Can diabetes mellitus in cats go away and then reoccur (transient)?

Can diabetes mellitus in cats go away and then reoccur (transient)?

Our question this week was:

How common is feline transient diabetes and what are the chances of recurrence? My cat was diagnosed with diabetes and she needed insulin for only a couple of weeks, had a seizure episode b/c she wasn't eating, vet had me stop insulin and he has checked her glucose numerous times throughout past months and now she is absolutely fine (thankfully). She is almost 12-years-old. I am just so worried that all of this could occur again and be worse the second time around. Is this unusual?

Karin Siegel

Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote asking about your cat that is a "transient" diabetic. You said that one day she became hypoglycemic – had a seizure episode caused by low blood sugar and since that time she has not been diabetic.

We have a very good article on feline diabetes. From my understanding and experience, approximately 20% of cats can be "transient" diabetics. This means that after diagnosis with diabetes mellitus, they can have total resolution of their diabetic state months to years after diagnosis. This does not happen in dogs.

This is relatively common in cats. Cats are the only species that can become a diabetic transiently – insulin dependent and then suddenly one day – they are no longer a diabetic. Some cats can become diabetics again but many go on to have normal lives and are never a diabetic again.

I'm very happy that your cat was in that 20%!

An article that might be helpful to you is Diabetes in Cats.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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