Snakes are up and about again after their long sleep. Binka is in hospital on a drip after a close encounter of the reptilian kind. She has been paralysed for 2 days. Today she lifted her head and meowed a greeting when her owner came to visit. We hope she will be home by the weekend but her carers will be restricting her outdoor activities this summer.
A great new cat adoption site has just opened on the web. Just type in your postcode and the closest orphan kitten or cat to you comes up.
Cats with elbow arthritis are reluctant to jump down and seem to pour themselves off the bed or cupboard. Because they lose agility and flexibility they land with a thud and stand a moment before moving off.
Cats with arthritic knees are reluctant to jump as high as before. They use chairs to get onto tables or abandon high resting places altogether. Painful knees make them hesitate before jumping, scramble rather than jump or even miss the target. Some cats pull themselves up onto the couch or bed rather than spring up. Occasionally accidents happen because an old cat is unwilling to climb into the litter tray.
Cats that move stiffly have arthritic backs. Because it is difficult for them to groom their sides and backs their coats look rough or matt into tufts. Nice cats turn into cranky cats when they are picked up or petted because of the pain. Many spend the day resting and avoid play altogether.
You can help your arthritic cat. Set up stools or boxes as steps onto favourite resting places. Encourage gentle play to strengthen muscles by trailing ribbon and batting balls. Keep bodyweight down to reduce strain on old joints. Most important of all provide a warm, well-cushioned sleeping area.
Diabetes is commonest in older overweight cats. Male and Burmese cats are more susceptible.
Diabetic cats produce more urine and, to compensate for this, drink more.
Some cats saturate the litter rapidly or urinate outside the tray after being litter trained for years.
They also lose weight despite a ravenous appetite.
How is diabetes mellitus diagnosed?
If you report any of the above your vet will test for high blood glucose and glucose in the urine. Stress can cause a transient rise in glucose levels in cats so your cat may be admitted to hospital for a day for a series of blood glucose tests to confirm the diagnosis. Untreated diabetes eventually causes loss of appetite and lethargy.
How is diabetes mellitus treated?
Cats with diabetes are treated with twice daily insulin injections.
Diabetic cats require a low carbohydrate diet (unlike diabetic humans or dogs). Specially formulated diets such as Hills m/d are low in carbohydrate and high in protein and ideal for diabetic cats. Many small meals or grazing are fine as long as the cat is not overweight.
Some overweight cats get over diabetes if they lose weight. Stopping drugs such as prednisolone also helps.
What happens if my cat receives too much insulin?
We run regular blood glucose tests (known as blood glucose curves) to see if the insulin dose is correct.
Too much insulin drops the blood glucose dangerously low. Your cat might salivate, shake, walk unsteadily, convulse or faint. This is a hypo and is an emergency.
Rub liquid glucose, sugar solution, honey or icing sugar on the gums of an unconscious cat or syringe it into the mouth of a cat that can swallow. Call your vet as soon as you have done this.
Prevent hypos by double checking the dose of insulin every time you draw it up and by taking your cat for regular blood glucose curves. Cats often go into remission and don’t need insulin any more. The first sign of remission could be a hypo if we don’t check blood glucose levels often enough.
If your cat is off food or vomiting for more than a day do not give the normal dose of insulin. Call your vet.
You should never change the dose of insulin without first discussing it with your veterinary surgeon.
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