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Cat Diabetes - The Lowdown
In our previous post, we were talking about the prevalence and prevention of diabetes in our dogs, but did you know that diabetes can affect pigs, monkeys, dolphins and cats? Although less common than in dogs, diabetes is estimated to affect between 0.2% and 1% of all domestic cats in their lifetimes.
In today's post, we will be looking into how diabetes affects our cats, how to spot the signs of feline diabetes and what preventative measures can be taken, so you can ensure your cat has the healthiest life possible no matter what.
What is Feline Diabetes?
As with human and dog diabetes, feline diabetes affects the control of blood sugar levels and the efficiency with which the body produces the hormone insulin. In diabetic animals, the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or the body doesn't respond to its effects properly. This leads to a build-up of glucose in the blood which isn't able to be transported to and utilised by the cells. If left untreated feline diabetes can cause a plethora of health problems including; weight loss, lethargy, ketoacidosis, diabetic neuropathy and, in some extreme cases, comas and death.
How to Spot Diabetes in Your Cats
Although diabetes is most common in obese, middle-aged, indoor felines, it can affect any cat at any age. As such it is important to be able to effectively recognise the early onset symptoms of this condition. The main six symptoms that affect cats experiencing the onset of diabetes are ;
Lethargy: Due to inefficient energy transfer
Increased drinking: Excessive thirst due to the build up of glucose in the bloodstream
Increased urination: especially important to notice accidents outside of usual urination areas, such as littler trays
Increased appetite: Again, due to the inefficient transferral of glucose to the cells
Vomiting: Any vomiting for your cat should be checked by your vet
Weight loss: Despite having a normal diet
In rare cases, some cats can also develop a plantigrade stance, which is due to diabetic neuropathy, that will make your cat stand and walk with their whole lower leg touching the ground rather than just on their paws.
With modern veterinary practices, it is possible for cats with diabetes to live lives that are equal in length and quality compared to a healthy feline, with fairly simple treatments.
As with human diabetes, the best way to treat the feline version of this condition is with regular at-home insulin injections. Insulin injections help to lower your cats' blood sugar levels and assist in the transferral of those sugars into the cells which will be able to use it in a positive way. If your cat is diagnosed with diabetes, your vet will take you through this relatively simple process and your cats will be able to get back to their usual routines.
If you have had a feline diabetes diagnosis in your household, you will need to be advised by your vet in order to work out a diabetes-appropriate diet. The best food for your diabetic cats is one that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates, not dissimilar to the best foods for healthy cats. A lot of mainstream cat foods can contain fillers and low-quality protein sources which can lead to obesity and in turn diabetes. So it is of paramount importance that we make the best choices when we choose our cats’ foods.
Preventative Measures for Feline Diabetes
Although not all caws of feline diabetes can be prevented, you can reduce your pet's chance of developing this condition with a few simple switches. As we alluded to above, making well-informed choices when it comes to what we feed our fantastic felines is one of the best decisions we can make, in order to make sure they live the longest and healthiest lives they possibly can. Brands such as Canagan formulate foods for felines that are wholesome, natural and pure, as well as being specially made with your cat’s best interests at heart. These foods will also be free from any unnecessary fillers and will have high ratios of good quality proteins, making them perfect for keeping your cat svelte and in the best condition they can be.
It is also important to feed your cat treats that are specially made for them as opposed to feeding them ‘people food’. Human foods can put pressure on a cat's pancreas that can cause inflammation and potentially inhibit insulin production. Thankfully, at Natural Cornish Pet we have a plethora of fabulous feline treats that are all-natural and wonderfully wholesome, so you can always make the right choice when it’s time for a reward.
Even though feline diabetes can be a scary thought, with modern veterinary methods and a good quality diet this condition can be easily controlled. The best way to prevent diabetes from affecting your cat is to look out for the early onset symptoms we listed above in order to catch it as soon as you can. You should also make sure your cat has the healthiest diet possible in order to avoid obesity and conditions caused by a nutritional deficiency that can lead to more serious problems such as feline diabetes.
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