Symptoms: How to recognize diabetes in cats?
– Types of diabetes in cats – Possible complications of feline diabetes
– Treatment of feline diabetes with insulin – what to consider? – Nutrition in feline diabetes mellitus
What is feline diabetes?
Feline diabetes is one of the metabolic diseases in cats. In this disease, a cat cannot use the ingested sugar as an energy source as it normally does.
This is why it is often referred to as
Diabetes spoken about, in which there are problems with the hormone insulin.
Insulin is needed to process glucose (sugar). This glucose is processed so that it is made available to the organs through the digestive system. The hormone insulin is produced in the pancreas.
If there are problems with this hormone in the course of feline diabetes, the glucose absorbed in the blood can no longer be transported properly to where it is needed.
Glucose remains in the blood. This causes glucose levels in the blood to rise while organs are deficient.
As a substitute for the sugar, the body utilizes other substances such as protein and fat. The disturbance of the glucose balance can lead to sometimes serious complications. Life-threatening complications occur.
Symptoms: How to recognize diabetes in cats?
Diabetes can manifest itself in different ways in cats. However, there are some typical signs that point to diabetes.
Often, however, the symptoms are not very pronounced in the early stages, so they can easily be overlooked.
The typical signs include:
– Increased feed intake – Weight loss or even initially significant weight gain – General weakness and dullness – Dull coat, dandruff or hair loss – Less frequently, lens opacities occur – Likewise, in some cases, a plantigrade gait can be observed. It is characteristic that the cat walks on its hocks and not on its paws as is usually the case.
first signs you should consult a veterinarian Contact. Because early treatment can prevent further complications in some cases.
The disease can affect the entire organism and thus disturb and permanently damage many bodily functions and organs. As a result of the disease, wound healing disorders, urinary tract infections or circulatory disorders can occur frequently.
Diagnosis of diabetes in cats
A diagnosis can usually be made by the veterinarian by checking the blood and urine. Thus, your cat will first have blood drawn and, if necessary, a blood test. urine tests are also performed.
In the case of blood values, particular attention is paid to the blood sugar level and the fructosamine level is observed. If the blood glucose level is elevated, this is the first sign of diabetes mellitus in cats.
However, this value alone does not say much. Because the rise in blood sugar can have different causes. So an increase is also caused by stress. Other causes favor.
For this reason, the fructosamine level is usually also measured. This can provide information about the range in which the blood glucose level has been in the last one to two weeks.
In some cases, e.g. in the presence of hyperthyroidism, it is also advisable to monitor the blood glucose level over a longer period of time.
Types of diabetes in the cat
There are two known types of diabetes in cats:
Type-1 diabetes: This is an insulin-dependent type in which the pancreas no longer produces insulin. Therefore, it is necessary to supply insulin from the outside in this disease.
Type-2 diabetes: This insulin-independent type often occurs in combination with obesity. In type 2 diabetes, the organism is no longer responsive to insulin. The problem is therefore not the pancreas as in type 1 diabetes, but rather that the body has become resistant to insulin, to put it simply.
Possible complications of feline diabetes
In addition to the classification into type-1 and type-2 diabetes, there is also the distinction whether it is an uncomplicated or complicated form of the disease.
Thus, the disease can be relatively uncomplicated, facilitating treatment. However, serious complications can also arise, which include in particular
Hypoglycemia and the diabetic Ketoacidosis count.
Hypoglycemia can be caused by too high a dosage of insulin. Thereby it comes to a too strong drop of the blood sugar, which can take on life-threatening dimensions.
To the Symptoms count frequently:
– Weakness – trembling – disorientation – withdrawal and apathetic cowering – turning in circles – loud utterances – unconscious defecation and urination – convulsions
At the first signs of hypoglycemia, your cat should be treated quickly, and until then no more insulin should be given.
Because hypoglycemia indicates an overdose with insulin. The sharp drop in blood glucose levels means that the brain is no longer adequately supplied, which can lead to irreversible damage and even death.
