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  • Warning signs

    What are the warning signs that your pet is diabetic?

  • #2
    Two major signs are excess thirst and excess urination. Fatigue is another.

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    • #3
      There are a lot of things that could be misdiagnosed using this as the only criteria I would imagine, just from my experience of keeping cats. It's so hard when they get sick because they can't tell you, I would guess that many cases go undiagnosed.

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      • #4
        Well, from my experience, it was pretty noticeable. I actually diagnosed my former boyfriend's cat myself. She was drinking every 20 minutes and her litter box was soaked. Her urine also smelled like acetone, stronger than "normal" cat urine. We took her to the vet, and her blood sugar was 26 mmol/l (468 mg/dl). I do know that diabetes in cats is always Type 2, so I am not sure if she actually would have gone into a coma or not.

        I know that dogs can get a "version" of diabetes that is *similar* to human Type 1, and they are at a higher risk for complications, early death, low blood sugar, and will require insulin. Right now the current belief is that cats and dogs cannot get autoimmune diabetes, so that is why I say that diabetes in some dogs is *similar* to Type 1. It looks like only humans and mice can get autoimmune diabetes. And the mice version may not even be the same.

        My boyfriend's cat was overweight (which can also cause Type 2 diabetes in humans), and was able to go off insulin with a restrictive diet. I made sure she lost the weight and was only fed small amounts. She was initially started on 1 injection of Ultralente at night.

        Another symptom in cats is a type of neuropathy, which causes them to walk on the backs of their hind legs, almost "flat footed". This usually indicates that they have had diabetes for quite some time. Cats with diabetes may also have a higher risk for heart disease, just like humans, but they don't seem to develop the same other complications that humans get. I don't think anyone knows if this is due to the fact that they don't live long enough to develop them, or by some other mechanism. Dogs *do* develop complications.

        If your cat is older and/or overweight, they are at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes, just like humans. Some breeds may be more prone to it.

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        • #5
          I also wanted to add that if the cat is on steroids for any reason, this can also cause Type 2 diabetes, same as in humans. In most cases, blood sugars will return to normal once steroid treatment stops. In some cases for reasons unclear, the cat/person may develop perm. Type 2 diabetes.

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          • #6
            Thanks for letting me know this information. I have 3 cats, and I will definitely keep my eyes open for this. I would imagine also that it might be easier to tell with an indoor cat, rather than an outdoor cat, or a dog.

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            • #7
              Yes, I can tell you that my outdoor cats would have been hard to keep track of their urination habits.

              This has been an eye opener to say the least. I really never gave much thought to animal diabetes before, least of all the fact that symptoms could be so striking.

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              • #8
                This is some great information. My sister has a dog who she calls Pee Pot... He is constantly using the bathroom. Now that I know this information, I am calling her to have her take him to the vet! I truly hope that he is okay and just has an overactive bladder or something.

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                • #9
                  At least with indoor cats you have an easier shot as following their urinary habits. I feel for anyone with an outdoor kitty, that exhibits some signs, and are not sure about others.

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                  • #10
                    I've worked for sometime at an animal rescue and can identify most of the illnesses however, I was not aware of Diabetes in animals. So, thank you that is definitely something that can come in handy in my line of work and that I should have known about.

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                    • #11
                      I assume that if your pet has regular checkups with bloodwork done, then diabetes would show up in the results.

                      Do you think that's right?

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                      • #12
                        I do not think that is part of the standard testing. I think like with a lot of things for us it is only tested for if requested.

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                        • #13
                          it depends on your vet

                          Some Vets to a full blood workup once a year on your pet. It will show up as a high glucose level. but remember that these little guys go from just moderate levels to full diabetes real fast. so watch for the symptoms. I had one dog 3 years ago that was diagnosed in April, went blind by the end of May and had to be put down in July. it was that fast. i thought she was always thirsty cause we live in Arizona and it is hot.
                          Ron

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                          • #14
                            Wow, very interesting thread. I have two German Shepherds - one male, almost 15 years old, and one female, 3 months old. Thanx God they don't have such a problem

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                            • #15
                              I really appreciate all of this information here. Fortunately, I've never had a pet with diabetes, but then again, I never knew they could.

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