Transient clinical diabetes mellitus in cats: 10 cases (1989-1991).

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Medical records of 10 cats with transient clinical diabetes mellitus were reviewed. At the time diabetes was diagnosed, clinical signs included polyuria and polydipsia (10 cats), weight loss (8 cats), polyphagia (3 cats), lethargy (2 cats), and inappetence (1 cat). Mean (+/- SD) fasting blood glucose concentration was 454 +/- 121 mg/dL, mean blood glucose concentration during an 8-hour period (MBG/8 hours) was 378 +/- 72 mg/dL, and glycosuria and trace ketonuria were identified in 10 and 5 cats, respectively. Baseline serum insulin concentration was undetectable (6 cats) or within the reference range (4 cats) and serum insulin concentration did not increase after i.v. glucagon administration in any cat. Insulin-antagonistic drugs were being administered to 5 cats and concurrent disorders were identified in all cats. Management of diabetes included administration of glipizide (6 cats), insulin (3 cats), or both (1 cat), discontinuation of insulin-antagonistic drugs, and treatment of concurrent disorders. Insulin and glipizide treatment was discontinued 4-16 weeks (mean, 7 weeks) after the initial diagnosis of diabetes was confirmed. At the time treatment for diabetes was discontinued, clinical signs had resolved, mean fasting blood glucose concentration was 102 +/- 48 mg/dL, MBG/ 8 hours was 96 +/- 32 mg/dL, glycosuria and ketonuria were not identified in any cat, and concurrent disorders (except mild renal insufficiency in 1 cat) had resolved. Significant (P < .05) increases occurred in postglucagon serum insulin concentrations, insulin peak response, and total insulin secretion, compared with values obtained when clinical diabetes was diagnosed. Histologic abnormalities were identified in pancreatic islets of 5 cats in which pancreatic biopsies were obtained and included decreased number of islets (4 cats), islet amyloidosis (3 cats), and vacuolar degeneration of islet cells (3 cats). Mean beta cell density was significantly (P < .001) decreased in diabetic cats compared with control cats (1.4 +/- 0.7 versus 2.6 +/- 0.5%, respectively). Cells within islets stained positive for insulin, however, the number of insulin-staining cells per islet and the intensity of insulin staining were decreased in 5 and 2 cats, respectively. Clinical diabetes had not recurred in 1 cat after 6 years, in 4 cats lost to follow-up after 1.5, 1.5, 2.0, and 2.5 years, and in 2 cats that died 6 months and 5.5 years after clinical diabetes resolved. Clinical diabetes recurred in 3 cats after 6 months, 14 months, and 3.4 years, respectively. These findings suggest that cats with transient clinical diabetes have pancreatic islet pathology, including decreased beta cell density, and that treatment of diabetes and concurrent disorders results in improved beta cell function, reestablishment of euglycemia, and a transition from a clinical to subclinical diabetic state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-35
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of veterinary internal medicine / American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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