In the case of hypoglycemia, it is important that the animal is given more sugar, for example in the form of sugary wet food or dextrose, which is also offered in paste form and can thus be administered directly.
In this complication, there is an accumulation with so-called ketone bodies and blood hyperacidity. This is a life-threatening condition that requires intensive medical care and inpatient treatment.
To the Symptoms Count clustered:
– vomiting – dehydration – clouded consciousness – apathy – coma
Treatment is carried out, for example, with special old insulin (a short-acting insulin), by means of infusions or also by an electrolyte balance.
Treatment of diabetes in cats
Diabetes in cats is treated with insulin, just as it is in humans. This usually has to be injected regularly to the sick animals.
Often the insulin, which is prescribed in different versions by the veterinarian, must be injected once or several times a day at mealtimes. It is important to follow the veterinarian's instructions exactly to prevent serious complications for your pet.
Type 1 diabetes usually requires a lifetime supply of insulin.
In some cases, it is possible to normalize the condition of animals with type 2 diabetes by reducing their body weight. This can sometimes obviate the need for lifelong medical treatment.
Correct adjustment with insulin is often difficult and protracted. Therefore, complications can still occur even during treatment. It is therefore important to carry out regular checks with the vet even during insulin therapy.
There is also the possibility to check your cat's urine regularly for sugar and ketones. Special sticks are offered for this purpose. It should be noted that ketones should not be present in the blood of your cats.
Sugar, on the other hand, may well still be present in the blood in the initial period. On the other hand, sugar should no longer be present in the blood if the patient has already been on therapy for a long time. In case of doubt you should contact the treating veterinarian.
Treatment of feline diabetes with insulin – what to consider?
Has been checked by the vet Insulin prescribed, then there are a few things to watch out for in the process.
Insulin must always be kept refrigerated to maintain its effectiveness. In addition, most types of insulin should never be shaken. Careful rolling back and forth ensures that the active ingredient can dissolve well.
Insulin vials do not last very long in this case. As a rule, a new bottle must be inserted within a month.
There are special syringes for each insulin preparation. These should not be confused with syringes of another preparation, for example, from human medicine. The units differ in part significantly from each other.
Insulin is administered to cats like humans via syringes. The insulin is injected directly under the skin. Your veterinarian will show you exactly how this works and what has to be taken into account.
All treatment is monitored regularly by the vet or diabetes specialist. They can do this, for example, a blood glucose daily profile to check the setting.
The insulin dose should only be changed in consultation with the vet. Because the right attitude can prove to be difficult in some cases.
Thus, there are some diseases that can alter blood sugar levels. In addition, sudden changes in dose can cause the disease to derail, such as in the form of the previously described hypoglycemia.
Diet in feline diabetes mellitus
Especially for cats with diabetes mellitus, it is usually advisable to choose a cat food that contains a lot of proteins on the one hand, but only a small amount of carbohydrates on the other hand.
This should make it possible to keep the need for insulin particularly low, which can have a positive effect on the course of the disease in the long term.
For cats with diabetes mellitus special feeds are also offered for this purpose. These have the property that they release the contained carbohydrates particularly slowly to the blood. This should make it possible to keep blood sugar levels more constant.
However, not every cat accepts this new food. Acceptance can often be increased by a slow change of food.
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Treatment costs: Does pet health insurance pay for feline diabetes??
In principle, it is possible that a pet health insurance will cover the cost of diabetes treatment for your cat.
This applies to medical bills as well as the cost of veterinary prescriptions. However, it should be noted that animal health insurance policies usually only cover up to an annual benefit limit of, say, 500 or 2.000 euros (depending on the insurer and the rate).
In addition some animal health insurances take over for example only the 1 or 2-fold rate. If your veterinarian charges for example the 3-fold rate, the difference has to be paid by yourself.
In addition, waiting periods are often to be observed when taking out a new animal health insurance policy. If the illness occurs within that time (of, say, 30 days), then the insurance will not cover it.