What is Diabetes?
In diabetes the pancreas does not work properly anymore (not producing insulin), or the pet’s body cannot effectively use insulin, blood sugar goes up, pets drink more, urinate more and lose weight (other clinical signs can be present as well). Mid to older aged pets are most at risk and both cats and dogs can develop diabetes.
How is it Diagnosed?
If you note the above signs, please call your veterinarian for an appointment. A physical exam, and blood and urine tests can help determine a diagnosis.
The goal is to get your pet to feel better, reduce the frequency of drinking/urination, and stabilize weight and blood glucose levels. Insulin injections will need to be given to get the blood sugar back to normal and make the pet feel better. Your veterinary team will teach you how to safely administer the injections at home. A diabetic supportive diet will be recommended by your veterinarian. It is very important to feed meals twice per day and not feed ANY other treats, human food, or chews other than the diabetic pet food.
Blood glucose levels and fructosamine levels will need to be checked to ensure the correct dose of insulin is being given. A Free Style Libre monitor can be applied in the clinic so you can monitor your pets glucose levels at home when needed. Once every 6-12 months a chemistry panel, CBC, and Urinalysis should be done to check function of the organs. When diabetes is not well managed, other conditions can occur such as: Bladder stones, Cataracts (which can lead to blindness, Hypertension (high blood pressure), Kidney failure, Pancreatitis and Urinary tract infections.
Cats may go into diabetic remission. This occurs when a cat’s blood glucose stays at normal levels for more than a month without insulin injections or other glucose regulation methods. Some cats can stay in diabetic remission for months to years. Remission is most likely when insulin therapy is started quickly and adjusted appropriately, and the cat is fed a diabetic supportive diet consistently.