According to a study performed by Purina, Diabetes is a very common disease in cats affecting up to 2% of the feline population in the United States. This disease occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, resulting in high blood sugar. Richard Henderson, DVM of Gavelston Vets in Gavelston, TX warns that if left untreated, many other health problems can occur which can result in blindness, kidney damage, muscle weakness, and urinary tract infections. Diabetic cats often require daily insulin shots at home, and frequent trips to the veterinarian for blood sugar tests and monitoring.
The increasing number of diabetic cats in today’s society is a result of sedentary indoor life styles and free-choice feeding, ending in an epidemic of obese felines. There is also research that, for many cats, the carbohydrates in dry cat food cannot be used for energy, and is easily converted into stored fat. For this reason, feeding canned cat foods that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates can be fed to aid in weight loss and prevention of diabetes.
Your veterinarians will take a medical history from the cat owner and perform blood tests and urinalysis to determine if your cat has developed diabetes. Dr. Henderson notes that diabetic cats can be successfully managed but requires a dedicated owner. In cases where a cat is overweight but not yet a diabetic, a successful weight loss program will prevent the disease from developing and increase your cat’s longevity and quality of life. Many feline diseases can be prevented through weight loss and weight management. Proper diet is key not only caring for the diabetic patient, but also to prevent this debilitating condition from developing.