Each year, thousands of cats are diagnosed with feline diabetes. Like the human body, a cat also needs glucose to produce energy for physical activity. The glucose in blood requires insulin to be converted into energy. This hormone is secreted from the pancreas. In diabetes, a cat’s pancreas does not produce enough insulin to digest glucose. Many cats with diabetes may experience a urinary tract infection. Excessive thirst, urination, sleepiness, and increased appetite are some signs of diabetes in cats.
The objectives of treating feline diabetes include the following steps:
- Maintaining the blood glucose level
- Decreasing the number of weight loss factors
- Balancing the diet and appetite
- Avoiding steroid therapy or medication
1. Insulin therapy
The normal blood glucose level is 70 to 130, and it may vary from breed to breed. An increasing level of blood sugar is often treated with insulin injections recommended by the veterinarian. It is important to feed the cat 12 hours apart when diabetes occurs. In insulin therapy, the veterinarian suggests meals that are low in carbohydrates and rich in proteins. The insulin doses are given at a certain frequency to control the glucose level.
Giving a cat an insulin dose immediately after weight loss may lead to a condition called ketoacidosis, which is a potentially serious complication. Normally, the main source of fuel in the body is glucose. But in feline diabetes, the body can become so deprived of glucose that it turns to its fat stores for fuel. Fatty acids are broken down into ketones as an alternative source of energy. If too many ketones accumulate in the bloodstream, they alter the pH chemistry of the blood, leading to a poor appetite, vomiting, and dehydration in the cat. If left untreated, ketoacidosis can rapidly progress to deadly complications. Minimizing the cat’s blood sugar level as soon as possible can minimize the risk of it developing ketoacidosis.
2. Diet management for diabetes
Dry carbohydrate-rich nibble food makes your cat fat and overwhelms the function of the pancreas, so veterinarians suggest a diet that’s low in carbohydrates, to keep it healthy. High protein canned fish or canned food can improve your cat’s blood glucose level. The aim is to eliminate the carbs flooding in the pancreas and increase the functionality of the pancreas. Cats are carnivorous animals, so their body is not designed to digest carbohydrates. But, for convenience, various companies produce cat foods rich in carbohydrates. These foods develop feline diabetes in your cat.
Canned food with protein gives the cat moisture to keep it hydrated throughout the day. But be careful about the amount of food you are feeding to your cat. Also, monitoring the cat’s appetite helps to assure good glycemic control.
The sad fact is that there is no cure for diabetes in cats. Insulin therapy and dietary management are the only ways to control blood sugar levels in cats. Cats are prone to diabetes in the later stages of their lives. Because of our busy lifestyle, we do not spend much time with our pets. Boredom and less exercise can also cause feline diabetes. Veterinarians suggest taking cats outside of the home for giving them a change of environment and to reduce their boredom.