Managing Feline Diabetes
Coping with and managing the symptoms of a cat living with diabetes can consume worried cat owners, especially if the diagnosis is recent. After months of potential confusion and frustration, many people can experience stress – or even grief – over their cats’ diagnosis of diabetes.
You (or someone you know) may feel helpless regarding how to best help a diabetic cat, but the Pet Experts are here to support families living with a diabetic cat. Whether you are learning about feline diabetes to prevent it or coping with the disease, we are here to answer all of your questions.
First Things First – What is Feline Diabetes?
Commonly known as “sugar” diabetes, this chronic disease is present in cats whose bodies do not make or properly use insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas. Insulin regulates the flow of glucose (a life-sustaining fuel made during the digestion of fats, carbohydrates, and protein) from the bloodstream into the cells and, when levels are low or inadequate, fat and protein stores will be employed as energy.
Cat owners will notice:
- Increased appetite,
- Increased thirst,
- Increased urination present with progressive weight loss
Treating Feline Diabetes
Although there is no present cure for your cat’s diabetes, there are effective ways of managing it so he or she can lead a long, normal life. The combined efforts of you and your cat’s veterinarian will prove very useful as you navigate the choppy waters of treating feline diabetes.
Depending on your cat’s blood sugar levels, insulin injections may be required to restore insulin levels and control blood glucose levels. These levels need consistent testing (ask your vet about testing at home) in order for your vet to determine the correct type, dosage, and frequency of insulin.. The skilled vet techs here at EACC are happy to assist you with the injections until you feel comfortable. Some diabetic cats don’t yet need injections and their blood sugar can be controlled by oral hypoglycemic medications regulated by your vet.
The Feline Diabetic Diet
Obesity is prevalent among diabetic cats and a gradual weight loss program can be created by your vet. Obese diabetic cats can achieve safe weight loss through diets high in fiber and complex carbohydrates (like barley or oats) while others respond to a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
It may take time to figure out what is best for your cat but the reward of finding the right balance between food and medication is priceless.
Dedication and Communication
Properly managing your cat’s diabetes is critical to his or her well being and longevity. The additional attention paid to your cat’s water and food intake, urine levels, and blood sugar levels will all contribute to your cat’s stability as will keeping an open line of communication with your vet.
You may be amazed to find out just how common feline diabetes is and how many people, including the Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center, are willing to help you through it.
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