Long-term Complications of Feline Diabetes

"The long-term complications of feline diabetes are a result of prolonged hyperglycemia"

Due to their shorter life span, diabetic cats seem to develop fewer long-term complications than human diabetics. Obtaining optimal regulation of blood glucose concentration helps to prevent the long-term complications of Diabetes mellitus.

Diabetic neuropathy

Neuropathy is occasionally seen in feline diabetes.

The pathogenesis of diabetic neuropathy remains unknown and is likely multifactorial (including persistent hyperglycemia and resultant metabolic damage to nerves).

There is no specific treatment. The prognosis is guarded but partial or full resolution of the clinical signs has been reported following regulation of blood glucose concentrations with insulin.

Diabetic nephropathy

A very serious complication of Diabetes mellitus that may be seen in cats. The clinical signs are those of renal insufficiency.

Diabetic cataract

Cataracts are seen far more common in canine diabetes than feline diabetes.

For more information see Diabetic cataracts in dogs.

Complications of feline diabetes

Clinical signs of neuropathy

  • Extremely variable
  • May be subclinical, acute or chronic
  • Hind limb weakness and wasting are seen most commonly
  • Cats may be presented walking on their hocks (plantigrade stance)
  • Sudden onset of weakness, progressive paraparesis, proprioceptive deficits, muscle atrophy and depressed spinal reflexes may also be seen