Preventing Diabetes In Cats

Diabetic cats seems to be the theme of the day. Two special patients tended to stand out today.

One is Buddy, who isn’t diabetic.


But Buddy is overweight and thinks one of his jobs is to clean up his food bowl and Marabell’s, too. You see, Marabell, his housemate, is a slow eater and her weight is kept low by a combination of self-regulation and Buddy-regulation.

Their owners have had previous experience with diabetes in one of their kitties, so they know just how much work and potential heartache it can be.

I am confident that Buddy’s weight will be under control by the time I see him again in six months.

Whiskers, on the other hand, is already a diabetic cat. She presented at our hospital today with blood visibly evident in her urine, spending lots of time in the litterbox and complaining as she tried to go.

Diabetic dogs and diabetic cats have a unique predisposition to urinary tract infection (UTI). In addition to having plenty of fuel in the urine (sugar, glucose) on which bacteria can grow, their immune systems often don’t protect them from infection as healthy immune systems should.

Therefore, when Whiskers’ chemical and microscopic urinalysis revealed blood in the urine and large quantities of rod-shaped bacteria, we were not surprised.

We started Whiskers on antibiotic therapy with an injection and a short-term oral antibiotic.

A portion of the sample was then submitted to an outside laboratory for bacterial culture and sensitivity, a two-part test which first grows (cultures) the bacteria causing the infection, then tests a number of antibiotics to determine which ones will kill the bacteria and which ones won’t. The bacteria are considered to be sensitive to a certain antibiotic if a sufficient number are killed by that antibiotic. The organism is resistant to a certain antibiotic if few or no bacteria are killed by it.

From those two pieces of information we decide which antibiotics not to use (from the resistant list) and which antibiotics would most likely be successful (from the sensitive list).

Quickly you see the advantage of bacterial culture and sensitivity over trial and error.  When we have the results we will choose an antibiotic for longer-term therapy to completely knock out the infection.

In summary, if you want to keep your kitty healthy and diabetes-free, use a top-quality cat food and feed in recommended amounts to keep your kitty slim.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

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  1. I’m stopping by from the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop and saw your posts about diabetic cats. I adopted 2 diabetic kitties this year from Diabetic Cats in Need. Fortunately, both have become diet-controlled after switching them to a canned food diet only (much less carbs than even the low carb dry food). The one had been receiving insulin for at least 5 years before I adopted him so it was great to see him “get off the juice”. Thank you for educating people about this disease.

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