According to the American Diabetes Association, 24 million children and adults in the United States live with diabetes. Another 57 million Americans are at risk for type 2 diabetes. With trends like these one out of every three children born today will face a future with diabetes. It’s a very serious disease that leads to potentially life threatening complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation.
What many might not realize is that our companion animals, such as dogs and cats, are suffering from this debilitating disease as well. Diabetes is one of the most common endocrine (hormonal) diseases of cats. Catching the disease early is crucial for the health of pets. Some of the symptoms to look for include increased thirst (polydipsia) and increased urination (polyuria). Other signs may include weight loss despite an increase in appetite. In order to diagnose the disease accurately, diagnostic tests should be run to determine the underlying cause of the diabetes. These tests will also be used to exclude other diseases and help guide subsequent treatment recommendations. With long-term treatment and dedication diabetes is a treatable condition.
Prevention of diabetes is the best course of action and should start with regular veterinary check-ups, proper weight management and diagnostic testing.
Dr. Judy Karnia, a leading cat practitioner from the Scottsdale Cat Clinic regularly diagnoses the condition: “We find diabetes in many older overweight cats. Treatment can be very successful if the disorder is diagnosed early in the course of the disease and the cat's owner is very careful with the insulin given and food offered. Some cats will even have their diabetes go into remission and no longer require insulin injections. We try to prevent the development of diabetes in our patients by working closely with all clients on proper nutrition, weight loss, and wellness blood testing.”