Expert panelists Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM and Ruth MacPete, DVM, highlight the importance of diabetes screening tests in cats, which most commonly contract type 2 diabetes, and diet and exercise as part of their treatment regime.
Interview transcript (slightly modified to facilitate reading)
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: Excuse me, Spider, just for a minute, but let's talk about cats. In relation to the human types of diabetes, cats are different.
Ruth MacPete, DVM: Yes. Typically, with cats, like humans, we see more type 2 diabetes, so diabetes does not depend on insulin. That is something that more people can identify with because they are aware of it, because type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in humans.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: Generally, they tend to be obese cats, older cats or cats that do not exercise as much as people.
Ruth MacPete, DVM: Yes, yes, yes. As you know, diabetes is a multifactorial disease, so there are several different things that obviously influence if a pet gets diabetes, with obesity being one of the risk factors. But I always warn my clients not to think it's just a disease for overweight animals. Sometimes we see cats that are thin and have diabetes. Sometimes, it's because it's chronic and people have not picked it up until the pet begins to lose weight. It is definitely more common in neutered male cats that are obese.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: Regarding signs, do you feel in your practice that they are different from signs in dogs?
Ruth MacPete, DVM: No. Again, the first common signs of diabetes will be increased thirst, increased urination, increased appetite despite the fact that they are not gaining weight and may actually be losing weight and lethargy.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: even with many cats, you never see them drink.
Ruth MacPete, DVM: Yes.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: So, if you see a cat drinking, if it's drinking in the bowl, something could be wrong. They are your kidneys or diabetes or hyperthyroidism.
Ruth MacPete, DVM: It's one of those things. Once again, we were talking about screening tests; Cats are masters of occult disease.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: Yes.
Ruth MacPete, DVM: It's really important that people get those screening tests because dogs and cats can not talk. They can not tell us when they are hungry or when they do not feel well, and that is one of the things that many of my clients really relate to when I explain to them the fact that their pet can not say when you do not feel good. These screening tests are very important for an animal.
Richard Goldstein, DVM, DACVIM: that's another issue, how do we get the cats to go to the vet. But it is an important issue because people will take their dog to preventive care, but they will only take their cat when the cat is really sick. Cats are really good at hiding diseases. So, that's a really important point, bring them early and often and do those tests.
[Transcription continued on website.]
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Video credits to American Veterinarian YouTube channel