So I’ve been feeling pretty down the past week or so. Erik and I recently had to say goodbye to our furbaby, Max. Max…well Max was one of my best friends. He was my snuggle-buddy, and my constant couch companion. We particularly bonded after he was diagnosed with diabetes. Because we were so close it made more sense for to take care of his diabetic needs. I took care of his insulin shots and testing his blood sugar. We had 6 good years after he was diagnosed, but between the diabetes and his age, it was just his time. But, I’m hoping that maybe if I share a little info with you, maybe you can catch the signs of diabetes in your pet early and get some extra healthy time with your furbaby.
So here are some of the signs and symptoms according to peteducation.com:
Increased Thirst and Urination: Because the glucose cannot enter the cells, the glucose levels in the blood become abnormally high (hyperglycemia). The glucose is filtered out by the kidneys and is found in the urine (glucosuria). When it is filtered out, it carries water with it. The animal, then, is losing more water through the urine than normal and has to make up for it by drinking more.
Inappropriate Elimination: The increased urination may result in the cat not always urinating in the litter box. This inappropriate urination may be one of the first signs of diabetes in cats. In addition, cats with diabetes can often develop urinary tract infections, which may also result in inappropriate elimination.
Change in Appetite: Some diabetic cats eat less, because frankly, they do not feel well. Other cats may have voracious appetites and eat a lot (polyphagia) because their hypothalamus keeps telling them they are hungry.
Weight Loss: Because the cat cannot use the calories he eats for energy, he has to start breaking down his own body fat for energy. As the fat is used, the cat loses weight.
Change in Gait/Walking: Some cats with diabetes mellitus develop an abnormality of their nervous systems. It results in them walking with their hocks touching the ground ('plantigrade stance'). The veterinary term for this disorder is called diabetic neuropathy.
Decreased Activity, Weakness, Depression: Even though the animal is eating calories, he cannot use them, and has less energy. You know how you feel if you have not eaten for a long time. A diabetic cat, whether he eats or not, feels the same way. Some cats may lose considerable muscle mass, which contributes to the weakness. Cats with diabetes mellitus may become depressed and lethargic. They may not groom themselves well, and will not be interested in their surroundings. As diabetes mellitus progresses, cats often become more depressed and lethargic.
Vomiting: Cats with more severe diabetes, who need to break down their own fat for energy accumulate waste products from the process. These waste products are called ketones. If they build up in the blood, they can cause nausea and vomiting. This build-up of ketones and a subsequent drop in pH of the blood is called ketoacidosis. It can become severe and life-threatening.
If you see any of these signs or symptoms, please contact your vet asap. The sooner your pet can be diagnosed, the sooner you can take steps to control your pet’s blood sugar.
Finally, I really want to say thank you to the staff at Lewis Vet. They were so amazing in helping us maintain Max’s diabetes and through the process of deciding to let him cross the Rainbow Bridge. It’s never an easy decision to let go of a pet, but they made the process as easy as it could possibly be under the circumstances.