Treatment of Cats with Diabetes

After your veterinarian has diagnosed your cat with diabetes you will need to think Treatment of Cats with Diabetesabout treatment options.  The goal of treatment of cats with diabetes is to reduce the blood glucose to levels that are closer to normal.  In doing this your cat will feel better, regain weight that was lost due to diabetes, drink and urinate less, and regain strength.  The primary treatments for feline diabetes are diet and insulin therapy.

Diet therapy is very important in treatment of cats with diabetes.  The recommended diet for a cat with diabetes is a low carbohydrate, higher protein diet and preferably canned.  It should be noted that some diabetic cats will do well with a high fiber/low fat diet.  When feeding a diabetic cat it is important to be consistent in the feeding schedule and feeding 12 hours apart is recommended.  There are many diets that are suitable for diabetic cats, which include some over-the-counter diets and veterinary prescription diets.  Many people choose the over-the-counter diets because they meet the nutritional needs and cost less then prescription diets.

Insulin therapy is the other important treatment of cats with diabetes.  There are different types of insulin that range from short-acting (regular insulin) which often is used only in a veterinary clinic, intermediate-acting (NPH insulin), and long-acting (PZI or glargine).  Your veterinarian will decide which insulin appears most appropriate for your cat and teach you how to administer injections ofDiabetes Treatment of Cats insulin to your cat.  Most cats with diabetes are started on a long-acting insulin to be given 12 hours apart.  Insulin is given as an injection with a very small needle that cats tolerate very well.  In between insulin injections it is very important to keep the insulin in the refrigerator because it can go bad.  There are oral hypoglycemic medications that can be used in cats.  They typically do not work well and most cats end up needing insulin therapy to control their glucose levels.

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Dr Peter Nurre

Peter Nurre, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM (internal medicine) is a board- certified veterinary internal medicine specialist. His professional interests include internal medicine and cardiology.

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