of large meals a day, cats tend to eat little and often throughout the day.  Although it is important for the insulin injections to be given at the same time each day, most diabetic cats are fed ad-lib. 

One noticeable sign of diabetic cats is that they are often overweight and it is recommended that these cats be put on a strict diet to lose weight.  Obesity contributes to the disease and some cats can even return to normal once they have lost their excess weight.

Unlike dogs, cats do not tend to suffer from cataracts, as a result of the diabetes, but they can suffer from urinary infections if the diabetes is not properly controlled. 

If a diabetic cat becomes poorly and loses its appetite, this is a lot more serious than in a non-diabetic animal.  The reason for this is that if they are not eating, they cannot be given their insulin injections so their body cannot use the glucose for energy.  As a result, the body’s own fat and protein is broken down and used instead.  This works for a short time but it causes the production of a group of toxins called “ketones”.  If these build up they can make the animal become ketotic and this is life threatening in a diabetic animal.

The insulin must be kept in the fridge at all times because it is a protein. 

The bottle must be gently shaken before giving an injection.

Clean needles and syringes should be used each time. 

Fortunately, the needles used are very small so generally; cats do not feel anything when the injection is being given.

Looking after a diabetic cat is a big responsibility but once you have got used to giving the injections it soon becomes part of your daily routine.

Diabetic pets need more observation than normal pets and in view of the treatment required, insurance is always a good idea to consider just in case your pet ever suffers from the disease.

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