Believe it or not, cats can get diabetes just like people do. It is just as life-threatening and requires just as much care. So, what can you do to help prevent this disease and are Ragdolls prone to diabetes?
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which the body cannot produce or properly use glucose, which is the main energy source for the body. This disease can affect cats of any age, either male or female. The prime candidates for diabetes, however, are older, neutered males, especially those who are overweight.
What are the symptoms of diabetes in a cat?
Feline diabetes symptoms will vary from cat to cat depending upon the type and stage of the disease.
Symptoms of diabetes in cats may include increased thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, and slowed movement. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health complications, such as heart disease and stroke.
Symptoms of diabetes may not be obvious in the beginning. But as soon as you see them, contact the veterinarian right away. They will include drinking excessive amounts of water (Polydipsia) and frequent urination (polyuria). Their appetite will increase, yet no matter how much food the cat eats, it will lose weight. You may also detect lethargy.
As diabetes goes untreated, a cat may develop diabetic neuropathy. This will affect his ability to walk and jump. Instead of walking on their paws, the cat will begin walking on his haunches. This altered walk with be awkward for it and give it a hunchback posture. Jumps that would normally be simple are now impossible.
Basically, neuropathy is the interruption of signals being sent from the brain to complete movement. The cat will begin his leap onto the couch. But the signal will not reach the muscles and they will not complete the movement. The cat cannot finish his jump and will fall or slide down the couch, usually quite confused over it all. This is horrible to watch. Call a vet immediately. The good thing about neuropathy is that it will clear itself up once the diabetes is under control.
Untreated cats may experience increasingly more severe symptoms, which may include vomiting, dehydration, and subsequent loss of appetite. Over time, affected cats may develop poor hair coat (due to secondary infections), and liver disease.
Some cats with diabetes can develop a potentially fatal condition called ketoacidosis. This may lead to breathing problems, vomiting and diarrhea.
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your cat, please consult a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.
How is diabetes treated in cats?
Diabetes is usually controlled by giving insulin which is usually produced in the pancreas. When the pancreas fails, blood sugar is too high. Insulin can be administered via pill but this method is effective in fewer than half of feline diabetics. The better option is injections. There are different kinds of insulin and certain syringes that work with each type. Your vet will figure out what is best for your cat’s needs.
This is usually determined with a few tests. Initially, the vet will perform a ‘glucose curve.’ Throughout the day, blood is drawn and sugar levels are checked. More of these curves are done a few weeks apart with different doses of insulin. This process is continued until the right dose is found.
Once the right dose is determined, the injections must be given regularly, usually twice a day.
Before giving your cat his insulin shot, always make sure that it has had some food first. Cats with diabetes will need to be given food at the same time every day. If he hasn’t eaten and you give him a shot anyway, it could end up with a hypoglycemic shock.
Missing a dose is not generally an issue, although several missed doses will cause sugar levels to stay elevated. The most important thing to keep in mind regarding insulin is that too much is even worse than too little. Too much insulin is extremely dangerous. Seizures and even death can occur instantly. Keep a record of shots given to ensure that he is getting his insulin and also that he isn’t inadvertently given shots by two different people. You should always keep a watchful eye on your cat after you have administered the shot to make sure they don’t suffer an adverse reaction.
Be sure to stay on top of your kitty’s appointments with his doctor. This is especially vital in diabetes cases. Amazingly, unlike dogs or people, cats’ pancreases have the ability to re-learn to produce insulin again. While this is good news, it is bad news if you continue to deliver insulin. As mentioned before, too much insulin will cause shock and maybe death.
Can ragdolls get Type 1 diabetes?
Burmese, Maine Coon, and Siamese are more likely to develop diabetes than other breeds. Ragdolls may be at higher risk of developing Type 1 diabetes as they are more prone to obesity due to the fact that they are not a very active breed.
There are several things that you can do to help prevent diabetes in your Ragdoll cat. First of all, make sure that they are getting enough exercise. A Ragdoll cat needs plenty of aerobic activity to keep its blood sugar levels healthy. Second, feed them a healthy diet that is high in protein. Finally, make sure that they are screened for diabetes regularly and if they develop the disease, start them on treatment as soon as possible.
At what age do cats get diabetes?
Most cats who develop diabetes are over six years old, and the average age at diagnosis is 10 years. Diabetes in young cats is extremely rare. Obesity increases the risk of developing diabetes considerably.
Is it expensive to treat a cat with diabetes?
Cats with type 1 diabetes require regular insulin injections to control their blood sugar levels. Many cats with diabetes require $50 to $60 of insulin every 40 days. A cat with mild diabetes may only need a fraction of that amount and average closer to $20 to $30 every 40 days.
What food is best for a diabetic cat?
A diabetic cat’s diet is very important because it affects not only how their blood sugar levels are controlled, but also how well they heal from minor injuries.
There are a lot of different things that can affect a diabetic cat’s diet. The most important thing is to make sure that they’re getting enough protein (about 25% of their diet), fiber (about 10% of their diet), and moisture (about 50% of their diet). Protein-rich options like freeze-dried chicken, beef, salmon, tuna, and liver are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. This makes them a good choice.
How can you help your cat avoid diabetes?
There are several things you can do to help your cat avoid diabetes, including providing a healthy diet and regular vet check-ups. You can also help promote good exercise habits by providing your cat with plenty of toys and playtime, as well as a safe place to roam.
Diabetes is a serious disease that can affect both humans and cats. It’s important to be aware of the signs and take steps to prevent it from happening. If your furry friend has diabetes, you need not fret. While he will need you to keep a close eye on him and be diligent with his injections, there is nothing more to it than that.