Diabetes FAQs

do cats get diabetes

by Gregoria Bernhard Published 1 year ago Updated 7 months ago

Cats with diabetes most commonly suffer from the Type II form of the disease. It is estimated that between 0.2 % and 1 % of cats will be diagnosed with diabetes during their lifetime.

How can I Keep my Cats from getting diabetes?

Diabetes cannot be prevented, per se, but the risk for cats getting diabetes can be reduced. Do not allow your cat to become obese—encourage exercise, feed cat-appropriate food and avoid long-term use of steroids if possible. If your cat does get diabetes, then the goal is to prevent complications from developing while also trying to reverse ...

What to do if your cat has diabetes?

  • Make sure the caretaker knows your cat’s 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 ...

How long can a cat live with diabetes without insulin?

How long can diabetic cat go without insulin? It is safer to go without insulin, even for 36-48 hours, than to risk giving too much insulin and possibly causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar/glucose).

How does vet determine if cat has diabetes?

  • Insulin (once- or twice-daily injections)
  • A Vetpen or insulin syringes
  • A disposal box for used syringes
  • Urine test strips
  • Vet checkups and blood tests (every 3–12 months, depending on how stable the cat is)


What are the symptoms of diabetes in cats?

4 Possible Signs of Diabetes in Cats: Looking Out for Your Feline FriendIncreased urination. One of the most common cat diabetes symptoms is frequent urination. ... Excessive thirst. A cat that urinates more often will be thirstier and spend more time at the water bowl. ... Increased appetite. ... Unexpected weight loss.

How long will a diabetic cat live?

Cats who are treated effectively for diabetes can live for very prolonged periods after diagnosis. Average length of life after diagnosis is variable dependent on which study is examined, however, average lifespans of up to around three years are reported in some studies.

What age can a cat get diabetes?

Diabetes occurs in a wide age range of cats, but most cats are over 6 years of age when diagnosed. The average age at diagnosis is 10 years and the peak incidence is between 9 and 13 years. Diabetes in young cats is extremely rare. Obesity increases the risk of developing diabetes 3- to 5-fold.

Is it common for cats to get diabetes?

In fact, it is one of the most common hormonal conditions in cats. We're going to take a look at some of the most common causes of feline diabetes, as well as how it can be avoided.

How much does a diabetic cat cost?

Insulin costs for cats vary depending on where you get their medication and the brand name. You can typically expect to pay $50-$100 per month, but prices can be as high as $300 per month. You can purchase generic drugs, which work just as well, to save some money on your cat's prescriptions.

What happens if you don't treat diabetes in a cat?

Untreated, the condition leads to increasingly weak legs in cats, and eventually malnutrition, ketoacidosis and death. Early diagnosis and treatment by a qualified veterinarian can not only help prevent nerve damage, but in some cases even lead to remission so that the cat no longer needs injected insulin.

What triggers diabetes in cats?

The most important risk factors identified for the development of diabetes in cats include obesity, increasing age, physical inactivity, male gender, and the use of glucocorticoids (steroids) to treat other illnesses such as feline asthma.

Does pretty litter detect diabetes?

What Does Pretty Litter Detect In Your Cat's Urine? When your cat urinates in a box filled with PrettyLitter, the litter looks for problems that can range from diabetes to urinary tract infections using multiple indicators: pH. bilirubin.

How long do untreated diabetic cats live?

The effects of possible predictors on survival time were determined by calculating hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: Median survival time of diabetic cats was 516 days (range, 1 to 3,468 days); 70%, 64%, and 46% lived longer than 3, 6, and 24 months, respectively.

How do you prevent diabetes in cats?

Diet is one of the best ways of preventing diabetes in cats. Just like with people, diet can affect a cat's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Making sure that your cat eats a healthy, well-balanced diet and isn't overweight are the best ways to help prevent diabetes in cats.

Should diabetic cats eat dry food?

Cats need to be on a low-carbohydrate diet. The bad news is that none of them are dry. Dry foods, every one of them, contain too much carbs for diabetic cats.

How can I test my cat for diabetes at home?

0:302:19How to test your cat's blood glucose at home - YouTubeYouTubeStart of suggested clipEnd of suggested clipThis includes a glucometer. And test strips needle or lancing device cotton ball or gauze. AndMoreThis includes a glucometer. And test strips needle or lancing device cotton ball or gauze. And diabetic friendly treats. Be sure to check the expiration date of your test strips. Next find your pet.

What are the final stages of diabetes in cats?

The final stage of diabetes is ketoacidosis that leads to decreased appetite, dehydration, and vomiting. These symptoms take a serious toll on your cat's body, eventually causing it to break down if diabetes is left untreated.

