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What to Expect With Cat Diabetes

Lately I have been talking to a lot of people that have just found out their cat has diabetes, and most of them were panicking. Of course it's a shock to hear your vet say your pet is diabetic and the news can be overwhelming, but you have to know that cat diabetes is a very treatable and manageable condition.

First off, let's talk about the symptoms of cat diabetes that you might observe if your cat has the disease. You might notice frequent urination, drinking lots of water, eating a lot more, and maybe unexplained weight loss. In more advanced cases, you will see a loss of appetite, vomiting, weakness, acetone smelling breath, dehydration, labored breathing and lethargy. The vet will consider all these cat diabetes symptoms and do lab work to look for ketones in the urine and a high blood glucose level and the diagnosis will be made.

Having diabetes is not a death sentence for your cat. Of course, if the cat has other health problems things can get complicated, but even an older cat can live many more years if its diabetes is controlled appropriately. Before you even think of putting your pet to sleep, have a long talk with your vet and explore all the options to treat a cat.

It's important to know that caring for a cat with diabetes will take a strong commitment on your part and the help of your vet. You need to provide special care every day, and your routine is obviously going to change and get a little bit more complicated, but don't think you will now be a slave to your cat. Yes, you will have to give it medication, be careful with its diet and watch its behavior closely. Sometimes you'll be able to control the diabetes with oral medications, others, you will need to give insulin injections. Don't worry, it's easy to learn to inject your pet and the injection is not painful at all.

Since most obese cats are prone to diabetes, it's important to alter your cat's diet, so if your cat is overweight, you will need to help him lose weight.

Although cat diabetes is not totally reversible, the need for treatment might ease up. If the diabetes was caused by obesity, it will improve a great deal after losing the weight. Regardless, all diabetic cats do best with consistent medication and feeding and a stress-free lifestyle. All the hard work will pay off when you get to enjoy many more years of love from your beloved pet.Diabetic cat

Try to work with a vet that has had experience treating diabetic animals. The relationship with your veterinarian will be more important now, and good communication is key. You will have a lot of questions and your vet should be able to answer them in a way you can clearly understand the answers.

There are standard treatment options for cat diabetes, but every animal responds differently to different treatments, but don't get frustrated, you and your pet will get through it.

There is tons of information about diabetes and diabetic cat diets, and although you will not have to become an expert, it will help for you to learn as much as you can about the disease and its treatments and management.  Ask all the questions you need to ask, even if you think it's something simple. Your pet's life might depend on it.

The cost is what sometimes makes people panic when they find out the diagnosis. The financial requirements to take care of a diabetic animal can be overwhelming. But know that many vets will be willing to work on a payment plan for you and will help you limit expenses. Discuss all your options with your vet. If he or she is not willing to cooperate, look for a vet who will.

The expenses might be higher on the first few weeks while you and your vet are in the process of getting your cat's diabetes regulated, since you will have to take it in for regular checkups in the early stages of the disease which are crucial to determine if there needs to be adjustments to the medications.

Cat diabetes syringeSometimes, the diabetes is quickly regulated, but some pets are not so lucky and they need more visits to the vet's office. Once the diabetes is under control, the expenses will decrease. Supplies like syringes, insulin and special diet can cost around $30 to $60 per month. If you need to test your pet's urine you can buy test strips for less than $15 for 50 test strips. If you need to test the blood glucose you can learn to do it at home to avoid the high cost of vet visits, but you will still need the cooperation of the vet to interpret the results. Blood glucose meters and test strips vary in price, but you can always fins rebates and coupons. But normally, the vet visits should be every six months once the diabetes is regulated.

Although all the changes to you and your cat's lifestyle can be stressful, just keep in mind that the period of adjustment will be worth it in the long run and keep the end goal in sight.

There may be times when other illnesses arise, and every health crisis can be emotionally draining. But know that the bad times tend to pass and don't forget to celebrate the progress that you have made, even if it's just a tiny step. Animals can perceive your emotions and the power of love to heal your pet should never be underestimated.

When you need to take a vacation, you need to make sure to make arrangements for a well trained care-giver to take over the care of your cat during your absence. They will need to administer medications, feed them and observe your pet's behavior in order to call the vet if a problem arises.

You have a lot to learn, so be patient with yourself so you can make the best and most loving decision for everyone.


Photos courtesy of Mel B.