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Pancreatitis and Diabetes in Cats

What You Should Know About Pancreatitis and  Diabetes in Cats

Pancreatitis and diabetes in cats have a proven causal link between them. Pancreatitis is a common comorbidity in cats and can be frequently found diagnosed alongside diabetes mellitus during its first presentation to medical practitioners. This was further advocated by the American Animal Hospital Association, given the serious complications of pancreatitis—it can quickly destabilize a previously controlled cat and make it difficult to regulate their blood sugar levels. One can define diabetes mellitus as a syndrome of prolonged courses of high blood sugar levels caused by insulin resistance in the body tissues, and/or reduced insulin production by the pancreatic cells.

In cats, pancreatitis, and insulin resistance are the major causes of the loss or destruction of the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. On a related note, unlike humans, cats have been shown to undergo remission when being treated for their diabetes mellitus. Studies that show remission typically happens to diabetic cats that were treated with a combination of diet control and insulin injections. The incidence reported for remission through these methods was between 15 to 100%; therefore, cat owners should remain optimistic about their cat’s health even though diabetes mellitus is regarded by some as a lifelong illness.

Risk factors such as obesity, pregnancy, systemic infections, and dental disease also play a crucial role in the development of diabetes mellitus alongside pancreatitis. Additionally, another point to note is that specific breeds of cats (e.g. Burmese cats) were identified to be more susceptible to diabetes than others. Further research is continuing the debate regarding what constitutes as diabetes and their risk factors to ensure that treatment methods can be more personalized to better increase remission rates. If not remission, many practitioners aim for at least successful management where they demonstrate minimal or no signs of the disease, and the cat owner perceives good quality of life.

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