How long can a cat go without insulin shots?

It is safer to go without insulin, even for 36-48 hours, than to risk giving too much insulin and possibly causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar/glucose).

What happens if a cat misses an insulin shot?

If a dose is missed, wait until the next time the insulin is due and administer the normal amount. Do not be tempted to give a dose (full or part) in the meantime as this will lead to more instability. If your cat becomes unwell, is vomiting or is refusing to eat, DO NOT give insulin.

How many times a day do you feed a diabetic cat?

Most diabetic cats are fed twice daily. Give ½ of the daily calories approximately 30 minutes before the insulin injection. After your cat eats, his blood glucose will naturally increase.

What Is Cat Diabetes?

Like humans, cats can develop diabetes mellitus, also known as sugar diabetes, a disease that occurs when the body can no longer produce or use insulin properly , says Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, controls the flow of blood sugar, called glucose, to the body's cells to provide energy. Without sufficient levels of insulin, glucose doesn't reach the cells like it should, so instead the body starts breaking down fat and protein cells to use for energy, while unused glucose builds up to excessive amounts in the bloodstream.

How to treat diabetic cats?

Most diabetic cats require daily insulin injections to manage the illness, which your vet can train you to provide at home. Schedule regular checkups to monitor your cat's blood sugar and her response to the treatment. If obesity is a factor, you'll also need to make changes to your cat's meals.

What are the signs that diabetic cats are thirsty?

Excessive thirst. Increased urination. Excessive thirst and frequent urination are the signs most likely to be noticed first by cat owners. Often, because they need to go so frequently, diabetic cats will start relieving themselves outside the litter box.

What causes a diabetic cat to lose leg strength?

Other diabetes-related health complications may include liver disease, bacterial infection, unhealthy skin and coat, and neuropathy, which can cause loss of strength and mobility in the hind legs. Another complication can arise from treatment of diabetes — hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can occur when too much insulin is given, resulting in weakness, listlessness and lack of coordination, and in some cases it can cause convulsions and even coma. If your diabetic kitty displays signs of low blood sugar, try to get her to eat something. If she won't or can't eat, Cornell recommends rubbing syrup on her gums and calling your veterinarian right away.

Why does my cat lose weight?

Because diabetes causes the body's cells to process energy from fat and protein instead of glucose, cats with diabetes will typically lose weight in spite of displaying a healthy appetite. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to a number of health complications, the most dangerous of which is a condition known as ketoacidosis. This occurs when the breakdown of fat and protein cells becomes so great that your cat's body is effectively starving even though she's eating regularly. Signs of this condition include appetite loss, weakness or lethargy, abnormal breathing, dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea, and without immediate intensive care to provide fluids and insulin, it could be fatal.

Can diabetic cats eat low carb diet?

If obesity is a factor, you'll also need to make changes to your cat's meals. Two different types of meal plans have been shown to help control both weight and blood sugar in diabetic cats. One is a meal plan that's high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. The other is a low-carbohydrate, high-protein plan. Your vet might place your kitty on a prescription food for diabetes, but determining which one is right for your cat might require some experimentation.

Can diabetes cause diabetes in cats?

While the exact cause of cat diabetes is unknown, obese cats are the most predisposed to developing this disease. Other risk factors include chronic pancreatitis and hormonal disorders such as hyperthyroidism and Cushing's disease. Certain medications, including corticosteroids (such as prednisolone) have also been linked to diabetes.

How do you know if your cat has diabetes?

So it’s important for you to know the symptoms of diabetes in cats, and to contact your veterinarian right away if you believe that your cat may be experiencing any of them. Increased thirst. Increase in frequency and volume of urination. Urinating outside the litter box.

What is Type 2 diabetes in cats called?

Type II diabetes mellitus is also called insulin-resistant or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. This is the most common form of diabetes mellitus in cats.

How Do Vets Diagnose Feline Diabetes?

Diabetes is diagnosed by the presence of the typical clinical signs in the face of persistent fasting hyperglycemia (elevated blood glucose), and glucosuria (glucose in the urine).

Why Is Insulin So Important?

Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas, a small but vital organ located next to the upper segment of the small intestine.

How does insulin affect cats?

In cats with diabetes mellitus, the transport of glucose from the blood to the tissues is disrupted, resulting in hyperglycemia (elevated blood glucose) and a state of relative starvation.

What is the name of the disease that results from an insulin deficiency?

Diabetes mellitus (commonly referred to as diabetes) is a disease of the endocrine system that results from an insulin deficiency. Either the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or it can’t use the insulin that’s produced.

What is the term for a metabolic disorder in which the cells cannot access glucose?

