With the right treatment and consistent monitoring, diabetes is a controllable disease. Especially with cats, normalizing weight and focusing on the correct macronutrient balance can result in resolution of this disease.
It is estimated that one in every 10 Americans over the age of 20 has diabetes. While the situation is not quite so dire for pets, there still has been a threefold increase in diabetes in the last 30 years in dogs and cats. Some cases of juvenile-onset diabetes are largely genetically influenced, but obesity—and therefore diet and exercise—play integral roles in the development of this disease in adult pets.
Some types of diabetes are insulin dependent, as the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas have been destroyed. Other forms can be managed with short-term insulin or oral medications. An integrative medical approach to treatment focuses on a combination of traditional and non-traditional therapies best suited for each individual pet. Nutrition and individualized diet plans should consider a pet’s breed, lifestyle and medical history to help the pet safely reach an optimal weight and normalize blood sugar levels.
Herbal remedies can aid nutrient absorption and support the pancreas. Additionally, the appropriate use of vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes and omega-3 fatty acids can boost immune functioning and supplement digestive systems. Sometimes acupuncture can be of assistance, and homeopathy can address the entire pet, looking at diabetes as just one part of a bigger picture.
Dr. Laura Weis owns and operates Doylestown Veterinary Hospital with her husband, Dr. Randy Weis. The practice is located at 380 N. Shady Retreat Rd., Doylestown. She is also the owner of Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center and its professional grooming salon, The Spa on State. For more information, call 215-345-6000 or visit DoylestownVeterinaryHospital.com. November 2017