Treating feline diabetes mellitus just got easier


Cases of feline diabetes mellitus (DM) are cropping up at an alarming rate: As many as 1 in 100 cats in the US are now believed to have feline DM.

Fortunately, diagnosing and treating it just got easier.

On Thursday, May 22, the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) launched its Diabetes Educational Toolkit, a unique online resource designed to help veterinarians diagnose and treat feline DM.

The user-friendly toolkit is a digital resource that puts the most relevant diagnostic and treatment information in the hands of veterinary professionals who are working with clients to make the best decisions for their cat. This toolkit was designed to be an instantly accessible implementation tool that veterinary professionals can use to gather information quickly.

Each page has a printable PDF version to make the content easy to access in your practice, and the entire toolkit can also be downloaded and printed.

NEWStat reached out to Apryl Steele, DVM, president of the AAFP board of directors to find out how the free toolkit can help make treating DM easier.

NEWStat: What are the biggest challenges veterinary professionals face in treating feline DM?

Apryl Steele: Our clients are busy people. When insulin injections are necessary for the treatment of DM in cats, practitioners must understand how to empower clients to successfully manage this complicated disease within [the confines of their busy schedules]. Finding the correct dose of insulin, the right type of insulin for an individual cat, and conveying a great deal of information during the stressful postdiagnostic period is also a big challenge.

NEWStat: How will the AAFP Diabetes Toolkit help them meet those challenges?

AS: The AAFP Diabetes Toolkit is a very easy to use, up-to-date, and practical resource for veterinary teams. Easy to navigate tabs allow for quick access to information on diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and remission strategies. There are even different levels of intensity of monitoring protocols, enabling the veterinary professional to prescribe a plan that can be accomplished by the cat caregiver. [The AAFP notes that the toolkit is not intended to provide a complete review of the scientific data for feline diabetes.]

NEWStat: Why did the AAFP develop the toolkit? What unique needs does it fulfill?

AS: [The AAFP’s mission] is to support its members in improving the health and welfare of cats through high standards of practice, continuing education, and evidence-based medicine. DM is a complicated disease. However, in most cats, DM is a very manageable condition. By creating this toolkit for veterinary professionals, we hope to provide easy access to critical information that results in happier, healthier feline patients.

NEWStat: Under what circumstances might a veterinarian treating a cat consult the toolkit?

AS: Any time diabetes is being diagnosed, when a cat is not responding as expected to treatment, when an owner responds to each recommendation with “I can’t do that,” and the caregiver needs resources that help them understand how to care for a diabetic cat. It’s so easy to use [that] it only takes a few minutes to find what you need.

NEWStat: Why is feline DM becoming more common?

AS: It’s likely because conditions that predispose cats to DM are becoming more common: obesity, renal disease, and dental disease, among others. More than half of owned cats in the US are obese, and as cats are living longer, veterinarians are diagnosing more renal and dental disease.

NEWStat: What can veterinarians do to educate their cat-owning clients about DM prevention?

AS: Keeping cats at a healthy weight and addressing dental disease regularly will decrease a cat’s chances of developing DM.

Read the 2018 AAHA Diabetes Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats here.

Photo credit: © iStock/kobzev3179

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