Vet Info for Pet Parents

Traversing The Turmoil Of Feline Diabetes: How To Help Yourself And Your Cat Through This Malady

Many cats can get diabetes. For the owner, this can be a life-altering experience. If you suspect your treasured feline is facing this diagnosis, information is your greatest ally.

What Diabetes Is For Any Being

For people or animals, diabetes is a powerful force. This disease indicates a body's inability to make and manage insulin, a very important hormone responsible for glucose regulation. Under normal circumstances, glucose in the blood is called to use by muscles, fat cells, and the liver. However, with diabetes, that call simply isn't followed properly, leaving abnormally high or low levels of glucose in the blood.

The Typical Manifestations Of The Disease

Symptoms of both high (hyper) and low (hypo) blood glucose levels are somewhat similar and either can be dangerous, especially for a cat who may sleep all day without eating, then be off alone when these spikes become symptomatic. You will likely notice some or all of the following manifestations if your cat does indeed have diabetes:

  • Extreme thirst, where the cat may remain at the water dish
  • Excess urination, to the point where there may be accidents around the home
  • Dramatic ups and downs in appetite, which often results in weight loss
  • Changes in personality and sleep habits
  • Wobbly walking and disorientation, if the glucose levels rise or fall to extremes

You will know you're observing an illness if your feline is struggling with diabetes. Left untreated, your cat can be in big trouble, medically-speaking.

How Your Animal Hospital Will Diagnose Diabetes In Your Cat

Sometimes a vet can diagnose this disease based on your observations, but they'll always run blood tests. It's important to know the exact excess or deficiency of glucose in the blood in order to know how much insulin is needed to bounce those numbers back to normal levels. Your pet could spend a couple of days in the animal hospital and may need to have one or more shaved spots, where needles were or will be used to draw and test blood.

Your Home Treatment

While you are the pet parent, you're actually a member of a team. Diabetes can be very complicated and unpredictable; thus, it's essential that you work closely with your animal hospital. Based on the animal's glucose levels, you may be responsible for injecting a certain amount (called units) of insulin. You might also be tasked with the job of introducing new food and making sure the cat eats nothing else that may interfere with the insulin-glucose dynamic.

Other Important Ruminations

Insulin, special food, and trips to the vet all add up to extra costs you'll need to factor into your budget. Beyond the cost, there's also the stress factor, especially in the beginning when everyone is working to regulate the cat's diabetes. Additionally, since you shouldn't be the only one responsible for administering insulin, it's best to train another person to draw the proper dosage and inject the needle. That way, if you need to be away from your pet, you'll know they're in good hands.

You have much to learn as you and your vet team work to stabilize the diabetes and normalize life for the cat. Contact a pet hospital for more information.