Confused. Why do cats need insulin?

Discussion in 'Welcome to the Group - Post an Introduction Here' started by Girl, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. Girl

    Girl Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2017
    We know insulin is used to help the cells use sugar or carbs in humans, but cats are created to eat meat, not carbs or sugars, so why do they need insulin? Has insulin always been a problem with cats or is it just for domesticated cats? Why are there so many sick cats? It sounds like a DIET problem, not an insulin problem.

    If a cat is on a non-carb all meat diet why does he need insulin?

    Is insulin used for the digestion of meat in cats? (to get into cells)

    Does meat (protein) turn into blood sugar in cats?

    It seems to me that cats are suffering from *carbohydrate poisoning* and people call it diabetes.

    I don't want to cause my cat any more problems than I already have!

    It's been a month since my Girl was diagnosed with "diabetes" and since then she's been on a no-carb canned and raw meat diet. She was getting Diamond brand lamb & rice kibble. Now I know that was killing her and I'm reading everything on diet and diabetes, stopped all kibble, started on no-carb canned and going to all raw. I see where I made her "diabetic" by the junk food I gave her.

    She's been on an all meat diet for a month now and she's feeling and looking much better. She was so thin her eyes looked huge, like owl eyes. It shows in her photo here. Now she's getting no carbs, NO sugar, so I don't understand why she needs insulin. I'm supposed to give her 1 1/2 of glargine/lantus 2x a day but I didn't because she's been on an all meat diet. I gave it to her the first week because her blood glucose (BG) test was 599. It was the test that measures the whole month or two. The vet told me not to do testing at home because it would jack up her readings. I don't trust doctors. There's too much money in sick people and animals and none if we're well!
    After looking at how many tests everyone does at home in here I decided I need to at least try to do it, and after trying a few times unsuccessfully, I finally got it done this morning and it was 234, so I gave her 1 unit of lantus. I'm not sure what to do next. Her BG went down a lot from when she was diagnosed at 599 but it's still high and I don't understand why. I don't want to hurt her any more than I have already.

    What I really want to know is WHY does she need insulin if she only eats meat?

    Thank You all for all your help already, and for being here. It will be even better when we all don't need to be here because there are no carb poisoned cats.
     
  2. FurBabiesMama

    FurBabiesMama Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2017
    Hi Girl and her human. This is the introduction forum. You may want to post health-related questions on the main/health forum. I am not an expert on the topic, but from my research, I would say that cats have glucose in their blood from sources other than carbs they eat. If their pancreas produces too much glucose or if their body does not use/consume as much glucose as it should, they may need insulin even if their diet is low/no carb. I would agree that the biggest problem overall is the improper composition of the foods we feed them (before we know better), but there are some cats who remain insulin-dependent even when their diet is proper.
     
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  3. Tuxedo Mom

    Tuxedo Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    A good explanation:

    "Diabetes mellitus — also known as "sugar" diabetes — is a complex but common disease in which a cat's body either doesn't produce or doesn't properly use insulin. During digestion, the fats, carbohydrates, and proteins that are consumed in the diet are broken down into smaller components that can be utilized by cells in the body. One component is glucose, a fuel that provides the energy needed to sustain life."

    "Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas and is responsible for regulating the flow of glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. When insulin is deficient or ineffective, the cat's body starts breaking down fat and protein stores to use as alternative energy sources. As a result, the cat eats more yet loses weight. Additionally, the cat develops high levels of sugar in the bloodstream, which is eliminated in the urine. In turn, sugar in the urine leads to excessive urination and thirst. Cat owners often notice these four classical signs of diabetes mellitus: ravenous appetite, weight loss, increased urination, and increased water consumption."

    "While diabetes mellitus can affect any cat, it most often occurs in older, obese cats. Male cats are more commonly afflicted than females. The exact cause of the disease in cats is not known, although obesity (the major predisposing condition), chronic pancreatitis, other hormonal diseases (e.g., hyperthyroidism, Cushing's disease, and acromegaly), and certain medications (e.g., megestrol acetate and corticosteroids like prednisolone) have all been linked to the disease. Burmese cats in New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom are prone to developing to diabetes, but this doesn't appear to be the case in North America."

    http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/Health_Information/brochure_diabetes.cfm

    Poor diet and obesity can DEFINITELY be a contributing cause of diabetes in kitties, Some kitties have been able to go into remission with only a change in diet to low carb wet food. However if there is damage to the Beta cells in the pancreas then the normal insulin production is not carried out properly.

    "
    The main function of a beta cell is to produce and secrete insulin - the hormone responsible for regulating levels of glucose in the blood.

    When blood glucose levels start to rise (e.g. during digestion), beta cells quickly respond by secreting some of their stored insulin while at the same time increasing production of the hormone.

    This quick response to a spike in blood glucose usually takes about ten minutes.

