Understanding Diabetes Mellitus in Cats

November marks National Pet Diabetes Month. This pet health awareness event is designed to spread the word and encourage dog and cat owners to learn more about diabetes. Diabetes mellitus occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, stops making 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 converted into energy, extra sugar can build in the blood. High concentrations of sugar in the bloodstream leads to health problems. This blog is all about cats, but don’t worry dog owners! We have a whole other post just for canines.

Know the Risks

Just like humans, there are certain cats that are more prone to diabetes. Diabetes can be diagnosed in cats of all ages and breeds. Some risk factors can be managed, while others are due to aging or genetics.

  • Obesity
  • Age – Older cats are more prone
  • Neutered males
  • Physical inactivity
  • Genetics
  • Other health conditions including pancreas and hormone disorders

Detection is Key

There are common warning signs associated with diabetes. If detected, visit your veterinarian soon get an exam for your cat examined. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent complications and other serious health conditions.

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination—may include accidents outside the litterbox
  • Change in appetite
  • Lack of energy or lethargy
  • Doesn’t groom (cats)
  • Dull or thinning haircoat

Diagnosing and Testing

There are a variety of ways that your veterinarian can test and diagnose your cat for diabetes. These may include:

  • General physical exam
  • Urine testing for ketones or glucose
  • Blood testing to determine glucose levels
  • A1C Testing with A1Care

The A1Care A1C test is a blood test that measures the average blood glucose levels A1C Diabetes Testover the past 70 days in dogs. It’s used for diagnosis and early screening of diabetes. Because this test provides long-term monitoring, it shows how well your pet’s treatment plan is working. The A1Care test is also available for dogs.

 Diabetes Treatment Options

Currently, there is no cure for diabetes in cats. Fortunately, with proper treatment methods, this disease and its symptoms can be managed successfully. Regular vet check-ups help spot changes in your cat’s condition.

  • Regular check-ups
  • Insulin Injections
  • Blood glucose monitoring
  • Dietary changes to manage weight and energy needs. This may include therapeutic foods.
How is Insulin Given to a Cat?
Insulin is injected subcutaneous, just under the top layer of the skin.

  • Traditional injections are a common method of choice. The correct dose of insulin is drawn out of a vial using a needle and syringe, then administered to your cat.
  • Insulin pens are a device that holds multiple doses of insulin inside of a chamber and can be reused. Pen needles attach and detach from the top of the pen for each injection.

While the thought of giving injections and managing diabetes may seem overwhelming, most cats continue to live a long, happy, and good quality of life when their health is maintained. At VetRxDirect we provide a full selection of medications and products for diabetic dogs and cats. We will work closely with you and your veterinarian to help you manage your pet’s health.

Does your cat have diabetes? Is there a particular medicine or product that worked well? Please share your experience with us and don’t forget to support #petdiabetesmonth

Choosing the Best Pet Insulin Syringes

Diabetes can be a difficult disease to manage in humans, and even more difficult in animals. Dogs and cats can both develop diabetes, and currently there is no cure for it. Often, it requires a treatment plan designed by a veterinarian that involves checking blood sugar and giving insulin shots. If you have to give your pet regular insulin shots you may already know the challenges involved, but having the right equipment to get the job done can make it easier. Or, if your pet has recently been diagnosed, you may be wondering what kind of syringes you need. Pet insulin syringes are made in a variety of types and sizes, so it can be tricky to know the difference.

U-100 vs U-40 Pet Insulin Syringes


U-40 Pet Insulin Syringes Available at VetRxDirect

U-40 Pet Insulin Syringes. Half Unit Measurements Now Available.

Unlike other medications, insulin is measured in units. “Units” is short for international units (IU), which is a form of measurement used for describing volume. Insulin for animals usually comes in two different concentrations, 40 units/mL and 100 units/mL. Depending on the brand of insulin, the concentration may be written on the bottle as 100 units/mL, U-100, 100 IU or 40 units/mL, U-40, 40 IU. When selecting syringes to use with your pet’s insulin you want to make sure they match the concentration, otherwise your pet will receive the wrong dose. This is because the syringes have different dosage markings. For example: if you have Lantus 100 units/mL, you would use U-100 syringes, or Vetsulin 40 units/mL would use U-40 syringes. If you are unsure of the concentration of your pet’s insulin, talk to your veterinarian.

Pet Insulin Syringes Needle Gauge & Length


U-100 Pet Insulin Syringes. Half Unit Measurements Now Available

Insulin syringes have an attached needle, and the size of a needle is usually measured by gauge and length. The gauge number describes how thick a needle is, and the higher the number, the thinner the needle. For example, a 32g needle is thinner than a 28g needle. Thinner is usually more comfortable for injection, and thicker is more durable. The length of the needle is measure in inches, and is usually based on personal preference and skin thickness. Needles typically come in 28g, 29g, 31g and 1/2 in or 5/16 in depending on the manufacturer.

Pet Insulin Syringes Size

The total capacity of the syringes is measured by cc or mL which are actually equal to each other. The size of the syringe will depend on how much insulin is needed for the dose. They are also labeled with dosage markings, either in full or half unit increments. Syringes typically come in 3/10 cc, 1/2 cc , and 1cc sizes. Talk with your veterinarian about which needle and syringe type will work best for you and your pet.
At VetRxDirect you can find a wide selection of insulin syringes. The UltiCare Syringes have a large combination of needle and syringe size in both U-40 and U-100. They also come in a Safe Pack, which includes syringes and a sharps container all-in-one for storage and disposal, and is available in all standard sizes. UltiCare needles feature a triple beveled tip, polished barrel and silicone lubrication for optimal injection comfort. Dosage markings are clear and easy to read, making sure your pet gets the right dose.