Other metabolic disturbances. These symptoms may be caused by diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is a form of diabetes in which the cells (which cannot access glucose) use free fatty acids as an energy source. These free fatty acids are broken down into molecules called ketoacids.

Why do cats have diabetes?

The disease typically develops because of a combination of lifestyle factors, including lack of exercise, a high-carbohydrate/low-protein diet, and obesity. Early in the course of Type 2 diabetes, cats still produce what should be adequate amounts of insulin, but the body has lost the ability to respond normally to it.

What are the symptoms of diabetes in cats?

Increased thirst and urination, weakness, and weight loss despite a normal or even ravenous appetite are the first symptoms of diabetes that pet parents typically notice. Your cat may also have infections that fail to respond normally to antibiotic treatment.

Why do cats have a big head?

Cats develop acromegaly because a tumor within their pituitary glands overproduces growth hormone. Excess growth hormone causes these cats to be larger than normal, with a big head, big paws, and enlarged internal organs. They also typically develop diabetes because of the anti-insulin effects of growth hormone. Treatment for acromegaly in cats is very difficult. Cases can be managed for a period of time with high doses of insulin, but eventually most cats with acromegaly-induced diabetes are euthanized.

What happens if a cat has Cushing's disease?

When a cat has Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism), his adrenal glands over-produce cortisol, a hormone that has wide effects throughout the body, including making it less able to respond to insulin. Too much cortisol can lead to diabetes.

Is diabetes a problem for cats?

Diabetes in cats is a growing problem. In fact, the prevalence of feline diabetes has increased 18.1 percent since 2006, according to Banfield Pet Hospital’s State of Pet Health 2016 report. To reverse that trend, pet parents need to know the causes of diabetes and what can be done to prevent and treat the condition in cats.

Can cats take prednisone?

prednisolone, prednisone, dexamethasone, and methylprednisolone) can be used to treat many different feline diseases, including allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma. While the short-term use of these drugs is quite safe, cats who receive them over long periods of time, especially at high doses, are at risk for developing diabetes. To reduce this risk, glucocorticoids should be given at the lowest dose needed to control a cat’s symptoms.

Can diabetes cause vomiting in cats?

Ketoacidosis—a potentially fatal condition characterized by electrolyte disturbances, extreme dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, and respiratory difficulties—is possible if diabetes goes untreated. Of course, other diseases can cause similar symptoms in cats. Therefore, a veterinarian will need to perform a physical examination, ...

What causes diabetes in cats?

Let’s start with the causes we cannot control – the genetic factors: 1 Age: most cats are over 8 years of age with a peak incidence between 10 and 13 years of age. 2 Sex: Male cats are 1.5 times more predisposed to diabetes than female cats. 3 Breed: Burmese cats appear to be four times more affected by diabetes mellitus than other breeds, and about 10% of Burmese cats over the age of eight are diagnosed with this disease. 4 Other diseases: acromegaly, pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and hyperadrenocorticism are all hormonal disturbances that affect the body’s response to insulin.

How much insulin sensitivity does a cat lose?

Each kilogram increase in body weight above ideal in cats causes about a 30% decrease in insulin sensitivity.

Why is diabetes mellitus not enough to reduce blood glucose?

Diabetes mellitus is a condition where there is either an absolute insulin deficiency, secondary to destruction of pancreatic cells (type 1) or there is still some insulin left, but it is not enough to reduce blood glucose, because the body has become resistant to it (type 2).

What are the diseases that affect the body's response to insulin?

Other diseases: acromegaly, pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and hyperadrenocorticism are all hormonal disturbances that affect the body’s response to insulin.

What percentage of diabetes is genetic?

In humans, genetic factors account for less than 10% of the overall risk of developing diabetes. This highlights the importance of environmental factors.

How old are cats?

Age: most cats are over 8 years of age with a peak incidence between 10 and 13 years of age.

Can feline diabetes be reversed?

To end this article with some good news, feline diabetes can indeed be reversed. Up to 40% of cats can enter remission if treated appropriately! So it’s not all doom and gloom. But it is important to recognise the factors and look out for the signs. As always, if you’re concerned,

What happens if a cat is diabetic?

If a diabetic cat goes untreated for long enough, they will develop ketoacidosis. Cats at this stage will not eat or drink and will become dehydrated and more lethargic. Eventually, as ketoacidosis progresses, they will slip into a coma and die if not treated with intensive medical therapy.

How to diagnose diabetes in cats?

Diagnosing Diabetes in Cats. After a physical exam and discussion of your cat’s symptoms, your veterinarian will take blood and urine samples for testing. In addition to checking the glucose (sugar) levels in your cat’s blood and urine, your vet will be checking for evidence of other diseases that have symptoms similar to diabetes, ...

