Insulin therapy can be used to help diabetic cats regulate their blood sugar through a series of daily injections. This can be a necessary treatment for a chronic condition that can be very costly. A single vial of insulin can range between $30 – $300 depending on the type of insulin your cat needs.
These estimates don’t account for additional expenses such as specialty diets, accessories, and vet visits that your pet may need. In this article, we’ll break down what you can anticipate happening if your cat’s diabetic.
Diabetes mellitus – or simply diabetes – can be a very common endocrine disorder that affects 1 in 300 pets.¹ Insulin is a hormone created by the pancreas that helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. A pet diagnosed with diabetes can experience a lot of issues including high blood pressure and kidney issues.
There are many causes that can lead to developing diabetes so it's important to discuss your individual cat’s medical history with your vet. The main risk factors of a cat becoming diabetic are:¹
- Age: Middle-aged to senior cats tend to develop diabetes more than young cats.
- Sex: Male cats can develop diabetes more than female cats.
- Genetics & Breed Type: Some cats inherit diabetes from their parents, especially certain breeds of cats including Burmese, Russian blue, and Norwegian forest cats.
- Obesity: Overweight and obese cats can be more likely to develop diabetes.
Keep in mind that cats may have a combination of risk factors that can increase the risk of developing diabetes. For example, male Burmese cats who are obese are more at risk than a female obese domestic short hair.¹
In rare cases, cancers like pancreatic cancer can cause pets to become diabetic.² Signs of cancer can be detected in routine blood and urine tests. Sometimes, your vet may suggest exploratory surgery to locate cancerous tumors that may be causing diabetes.
However, cancer isn’t a common cause of diabetes in cats.¹ It's more likely a combination of age, sex, and lifestyle that can lead to a diabetes diagnosis.
It’s important to try and diagnose diabetes early. Delaying treatment can often lead to serious complications, like organ failure.
Diabetes can be difficult to diagnose early because it often takes several weeks or months to present itself. The most common signs of feline diabetes include:¹
- Recurring infections
- Wounds that are slow to heal
- Sudden weight loss
- Decreased appetite
Even though cats can be elusive, you shouldn’t ignore any changes in their behavior. It’s best to discuss these symptoms with your vet as soon as you notice them.