Sam the diabetic cat

Sam, an 8 year old ginger domestic short haired cat, who was brought to the clinic after his owner noticed that he had considerably increased his water intake and he was also urinating excessively. Dr Wayne examined Sam and he collected a urine sample. Upon examination Sam appeared normal but when Dr Wayne examined his urine sample it was discovered that there are a large amount of glucose present in Sam's urine. In a normal healthy pet there should not be any glucose detectable in their urine. Dr Wayne was suspicious of diabetes Mellitus but wanted to confirm the diagnosis with a blood test. Sam was a well behaved patient and allowed Dr Wayne to collect a blood sample. His blood glucose was 5 times above the normal range so it was confirmed the Sam was a diabetic.

Diabetes in dogs and cats is a common disorder very similar to diabetes in humans. It is caused by a lack of insulin production by the pancreas, a small organ near the stomach. Insulin is a hormone whose main role is to regulate the level and use of glucose in the body. In a diabetic animal the absence of insulin results in an increase in the levels of glucose in the blood. Without insulin the body is unable to regulate and use glucose properly. This leads to high blood glucose levels which then is excreted in the urine.

Sam's condition was explained to his owners and they were informed that diabetes mellitus requires a continuous treatment program involving insulin injections either once or twice a day for the rest of his life. Insulin is administered via a specially designed insulin syringe with a needle so small that most animals do not notice it. Sam's owners took some time to consider treatment as anyone who owns a diabetic pet needs to consider the amount of time and lifestyle changes they will have to make.

Sam's owners decided to treat him so Dr Andrea instructed Sam's owners on how to give him his injections. Sam's owners were also informed that he would need to visit the clinic monthly to monitor his glucose levels, as sometimes insulin levels need to be changed regularly depending on how Sam's body responds to the treatment.

One week after Sam began his insulin treatment he visited the clinic to spend the day for a blood glucose curve to be performed. During his day at the clinic a sample of his blood was taken every 2 hours to test his blood glucose levels. This enabled Dr Andrea to see how the insulin was affecting his glucose levels and determine if he was receiving enough insulin. Sam's blood glucose levels were still high so Dr Andrea increased the amount of insulin he was receiving. The amount of insulin required is different for each patient and has to be increased slowly until the right balance is achieved.

It has now been 10 weeks since Sam began treatment for his diabetes. Sam's owners have been thrilled with the improvement. He is much brighter and happier and his water intake has dramatically reduced. Once Sam's glucose levels have stabilised he will still need to regularly come back for blood glucose curves to ensure his diabetes is adequately controlled.