Learning that your best buddy has feline diabetes is a shock. You’re probably feeling scared and overwhelmed. “Why did this happen? Could I have done something to prevent it?” These questions and others are probably going through your mind right now. Try not to dwell on these things. It’s normal to feel this way, but your kitty is best served by you learning as much as you can about this disease and finding the best way to take care of him.
Facts About Feline Diabetes
This condition isn’t necessarily a death sentence for your kitty. There is no cure for cat diabetes, but it’s treatable. If you’re committed to providing him with the proper care, you and he can still spend many happy years together.
You may be wondering if it would be better to have your older kitty put to sleep. This is a hard decision that only you can make. A lot depends on how healthy he is. If he already has medical problems that compromise his health, this may be your best option. But with proper care, many older furballs have lived for years with this condition.
What causes this disease? During the process of digestion, the starches and carbohydrates in the food your kitty eats are broken down into glucose, a simple sugar. This sugar passes through the walls of his intestines and into his blood.
Your kitty’s pancreas manufactures insulin, a hormone that keeps too much sugar from building up in his blood. But maybe his pancreas has stopped producing it (type 1 diabetes), or his body has stopped using it efficiently (type 2 diabetes). In this case, glucose levels in his blood get too high. These high sugar levels cause liver and kidney disease, nerve damage, and gastrointestinal problems. He’ll become more likely to get infections, too. And if the sugar levels get too high, he could go into a coma and die.
What Are The Symptoms Of Feline Diabetes?
Classic symptoms are excessive thirst (polydispsia), and excessive urination (polyuria). Your kitty’s body is trying to get the extra sugar out of his body by making him very thirsty so he’ll drink more water. The extra water flushes the sugar into his urine. Of course, when he’s drinking a lot, he’ll also urinate a lot more, too. And when the vet checks your buddy’s urine, it will show high sugar levels.
Your furry friend may be lethargic and lose interest in doing things. He can lose weight even though his appetite has increased. This is because his body is breaking down the protein in his muscles for energy.
In some kitties, the first symptom is diabetic neuropathy, which is a weakness in his legs. You may notice him walking on his wrists on his front legs or his hocks (the “elbows”) in the back. Or he may need to lay down several times during a short walk. In extreme cases, his back legs may not support him at all. This condition is caused by nerve damage resulting from high blood sugar levels.
If your kitty is overweight, he’s at a much higher risk of developing this disease, especially if he’s an older male. Fat cells, whether you’re a kitty or a human, produce a substance that causes the body’s cells to stop using insulin. This is called insulin resistance, and it’s common in type 2 diabetes. Putting your kitty friend on a healthy diet and controlling his weight is the best way to prevent this disease, and will help control it if it’s already developed.
Things To Think About
Although there is no cure, there are many treatment choices. It can be frustrating when your cat doesn’t respond as well to a certain treatment as another kitty might. Some furballs need daily injections, while other do well when they are fed a healthy diet. Many will improve as their weight drops.
You may want to research natural remedies for balancing your kitty’s blood glucose levels. GlucoBalance is a blend of herbs specially formulated for kitties with feline diabetes. More than one owner has been able to reduce or eliminate insulin injections by the regular use of GlucoBalance, along with dietary improvements and regular exercise. Always talk to your vet before you make any changes to your kitty’s treatment.
It’s important for you and your vet to be able to work together. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions, and you should be getting answers you can understand. Clear communication between your vet and you is essential.
If you go out of town for a few days, you’ll need to plan ahead. You just can’t leave your kitty a bowl of food and a dish of water like you used to. You’ll need to line up somebody you can trust who is able to check your furball’s blood sugar and give insulin shots if necessary. This person will need to feed your kitty properly, too. Your neighbor’s kid may not be the right person for this. It may be necessary to board your buddy at your vet’s office if you can’t find a responsible helper.