Bexacat and Senvelgo: The New Treatments for Cat Diabetes

New Diabetes Medications for Cats

The FDA has approved two new drugs, Bexacat and Senvelgo, to treat diabetes mellitus (high blood sugar) in cats. Unlike traditional insulin shots, these medications are given by mouth, making treatment easier for diabetic cat owners. Bexacat and Senvelgo are a new class of diabetes medication called SGLT2 inhibitors. SGLT2 inhibitors are not insulin, they lower blood glucose by excreting glucose through the kidneys. These medications are prescribed to treat cats that do not require insulin, and they have certain requirements to ensure their safe use.  Learn more about the FDA Approval and safety of Bexacat and Senvelgo.

What is Diabetes Mellitus in Cats?

Diabetes mellitus in cats occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or is unable to use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone naturally produced by the pancreas that converts dietary sugar (glucose) to energy for cells in the body. When glucose can’t be used for energy, extra sugar builds up in the blood. High concentrations of sugar in the bloodstream lead to health problems. Certain cats are more prone to diabetes: age, obesity, genetics, certain medications,  and other health conditions are common risks factors. Learn more about Cat Diabetes.

Warning Signs of Diabetes in Cats

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Urinary tract infections

Your veterinarian can test and diagnose your cat for diabetes. This may include a general physical exam, blood testing, and urine testing.

Diabetes Treatment Options for Cats

Diabetes is a treatable disease in cats, and symptoms can be managed successfully with regular monitoring. So far, insulin has been the main treatment for diabetes in cats until the recent development and approval of these two new drugs. If your cat has diabetes, it’s important to schedule and keep regular vet check-ups to help spot changes in their condition. Left untreated, this disease leads to serious complications and is fatal.

  • Insulin Injections
  • Medications Bexacat or Senvelgo
  • Blood glucose monitoring
  • Regular check-ups
  • Dietary changes to manage weight and energy needs. This may include therapeutic foods.

Your veterinarian is the best source of information regarding your cat’s medical history and will provide the best treatment choice for your diabetic cat.

  • Bexacat is a flavored tablet containing the active ingredient Bexagliflozin. It is given once daily, with or without food, at the same time to optimize glucose control in cats.
  • It causes sugar to be passed out in the urine by preventing the kidneys from pulling sugar back into the blood.
  • Bexacat is indicated to improve glycemic control in otherwise healthy cats with diabetes mellitus not previously treated with insulin.
  • Senvelgo is a flavored oral solution containing the active ingredient Velagliflozin. It is given once daily by mouth or onto wet food at the same time for optimal glucose control.
  • Senvelgo indicated to improve glycemic control in otherwise healthy cats with diabetes mellitus not previously treated with insulin.
  • This liquid medication does not require refrigeration.

What are SGLT2 Inhibitor Medications for Cats? 

  • The kidneys are your cat’s filtration system for the body. Within the kidneys is a transporter tasked with reabsorbing glucose called sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2). These medications work in the kidneys and prevent the transporter from reabsorbing glucose back into the blood, causing the body to dispose of the glucose in the urine. This process lowers blood glucose levels.
  • Bexacat (bexagliflozin) inhibits SGLT2, a membrane protein found in the kidney that is responsible for reabsorbing most of the glucose from the blood.
  • Senvelgo (velagliflozin) is an SGLT2 inhibitor that reduces blood glucose by preventing the reabsorption of glucose via the SGLT2 cotransporter in the kidney.

Bexacat and Senvelgo Side Effects & Precautions

  • Some cats can’t take Bexacat or Senvelgo. These medications are not meant for cats who have been previously treated with insulin or who are currently on insulin due to the increased risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis, a severe, life-threatening diagnosis. These medications can be effective in treating diabetes mellitus but are not right for every diabetic cat, especially those with other health problems.

Regular veterinary checkups and careful monitoring are required while your cat is taking Bexacat or Senvelgo. Serious side effects, such as diabetic ketoacidosis and pancreatitis, can happen even in monitored cats with stable blood glucose levels while taking these drugs. For this reason, it’s important to follow your veterinarian’s advice on how to use your cat’s medication and monitor your cat at home. 

  • Common side effects seen with Bexacat and Senvelgo include: vomiting, diarrhea or loose stools, not eating as much or no interest in food, dehydration, lack of energy, continued weight loss, dehydration, increased drinking, increased urination. Report side effects to your veterinarian.

About the Guest Author

This article was contributed and co-authored by VetRxDirect pharmacy intern Gabrielle. “My cat’s name is Cecil, and he enjoys playing fetch with his stuffed star! This photo is Cecil dressed up in costume.” Gabrielle, PharmD Candidate 2024, University of Iowa College of Pharmacy

This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease and is purely educational. Please seek advice from your pet’s veterinarian with any questions regarding your pet’s health.

2024 Memorial Day Holiday Shipping Schedule

VetRxDirect will be closed on Monday, May 27th, 2024, in observance of Memorial Day.

Our pharmacy will have abbreviated hours and shipping schedules. While is available 24 hours a day for online order placement, please pay particular attention to our hours and shipping schedule, especially if you rely on our pharmacy for insulin or other temperature-sensitive products.

  • Thursday, May 23: Last day to ship temperature-sensitive orders this week.
  • Friday, May 24: No temperature-sensitive orders will ship.
  • Saturday, May 25: Regular pharmacy hours. No orders will ship.
  • Sunday, May 26: CLOSED.
  • Monday, May 27: CLOSED.
  • Tuesday, May 28: Resume normal shipping policies.

*Prescription orders, including temperature-sensitive drugs, can only ship after approval from your veterinarian. Prescription authorization must be obtained before 3 PM CST in order to be shipped out on the same day. Visit our website for more information.

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Have a safe and Happy Memorial Day!

-The VetRxDirect Pharmacy Team