September 2011 Issue

Understanding Feline Diabetes

A greater understanding of this serious disease has helped foster advances in its treatment. Here’s how.

A cat’s physical well-being depends largely on the efficiency of its endocrine system, an array of small organs that manufacture chemicals called hormones and deliver them into the animal’s bloodstream. Once they reach their respective target destinations, hormones interact with tissues to enable bodily processes and to ensure their effectiveness. Among the components of the endocrine system is the pancreas — a relatively tiny organ located near a cat’s stomach and small intestine. Perhaps the most important function of the pancreas is the manufacture of a hormone called insulin. After a cat has consumed fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, these dietary components are broken down into a vitally necessary chemical substance called glucose — sometimes referred to as “blood sugar.”

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