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Please ensure that your pet is either in a travel crate or on a leash before bringing them to their appointment.

Can cat diabetes cause blindness?

Diabetes mellitus is a medical condition that can significantly impact your cat's overall health if not treated appropriately. Our vets in Jackson have shared some valuable insights about cat diabetes, how it can lead to blindness, and what preventive measures you can take to avoid such complications.

Cat Diabetes & Blindness

Medical conditions such as diabetes can cause unforeseen secondary complications like muscle weakness and vision impairment. However, early detection and prompt management of the primary condition can aid in preventing the progression and aggravation of these complications.

What is diabetes in cats?

Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a condition that can affect cats when their body cannot effectively regulate and utilize blood sugar or glucose. The pancreas produces insulin, which controls the flow of glucose to the body's cells to provide energy. However, if your cat has low insulin levels, glucose cannot reach the cells as it should, causing the cat's body to break down fat and protein cells to generate energy, while the unused glucose accumulates in its bloodstream.

Type I and Type II Diabetes in Cats

  • Type I (Insulin-Dependent) - While rare in cats, Type I Diabetes occurs when the cat's body is unable to produce or release enough insulin into the body.
  • Type II (Non-Insulin Dependent) - Type II Diabetes is most common in overweight male cats over 8 years of age, and those cats who eat a high-carbohydrate diet. A cat with Type II diabetes produces enough insulin, but the tissues or organs do not respond appropriately to insulin and have become insulin-resistant. 

Can cat diabetes cause blindness?

When someone is affected by diabetes, the first signs are usually weight loss along with excessive thirst and urination. If not addressed quickly, it can progress to more serious symptoms such as sunken, bloodshot eyes, difficulties standing and walking, and even blindness. This blindness is caused by weakened blood vessels due to high glucose levels in the blood, a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. As the blood vessels weaken, blood and fluids can leak into the retina, which can lead to vision loss.

Preventing Blindness & Other Complications From Diabetes

The first step in managing your cat's diabetes is getting an official veterinarian diagnosis. After diagnosis, your vet will prescribe daily insulin injections, which they may teach you to administer at home. You may also need to make dietary changes to ensure your cat receives the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. In severe cases, your vet may recommend a prescription diet to help manage your cat's diabetes.

If your cat has been diagnosed with diabetes, it's important to schedule regular visits to the vet for blood sugar tests. Alternatively, you can ask your vet if you can test your cat's glucose levels at home. Keeping a diary of your cat's appetite and litter use can also be helpful in spotting any changes early on so that they can be addressed promptly.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat is showing signs of diabetes, contact our veterinary office today to schedule an examination with one of our Jackson vets. 

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