DEAR DR. FOX: My cat, Sophia, had diabetes and yet she still lived to be 18 years old. I fed her dry food, and when I changed to wet, I did not give her any injections anymore because her blood sugar was normal.
I was shocked to find out how little my vets know about the treatment. I learned all of it online. We took blood from her ear and gave her insulin accordingly. One vet suggested "just give her the shots" and not test her. However, I have read enough about low blood sugar; in fact, my niece died at age 30 because of it.
There are many people online who helped us. Please tell us what you think and how people should treat the cats with this disease. -- E.L., Fargo, North Dakota
DEAR E.L.: Diabetes mellitus is so common in cats today, and I place most of the blame on the high cereal content of manufactured cat foods, especially dry kibble. The inertia of veterinary organizations to address this issue is lamentable.
Beware of "grain-free" cat (and dog) foods that substitute pea flour and other pulses, as well as soy, beet and peanut husk fiber, as binders and fillers. These may cause other health problems in both cats and dogs.
As you and many other cat owners have discovered, diabetes, when caught in time, can be reversed by providing a proper diet. (For more details, visit feline-nutrition.org.) The diabetogenic diet of high carbohydrates, especially those with a high glycemic index, puts tremendous stress on the pancreas to keep producing insulin.
The addictive qualities of dry cat kibble have been carefully researched and developed. Some cats' gut bacteria flourish on the starches and sugars, creating dysbiosis. Constipation, megacolon and inflammatory bowel disease are all-too-common feline maladies arising from such biologically inappropriate diets. In addition, cystitis and associated house-soiling and urinary tract crystals/uroliths are tied to the alkalinity and lack of moisture in the kibble, a problem compounded by the fact that many cats do not drink sufficient water.
My cat food recipe has helped countless cats, along with a sardine-a-day to keep the vet away. Most cats are not allergic to fish, and a canned sardine in water a day can give new life to old cats. For those who are unfamiliar, the bones in these fish are removed and the delicate scales are edible. (For more information, go to drfoxvet.net.)
Some cats with diabetes can be helped off daily insulin by such dietary changes and supplements, but initially avoid high-fat-content cat foods because the already-stressed pancreas could develop acute pancreatitis. Mixing a pinch of cinnamon into each meal may also help, since this spice has helped people reduce their daily insulin dose.
DOG CREDITED WITH DETECTING OWNER'S RECURRENT CANCER
A three-time cancer survivor says she owes her life to her Siberian husky, which seems to have detected her initial case of stage 3 ovarian cancer as well as two subsequent metastases. The dog became anxious and hid after sniffing areas where the tumors had grown, undetected. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online, Nov. 30.)
In prior columns, I have written about dogs that change their behavior and seem more anxious and attentive toward their human companions even prior to medical diagnosis of certain cancers.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxVet.net.)