Your vet will carry out a 'nose to tail' MOT when your cat is given its annual booster vaccinations.
You can play a role too by following the guidelines below to keep an eye on your cat's health and help him to stay in tip top condition and live a long and healthy life:
- Look out for changes in your cat's food consumption, drinking and toilet habits. Does he have less energy or is he slower in getting up or jumping? Monitor your cat's faeces for colour, consistency and signs of worms
- Run your hands over your cat's body including his head, legs and paws to check for any lumps or bumps or anything stuck in his pads. Also keep your eyes open for evidence of fleas, ticks and other parasites. Check your cat's coat quality and whether any dandruff or hair loss is evident. Is your cat scratching, chewing or biting excessively?
- Check your pet's nose, eyes and ears for any abnormalities or discharge. Your cat's nose should be moist, the corners of his eyes should be free of discharge and his ears should be clean
- Regularly examine your cat's mouth for signs of disease such as bad breath, reddened, bleeding or swollen gums and build-up of tartar
- Monitor your cat's body condition by running your hands over his ribs and backbone. If he is losing weight or is overweight, it's advisable to take him to the vet.
Diabetes is a disease caused when there is not enough insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone which keeps blood sugar (glucose) at an optimum level. When there is a lack of insulin, blood sugar levels increase.
If untreated the disease has serious effects and will ultimately result in the death of your pet. The good news is that the majority of diabetic animals can now be treated and may live normal, happy lives if you are prepared to invest time and money in their care.
- Increased thirst
- Often lose weight despite having a good appetite
- If the condition is untreated, liver disease, problems walking or other illness may develop.
- If the early signs of diabetes are missed, more serious signs such as vomiting and depression may develop.
- If diabetes is left untreated for weeks or months your cat could go into a coma and die.
Unfortunately, some cats are just more likely to develop the disease than others. Obese cats are at a higher risk. Other diseases may cause diabetes.
Most diabetic cats require regular insulin injections to control their blood sugar levels. Diabetes rarely goes away completely and so these injections must be given on a regular basis (usually once or twice a day), for the rest of your cat's life. In some obese cat’s weight loss may control their diabetes for a while.
Insulin injections are given under the skin and do not hurt. Your cat’s health, weight and blood glucose will be regularly monitored.
There are two important complications to be aware of:
Hypoglycaemia (Low blood sugar) - Usually occurs a few hours after insulin is given. If untreated it may result in permanent brain damage. Symptoms come on quickly. The main ones are restlessness, confusion, tremors, twitches, convulsions or coma. Sugar or glucose should be given by mouth onto the gums. If your pet is still awake you can offer glucose with food if they will eat voluntarily. Contact your vet immediately if these signs develop.
Hyperglycaemia (High blood sugar) - This usually develops more gradually and your pet may become unwell or start to be sick over several days. As the disease progresses your pet may go into a coma, but will not get better if you give sugar solutions. Contact your local AAS practice immediately if your pet is unwell and they will probably want to take them into hospital.