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Feline Diabetes ~ Diagnosis April 23, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Health & Wellness.

So, we’ve started doing some research.   In a nutshell, there are two types of diabetes ~ in humans and in cats:

Type I ~ no insulin is produced.  Without insulin, cells cannot remove glucose from the blood to use for fuel.   Glucose circulates in the bloodstream until it reaches the kidneys and is excreted.  Insulin shots are required to manage the disease.

Type II ~ insulin is produced.  The insulin available doesn’t effectively attach to all the glucose. This type of diabetes can sometimes be managed with diet and exercise to lower blood glucose levels.

From Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine ~ Feline Diabetes:

Diabetes mellitus ~ also known as “sugar” diabetes ~ is a complex but common disease in which a cat’s body either doesn’t produce or doesn’t properly use insulin.

During digestion, the fats, carbohydrates, and proteins that are consumed in the diet are broken down into smaller components that can be utilized by cells in the body. One component is glucose, a fuel that provides the energy needed to sustain life.

Insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, is responsible for regulating the flow of glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. When insulin is deficient or ineffective, the cat’s body starts breaking down fat and protein stores to use as alternative energy sources. As a result, the cat eats more yet loses weight. Additionally, the cat develops high levels of sugar in the bloodstream, which is eliminated in the urine. In turn, sugar in the urine leads to excessive urination and thirst.

Cat owners often notice these four classical signs of diabetes mellitus: ravenous appetite, weight loss, increased urination, and increased water consumption.

Okay . . . Tigger has been drinking more and peeing more. 

But he only lost 0.2 pounds between his last Vet visit (in early December) and his visit on Saturday.   

Lately, his appetite has been poor . . . like mine is when I have a fever.  That, alone, would explain the slight weight loss over a 5 month period.

From the same article:

Diabetes mellitus is diagnosed based on the cat’s signs, physical examination findings, laboratory test results, and the persistent presence of abnormally high levels of sugar in the blood and urine.

Okay . . . Tigger had abnormally high levels of sugar in his blood and urine on Saturday.  One day.  One test.  

Does that equate to a “persistent presence”? 

Not in my book.   We need more blood glucose tests before we agree to start insulin injections.

Per Cornell

Once diabetes has been diagnosed, immediate treatment is necessary. 

Okay . . . what happens if cats aren’t treated? 

Stay tuned.

Related videos: Caring for your Diabetic Cat (Diagnosis, Treatment, Insulin Injections, Nutritional Therapy, Monitoring, Signs of Hypoglycemia)