April 2012 Issue

Diagnosis: Diabetic Neuropathy

Does your cat seem to be dragging his heels? If so, this disabling consequence of diabetes could be the cause.

If you ever try to move around your home very, very quietly — to avoid waking a slumbering child, for example — you may be in the habit of walking on your tiptoes. Normally, however, you will employ what’s termed a “plantigrade” stance. That is to say, you’ll stand and walk with the entire sole of your foot touching the floor. Cats are different from you and your fellow humans in this respect. Unless they’ve suffered an injury or are afflicted with a physical condition that makes it painful or physically impossible for them to do otherwise, they will, by nature, walk on the front part of their feet. Notable among the feline disorders whose presence is signaled by a cat’s inability or unwillingness to walk on its toes is a condition called diabetic neuropathy.

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