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C2003-04

Dear Christopher Cat

Harry, our 12-year-old cat, has diabetes.  We’ve given him daily insulin injections for the past couple of years, and he’s done well.

But just recently he’s started drinking and urinating excessively, just like he did before the insulin.  He drinks his water bowl dry, he drinks from the bathroom faucet, and he even tries to drink from my own water glass!  What’s happening?

Christopher Responds

My feline brother has diabetes, and he says it sounds like Harry’s diabetes is out of control.  Or he might have kidney dysfunction or another problem.

Diabetics may lose control of their previously stable blood sugar levels because of an infection.  Common infection sites are the gums (look to see if they are red or swollen) and the bladder (have your veterinarian check his urine.)

Have you changed his diet?  Most diabetic cats are best maintained on either a high-fiber diet or a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet.  Dietary changes, especially the addition of semi-moist treats or food, could be interfering with diabetic control.

Check your insulin vial to be sure you are administering the type of insulin you gave Harry in the past.  Each type (L, N, U, R or PZI) has its own characteristic onset, peak and duration of effect.

Ask your veterinarian to examine Harry and do the needed lab work.  Test Harry’s blood for fructosamine, which indicates average blood sugar levels over the previous few weeks. 

Once Harry’s diabetes seems to be under better control, ask your vet to do a glucose curve to be sure.

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