Orlando is a fifteen year old domestic short hair cat who was presented to us with signs of lethargy and weight loss. His owner has noticed a change in behaviour such as hissing when touched. Our veterinarian performed a full health check and physical examination. Blood and urine tests were taken for further investigation. The results showed that Orlando had high levels of glucose in both urine and blood samples which with other clinical signs indicated he was diabetic.
Diabetes is a complex condition where there is an insufficient production or response to the hormone insulin. Orlando was already showing a few signs of diabetes such as weight loss in spite of good appetite and hormonal changes (seen in behaviour change). Once the disease progresses, other signs include increased thirst and urination, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, poor skin/hair coat and dehydration. If left untreated, the condition can be fatal.
Orlando was in the high-risk category being male (more susceptible than females) and at his senior age (older cats are more at risk). Obesity could also be a contributing factor. Orlando was admitted to hospital to perform a blood glucose curve, which measure his blood glucose level every two hours to determine an adequate dose of insulin. Each cat responds differently to insulin so the proper choice of insulin type, dose and frequency of administration needs to be individually determined. He was also put on to a high protein, low carbohydrate diet called m/d (mellitus diabetes). After intensive monitoring, twice-daily injections and frequent blood glucose measurements, Orlando was lucky to go into remission where he no longer needed insulin. However Orlando still needs to be monitored closely. He is a happier cat not having to have his injections anymore.