What Causes Diabetes In Cats
There are a few risk factors for your cat to develop diabetes. Overweight cats are four times more likely to develop diabetes than cats who are in the ideal weight range. Its also more common in older cats. Additional risk factors include:
- Physical inactivity
- Use of steroids to treat illnesses such as feline asthma or skin allergies
Additionally, some breeds of cats in certain geographical areas are more prone to developing diabetes. They include:
- Burmese in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe
- Maine Coon, Russian Blue, and Siamese in the USA
- Norwegian Forest cats in Europe
Is There A Once A Day Insulin For Cats
Diabetic cats may be maintained on once-a-day injection, although some cats may be better controlled with twice-a-day injection. It appears that glargine insulin is particularly useful in the treatment of the newly diagnosed, diabetic cat as some of these cats are able to achieve a diabetic remission.
Your Diabetic Cat May Live For Many Years With Proper Treatment
Many diabetic cats come in to the vet and their human and the cat dont think theyre that sick.
The cat is eating well but thinks the water bowl has turned into the best open bar in the world.
The pet parent decides to take the cat to the vet when theres urine floating on top of 20 pounds of soaked cat litter. In other words, the cat is severely polyuric/polydipsic .
If the cat is still happy, eating, and his glucose hasnt gotten too high or the diabetes hasnt been going on for a long time, this cat is what we call a happy diabetic.
These cats will usually respond to treatment quickly, and youve caught the disease before lots of secondary problems set in .
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Insulin Injections For Cats With Diabetes Are Actually Not Complicated
Injections are not that difficult to give, even when cat, Mr. Mug, is acting like Mr. Angrypants.
Stick the furry face in some food and pop in the tiny amount of insulin, and its over. Pilling a cat is probably much more difficult on a daily basis than giving an injection.
Your vet and staff should give you all the help you need when learning how to give insulin to your cat.
Theres lots of debate about which insulin works best in cats. Each vet has their favorite, and if your cat doesnt do well, they will switch to a different option. Be prepared for some trial and error.
For information about the cost of insulin for cats, see Part 2 of this article below.
Signs Of Diabetes In Cats
There are a few signs you can watch for to identify if your cat may have diabetes. Symptoms of diabetes in cats include:
- Weight loss, even if the cat is eating normally, or even has an increased appetite
- Increased thirst and water consumption
- Increased urination, either inside the litter box or as accidents outside of the litter box
- Difficulty fully straightening their back legs or limping on the back legs
Diabetes doesnt typically cause pain in cats, but it can make them feel unwell. If the nerves in their legs and feet are affected, it can cause mild pain and tingling.
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What Other Factors Impact Remission
Diet Since canned food has fewer carbohydrates than dry food, moist diets are recommended, but low carbohydrate content is not the only dietary requirement of diabetic cats. Diabetic cats may suffer from other chronic diseases that may need to be prioritized while insulin is adjusted to control diabetes. A proper diet can result in better blood glucose control and reduce the amount of daily insulin needed.
“A proper diet can result in better blood glucose control and reduce the amount of daily insulin needed.”
Insulin and other glucose regulators The goal is to lower blood glucose levels without going too low . Calculated insulin doses paired with a consistently low-carbohydrate diet help balance blood glucose. Cats can enter remission while treated with any type of insulin however, many veterinarians find that cats have better glycemic control with long-acting products. A higher rate of remission has been reported with glargine insulin . Detemir is synthetic insulin that has a long duration of activity. Both insulin products have been shown to help promote remission in cats by achieving quick glucose control. Oral anti-hyperglycemic drugs are rarely used in cats and are not used as a sole therapy.
“Overweight cats are less sensitive to the effects of insulin…”
Other factors Cats that require a lower insulin dose to control glucose levels are more likely to enter remission, as are cats that become diabetic at an older age.
So How Can You Track These Cats Especially At Home
I track them by water consumption and weight gain.
Once they start gaining weight then they are getting enough insulin. Then they start drinking less.
You can track an indoor cats progress either by weighing the litter tray to determine it is peeing less, or you can measure the water consumption by using a single jug to top up all the water sources and note the amount used daily.
Otherwise, a cat drinking more, starts as a cat drinking more OFTEN so the owner notices that it goes to the bowl and then, there it is again, drinking.
After a while, it will sit and drink more at a sitting, but it starts by more frequent drinking of normal amounts. They rarely sit and drink a whole bowl at one sitting. It is the same if they have renal issues or diabetes.
Sometimes they start out by wanting water from unusual sources they seem to like to make the owners turn on the bathroom basin tap for some reason, or drink out of the owners cup. I havent really pinned that one down, but it is a common comment from owners in the early stages of increased drinking episodes.
So the owners will notice them drinking less, and I have these cats in each week to weigh them, and test their blood glucose to make sure the insulin is doing SOMETHING!
You are usually then looking for acromegaly or hyperadrenocorticism and good luck with those.
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Do Treated Cats Need To Be Monitored
Yes, it is important to monitor treatment of diabetes mellitus to be sure the cat is doing well. Home monitoring of blood glucose is becoming more popular and more common, although part of treatment monitoring will involve periodic blood samples collected by your veterinarian.
