It’s important to remember that your cat being diagnosed as diabetic is not an automatic death sentence. Many cats, once properly regulated and monitored, will live long, healthy, happy lives. It will take some time and commitment on the pet parents part to be sure their cat is getting all that he needs medically and nutritionally.
Every cat will be different in the way their diabetes will be treated. Your veterinarian will discuss with you what they believe will work best for your cat. Most cats will require insulin injections usually twice a day (12 hours apart) although some can go to once a day injections. Your veterinarian will also recommend a diet change for your cat depending on his new needs.
Your veterinarian will demonstrate the best way to give your cat insulin injections as well as discuss with you the need for blood glucose monitoring (curves) either at home or in the clinic. Most cats will require a curve being done every couple of weeks until they are more regulated, then they may only be needed every few months – or however, often your veterinarian recommends. (See “Diabetes Series – Part 5” for more information).
What do I feed my Diabetic cat?
There are a couple of veterinary approved diets available like Purina DM, Royal Canin Diabetic, and Hill’s Prescription M/D. Your veterinarian will discuss the different food options with you and will help you find one that your cat will enjoy. Generally, you will be looking to feed him a high protein, low carbohydrate diet that will help to regulate his blood glucose levels as well as help him maintain a good body weight and condition.
How do I give my cat an insulin injection?As mentioned above, most diabetic cats require insulin injections twice daily. Your veterinarian or veterinary assistant will demonstrate how to give these injections and how to properly handle & store the insulin. They will likely have you practice at least one time at the clinic with their assistance to be sure you are comfortable giving the injections properly. (See “Diabetes Series – Part 4” for more information).
Proper Insulin Storage
Your veterinarian will instruct you on the proper storage of your cat’s particular insulin as each insulin may have slightly different storage requirements.
General storage information:
– Store the insulin vial upright.
– Insulin should not be frozen.
– Most insulins will last longer if kept in a refrigerator. (Insulin, such as Lantus®, can be refrigerated for up to 6 months while only lasting approximately 1 month out of the fridge.)
– It is recommended to discard any insulin that is discolored or has been in use for more than 8 weeks.
– Check your insulins expiry date to be sure it has not passed.
– Keep the insulin away from direct light or heat.(1)
Written by Park Road Veterinary Clinic