Did you know cats can suffer from Diabetes too?

Sam is a 14 year old male, chocolate Burmese, who was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus a year ago. His owner noticed he had been drinking lots of water, and had been losing weight. After a thorough checkup including a blood test we were able to determine his health status.

What is Diabetes Mellitus?
Diabetes Mellitus is a medical condition where there is an excessive amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. This is caused by a deficiency of the hormone insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas. Insulin helps the body to use glucose as an energy source.

Diabetes Mellitus is an uncommon disease in cats. When it is seen, it is seen more frequently in overweight, middle aged to older cats, and more commonly in males than females. Brown burmese cats are more commonly affected than any other breeds.

Common clinical signs of Diabetes:

  • Increased drinking
  • Increased urination volume
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss

Clinical signs start to show as a result of high concentrations of glucose in the blood, and the inability of the body to use glucose as an energy source.

More about Sam
Sam was brought in to see us last year. Sam's owner was concerned as he was drinking large volumes of water and he seemed to be losing weight.

After a thorough check up by our veterinarian, a blood and urine sample was taken to show us what was happening in Sams body.
Sam's blood test showed very high levels of glucose in his blood. The normal range for glucose is 3.9-7.5 mmol/Litre. Sam's glucose levels were above 21. Sam's urine was also tested for traces of glucose, which were found to be positive.

A diagnosis of diabetes cannot be made on a single blood and urine sample as other conditions, such as stress, can cause a rise in glucose levels.

Another blood test called a fructosamine test, was performed which measures the average of blood glucose levels.

  • A healthy cat will have a range between 221 and 341
  • A stressed cat will have a range between 204 and 350
  • A diabetic cat will have a range between 226 and 835

Sam's fructosamine levels measured 571 which proved he was diabetic.

How is Diabetes Mellitus treated?
Diabetes Mellitus is a long term treatable condition usually managed with giving insulin injections twice a day.

Before Sam could be treated with insulin, a dose rate had to be determined.

Sam was kept in hospital for 12 hours so his blood glucose levels could be monitored. This is so the veterinarian could determine Sam's correct dosage of insulin.

Sam's owner was shown how to administer the insulin injection, so it can be given at home. The injection has a very small needle, which causes no pain to Sam.

Sam visits our hospital regularly and has his blood glucose levels tested every three months to make sure the insulin injections are working. Sam is doing very well and his diabetes is well managed due to the care of his owner and his veterinarian.