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Navigating Feline Diabetes: Vanilla’s Story

Vanilla's story of feline diabetes


How does a cat suddenly get Feline Diabetes?

Nothing is worse than being hit with a cat medical emergency, especially when everything appears completely normal.  My friend, Mayra, has a beautiful cat named Vanilla.  She’s white (of course), long haired, and for the past ten years she’s been the center of Mayra’s world.  A couple of weeks ago she took Vanilla to the vet to have her evaluated for some spots of dry skin.   After a brief exam the vet decided to give Vanilla a steroid shot.  A couple of days later she rushed her back to the vet as a very sick kitty and was diagnosed with Feline Diabetes Mellitus and a secondary UTI.   How could things go this wrong?

I had heard from a mutual friend that Vanilla was in the hospital and being treated for diabetes, so I stopped to talk with Mayra at work.  She told me how after getting the steroid shot Vanilla started to become very lethargic and stopped eating.  Very concerned, she and her mom rushed her back to the vet for more tests and ended up hospitalizing her for several days.  With the vet bills piling up they waited anxiously to see if Vanilla would recover.  When she was finally released, and Mayra and her mom were faced with the challenge and financial strain of having a diabetic cat. 

What is Feline Diabetes Mellitus?

Dr. Karen Becker, DVM, explains it well:

The pancreas produces insulin based on the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.  Insulin is necessary in order for glucose to enter the cells of the body.  When glucose levels are high (which normally occurs after a meal), insulin is released.

When there is not enough insulin being released from the pancreas, or there is an abnormal release of insulin coupled with an inadequate response of the body’s cells to the insulin, diabetes mellitus is the result.  Sugar in the bloodstream cannot get into the cells of the body, so the body starts breaking down fat and protein stores to use as energy.  As a result, no matter how much the cat eats, she loses weight.

In addition, the glucose builds up in the bloodstream and is eliminated through urination. This leads to excessive urination and thirst.

Symptoms to watch for

While it can strike any age, older cats who are fed a dry kibble diet are the ones who most often contract this disease.  Pay attention if your cat seems to be very thirsty, urinates frequently, appears hungry but loses weight, is lethargic, has sweet-smelling breath, doesn’t keep her coat groomed, develops UTIs, has any muscle weakness or starts to walk funny on her back legs (diabetic neuropathy).

A natural approach to recovery

In Vanilla’s case the vet should have ruled out possible causes of her skin and coat condition by ordering a complete blood profile before giving her a steroid shot.  This injection sent Vanilla’s blood sugar out of control, and her body couldn’t cope.  Through muscle testing I was able to determine that Vanilla had already been having blood sugar issues before this happened but was very good at hiding it from her family by sleeping all the time and having low energy.  The good news is that with some homeopathy and dietary changes Vanilla is on the road to recovery, and hopefully the diabetes will remain in remission.  Here’s what we did.

Homeopathy:  Uranium Nitricum 30c

Of the several possible homeopathic remedies used in feline diabetes, Uranium Nitricum 30c is what muscle testing determined would work best with Vanilla’s body.  Her protocol was 1/2 ml 4 times a day for 4 days.  Even though she was already out of the hospital muscle testing showed that this protocol would still be very beneficial.

Dietary changes are as effective as insulinGrain-free dry cat food

Dr. Becker’s article also mentioned “a study published a few years ago concluded that high-protein, low-carb diets are at least as effective as insulin in causing remission of feline diabetes.”  Until now Vanilla had eaten a dry kibble diet, and her food bowl was left out so that she could graze all day long.  She is now fed twice a day on a regular schedule and no longer has food left out for her to graze on all day.  Changing her diet is the very best way to avoid future insulin resistance.  Therefore, once she came home from the vet she was slowly introduced to some new food by blending it with her old food.  We found a dry, grain-free, carb-free formula by Canidae Under the Sun, that is high in protein.  Eventually she’ll be introducing wet and perhaps raw food into her diet.  The transition to a wet, more species appropriate diet was going to take time adjusting to.  Vanilla’s appetite wasn’t fully back yet, so along with the appetite stimulant from the vet she was given raw goat’s milk (which is highly nutritious and great for interim feeding) by syringe and treats of baby food meat.   

A good report!Overcoming feline diabetes

When I saw Mayra a couple of days ago she said Vanilla is acting like her old self again:  being a little cranky, asking for treats, talking, purring, and feeling so much better!  She’s very lucky that her family is committed to keeping her healthy with a new diet and a new mealtime routine.  She’s definitely on the road to recovery, and Mayra can enjoy many more years with her special kitty.  I love happy endings!












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