Read More About Feline Diagnosis & Management
Signs Presented by Cats with Diabetes
Clinical signs exhibited by cats with diabetes reflect the underlying pathological mechanisms of the disease and aid diagnosis. Of course, laboratory tests are needed to confirm diagnosis (see Diagnosis and Management Overview).
Three Distinct Clinical Pictures in Diabetes Mellitus:
- Uncomplicated diabetes
- Complicated by ketoacidosis
- Hyperosmolar syndrome
Clinical Signs of Uncomplicated Diabetes in Cats Include:
- Increased susceptibility to infections (eg, urinary tract infections)
Owners may also notice weight loss in affected cats.
Signs of Diabetes Mellitus Complicated by Ketoacidosis
If feline diabetes is undetected and left untreated, it will shorten a cat’s lifespan. A dangerous, sometimes fatal metabolic acidosis or diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) may develop. In untreated cats with diabetes, excessive ketones are produced, resulting in ketonuria and DKA accompanied by electrolyte imbalances. Ketoacidosis is a serious condition that can ultimately lead to an acidotic coma and death.
In addition to the classic clinical signs of diabetes, cats affected by DKA may present with:
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy and depression
- Collapse or coma
Signs of Hyperosmolar Syndrome
Hyperosmolar syndrome is an uncommon complication of untreated diabetes mellitus. In animals in which target tissue resistance to insulin plays a role in the disease, insulin levels can be elevated. In these cases, ketosis is suppressed and plasma glucose concentrations can become very high. Hyperosmolar syndrome represents an emergency situation. Affected cats will become progressively weaker, anorexic, lethargic, and drink less. Ultimately, blood glucose levels become so high that osmosis shifts water from brain cells and coma results.
Help Your Practice Manage Diabetes Mellitus
Check out these tools and resources to help manage feline diabetes.
Blood Glucose Curve Generator
Create a blood glucose curve to monitor and evaluate diabetes treatments.
Client Discharge Form
Create a customized, printable form for clients about their new diagnosis.
Access online tools and more to support staff and pet parents.
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Read More About Feline Diagnosis & Management
Important Safety Information:
Vetsulin® should not be used in dogs known to have a systemic allergy to pork or pork products. Vetsulin is contraindicated during periods of hypoglycemia. Keep out of reach of children. As with all insulin products, careful patient monitoring for hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia is essential to attain and maintain adequate glycemic control and prevent associated complications. Overdosage can result in profound hypoglycemia and death. The safety and effectiveness of Vetsulin in puppies, breeding, pregnant, and lactating dogs has not been evaluated. See package insert for full information regarding contraindications, warnings, and precautions.
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