(KCBS) – Diabetes is not a problem that just impacts humans; It’s becoming more common in the domesticated animal world, too.

“Especially in cats,” warned Jennifer Scarlett, DVM, co-president of the San Francisco SPCA. “We find that cats are mimicking our own sort of disease distribution in that we see more and more cats diagnosed with diabetes.”

“As veterinarians, we don’t have a central database but it seems like about .2 to 1% of cats have been diagnosed with diabetes,” she added.

There are signs a pet owner should be aware of.

“The number one thing that owners will see first is that their cat is drinking more water. Now there are several things that can cause it, so an increased appetite, weight loss, and then as signs go on we’ll see kidney failure and sometimes we’ll see cats with ataxia, difficulty walking, secondary to the diabetes.”

Like in humans, obesity is the biggest risk factor for cats.

“Some clinicians will say they can have a 70 to 80% remission of the disease if you treat it early with diet,” said Scarlett. “If the disease goes on, it becomes insulin-dependent, meaning you have to give shots once or twice a day to control it.”

Scarlett recommends keeping your cat thin, as a preventative measure against diabetes.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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