How a cat beat diabetes

How a cat beat diabetes

Jean spotted the similarities between his cat’s symptoms and diabetes in humans. He wondered … could his cat have the same illness as him?

November 14, 2019

Veterinarians agree: there can be remarkable similarities between illnesses in pets and those in their “human families”. Jean and his cat Jujube are a good example. Like tens of thousands of Canadian cats and millions of Canadian people, both suffer from type 2 diabetes. This form of the illness, which represents almost 90% of cases in cats and people, is caused by an insulin dysfunction.

Disturbing symptoms
Jujube had his first symptoms when he was about 7 years old. Jean noticed that his cat had a bigger appetite, was always thirsty and urinated more. Jean’s veterinarian confirmed the diagnosis after thoroughly examining Jujube and evaluating the cat’s levels of glycemia and glycosuria (level of sugar in the urine). These tests are necessary to confirm diabetes, as the illness’s symptoms are similar to those of other diseases, such as kidney failure.

How does the illness develop? In a nutshell: while the pancreas is producing sufficient quantities of insulin, the body becomes resistant to insulin, impedes the proper functioning of the pancreas and hinders cells from absorbing sugar. This results in increased glycemia (levels of sugar in the blood), which sooner or later cause damage to the body’s organs, including the liver, kidneys, bladder, eyes and even the skin.

Increased risk of diabetes
Fortunately, Jean, who is well aware of diabetes because he’s suffered from it for years, caught on quickly. He remembered his veterinarian’s words of warning: Jujube is overweight, one day his weight is going to be a problem.

It’s been shown that obese cats are four times more at-risk of having diabetes than healthy-weight cats. As age is also a determining factor—there’s a spike in diabetes when cats are roughly 7 years old, the concerns of Jujube’s veterinarian were well founded!

When it comes to diabetes: the earlier the diagnosis, the better the response to treatment. Treatment seeks to eliminate the clinical signs of the disease, avoid complications, achieve and maintain a healthy weight and prevent remission.

Effective treatment
Jean followed his veterinarian’s recommendations and gave Jujube a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. He also administered twice-daily injections of insulin, knowing that it would take between 4 and 6 weeks to get a grip on his cat’s levels of blood sugar. Subsequent treatment included a home-based glycemic test and check-up visits to the vet every 3 months.

What’s the best part of this story? One year later, thanks to a better physical condition, close oversight, carefully-monitored insulin injections and a good diet, Jujube’s diabetes completely disappeared! In fact, according to several studies, by respecting these criteria, remission rates among newly diagnosed cats vary from 30% to 90%.

That’s why it’s so important to diagnose diabetes early in cats, start treatment before the disease progresses, prevent it from worsening and reduce the medical costs associated with the disease.

Today Jujube is in great shape and Jean need only worry about himself!

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