Are you looking for a natural supplement to help your cat with diabetes?
If so, you may already be familiar with CBD and its many benefits.
In this article, I take a close look at CBD and the benefits it has for treating feline diabetes.
Plus, I’ll also highlight a few CBD brands that I specifically recommended for pet owners.
What is Diabetes and What Causes it?
Diabetes is a condition in which the body can no longer produce insulin, a hormone responsible for keeping your cat’s blood glucose levels in check.
Insulin is naturally produced in the pancreas and helps glucose (or sugar) get from the bloodstream into the cells, where it can be used as energy.
Cats with diabetes are either unable to produce insulin or use it effectively.
This leads to a build-up of glucose in the blood which, over time, can produce a variety of health problems.
There are 2 main types of diabetes:
- Diabetes Type 1: This is when the body is unable to produce enough insulin.
- Diabetes Type 2: This is when the body produces insulin but isn’t able to use it properly.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common in cats and is especially prominent in overweight animals.
Type 1 diabetes is less common in cats and is also much more complicated, requiring daily insulin shots to help control the animal’s blood sugar levels.
Cats with type 1 diabetes are usually born with the condition, and vets believe it may have genetic causes.
What are the Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats?
High blood sugar levels can cause a variety of symptoms in your cat.
The most common symptoms are increased urination and thirst, so you’ll usually see diabetic cats drinking a lot of water and making frequent trips to the litter box.
Some other common symptoms of diabetes in cats include:
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
- Weakness in the hind legs (caused by nerve damage)
- Ketoacidosis (high number of keto acids in the blood)
Some diabetic cats might also have a particularly ravenous appetite, as their bodies are not able to absorb as much energy from their food.
Can Feline Diabetes Be Cured?
Feline diabetes usually isn’t cured.
In most cases, the disease is managed with a combination of insulin medications, a special diet, and a weight loss plan for overweight cats.
If your cat has diabetes, your vet will come up with a treatment plan based on the type of diabetes and the severity of their condition.
When diagnosed early, diabetic cats can live normal, happy lives.
Some cats may even go into remission once their treatment has started to take effect.
Other Health Complications Caused by Diabetes
While it is possible to control your cat’s diabetes and sometimes even drive it into remission, it’s important to realize that it is a chronic condition that can lead to other health problems.
If it hasn’t been diagnosed properly or isn’t treated appropriately, diabetes can lead to serious complications.
- Kidney Damage (diabetic nephropathy): Over time, diabetes can cause structural changes to the filters in the kidneys. These changes may seem subtle but can have a big effect on the proper functioning of the organ. Kidney disease is already very common in older cats, and diabetes may increase your cat’s risk of developing renal problems in the future.
- Nerve Damage: Diabetes can cause neuropathy or changes in your cat’s nervous symptom. This may cause weakness in the hind legs or even affect the way your cat walks.
- Blood Vessel Damage: Diabetes can damage blood vessels, which some sources suggest could be caused by chronic inflammation as a result of high blood sugar levels.
- Infections: Cats with diabetes tend to be more prone to developing infections. If your cat develops recurring urinary tract infections, for example, this could be a sign that their diabetes isn’t being managed properly.
- Gastrointestinal Disorders: Studies show that up to 30% of diabetic cats have gastrointestinal problems, and up to 50% vomit intermittently.
- Pancreatic Problems: Cats with diabetes may experience acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). Over time, this can affect the pancreas’ ability to produce digestive enzymes needed to break down food, affecting your cat’s ability to absorb nutrients from food.
How Can CBD Help Cats With Diabetes?
If you’re reading this, you’ve likely already heard about some of the health benefits of CBD.
But did you know CBD has a range of benefits that can help you manage your cat’s diabetes?
1. CBD Can Improve Pancreatic Health
There is some really strong evidence showing that CBD can help boost pancreatic health and fight diabetes.
An article by the Longevity Medicine Review highlighted research which has found high concentrations of cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 in the pancreas.
This research, conducted by researchers at the University of Miguel Hernández de Elche and the Fundación Pública Andaluza para la Investigación de Málaga en Biomedicina y Salud in Spain, have found that activating these receptors can have potential benefits for people with diabetes.
Researchers found that stimulation of the CB1 receptors in the pancreas produce insulin and glucagon.
Meanwhile, the stimulation of the CB2 receptors lowered the amount of glucose-dependent insulin produced in the pancreas.
This obviously isn’t enough evidence to suggest that CBD can cure diabetes, but it definitely shows that the Endocannabinoid System plays an important role in promoting the health of the pancreas.
2. CBD Can Protect Against Diabetes and the Damage it Causes
Besides promoting pancreatic health, CBD has also been shown to help protect the body from certain types of damage that diabetes can cause.
For example, CBD can help the body fight inflammation.
It does so by activating the Endocannabinoid System which has been shown to help trigger the body’s natural anti-inflammatory responses.