To assist in the care of your cat, it is particularly valuable to keep accurate records of the following information:
- amount and time of food fed and eaten
- amount of water drunk
- weight of the cat
Although urine test strips cannot be used to guide insulin dose it may be valuable to monitor the quantity of glucose passed in the urine to identify need for further testing including full glucose curves or other laboratory tests.
To collect cat urine, it is usually easiest to replace the normal cat litter with specially designed urine collecting pellets or with clean and washed aquarium gravel overnight. These materials will not soak up any urine, which can then be collected into a clean container for testing. Your veterinarian may provide you with test strips to dip into the urine and measure the sugar level. If there is a marked change in the amount of glucose in the urine or in blood glucose levels, this may indicate the need to modify the insulin dose, but you should never change the dose of insulin without first discussing it with your veterinarian. Changes in insulin doses are usually based on trends in blood glucose levels, as there is normally some day-to-day variation.
How Is Diabetes Mellitus Diagnosed
Diabetes mellitus is diagnosed by the presence of the typical clinical signs , a persistently high level of glucose in the blood, and the presence of glucose in the urine. Diabetes is the most common disease that will cause the blood glucose level to rise substantially.
To conserve glucose within the body, the kidneys do not filter glucose out of the blood stream into the urine until an excessive level is reached. This means that cats with normal blood glucose levels will not have glucose in the urine. Diabetic cats, however, have excessive amounts of glucose in the blood, so it spills into the urine. Once blood glucose reaches a certain level, the excess is removed by the kidneys and enters the urine. This is why cats and people with diabetes mellitus have sugar in their urine .
Definitive confirmation of feline diabetes mellitus may require a specialized test called a serum fructosamine test. This test tells us average blood glucose levels over the past 7 -14 days.
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How Can I Get Lantus As Cheaply As Possible
A 10 ml vial is good for at least 34 months, maybe longer if handled properly.
Most cats require very little insulin, so some of the insulin will go to waste, even if it lasts for 6 months.
Pharmacists may tell you that you can use the bottle only for 1 month. They are wrong. This is the human usage instruction. Veterinary specialists have tested the insulin, and it stays effective for 34 months, often longer.
Your pharmacist might talk you into Lantus Solostar pens. These are 3 ml pens that are sold in bundles of 5. The bundle of pens is more expensive than the 10 ml vial, but the insulin will definitely stay stable and not expire.
Some pharmacies, we are told, will sell only 1 pen at a time. Its a good deal if you can find it. Local, privately owned pharmacies may be your best bet.
Talk with your vet if you want to try the insulin pen. The delivery system is not designed for a cat.
Most specialists recommend that you have your vet put the insulin in a sterile vial and withdraw your insulin from that vial.
You can check it out on YouTube.
Heres one example:
A few more ideas if youre looking to save money on Lantus:
How Will I Know If My Cat Is Entering Remission
As cats go into remission, they will not require insulin as much and, without proper dose adjustments, may experience hypoglycemic episodes. Signs of hypoglycemia include lethargy, loss of appetite, weakness, low body temperature, and tremors or seizures. If remission is suspected, your veterinarian will advise you on how your cat’s glucose levels should be monitored and recommend proper insulin dosing to reduce the risk for hypoglycemia.
If your cat is showing signs of hypoglycemia, apply some corn syrup to the gums and contact your veterinarian immediately.
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A Guide To Lantus Insulin Treating Diabetes
indications for Lantus Lantus is a brand of insulin used to treat diabetes mellitus. An insulin glargine — a type of insulin that is structurally identical to, but not, human produced insulin — Lantus is designed to be longer lasting than other insulins, lasting up to 24 hours . Like all other forms of insulin, Lantus is taken subcutaneously , and can be a critical part of treating your dog or catâs diabetes. Precautions Injections should not be administered in the same spot every day, as this could cause scarring, which will dampen the bodies ability to absorb the medication. Use with anabolic steroids, adrenergic blockers, MAOIs, aspirin , phenylbutazone, or tetracycline might increase the effects of Lantus, and should be monitored, while DOBUTamine, EPINEPHrine, furosemide, thiazide, progesterone, glucocorticoids, and estrogen, may decrease the effects. Taking with burdock may have a hypoglycemic effect, and the dosage of insulin may need to be adjusted accordingly. Pets taking digoxin should have their potassium levels monitored. Dosage Typically eliciting a much stronger reaction from dogs than from cats, the dosage will typically start out much lower than with other types of insulin, roughly .1 unit/kg twice a day.Continue reading > >
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How Is Diabetes Mellitus Treated In Cats
Diabetes mellitus is a treatable condition. Although long-term treatment requires commitment and dedication, it can be rewarding to manage this condition successfully in a beloved cat.
Initial steps in treating a diabetic cat include removing potential predisposing causes for the diabetes. For example, some medications such as corticosteroids predispose cats to develop diabetes, and withdrawal of these drugs may lead to resolution of the condition. Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes in cats, so weight normalization may actually lead to resolution of diabetes in some cats.
