Sugar, Sugar: A Case of Feline Diabetes
Hi. Doctor Nanni here. First off, I just want to say sorry I missed you in January -- I was so busy after the new year with all my animal friends, I completely lost track of time. But I have returned to tell you about a cool cat named Scotty and his ongoing battle with diabetes. Scotty recently came to see us as his owners noticed he had started drinking and peeing more than he had been in the past. Also, Scotty started to become a bit picky with his food; he was playing with it and eating a bit less than he had been in the past. These signs can be subtle but they are significant; we are always so thankful when owners notice these subtle changes early as we are usually able to diagnose the disease and start treatment before their pets get really ill. On exam, we found that Scotty was dehydrated and had lost a significant amount of muscle mass. It is not uncommon for our older feline friends to lose weight, lose muscle, and become dehydrated. To find out the reason for these changes, we ran several blood tests, including a urine test and a blood pressure check. These tests typically identify the most common causes of these changes in our older cats, which can include issues with the thyroid, kidneys, liver, and pancreas. In Scotty’s case, we found that he had a significantly higher than normal blood sugar (glucose) level as well as a significant amount of sugar in his urine. These two findings together gave us a diagnosis: Scotty had diabetes. Diabetes in cats is not uncommon, and is sometimes described as being similar to Type 2 diabetes in people. In cats, diabetes can often be pushed into remission with a combination of insulin and diet. Success rates for pushing diabetes into remission do vary, but we are always optimistic that this will be the case. If we are unable to achieve remission, cats can be managed long-term on once or twice daily injections of insulin with their special diet. Scotty has just started his insulin treatments. He will be regularly monitored in the short term to ensure that we do not lower his blood sugar too much, but also to make sure that we have decreased his sugar level enough to control his symptoms. His lovely owners will follow a schedule that will try to stabilize his sugars by feeding him at consistent times throughout the day, all while observing him for signs of low blood sugar. As a team, we will help Scotty manage his diabetes and live a happy, cozy life!