Our Chubby Cat – Living with Feline Diabetes
By Niki Waldron, Head of Formulation
Part of Jaguar’s staff contribution series
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas can’t make insulin or the body can’t utilize it effectively. Diabetes affects over 400 million people worldwide. In addition to affecting humans, diabetes also occurs in both dogs and cats. It is estimated that 1% of dogs and 1-2% of cats will develop diabetes.
For dogs, the risk of developing diabetes is higher for obese animals between 4 to 14 years of age. Certain breeds also appear to be at a greater risk. Additionally, unspayed female dogs are twice as likely as male dogs to suffer from diabetes. For cats, risk factors again include obesity and age, with male cats more likely than females to develop the disease.
In general, diabetes symptoms for both dogs and cats are very similar: change in appetite, excessive thirst, increased urination, unexplained or rapid weight loss, sweet or fruity smelling breath and lethargy. For both dogs and cats, the disease can be managed through diet and insulin, and with an early diagnosis and properly administered therapy, the prognosis is good!
Our cat, Memma (pictured), was diagnosed with diabetes in February 2016. She had two of the most common predisposing conditions for cats—older and obese. Her most notable symptom was rapid weight loss, losing almost 5 pounds in about 6 weeks. While we were getting her stabilized, she also developed diabetic neuropathy which exhibited as very week hind legs, the inability to jump and walking on her hocks. Now that she is stabilized through her twice-daily insulin shots and prescription food, she is maintaining a good weight, has near normal blood glucose levels and her neuropathy has resolved.
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Also published on Medium.