Sugar diabetes, also known as Diabetes Mellitus is a common disease in cats. Diabetes occurs when a cat’s body doesn’t produce or doesn’t use insulin properly. Insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, regulates the absorption of glucose, a simple sugar.
When a cat isn’t producing enough insulin, the cat’s body starts using its fat stores for food, which causes the cat to lose weight, even though it is eating the same or more food. This also causes the cat to develop a high amount of sugar in its bloodstream, which is eliminated in urine. This is one of the classic symptoms of diabetes, excessive urine and increased thirst. These four symptoms are usually what leads someone to take their cat to the veterinarian for testing.
There are two types of diabetes, insulin dependent, which is usually treated with daily insulin injections and non-insulin dependent, which is usually regulated with diet. Diabetes most often occurs in older, overweight cats.
Diabetes is diagnosed based on the clinical signs described above as well as a blood test. Once it has been determined that you cat has diabetes, your veterinarian will immediately begin to treat your cat’s condition. If left untreated, your cat can develop ketoacidosis, which can lead to death.
The treatment for your cat’s diabetes depends on the severity of the disease and how easily his blood sugar can be controlled. Some cats with milder diabetes are treated with diet and oral medications, others require insulin injections.