Diabetes and cats
Many people aren’t aware of it, but Diabetes Mellitus (also known as sugar diabetes) is actually a fairly common disease in cats.
The classic signs of Diabetes are an obese cat with excessive thirst, excessive urination, and a ravenous appetite combined with weight loss.
Some cats may develop a “plantigrade posture,” where the hocks touch the ground when they walk. Additional signs may include loss of appetite, weakness, vomiting, dehydration, and (occasionally) a strong odor of acetone on the breath. This often indicates a dangerous state called ketoacidosis which is fatal if not treated promptly.
Diabetes is fairly easy to diagnose based on blood and urine sugar levels. The initial treatment for a diabetic animal requires 24-48 hours of hospitalization (for glucose monitoring during initial insulin administration) followed by weekly 12-24 hour “glucose curves” (to evaluate response) lasting 4-6 weeks. After this, periodic glucose levels need to be monitored, with how often depending on how well the kitty is responding. The good news is that, with proper veterinary care by owners, timely evaluations by your vet, and good owner-veterinarian communication, many diabetic cats can live relatively normal lives for several years.