What is the goal of treatment for diabetic cats?

The goal of treatment is to have a cat that is free of diabetic symptoms with a blood glucose level that is near the normal range.

What happens if a cat has ketoacidosis?

If your cat has developed the complication of diabetic ketoacidosis, they will be hospitalized and given IV insulin as well as IV fluids until they are eating and their blood sugar and electrolytes stabilize. Then they will be switched to subcutaneous insulin and sent home.

Why does my cat walk on his paws?

Vomiting. Sometimes a cat will develop a plantigrade stance—that is, he will stand and walk with his hocks touching or nearly touching the ground. Instead of walking only on his paws, it would look like his whole foot is touching the ground. This is a form of diabetic neuropathy.

How often do cats get insulin injections?

The insulin is given by injection under the skin, usually twice a day, after your cat has eaten.

Why is my cat's blood sugar high?

Diabetes in cats is most similar to type II diabetes in people: the blood sugar becomes elevated because the cat’s insulin is either ineffective or not produced in sufficient quantity. If not treated accordingly, it can become a life-threatening condition.

What is it called when a cat has diabetes?

In a young cat the condition is likely to be what is called type 1 diabetes where the pancreas doesn’t make sufficient insulin, the hormone that is necessary to remove excess sugar from the blood.

How old do cats have to be to get diabetes?

There may be some interaction between certain hormones perhaps. The cats most likely to get diabetes tend to be between 8-13 years old, males, especially neutered ones, which are overweight.

Why does my cat lose weight?

Gradually your cat would tend to lose weight but this may not become apparent until it has lost quite a bit and is noticeably thin. The condition is due to an inability to control blood sugar levels properly and is serious if left untreated. Fortunately though it is usually spotted in time and with proper care the cat can live a fairly normal life.

Why are veterinary treatments for cats based on research conducted with dogs?

Many veterinary treatments for cats were based on research conducted with dogs because it was wrongly assumed that cats were very similar. Recently, there have been giant strides in feline veterinary research. This classic reference is fully updated and revised to reflect these advances.

Why does my cat have high blood sugar?

This causes cortisol to be produced which leads to higher blood sugar levels and increased appetite. Another factor is inflammation in the pancreas that can occur in cats, apparently linked to, if not actually caused by, deposits of amyloid building up within.

Can cats have diabetes?

By keeping your cat fit, active, and the correct weight, you will have a cat that’s NOT likely to develop diabetes. Follow:

Do cats get overweight?

A young cat will be playful and pretty active, but as it grows older it is more likely to do more lying around than running around and thus may become gradually overweight, often so gradually that you don’t even notice it. Some owners think they are being kind by erring on the side of over feeding their pet.

Why do cats get diabetic?

While a minority of the cats may develop diabetes due to genetic reasons or other underlying health problems that can further lead to diabetes, most cats become diabetic because of the commercial cat food that’s based on corn and gluten as their main sources of protein for the cats’ meals.

Do cats eat corn?

Think about it for a second. A cat that lives out there into the wild will never feed itself on corn or other carbohydrates. Cats are carnivores, so their main source of food is meat.

How many cats will return to normal after a diabetic diagnosis?

Anywhere from 30–90% of cats will return to normal with early diagnosis and treatment. 3. Better diets are helping diabetic cats live healthier lives. A poor diet may have brought on your cat’s diabetes in the first place. Now it’s time to get back on the right track.

What is the best food for diabetic cats?

Fancy Feast Chunky Chicken or Turkey is a good food for a diabetic cat.

How to get my cat's blood sugar back on track?

Early intervention with diabetes, as with so many other diseases, gives your cat the best chance of a better life, and possible remission. Daily insulin injections, along with watching what the cat eats, can help get blood sugar levels back on track and allow the cat to act normal. 2.

Can a diabetic cat drink water?

Proper diabetes care for a cat allows many patients to lead normal lives. There are certainly exceptions, and some diabetic cats have many problems — no 2 diabetics are the same. If we catch the illness early, a diabetic cat will stop drinking tons of water, have a normal amount of energy and lead a happy life. 8.

Can cats with diabetes get insulin injections?

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 it’s over.

Is diabetes a death sentence for cats?

Caring for a Diabetic Cat: The Good and The Bad of Diabetes Care. No, diabetes is not a death sentence for your cat. Here’s what you should know, including symptoms, treatment — and the cost of insulin for cats. One of the classic cat diabetes symptoms is when you notice your cat drinking more water than usual.

Can cats go into remission?

With proper diet and the correct insulin therapy , a significant number of cats can go into remission or have their diabetes reversed.

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