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            CAT

HEALTH CARE

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Help and advice if your pet suffers from cat flu, cat colds or other ailments

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CAT DIABETES

Your cat has a one in 500 chance of developing diabetes.

There are two major types of diabetes in animals - a diabetes mellitus is the one most people are familiar with. The other is diabetes insipidus which involves water balance in the body and is less common.

Diabetes is a disease where the glucose in the blood is not used properly by the cells in the body, normally due to a lack of the hormone insulin which is produced by the pancreas.

If your cat is diabetic it may be eating well but effectively starving due to the lack of glucose in its blood which is used for energy.

Glucose is not being obtained from food so muscle and fat begins to break down.

Classic signs of diabetes weight loss, excessive eating and increased urinating and thirst.

Other indicators of the disease loss of muscle tone, abnormal posture and bladder infection.

Some drugs are known to cause diabetes mellitus as a side effect, the most common of these being megestrol acetate. Drug induced diabetes is normally a temporary condition but can need treatment for many months.

Cats who are older and overweight run a greater risk of developing diabetes. High levels of glucose in urine and blood will alert and vet to the existence of diabetes. Other metabolic imbalances may be in place if the disease has existed for some time without detection.

Diabetes is not to be confused with hyperglycaemia which relates to a higher than normal level of glucose in the blood.  Stressed cats can have high blood glucose levels but the level will be significantly higher still in a cat with diabetes.

TREATING DIABETES IN CATS

Each vet will have their own way of treating diabetes and a cat - but some sort of treatment is vital as an animal will starve to death if the condition is not controlled.

Treatment involves the administering of insulin by injection or the taking of oral hypoglycemic agents.

Treatment may also be accompanied by a change in diet.

A cat with diabetes will probably require two insulin injections a day - normally 12 hours apart.

Giving the injections is reasonably straightforward but the owner of the diabetic cat will probably need a bit of basic training in procedure.

The majority of Cats with diabetes will need insulin for the rest of their lives although some can experience temporary diabetes and the need for insulin will come and go.

Diabetic cats should be examined by a vet at the least every six months so their blood glucose level can be monitored.

Diet plays a big part in the management of diabetes, however it can also be a cause of it.

It is believed that dry cat foods which contain high levels of carbohydrates may lead to some cats developing diabetes.  Modern studies reveal that lower carbohydrate and higher protein diets are more suitable for cats with diabetes.

Canned cat food normally contains higher level of protein that dry food and a special high-protein diabetes diet has been developed which is available in both a dry and canned form. It's worth remembering that weight management plays a significant role in controlling diabetes in cats.

Some diabetic cats stubbornly refuse to accept a change in their diet - if this is the case and that will normally prescribe a suitable alternative diet.

As always, if you suspect your cat or kitten has contracted diabetes, you should contact a vet as soon as possible to seek advice and treatment.