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One of the first symptoms noticed in a newly diabetic pet is a sudden loss of weight, usually despite increased hunger and food intake. This happens because with a shortage of insulin, the animal can no longer receive nourishment at the cellular level and will use both muscle and fat as energy sources[1].
Jock-skeletor

Jock starving to death on triple food rations, Glipizide, and no insulin. Note also the neuropathy in Jock's rear legs. Click to zoom.

Jock-charms-ladies

Just a few months later, Jock is a hit with the ladies once more!

Untreated diabetics, or poorly-treated ones, may continue to lose weight until serious complications ensue. Complications can include dehydration and/or ketoacidosis, either of which can be deadly within 48 hours.

Some veterinarians like to begin diabetic cats on a course of oral medication such as Glipizide, to stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin. This seldom works, and even if it does, it promotes amyloidosis which destroys what's left of an already damaged pancreas. Avoid this treatment.


Eugenia-corwin

Young insulin patient circa 1920's, before insulin, and 4 months after beginning treatment. Easy to see she is skin and bones before being treated with insulin.

If the underweight is caused by diabetes, the only treatment that's known to work nearly always is insulin given with injections. This treatment should begin immediately, to reduce complications from hyperglycemia, as well as those mentioned above.

Our bodies normally are "fueled" by metabolizing glucose; they are able to do this provided they have enough insulin (normally or by injection). When there's not enough insulin to allow the body to turn its glucose into energy, it begins metabolizing fat to fuel its cells.

Once on regular doses of insulin, the animal's weight will generally return quickly, possibly even tending toward overweight. Because the glucose is once more able to enter body cells, it no longer passes from the body as urine[2] and the system no longer needs to use fat as its energy source. If a previously-regulated pet begins losing weight with no weight loss plan, it can mean that he or she needs an adjustment of insulin dosage; the present dose may not be correct. See regulation. It can also signal that the insulin currently in use may no longer be effective for that particular pet. A vet visit is suggested to be certain insufficient insulin dose or an need to switch insulins is the only problem.


Further ReadingEdit

Wikicat3


Wikidog3


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ReferencesEdit

  1. Intervet-Caninsulin Guide-Page 3
  2. Joslin Diabetes Center-Managing Your Diabetes

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