What are the signs of diabetes mellitus in cats?
Depending on how severely insulin production or utilization is impaired, the symptoms can range from subtle to obvious. The most common signs of diabetes are:
Increased thirst (polydipsia) and urination (polyuria)
Inappropriate elimination (urinating outside the litter box)
Change in appetite
Change in gait (walking)
Decreased activity, weakness, depression
How is diabetes diagnosed?
The diagnosis of diabetes mellitus in cats is based upon the presence of persistently high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) even when the animal had not eaten recently (fasted), concurrent glucose in the urine (glucosuria), and clinical signs. Clinical signs alone cannot be a basis for the diagnosis since hyperthyroidism and kidney disease, both very common diseases in older cats, can have similar signs. Your pet's doctor will use the history, physical examination findings, and laboratory results together to provide a diagnosis.
How is diabetes treated?
As in people, diabetes is more often managed with lifestyle changes than treated with a single treatment. The most common treatments include diet change and insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents. Treatment is tailored specifically to each individual's life style and needs.
Here are additional links with information on feline diabetes, insulin administration, and diabetes management:
Diabetes is one of the most common feline endocrine disorders, but caring for a diabetic cat isn’t as hard as it sounds. Here’s the lowdown on how to keep your feline friend healthy: DVM360 Diabetes Article.
The Cat's Meow Veterinary Hospital has several diabetic patients. Our doctors and team frequently work with diabetic cats when they come in for routine appointments, procedures, and/or boarding.
For more information on general senior cat wellness, see our Senior Wellness Page.
If you would like to discuss feline diabetes with one of our doctors, please call us to schedule an appointment!