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Diagnosing diabetes in cats

If you suspect your cat has the ‘symptoms’ or ‘clinical signs’ of diabetes mellitus, your vet can do some tests to confirm the diagnosis. Diabetes is a treatable disease and the sooner you start treatment the better the outcome.
Pet: Cat | Topic: Diabetes | Published: 15.09.2014 | Updated: 12.12.2014

Clinical signs of Diabetes mellitus

If any of the following apply to your cat, consult your vet:

  • Drinks a lot of water
  • Urinates frequently
  • Is always hungry
  • Has lost weight despite eating more

Diagnosis of diabetes mellitus by your vet

The above clinical signs are suggestive of diabetes mellitus, however this does not necessarily mean that your cat has the disease as these clinical signs but they are also seen in other diseases. This is why your cat needs to be examined thoroughly by your veterinary practice.

Urine sampling

Your vet may first examine a urine sample to determine if there is glucose in the urine and/or a urinary tract infection which is often present along with diabetes mellitus.

Blood sampling

To confirm the diagnosis, your veterinarian will take a blood sample and determine the glucose (sugar) concentration in your cat’s blood, a spot blood glucose check.  As stress may cause temporary high blood glucose readings, a blood fructosamine test may be performed to differentiate between a temporary and consistently high blood glucose reading.

If the blood glucose concentration is consistently higher than normal or a blood fructosamine test is elevated, it may indicate that your cat's pancreas is not secreting (enough) insulin and/or your cat’s body is "resistant" to the insulin its pancreas is producing. Your cat is then suffering from diabetes mellitus.

General examination

Your vet will also check your cat’s general health (to rule out the presence of other diseases or infections). This is very important as infections and some diseases can be obstacles to the treatment of diabetes mellitus. 

Pet Diabetes Month