Why is this important for diabetes?
Well, diabetes can cause inflammatory problems in parts of the body, like the pancreas, for example.
As I mentioned earlier, the pancreas is loaded with cannabinoid receptors.
Using CBD and other cannabinoids to stimulate the Endocannabinoid System in these areas could help protect the pancreas from chronic inflammation.
I also mentioned that diabetes can cause chronic inflammation and damage to the blood vessels.
In fact, there’s a consensus among the medical community that obesity, a leading cause of diabetes, is caused by inflammation, and that this chronic inflammation is a major cause of insulin resistance.
Because the Endocannabinoid System plays such a key role in managing inflammatory responses in the body, it’s become an increasingly interesting target for new diabetes treatments.
Studies have shown, for example, that CBD can lower the incidence of diabetes in mice.
Other research has shown that CBD can also help manage other complications caused by diabetes, like neuropathic pain, for example.
3. CBD Can Boost Your Cat’s Metabolism and Digestive Health
Metabolic health is a really important part of both preventing and managing diabetes.
More good news:
CBD can help promote metabolic health, too.
A 2016 study showed that CBD could help promote a process known as “fat browning.”
The researchers behind this study found that CBD could help the body naturally convert white adipose tissue (which stores fat) into brown adipose tissue (which burns fat).
The study also showed that CBD helped increase mitochondrial activity, which has been shown to help burn fat and energy.
CBD is also renowned for helping with nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, and digestive inflammation.
That’s why it’s becoming an increasingly popular treatment for pets suffering from IBD and other related conditions.
Since diabetic cats commonly experience symptoms like vomiting and appetite loss, CBD can be a powerful supplement to help with these conditions.
For more information about CBD’s ability to help with digestive problems like nausea, vomiting, and appetite loss, make sure to read my previous post on CBD for Cats With IBD.
Are People Actually Using CBD to Treat Feline Diabetes?
As pet owners, we always want to make sure we’re only giving our pets the best supplements and medicine.
So, you’re probably wondering whether other pet owners are actively using CBD with their cats.
Well, I’ve got even more good news:
Thousands of pet owners give their pets CBD.
Khouie, for example, was a rescue kitten who developed diabetes a few years ago.
He suffered from ketoacidosis a couple of times, and also underwent surgery to remove a gastric obstruction.
Finally, he was also diagnosed with lymphoma.
Towards the end of his life, Khouie lost his mobility and stopped eating.
His owners decided to try CBD and saw instant results as Khouie got his mobility and appetite back.
Sebastian also suffers from diabetes along with a variety of other health issues, including neuropathy in his hind legs due to diabetes.
He was also diagnosed with cancer and given 3 months to live in 2015.
After just 3 days on CBD, however, Sebastian’s owners saw huge improvements in his condition.
Not only was he noticeably happier, but he also re-gained his strength and appetite.
And, despite his vet’s diagnosis, Sebastian is still here today, living a happy life with his owners.
For Cats With Diabetes, These Products are Best:
Before we jump to the recommendations, let’s do a quick recap.
- First, I looked at diabetes and what goes on in the bodies of cats with this condition.
- Then, I took a closer look at the benefits of CBD and how they specifically relate to this condition.
- Finally, I also shared some testimonials from cat owners currently using CBD to treat diabetes in their cats.
If you decide to give CBD a try, you’ll quickly learn that there are hundreds of different pet CBD products out there.
So, how can you ensure which is the best for your pet?
Well, I’ve been using pet CBD products and talking with pet owners for several years now, and I currently recommend 2 brands for cat owners.
The first is HolistaPet, which has a unique line of cat-specific CBD products including treats, capsules, and oils.
For treating diabetes, I’d recommend using HolistaPet’s 150mg CBD capsules.
These tiny capsules are specially formulated for small animals like cats and are super easy to dose (1 5mg capsule per 10lbs of body weight).
Most pet owners open the capsules and mix the contents into their cat’s food.
Alternatively, you can do the same with HolistaPet’s 150mg CBD Oil.
Another really popular product is HolistaPet's CBD Cat Treats.
They get a lot of great reviews, and people find them very easy to use. Either one of these methods will work for your cat.
The second CBD brand I recommend for cat owners is Canna-Pet.
This brand is really well-known and ships all around the world (except Australia, Canada, Singapore, and New Zealand).
Plus, their products are made in Colorado, USA, from organically grown hemp extract.
For treating diabetes in cats, I’d recommend using Canna-Pet’s Advanced Capsules for Small Pets.
They can also be broken up into your pet’s meal and are very simple to dose, too.
Plus, Canna-Pet has hundreds of online testimonials from pet owners using their products for all kinds of different conditions and is a really highly-regarded brand in this industry.
If you’d like to learn more about CBD pet brands like HolistaPet and Canna-Pet or want to learn more about the benefits of this tiny compound, make sure to read my CBD for Cats page here.