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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Overactive thyroid

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Diabetes in cats

Thursday, January 18, 2018
   

Diabetes mellitus in cats is much the same as type 2 diabetes in humans - overweight, sedentary individuals are most at risk.

Cleo came to see us for her annual check a few months ago and we were concerned to find that she had shed nearly a kilo since we had last met. That's 10% of her bodyweight! Her carers told us that her appetite was greater than ever and they'd noticed that she was up at the sink looking for water much more often. Burmese are more at risk for diabetes than other breeds so we were immediately suspicious that Cleo had developed diabetes.

Because we were anxious to confirm our suspicions and to rule out other diseases we ran her blood tests in our lab at Canberra Cat Vet. While her kidneys, liver, blood count and electrolytes were normal her blood glucose was high. She also had a urinary tract infection, which is very common in cats with diabetes because bacteria thrive in the sugary urine.

Cleo started on insulin that night. Although her carers had never given injections before they were soon experts. They waited until she was eating her special high protein diet and slipped the tiny needle under her skin. Cleo didn't bat an eyelid.

Once they were all in the routine and the urinary infection had cleared we retested her blood glucose levels and adjusted the dose. If diabetes in cats is caught early and the diet adjusted many go into remission. The remission is more durable if the cat is back to a healthy lean weight.

Pica or what did you just eat????!!!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pica is the abnormal appetite for non-food materials, such as wool, fabrics, cat litter, houseplants or licking concrete or stones.

It can arise as a behavioural problem or can be the result of an underlying medical problem such as anaemia.

Behavioural pica

Behavioural pica often is a long standing problem in healthy cats or in playful kittens. They are usually seen at a clinic for vomiting and reduced appetite due to an intestinal obstruction with odd objects, or toxic substances. Behavioural pica may also increase during times of stress (e.g. new pets and moving house).

Siamese and related breeds are particularly prone to fabric eating and this is often a chronic problem starting at a young age. It is presumed that there is a genetic component to the habit and , although incompletely understood, it is thought that the endorphin release the cat experiences makes the habit addictive. Some cases are very difficult to manage and consulting a veterinary behaviourist is highly recommended.

Pica due to medical conditions

Pica can be seen in cats with chronic anaemia or intestinal problems – they consume excessive amount of grass or plant material and consequently vomit, have diarrhoea or lose weight.

Grass/outdoor plant ingestion in cats

Grass eating is common in cats. The reasons for this is not fully understood but it is suspected that grass has some beneficial effects on the stomach and intestines, including easing nausea. Grass eating is not problematic unless the is also showing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea or eating a toxic plant (i.e lilies). Some owners grow grass on trays indoors for their cats to eat – this may discourage houseplant eating in indoor cats.

Empirical treatments

Steps can be taken to prevent cats from eating odd things:

  • Place wool, blankets and clothing out of reach or sight
  • Hide electrical wires or protect them with cord guards
  • Remove houseplants
  • Use non-clay based litter or placing only shredded/torn up newspaper in litter trays.

Behavioural pica can be challenging to manage; a thorough examination and consultation with a veterinarian will help rule out common causes and allow prompt treatment.

Diabetes

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Cats with diabetes have high blood glucose levels. This is caused by a deficiency of insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas. 

Under the influence of insulin the body takes glucose up from the blood and uses it as an energy source.

Diabetes mellitus is mostly seen in older cats and is more common in males than females. Obese cats and Burmese cats are more commonly affected.

Diabetic cats produce more urine and, to compensate for this, drink more. This may not be obvious if the cat goes outdoors and has access to pools of water.  Some cats urinate outside the tray after being litter trained for years.  Indoor cats saturate the litter rapidly.

Many cats lose weight despite an increase in appetite.

A history of drinking and urinating more, a good appetite and weight loss suggests diabetes.  Your vet will test for high blood glucose and the presence of glucose in the urine. Stress may also cause a transient rise in glucose levels in cats so your cat may be admitted to hospital for a day for a series of blood glucose tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Untreated diabetes eventually causes loss of appetite and lethargy.

Cats with diabetes mellitus are treated with insulin injectionsWeight loss in obese cats can sometimes lead to remission of the diabetes.  Stopping drugs such as prednisolone may also resolve the condition.

Treatment for most cats involves a twice daily injection of insulin. They feel little pain because only a very fine needle is used. Usually insulin is given 12 hours apart at the same time as a meal.

Unlike diabetic humans or dogs diabetic cats require a low carbohydrate diet, high protein diet.  Specially formulated diets such as Hills m/d are low in carbohydrate and high in protein and ideal for diabetic cats.  Many small meals or grazing are fine as long as the cat is not overweight.


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A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

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