Feline Diabetes: It’s Not to Die ForAnna Maria Greene November 1, 2010
If your cat suddenly turns into a zombie, staring vacantly at nothing at all and acting unresponsive, you might be inclined to think that aliens have finally landed and possessed wee Ginger. But don’t panic – this behaviour may be a symptom of feline diabetes.
It is estimated that one in every 50 pets (U.S. statistics) has diabetes. Common symptoms found in both cats and dogs include excessive thirst and urination, and extreme weight loss or gain. Other potential signs of the illness include back leg weakness and urinary tract infection in cats, and cataracts in dogs. Since many of these symptoms can indicate other diseases, it is wise to do a blood sugar test. Co-morbid conditions may be present as well, so a thorough, holistic medical assessment is vital to ensure that your pet is properly diagnosed and receives the appropriate care.
Generally speaking, diabetes is referred to as a disease of the pancreas, which controls the production and secretion of insulin. When the pancreas ceases to perform these basic functions, the result is either Type 1 (insulin dependent) or Type 2 diabetes (insulin resistant). The latter is considered more prevalent in animals. Dr. Gloria Dodd, DVM, however, describes the illness in a more comprehensive way – as a disturbance of the body’s energy field and the digestive and endocrine systems. This means that the liver, spleen, pancreas, and adrenal glands are all affected. This basic understanding – that illness involves the entire body, with specific organs wreaking more havoc than others – is the first step toward healing and restoring balance.
Allopathic medicine tends to find the illness elusive and claims that there is no cure, only the management of symptoms using insulin, drugs, and lifestyle changes. Yet case studies repeatedly indicate that alternative treatments not only greatly alleviate the symptoms of diabetes in both pets and humans, but can even reverse them permanently with diet, exercise, supplements, and detoxification.
Many holistic vets agree that a root cause of diabetes is toxic overload. Some even claim that toxins are the root of all illnesses. “Does Pollution Cause Diabetes: The Disease/Environmental Toxin Connection,” an article by Dr. Alan Gaby, the former president of the American Holistic Medical Association, cites several studies with alarming statistics and implications for humans and animals. One study was on rodents that were fed 100 mcg of Bisphenol (a chemical common in many products, particularly plastics, and present in 95% of urine samples in humans, as it leaches into foods from plastic containers) on a daily basis. The unfortunate mice developed insulin resistance after only four days of this delicious diet. (See article for details on other chemicals on the hit list).
A number of approaches may be taken to begin the healing process for diabetes, depending on the animal’s medical history. Whatever the case, the process should begin with a diet overhaul, detoxifying both body and home, and supplement support. The approach will vary from animal to animal. Dodd’s program involves a three-step plan wherein she suggests switching to a raw food diet and eliminating as much exposure to chemicals as possible, including commercial foods that also contain bacteria, sugar, and other fillers that trigger allergies, spike blood sugar levels, and weaken the immune system. Dodd also uses her own homeopathic remedies (www.holisticvetpetcare.com).
This is but one approach to healing an illness that may present a complexity of symptoms. Again, remember it should be tailored to suit your pet. Another article well worth reading is “The ABCs of Animal Wellness” by Vitality’s regular writer, Helke Ferrie. Her basic rule for optimal health is similar to Dodd’s: avoid processed and hormone-laced foods, toxins (including chlorinated/fluoridated water and products with chemicals), and most vaccines, and instead feed your pets organic raw meals (see article and resources below for specific diet suggestions) and give them plenty of exercise. This strategy builds an excellent foundation, allowing the animal’s natural healing abilities to kick in. It also enhances their quality of living and gives them that extra punch to tackle whatever negative elements cross their paths.
One supplementary product that has received positive feedback when it comes to treating diabetes is GlucoEnsure™ by PetAlive. It contains a variety of herbs and other nutrients such as Bilberry (for vision support), chromium, Huang Gi, and fenugreek (for sugar and fat metabolism). (See http://www.holisticpetinfo.com) Overall, the product is reputed to support the pancreas and liver, along with the immune, circulatory, and digestive systems.
A herb that has been recommended regularly for both pet and human diabetes is Galega Officinalis (also known as Goat’s Rue), which helps to improve the function of the pancreas. You may be able to find it at your health food store.
Once you balance your pet’s lifestyle with good foods, supportive supplements, and a sensible detoxification plan, you will notice that they’ll zap back to life and join the animal and human race again – wagging their tails, purring, playing about the house, or racing in the meadows. And that’s what truly healthy animals should be doing.
http:/www.tryhealthypaws.com/ (A Toronto organic raw-food supplier)
To contact a vet specializing in Traditional Chinese Medicine and nutrition:
To contact a naturopathic vet: