Pet Diabetes Issues Part II
Last week we met Josh, the unfortunate, urinating kitty. Through a series of careful questions about his home life and a succession of progressive tests, we determined that he had diabetes mellitus. In addition, I discovered shortly after I explained the disease and necessity of insulin shots once or twice daily for Josh, his owner is deathly afraid of needles.
I leaned against the treatment cabinet and smiled understandingly at Josh’s human mom. “Although insulin is often necessary,” I explained softly, “there are many things we can do that will greatly reduce or even eliminate the need for injections. Let me explain… cats are carnivores, and as such, are meant to eat meat and fat, not wheat, corn or soybeans. You never see a wild cheetah munching on wheat fields, do you?
No, they are breaking into South African farms and snatching goats, not grains. Interestingly, diabetes mellitus is virtually unknown in wild felines. Thus it has been hypothesized that the carbohydrate based dry food diet that so many domestic cats live on is one of the main culprits causing diabetes mellitus in our feline companions.”
Josh’s mom looks impressed and interested. I continue. “Thus, if we remove carbohydrates inherent in dry food and switch to a more natural diet, it is possible that Josh will not need insulin, or at the very least, need much less of it.”
“What food should I feed him?” she asks eagerly.
“A raw food. Raw meat.”
Her eyes open in horror and I know she is envisioning flinging Josh hunks of chicken, providing him with baby mice or something equally gruesome as a raw food. I admit it is often amusing to see peoples’ reaction to the raw food suggestion, and diabetes mellitus is only one of the diseases I recommend using raw food for as a solution to a medical problem. It is so against everything we think we know about healthy food. Since children, we have been programmed with the belief that raw meat is bad. We learn that it is full of nasty bugs and evil worms and all sorts of disgusting bacteria. We wash our hands after handling any meat, clean the cutting board, rinse dishes carefully and fully cook our pork. Yet here I go, recommending raw food for a sick, urinating kitty.
I do not recommend just any ole’ raw food. The stories we were told about raw meat is true, so a raw food should be made, packaged and delivered under strict quality control. I explain to Josh’s mom that the raw foods I am suggesting are packaged foods, made by reputable pet food companies and created safely for her pet. Most are frozen, and they can come in packages like kibbles, hamburgers, patties, pouches or tubes. They are sold in high quality pet stores, stores that specialize in organic foods and those that offer holistic or natural foods. There are some stores that are run by trained nutritionists and can offer excellent guidance, however be aware that most pet store owners do not have nutritional training and they are not veterinarians, so stay alert to bias. I can also suggest some companies that offer delivered food as a mail order alternative. They send the food directly to your home and provide nutritional support and cool plastic-ware containers.
“Raw food,” I summarize, “will contain the essential protein and fat requirements for Josh, without the excess carbohydrates he metabolically does not need.”
In addition, I discussed the need for Chromium (50-300ug/day), Vitamin C (500- 6000mg/day), digestive enzymes and N-acetyl glucosamine. We also delved into the concept of stages of diabetes mellitus and whether her cat is more Yin deficient or filled with Damp-Heat (Chinese medicine terms- more on this in blogs to come).
So what happened with Josh? He is on a raw food diet, adds Forti-Flora to his food once daily to provide acidophilus bacterium for a healthy gut, is on the Chinese herb Eight Rehmannia to assist his glucose utilization, and uses 2 units PZI insulin twice daily. His mom is over her fear of needles and Josh is doing wonderfully. We continue to monitor him to see if we can remove the insulin completely.
He is, thankfully, no longer urinating all over the house.