Percy a 9-year-old male neutered Domestic short hair cat presented at our Foxrock vet clinic with a recent history of increased thirst and weight loss. Our vet Tom examined him it was noted that Percy’s weight had dropped from a portly 7 kg to a more svelte 6.2kg. His owner noted that despite his weight loss he still had a very big appetite. Percy tended to do his toileting outside, but the owner had noticed Percy peeing on the floor of the bathroom from time to time over the last month.
Tom advised a comprehensive blood test to check on Percy’s general health and to try to identify the illness causing his symptoms. The bloods tests include his haematology to check his red bloods cell count to identify anaemia and his white bloods cell count to identify any signs of infection, inflammation or in some cases cancer. We also checked his biochemistry to assess his kidney and liver function, to check his glucose for Diabetes, to check his calcium and phosphorous levels and to check for changes in his pancreatic enzymes. Finally, his electrolytes and his thyroid hormone are checked. The thyroid hormone is an important test as a lot of geriatric cats can have thyroid disease which needs to be treated but can also impact other illnesses that a cat may have. Percy also had a urine sample collected.
It was discovered that Percy had a very high blood sugar which given the symptoms he was showing was consistent with Diabetes Mellitus.
Is your cat or dog at risk of diabetes? Find out more….
Some cats will have elevated blood sugar when stressed by a visit to the vet so sometimes we will check the cats Frutosamine levels to confirm the diagnosis. Cats tend to get a form of Diabetes which is like type II Diabetes in people, it tends to affect overweight middle age to older cars. In people changes in diet and lifestyle may be enough to treat the condition however in cats twice daily insulin injections are necessary.
The Next Steps for Brave Percy
Percy was started on a low dose of insulin and his blood glucose was measured regularly to create a glucose curve. This helps us establish the correct dose of insulin for each cat and helps reduce the chances of the cat developing hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar due to too much insulin).
It took 3 weeks to stabilise Percy on a safe effective dose as the dosage is increased very gradually until the pet is stable. A prescription food for the management of Diabetic patients was also recommended for Percy. The goal of the diet is to be lower in sugar and higher in fibre, this helps keep the blood glucose levels more stable and ultimately reduce the amount of insulin that the cat needs to receive.
Percy’s bloods will be checked regularly to make sure his Diabetes is under control and to see if his condition goes into remission. Some cats will start to produce their own insulin again and will not need to stay on insulin long-term however even if they go into remission, they can become Diabetic again in the future.
If your pet is drinking more water or has started urinating more it is always best to contact your vet as there is often a treatable cause of the increased thirst.