It may sound scary but with some guidance from your vet, pet parents can easily get into a routine and their cat can usually live a happy full life.
There are plenty of websites on the internet that discuss Diabetic cats. Some good sites are : vcahospital.com and peteducation.com.
The aim of treatment is to minimize the clinical signs ie thirst and weight loss, avoid complications of extreme highs ( ketosis, neuropathy ) and lows ( hypogylcemia) , and overall the cat has a good quality of life. We usually start off with injections at a low dose and work up as needed.
Early control with insulin injections and special diets can allow recovery and remission in 2/3 of cats within first 1-4 months. This means they come off the injections completely. Otherwise they will need insulin injections for life but still live comfortably.
Once pet parents decide to treat, injections are given twice daily at set times and special food is ideally fed. The dose is started very low then adjusted based on blood glucose levels, water intakes and urine glucose. Watch for warning signs of Hypoglycemia ie sleepy/lethargy, off-food, coma which can occur if an overdose of insulin or remission occurs. Food, honey or glucose should be given.
Set up Insulin
Practice injecting with syringes. Get plastic bag or container to put the insulin in, in the fridge.
Special low carbohydrate, high protein diets are needed. Dry is best but some fresh meat is ok. Once insulin injections are started the cat should get a consistent diet and ideally constant amount each day spread over 2-4 meals or ad lib as most cats do!
Monitering ( ideally use monitering sheet) and tell vet **of any changes.
Watch your cat closely for – drinking excessive ( > 70ml/kg/day means glucose too high!) ,
**sleepy and lethargic, off food ( glucose may be too low or remission)
** vomiting, healthy coat, stable weight and signs of ‘normal cat’
extra tests for urine or home blood tests ( from ear vein) .
Your pet ……………….. will start on …………….units of insulin at …………… MORNING AND NIGHT.
Glargine does not need to be mixed like other insulins. Do not put air into the vial of insulin. Draw up the measured amount in the insulin syringe, WITH OUT BUBBLES, and inject it under the skin on the back of the neck. Syringes can be reused a few times. Then discard them in sharps container. Glargine will only last 1month out of fridge so is best kept in the fridge where it will last 6 months.
Your next visit will be in 2-3 days for a blood test to check levels have not dropped too low, but no increases will be made in the first week as your cat stabilizes on the insulin.
Due to the chance of remission, blood tests will need to be done every 2-3 days for several weeks to check for unexpected drops in blood glucose. Some owners can do this at home.
If your cat has not eaten or vomited then give food, tell the vet and if needed give ½ the normal dose.
Check list for cattery – take food, insulin, syringes and emergency glucose powder.