Saturday, February 9, 2008

Porky Means Diabetes

Porky is a cat who is perfectly named. His owners adopted him at 21 pounds, and he remained a big cat for years. Yesterday he came into Veterinary Associates because he was drinking and urinating in excess, and only weighed 14 pounds. He had lost 7 pounds in under six months.

We quickly determined that Porky had diabetes, and was in a crisis called diabetic ketoacidosis, a life threatening condition. Even though he had been eating and drinking in excess, his body was essentially starving. Insulin is like a key, and it opens the cells to receive nutrients in the form of glucose. Porky's body had stopped making insulin, and this starvation was producing an acidodic metabolism that can quickly kill a cat.

Luckily with aggressive treatment Porky made a quick recovery. He is a really sweet cat. Now he will require insulin injections twice daily for life, in addition to special diets and care.

Felines do not well when overweight or obese. One in four hundred overweight cats will develop diabetes; that is a very high number. Signs include excessive thirst and urinations, as well as weight loss.

The key is to keep a cat at a healthy weight, which dramatically lowers the risk. Being strict carnivores, cats are one of the few species of animals that just eat meat. They are not physiologically equipped to be overweight. Likely you have never seen an overweight wild cat. From lions, leopards, cheetahs, to even feral cats, wild cats are not fat!

So do your best to keep your cat fit. Luckily for Porky he has dedicated kitty cat owners who will do the best for him. He went home today feeling much better. Bye Porky!