What causes feline diabetes mellitus? (preferably detail)


I am currently completing an EPQ, focusing it on feline diabetes mellitus. I am looking for information on what actually causes the disease in cats? I understand that it can be related to genetics, weight etc. but how?


thank you!

1 Answer

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Diabetes mellitus is caused by either an absolute (the body not producing) or a relative lack (the body either producing insufficient or not responding adequately) of the hormone insulin. There seems to be much similarity between type 2 diabetes in humans & that found incats. Usually there are changes within the pancreas (the organ responsible for producing insulin) & these changes affect it's ability to produce insulin, as well as the tissues in the body having a rediced ability to respond to the insulin that is produced. Together these changes result in DM. DM is most commonly seen in neutered, overweight, middle aged cats. This is because being overweight & inactive are 2 of the most common causes of impaired tissue response to insulin (or insulin resistance). As in humans there does seem to be a genetic predisposition & it is well documented that certain breed lines of Burmese are affected. DM can also occur as a secondary disease - in cats suffering from either hyperadrenocorticism (cushings syndrome) &/or acromegaly (excess production of growth hormone by the pituitary) as well as a response to certain drug therapies - prolonged high doses of glucocorticoids &/or progestagens. DM resulting as a secondary disease is due to the primary condition affecting the tissues response to insulin. 

I hope the above helps answer your question