November is Pet Diabetes Month. While we tend to see diabetes more in cats than in dogs, our feline pals can definitely be afflicted. A local vet discusses feline diabetes in this article from Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO vet, serving Louisville and surrounding areas.
Both Type I and Type II diabetes are associated with the body’s ability to turn glucose (sugar) into fuel, providing Fluffy with the energy for all of those sprints and pounces. In Type II diabetes, which is the one that typically affects cats, the pancreas does produce insulin, but the kitty’s body can’t metabolize it properly.
Diabetes can affect any kitty, and at any point in their life. That said, there are some definite risk factors. Obesity is a big one: it can actually quardruple your pet’s risk of diabetes. Senior cats are also at elevated risk, as are certain breeds, such as the Burmese. Other things that may increase Fluffy’s risk of becoming diabetic include lack of activity, steroid therapy, and castration. Boys are also more likely to develop diabetes than females.
The biggest warning signs to watch for here are increased thirst and urination and weight loss. That weight loss may happen even if Fluffy seems to be a bottomless pit of hunger and is constantly meowing for food. This is because her body is using fat and protein for fuel, instead of sugar.
If you think your feline buddy may potentially be diabetic, schedule an exam with your vet for testing. Don’t panic! A diagnosis of diabetes isn’t what anyone wants to hear, but it’s by no means a death sentence. With proper care, Fluffy may still have several of her nine lives left. The average lifespan of a kitty that has been diagnosed with diabetes is about three years. However, keep in mind that this is most common in senior cats, who may be approaching their sunset years anyway.
Treatment for diabetic cats usually boils down to two major factors: insulin and diet. For the dietary part, your vet may recommend a prescription food. You’ll need to be consistent about feeding times, and pay close attention to portion sizes. Steel yourself against that plaintive meow! Insulin is the other portion of this. This may entail giving your feline pal injections, which isn’t as hard or scary as it sounds. Once you and your kitty get into the routine, this will only take a few seconds. That said, treatment options are never one-size-fits-all. Ask your vet for more information.
Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us at Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO vet, serving Louisville and surrounding areas.