Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Question: Diabetes in Pets

Dr. Schaeberle,

My cat was recently diagnosed with diabetes. I didn’t know it was
possible! What do we do next?



Dear Darlene,

Over the past year there have been many questions involving diabetes in both dogs and cats. I want to make sure I answer most of them, so we will begin a three part series on diabetes mellitus and pets.

Diabetes mellitus is a treatable condition that requires a committed effort by both of veterinarian and client. In the most pets, the treatment is very rewarding and most dogs and cats can live normal life expectancies. The treatment of diabetes is a combination of art and science, due in part to the many factors that affect the diabetic state and the animal’s response. Each animal needs individualized, frequent reassessment, and treatments may be modified based on this response.

In both dogs and cats diabetes is caused by a loss or a dysfunction of the pancreatic cells that produce insulin. The risk factors for dogs and cats include obesity, genetics, and in some cases diseases or drugs. Regardless of the underlying cause, diabetic dogs and cats are hyperglycemic (high blood sugar), which leads to the classic signs of an increase in drinking, urination, and increased appetite and weight loss.

There are many questions the veterinarian must ask him or herself in regards to how to initiate treatment. The variables include a variety of different insulin selections as well as dietary considerations. In many cases the treatment for diabetes in cats differs from that in dogs. Next week I will go over the treatment of diabetes in cats.

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

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