Po is a 14 yo DSH cat with a passion for food! Living with young children and being a couch potato means that Mr Po was always on the larger size for a cat – weighing in at approximately 7.5kg! Po presented to the clinic late 2015 as he had started to leave his food, drink a little more than usual and have a few “accidents” in the house. The usually sociable Po had also started to spend time on his own, hiding under the bed and not interacting as much with his human family. Po was described as just “not quite right”. He came to see us and we ran blood and urine tests and he was subsequently diagnosed with Diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is common disease in which cats either don’t produce enough of the hormone insulin (Type 1 Diabetes) or their body stops using insulin properly (Type 2 Diabetes). Insulin is produced by the pancreas and regulates the flow of glucose from the bloodstream to the cells in the body. When inuslin is deficient or ineffective the body starts to break down fat and protein stores to use as alternative energy sources. Cats typically eat more but lose weight. High blood glucose is then eliminated in the urine which leads to excessive thirst and urination. Left untreated diabetes will shorten the cat’s life and sometimes a dangerous and fatal condition called ketoacidosis may develop when the cat presents with loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, weakness, dehydration and breathing difficulties. Additionally, diabetes can lead to an unhealthy coat, skin and liver disease and secondary bacterial infections. Another diabetes related disorder is a diabetic myopathy which causes progressive hind leg weakness, impairs ability to jump and causes cats to walk with their hocks on the ground.

Po was promptly started on insulin injections twice daily and a strict feeding regime was put into place. Po’s family were able to monitor his blood glucose using a hand held glucometer purchased from their local pharmacy. Po was very obliging to have his ear pricked for a blood sample and he stabilised very quickly with his glucose levels soon returning to normal. In fact, over a couple of months Po’s insulin requirements dropped such that he was weaned off insulin altogether. He is now in remission and his only treatment is that eating exclusively Hills Prescription Diet M/D. This diet is especially formulated to manage glucose and weight. Being overweight is a risk factor for the development of diabetes and you’ll be pleased to know Po has indeed trimmed down to a much healthier weight.