Congratulations to, Ginger, our October Pet of the Month! Ginger is a 9 year old, neutered male, domestic short-hair who is being commended for being in diabetes remission for the second time in the past three years.
Ginger was first diagnosed with diabetes in September 2010 when his owner noticed that he had been drinking and urinating excessively. Drinking and urinating excessively, as well as, weight loss despite an increased appetite are clinical signs of an animal with diabetes. Diabetes is a medical condition in which there is excessive glucose (sugar) in the blood due to an insufficient amount of insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and is the key that unlocks cells and allows them to take in and utilize glucose. When the amounts of insulin are insufficient, the body’s cells do not get the glucose they need and are fooled into thinking that the body is starving. Untreated diabetes can cause kidney disease, neurologic issues, and a deadly metabolic condition called Ketoacidosis.
Diabetes is diagnosed by looking at the glucose levels in the blood and urine. While dogs have insulin-dependent diabetes (Type 1 diabetes), cats have noninsulin dependent diabetes (Type 2 diabetes) with the ability to have diabetes and then go into remission if the proper steps are taken. It is very important for them to have their glucose levels managed closely, receive the proper amounts of insulin, and be fed properly in order to go into remission. In less than 3.5 months Ginger was able to resolve his diabetes!
Unfortunately for Ginger, in February of 2013 his diabetes returned. This time he came in for vomiting and diarrhea, but he had also been lethargic and when we weighed him he had lost 2 pounds within five months. We ran blood tests, as well as, a urinalysis and were able to determine that he indeed had relapsed. Fortunately, with lots of patience and hard work from Ginger and his owner, within 5 months he had yet again resolved his diabetes.
During these times in which his diabetes had returned, Ginger came to the clinic for glucose curves, sometimes as often as every week. For glucose curves the pet has to stay at the clinic for an entire day and have their glucose (blood sugar) measured every two hours to see how their levels fluctuate throughout the day, in order to determine if any adjustments need to be made. Ginger, being the trooper he is, did wonderfully- many times purring while sitting in the laps of the technicians while having his blood sample collected.
It is very important to watch our pets closely as they get older for lots of reasons. Even the smallest change in their behavior can point to illness or disease. Our fingers are crossed that Ginger stays healthy for many years to come!