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Your Cat's Just Been Diagnosed with Diabetes: What You Need to Know

PetSmart Banfield, The Pet Hospital®

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Although there are standard treatment options for diabetes, diabetic cats can be difficult to treat and every cat responds differently to a given treatment plan. After confirming the diagnosis and determining if your pet has any other health concerns, your veterinarian or Banfield doctor will most likely begin treatment with a diet change and insulin.

The First Few Weeks

The first few weeks will be a learning curve for both yourself and your cat. Frequent trips to your vet will be needed to assess how your pet is doing and if any modifications to her treatment plan are needed. Several blood tests may be run at weekly intervals for many weeks to monitor how your cat’s blood glucose levels are responding to the prescribed therapy. The average cat has a blood glucose level of 70 - 120 mg/dL and your cat’s level may be higher or lower. The first few weeks of care will be more expensive and your vet can provide you with an estimate to set your expectations.

What do I need to do?

After a proper insulin dose is decided on, your cat may need only a few trips to the hospital a year to reassess her treatment regiment. An important part of treatment is consistency in timing of feeding and medication administration. Develop a method that works well for your family to monitor when injections were given, how much your cat ate, any abnormal behavior, etc. Banfield recommends having a simple chart on the fridge that can be checked off.

What should I be aware of?

Diabetic cats DO need to be carefully monitored for signs of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) such as: vomiting, sluggishness, difficulty seeing, disorientation, excessive salivation, and, in very advanced cases, seizures. Eventually most diabetic cats will have a hypoglycemic event and knowing how to handle the situation will lower the stress levels for both you and your cat. Talk with your vet or Banfield doctor about methods for quickly boosting your pet’s glucose levels during these episodes. Determine where your local emergency veterinary hospital is in case your pet needs medical attention after hours. As always if you have any questions or concerns, please contact your vet or Banfield hospital.

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