Diabetes mellitus is a medical condition resulting in an excessive amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. It is more frequently seen in middle to old-age cats, obese cats and more common in males than females.
The most common clinical signs seen in diabetic patients are an increase in water consumption and urination. Weight loss is also a common feature, and an increase in appetite may be noticed in some cats.
Diabetes is diagnosed based on clinical signs, persistently elevated blood glucose concentrations and the presence of glucose in the urine.
Diabetes is a treatable condition. Diet change and weight loss can help control diabetes in some cats. However, most cats will require insulin injections to control the diabetes. Most cats require once or twice daily injections of a small dose of insulin with very fine, painless needles.
Cats usually achieve initial stabilization within a few days to a few weeks of regular insulin injections.
It is very important to monitor treatment to make sure it is working properly and determine if any insulin dosage adjustments are necessary. This is often done through blood tests.
If a cat receives too much insulin, it is possible for the blood sugar level to drop dangerously low. For this reason, it is important to be very careful in ensuring the cat receives the correct dose of insulin. Also, never give insulin to your cat if they refuse to eat for you.
The typical signs displayed by a cat with a very low blood sugar level are severe weakness and lethargy, shaking, unsteadiness and even convulsions. If a diabetic cat shows any of these signs it is important to seek immediate veterinary attention. If more severe signs are displayed (trouble breathing, unsteadiness during walking or convulsions) a tablespoon of honey, corn syrup or sugar solutions should be given by mouth.