    In people with diabetes, however, these cells are either attacked and destroyed by the immune system (type 1 diabetes), or are unable to produce a sufficient amount of insulin needed for blood sugar control (type 2 diabetes)."

    http://www.diabetes.co.uk/body/beta-cells.html

    Although this article refers to people the processes are the same with our kitties. As mentioned above a variety of other factors besides diet can affect insulin production...environmental triggers, pituitary tumours, pancreatitis, steroid use and others. Definitely the first approach is to change to an appropriate diet, but if glucose numbers are too high this causes strain on the liver, adrenals, kidneys, pancreas and heart to name a few. Without insulin the damage can become worse and lead to more diseases. Kitties have the unique ability to have their pancreas heal, but this requires that it is not working overtime all the time...it needs time to rest which using insulin and keeping glucose numbers in a normal range can help to accomplish.

    There have been a number people on this forum that have come here with a newly diagnosed FD kitty, done a diet change and started insulin and had their kitties go into remission in a short period of time. However there are a lot of people on here who have had their kitties on a totally appropriate diet and insulin treatment and spent a long time before even getting their kitties into a controlled range. Diabetes is a complex endocrine disease involving many different organs working properly together and although diet is a major part of treating it, insulin treatment and treatment of any other underlying causes is necessary.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
  4. TempestsMum

    TempestsMum Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2016
    Hello and welcome!

    As FurBabiesMama has said the best place to ask is the main health forum.

    I will try to address a couple of things briefly but you will get more experts on the main health forum.

    To put it basically your kitty's pancreas is not producing the insulin your cat needs, in other words put really simply the pancreas aren't working or aren't working correctly. So in order to allow your kitty to eat and get nutrients etc out of her food she needs a hormone (insulin) to artificially assist because she's not producing it herself.

    If you give insulin there's a good chance it might kick start her pancreas and she could go into remission. So it's a good thing

    Tried to make that as simple as possible hope it helped.
     
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  5. Tuxedo Mom

    Tuxedo Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014

    Thanks for the simplified version. I tend to ramble on too much sometimes :rolleyes:
     
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  6. TempestsMum

    TempestsMum Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2016
    Hehe I Try! But your explanation is better! ;)
     
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  7. Tuxedo Mom

    Tuxedo Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014

    First..I apologize for not saying WELCOME!!

    Secondly great job on starting home testing. That is the best way to keep your kitty safe and see how well the insulin is working. Since you are using Glargine..which is another name for Lantus....you could post in the Lantus forum where there are lots of experienced members that can help you with your treatment journey:

    http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/forums/lantus-glargine-levemir-detemir.9/
     
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  8. Girl

    Girl Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2017
    Wow. Hi! And thank You all for the great welcome and all the information and direction.

    I had no idea, but apparently, everything we eat turns into glucose!
    "Just about everything we eat is able to be used to create glucose. Carbohydrates, by definition, are sugars, and all sugars are readily converted to glucose. The amino acids that make up proteins can be converted to glucose via an enzymatic process called gluconeogenesis. Fats, too, are converted to glucose or its derivatives; glycerol, for example, can be converted to glucose via gluconeogenesis, and fatty acids can be converted to Acetyl CoA via beta oxidation. No matter where it comes from, the glucose from our meals then ends up in our blood to travel around our bodies to the tissues that need it..."
    http://nutritionwonderland.com/2010/05/understanding-our-bodies-insulin/

    Thank You Kitty Momma's.
    I'll post in the Health Forum from now on.
     
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  9. Larry and Kitties

    Larry and Kitties Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Just what "non-carb all meat diet" is your cat on? Supplements are needed since just meat does not provide all the necessary nutrients.
     
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  10. Girl

    Girl Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2017
    I don't know. She loved all the raw food I gave her this whole month up until last night. She ate beef, fish, chicken and chicken gizzards, hearts, livers, etc. along with canned food like Daves, Red Barn and Weruva. At first I ground chicken wings and legs and added taurine, then squeezed fish oil capsules, vit E, B12 drops, and calcium on it twice a week but she doesn't really eat it. I tried it on an egg yolk and in ground beef seemed to work OK. Then I went to pieces and chunks of meats and some chicken on the bone.
    She was getting more alive and loved eating, up until last night. She started looking lethargic and stopped eating her favorite raw chicken pieces. That's why I decided to do her BG test this morning and it was high.
    After I saw it was 70 an hour ago I gave her some canned cat food and she ate a little. She also ate a 5" raw fish this morning, everything but the head and tail. I'm trying new things with her. I'm getting a whole rabbit from a ranch tomorrow, and I'll cut it up. It's all new to both of us. I'm lucky she's such a good eater.
     
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  11. Girl

    Girl Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2017
    She stopped "mowing" her tummy as much now that she's on no-carb & raw food.
     
  12. Girl

    Girl Member

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    Jun 29, 2017
    oops! I thought this was the Lantus Forum.
     
  13. Yong

    Yong Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Welcome Girl and her Mum! :)
     
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