Response to insulin treatment and survival in 104 cats with diabetes mellitus (1985-1995).

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Medical records of 104 cats with diabetes mellitus were reviewed. Information from 54 cats that had multiple blood glucose concentrations evaluated at least 5 times over a minimum of 3 months, beginning at the time insulin treatment was initiated, was used to evaluate the efficacy of insulin in treating diabetes mellitus. Fourteen of 54 cats were treated with protamine zinc insulin (PZI), 26 with ultralente insulin, and 14 with lente insulin. Six, 29, and 19 cats had good, mediocre, and poor glycemic control, respectively, based on mean blood glucose concentrations, whereas 31, 21, and 2 owners thought clinical response was good, mediocre, and poor, respectively. No significant difference was found in glycemic control among cats treated with PZI, ultralente, or lente insulin. Glycemic control was significantly (P < .05) better in 33 cats without than in 21 cats with concurrent disease. All 104 cats were used to calculate survival data. Fifty-one of 104 cats were alive at the time of the study. Mean (+/- standard deviation [SD]) and median survival times were 24 (+/- 16) and 20 months, respectively, in the 51 cats still alive at the end of the evaluation, and 25 (+/- 4) and 17 months, respectively, in the 53 cats that had died during the period of evaluation. Pancreatic abnormalities identified in 37 cats that underwent necropsy included chronic pancreatitis (n = 17), acute to subacute pancreatitis (n = 2), exocrine pancreatic adenocarcinoma (n = 7) and adenoma (n = 1), islet cell atrophy and vacuolar degeneration (n = 27), and islet amyloidosis (n = 8). No association was found between glycemic control and islet amyloidosis or exocrine pancreatic neoplasia, or between survival time and chronic pancreatitis, islet amyloidosis, or exocrine pancreatic neoplasia. In conclusion, diabetic cats evaluated in this study showed a variable response to exogenously administered insulin, ranging from excellent to poor. By maintaining mean blood glucose concentrations under 300 mg/dL, clinical signs were improved, and owners were satisfied with insulin treatment. Concurrent potentially insulin-antagonistic diseases were common and deleteriously affected glycemic control and survival time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of veterinary internal medicine / American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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