“All cats with diabetes mellitus benefit from being fed a well-balanced diet.”
All cats with diabetes mellitus benefit from being fed a well-balanced diet, and your veterinarian is the best source for guidance about which nutrient profile will best benefit your cat. Many cats with diabetes mellitus benefit from a diet that is high in protein and relatively low in carbohydrates because a relatively low carbohydrate diet decreases the amount of glucose absorbed from the intestinal tract and lowers the requirement for insulin. Unfortunately, while nutrition is a critical element of diabetes management success in cats, it is generally not as easy as making a simple nutritional choice.
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The Cost Of Cataracts In Diabetic Cats
When glucose builds up dangerously high in the bloodstream, a cat may suffer from organ damage, particularly to the eyes. Cataracts typically make the affected eye or eyes white and cloudy in appearance. When a cataract forms, the eyes lens becomes opaque, which causes full or partial blindness in the affected eye.
Cataract surgery is the usual treatment recommendation and can cost around $3500 to have performed on your kitty.
The Sitter Should Watch For These Signs Of Trouble
If your diabetic animal will be in a pet sitters or kennels care, make sure the caretakers will call your vet if there is any change in behavior, such as:
A pet sitter should spend at least 1 hour twice a day in your home.
Just feeding and giving insulin injections is not a sufficient level of monitoring for a diabetic animal:
- Make sure the caretaker knows your cats daily routine and personality.
- The cat must be seen eating, walking around and exhibiting a bright and alert demeanor.
- If your cat is sleeping every time the pet sitter visits and the sitter just refreshes the food and water and gives the required insulin, this cat could be on their way to a diabetic crisis.
Too often, a client tells the vet that the pet sitter couldnt find the cat and left. This is bad in any case, but it could be life-threatening to a diabetic cat.
This may be a tough topic for many of you who love your pet dearly but are also in desperate need of a vacation. Take the time to find a solution that prioritizes your pets health so everyone can have a pleasant time while youre away.
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What Is Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes mellitus is a disease of the pancreas, a small organ located near the stomach. The pancreas has two different types of cells that have very different functions. One group of cells produces the enzymes necessary for proper digestion. The other group, called beta cells, produces the hormone insulin, which regulates the level of glucose in the bloodstream and controls the delivery of glucose to the tissues of the body. In simple terms, diabetes mellitus is caused by the failure of the pancreas to regulate blood sugar.
The clinical signs of diabetes mellitus are related to elevated concentrations of blood glucose and the inability of the body to use glucose as an energy source.
How Much Is A Bottle Of Cat Insulin
Manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim, ProZinc is one of a couple of insulins licensed in the United States for use in cats. It costs about $100 for a 10-ml vial containing 400 units. Vetsulin, manufactured by Merck Animal Health, is another veterinary-specific insulin. It costs around $40 for a 400-unit, 10-ml vial.
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Better Diets Are Helping Diabetic Cats Live Healthier Lives
A poor diet may have brought on your cats diabetes in the first place. Now its time to get back on the right track.
Vets put overweight or obese cats on a calorie-controlled diet.
These cuddly cats have an unfortunately habit of storing fat inside insulin-producing cells, which smothers their ability to produce vital insulin. But slim down the cat, clean out the pancreatic cells and ta-dah! Some cats become normal again.
Its Relatively Easy To Find A Pet Sitter Friend Or Kennel To Give Injections When Youre Away
If youre used to leaving your cat for long weekends with a big bowl of food and a see you later, your life is going to have to change.
If your cat needs insulin injections, youll need to find a reliable pet sitter familiar with diabetics, a family member or a pleasant boarding situation.
If you travel constantly, caring for a diabetic cat will not be easy. But for most of us with average home/work situations, being home morning and night for 2 kitty meals and 2 injections shouldnt be that difficult.
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Using Insulin To Treat Diabetes In Felines
Once you have to give them insulin, if you have an owner who is not terribly confident that they are going to be able to pick up a hypoglycaemic event, then I will use Caninsulin because it is shorter acting and does not build up over the 18 24 hour period like the Glargine does .
Nevertheless, Marshall and Rand think it is a risk worth taking. The cats usually only end up needing 1 4 units of either kind of insulin twice a day the Glargine especially seems to keep them stable at 2 units twice a day.
Once you push up into the 3 or 4 units, you can bring them into remission, but it is often via a sudden hypoglycaemic event, which is unpleasant all round. And is, I guess, the reason that the Glargine insulin protocol recommends treating them in hospital.
After giving the cat insulin, the process to stabilise Fluffy at home, usually starts at 1 or 2 units of either kind of insulin twice a day. You need to get the owners to bring the cat in after a couple of days to measure its blood glucose 3 hours after their insulin dose and breakfast.
It does not matter about meal-feeding cats, as they do not get the post-prandial glucose spike because they are digesting protein and balancing out the glucose release after it has been deconstructed from protein in the liver.
It is more natural for a cat to graze-feed anyway, so if that is what the cat wants to do, then do not change their feeding habits.