Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Don't forget about pets on World Diabetes Day

This Saturday marks 2009's World Diabetes Day and this is a medical condition we recognise well at The Mayhew -not because staff have the condition but because of the numbers of cats that arrive with us; unwanted as soon as they are diagnosed with diabetes.

As many pet owners know, diet is a real contibutor to the disease and our vets are always keen to highlight to pet owners just how dangerous it can be to let your cat, or dog become overweight.

Sadly, we see arrivals to our Cattery who have diabetes and are no longer wanted since they have developed their conditions; their owners decided they no longer want to take responsibility for caring for their health. This is naturally a very sad situation, but as The Mayhew is committed to giving every animal a chance we will happily take in and care for diabetic cats.

The condition can be easily managed, often with diet and sometimes with medication and we have adopted out many diabetic cats, one of whom went to a diabetic owner earlier this year.

We would dearly love to find a home for Angel, one of our diabetic cats, who has been with us for a while. She is a wonderful feline, who needs injections for her condition, which she accepts very well. She is a loving, affectionate and gentle cat who deserves a forever home.

Here is a bit of information about caring for diabetic cats, which we hope will make people feel less overwhelmed if their pet develops the condition, or perhaps for potential adopters who could home a diabetic cat :

Caring for Diabetic Cats

An owner of a cat with diabetes must be prepared to make an individual commitment in order to keep the animal as healthy as possible.

Cats determined to have diabetes are generally monitored in a pet hospital and once a treatment is found to be effective, it mainly involves prescription medications, diet and check up visits to the vet.

Insulin injections are commonly prescribed for diabetic cats.

Most cats under veterinary care are prescribed two injections a day, but some only require one. Many cat owners find the process to be painless for their cat, and much easier than anticipated.

Feline diabetes is also controlled through a well-monitored diet. A feline diabetes diet is generally high in fiber and low in sugar.

The veterinarian will also recommend the amount of food to best meet the health care requirements and needs of the cat.

Diabetic cats can live long and contented lives provided their diabetes is properly treated and controlled.

Owners of cats with diabetes must be prepared to make a commitment to their cats to keep them as healthy as possible.

Veterinarians generally recommend feeding a cat with diabetes a measured amount of food at regular intervals. Feedings are usually twice a day and should be provided before injections are administered. Although feeding a cat at predetermined times can be challenging, cats once provided food on demand can become accustomed to eating at specified times.

A cat with diabetes should be weighed on a regular basis, and the appetite needs to be monitored for changes. A baby scale works very well for weighing a cat. Detailed notes should be taken so the appetite and weight can be monitored and made available to the veterinarian if necessary.

Monitoring Diabetic Cats

Monitoring a cat with diabetes also requires measuring the input and output of water. Water should be measured (refilling water bowl from a measuring cup and output can be determined by using litter that clumps when wet.

Urine must also be checked for sugar content as often as recommended by the veterinarian. This can be accomplished by using pea gravel, fish tank gravel, or foam peanuts or a cat litter that does not absorb any urine (called Katcor and is available from our vets at the Mayhew) instead of cat litter just long enough to obtain the sample. Glucose test strips are available where health care products are sold. These are the same test strips used by people monitoring their diabetes.

A diabetic cat will impact certain parts of your life. Arrangements will have to be made for any time you spend away from your home, you will need a responsible person to take over the care of your cat while you are away. Some veterinarians offer boarding facilities or in the home care and with these services you can be assured of your diabetic cat’s treatment. A responsible adult friend or neighbour may be able to do this for you but would, of course, have to follow your complete instructions.

Caring for a cat with diabetes sounds overwhelming and time consuming, but it isn't as difficult as it seems once the right medication and diet is prescribed and enforced. The owners of diabetic cats can provide their pets treatment that will allow those felines to live a long and healthy life full of love and dedication.

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