Arterial thromboembolic disease, which is also sometimes called aortic thromboembolism or a saddle thrombus, is a disorder that most commonly affects cats suffering from heart disease. Poor circulation of blood through the heart chambers causes blood clots to form. These clots then can break off and travel through the cat's arteries. A common place for them to lodge is in the vessels that supply blood to the hind legs.
Typical symptoms of diabetes include weakness, increased thirst and urination, and weight loss despite a healthy or even ravenous appetite. Diabetic animals are at increased risk for infection, and with time dogs often develop cataracts. A veterinarian will usually diagnose diabetes based on a combination of an animal's clinical signs, elevated blood glucose levels and the presence of glucose in the urine. Over time, severe, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to dehydration, electrolyte abnormalities and death.
Type 1 diabetics almost always require insulin injections and dietary management to control their blood sugar levels. On occasion, some dogs respond adequately to oral medications, but this is the exception rather than the rule. Most cats require insulin as well, but some can be weaned off the injections and their diabetes managed with diet alone if the disease is quickly brought under control. Most diabetic animals require lifelong treatment and monitoring, but with a dedicated owner, can be expected to live long and fulfilling lives.
Written by: Jennifer Coates, DVM
Last reviewed: October 2, 2008