Feline diabetes mellitus is a reasonably common diagnosis in cats. It is one of the most common endocrine diseases seen in cats. Proper treatment is necessary for cats with diabetes in order to maintain their quality of life. With early diagnosis and adequate treatment, some cats may even enter a state of remission and no longer need to be treated.
Basics of Treating a Cat with Diabetes
Essentially, treating a cat with diabetes requires gaining control of their blood glucose levels. Cats with diabetes have abnormally high glucose levels and these levels must be decreased to a more normal level in order for treatment of feline diabetes to be successful.
In most cases, the objective of treating cats with diabetes is to resolve or at least lessen the clinical signs associated with feline diabetes. Very seldom is it necessary to gain the type of tight glucose control necessary for people.
Medications Which Decrease Blood Glucose Levels in Feline Diabetes Patients
Insulin is usually the treatment of choice and is the most effective treatment. However, under specific circumstances, oral hypoglycemic medications such as glipizide may be used instead.
There are many different types of insulin available and your veterinarian will help you choose the appropriate type of insulin for your cat. Insulin injections are most often required twice daily but, in some cases, once daily insulin injections may be effective.
Feeding Your Diabetic Cat
The most important part of feeding a diabetic cat is to keep the diet consistent. Continually changing food types or quantities will lead to fluctuating blood glucose levels that are more difficult to control.
The most commonly recommended type of food for a diabetic cat is a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet. Canned diets are preferred over dry foods if commercial diets are fed. The diet may be home-cooked as well but it can be difficult to properly balance a home-cooked diet without help from a nutritional expert.
Try to keep your cat's feeding schedule constant also. Canned food should be offered at the same time each day. If dry food is given, the food can be left down so that the cat can graze on the diet but the food should be measured daily and the same quantity given each day.
Exercise and Weight Control for Cats with Diabetes
It is important to keep your diabetic cat lean. Being overweight or obese can cause further problems. If your cat is already overweight, a weight loss program should be instituted with the assistance of your veterinarian.
Exercise should be kept as consistent as possible from day to day. However, a gradual increase in exercise may benefit those cats that are overweight.
Monitoring Your Diabetic Cat
You should monitor your diabetic cat closely at home. Watch his appetite carefully and report any changes to your veterinarian. Also monitor your cat's litter box habits. Changes in litter box usage should be reported to your veterinarian also. Any signs of illness or disease should be reported as well.
Your diabetic cat will require regular veterinary examinations and testing of both blood and urine. Testing may include regular blood profiles, urinalysis and urine culture. Another blood test commonly performed to monitor diabetes is called fructosamine.
Your veterinarian may prefer to perform the initial blood glucose curves at the hospital but may also request that you perform the curves at home. Blood glucose curves help determine how well the insulin is working for your cat.