Today, I want to let you know about a condition that is very scary, because it can very easily be diagnosed as diabetes. As a diabetic cat who is also a big cat, this is a condition that many people have warned my human to watch out for. The condition is called acromegaly.
This condition occurs when the pituitary gland develops a tumor, and it starts to secrete growth hormones. What happens when this occurs is what happened with the humans who attempted to show cat like reflexes with a stick and ball. It’s cute that you humans think those are fast reflexes. We felines could do so much better if we could hold that stick!
But unlike the humans who played that game, since the growth hormone secretion is at a lot higher concentration, acromegaly creates severe problems. Our paws, jaws, tongue, and forehead become enlarged and disproportional. In addition to this, we tend to urinate a lot, have an almost insatiable appetite, and have cardiovascular irregularities. In addition, diabetic cats with this disease become very insulin resistant. Doses of more than 20 units per day are required! To put things in perspective for you, even my highest dose is only 6.5 units per shot, or 13 units per day.
Acromegaly is diagnosed by either testing the blood of a cat who the humans in white coats think have the disease or by giving our pituitary gland a CT scan. Typically, CT scans are the best way to diagnose this condition.
If a diagnosis of acromegaly is confirmed, the short and medium term prognosis is okay, but the long term prognosis is not good. Generally speaking, cats with acromegaly will die due to heart failure, renal failure, or excessive growth of the pituitary gland.
My human is very confident I do not have this disease, because the amount of insulin I am getting does not indicate acromegaly and because my jaw, tongue, forehead, and paws are not growing. But he will keep an eye out for it, and all humans with diabetic cats should be aware of it.