Forums » Internal Medicine - Small Animal

Diabetes and Neuropathic Pain

    • 406 posts
    July 12, 2023 7:55 PM EDT

    Diabetes mellitus is commonly diagnosed in our animal companions and painful neuropathy is one possible comorbidity that we can see in these patients. Metabolic and vascular factors play a role in the development of diabetic peripheral neuropathy; Inflammation is not a common characteristic of the disease process and, as such, anti-inflammatory medications are not usually helpful in alleviating this type of pain.

    Cats with diabetic neuropathy are most commonly identified by the plantigrade stance they can develop due to damage of peripheral nerves. Some animals can also develop neuropathic pain which is often revealed when the bottoms of their feet are touched or palpated.

    Treatment of neuropathic pain has typically been regarded as difficult to manage but gabapentinoid medications (gabapentin or pregabalin) can be effective and are usually considered as mainstays of therapy. Depending on the underlying condition causing neuropathic pain, other treatment modalities (pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic) may also be implemented in a multimodal approach to patient management.

    According to veterinary neurologist Dr. Rebecca Windsor, “cats with neuropathic pain associated with diabetes can get better. As long as you treat and successfully manage their diabetes, they will eventually get better.”