Symptoms Of High And Low Blood Sugar In Cats
There are several symptoms of high and low blood sugar in cats. Symptoms of high blood sugar include increased thirst and urination, weight loss, and lethargy. Symptoms of low blood sugar include increased appetite, weight gain, and restlessness.
Hypoglycemia, in fact, is a symptom of another underlying medical condition rather than a disease. Because the brain does not produce and store glucose, it requires a steady supply of glucose to function properly. Because of its seriousness, this condition must be treated promptly and correctly. Hypoglycemia symptoms would most likely determine how to treat it in the first place. When some of the symptoms are present, glucose or sugar can be used to treat them. If you have severe symptoms that make it impossible to take sugar through your mouth, inject glucagons or give intravenous glucose.
High Blood Sugar Causes
You may be thinking that hyperglycemia can happen just from eating a super-sugary food, but its not really as simple as that. Sure, eating a lot of sugar or carbs can elevate your blood sugar level, but thats typically when your pancreas kicks into gear and creates insulin to move that glucose into cells throughout the body.
But when someone has diabetes, this finely tuned system gets thrown out of whack. In type 2 diabeteswhich accounts for 90% to 95% of diabetes in adults, according to the CDCthe body either cant make enough insulin or cant utilize insulin well, according to the NIDDK. If someone has prediabetes, their blood glucose will be higher than normal but not quite in the type 2 diabetes range yet, per the NIDDK. And in type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin or makes very little.
In any case, the result is extra sugar hanging around the bloodstream, making you feel like total crap in the short term and putting your health at risk in the long term.
Recovery And Management Of Diabetes
Expect to be managing your cats diabetes for the rest of her life. After her initial recovery, you will need to return for regular, follow-up visits to make sure her blood glucose levels are within an acceptable range. You may even be able to test your cat at home once the initial treatment phase is over and if your cat is cooperative. These tests are essential to your cats health, as unmanaged diabetes can lead to a life-threatening condition called ketoacidosis.
Your veterinarian will show you how to administer insulin injections properly. Make sure you read the instructions on the medication, as it may need to be refrigerated in order to remain effective. Dont hesitate to ask your veterinarian for advice about how to handle your cat if she resists her injections.
Diet and weight reduction can help your cat manage the disease when used in addition to medication. Ideally, your cat should have meals around the same time as her injections. This could mean adjusting your cat to a new feeding schedule, but with patience, your cat will adapt to these lifestyle changes.
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Health Implications Of Feline Diabetes
Because diabetes causes the body’s cells to process energy from fat and protein instead of glucose, cats with diabetes will typically lose weight in spite of displaying a healthy appetite. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to a number of health complications, the most dangerous of which is a condition known as ketoacidosis. This occurs when the breakdown of fat and protein cells becomes so great that your cat’s body is effectively starving even though she’s eating regularly. Signs of this condition include appetite loss, weakness or lethargy, abnormal breathing, dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea, and without immediate intensive care to provide fluids and insulin, it could be fatal.
Other diabetes-related health complications may include liver disease, bacterial infection, unhealthy skin and coat, and neuropathy, which can cause loss of strength and mobility in the hind legs. Another complication can arise from treatment of diabetes hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can occur when too much insulin is given, resulting in weakness, listlessness and lack of coordination, and in some cases it can cause convulsions and even coma. If your diabetic kitty displays signs of low blood sugar, try to get her to eat something. If she won’t or can’t eat, Cornell recommends rubbing syrup on her gums and calling your veterinarian right away.
Made A Treatment Mistake
If you make a treatment mistake or something unexpected happens , dont panic. Contact your vet for advice. Treating a diabetic cat requires teamwork between you and your veterinary practice they will always be on the end of the phone to give you advice, support and arrange regular check-ups for your cat.
If you leave your cats diabetes untreated, it will cause suffering, severe illness and eventually be fatal.
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Life Expectancy For Diabetic Cats
Treatment of feline diabetes is a major, life-long commitment requiring significant dedication from all family members. It also requires consistent, open communication with your cats veterinarian.
With appropriate veterinary care and at-home management, cats diagnosed with diabetes mellitus can go on to live a healthy and happy life without having their diabetes shorten their life expectancy considerably. In some cases, diabetic cats may even go into remission.
If your cat was diagnosed with other illnesses, this might complicate the regulation of your cats diabetes and/or affect your cats long-term prognosis.
Increased Urination And Urinating Outside The Litter Box
One of the most common symptoms of diabetes in cats is increased urination. This might manifest itself as your cat filling the litter box more often or urinating outside the litter box. Cats with diabetes have high blood glucose levels and this results in the kidneys’ inability to reabsorb water as it filters. This results in more water in the urine, urine dilution and increased urine production. With the increased amount of urine production, cats may start urinating outside the litter box as a result.
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What Causes Hypoglycemia How Do I Recognize It And What Do I Do About It
Hypoglycemia means low blood glucose level. If the level is below 80 mg/dL it is considered too low. If it is below 40 mg/dL , it is life-threatening. A well-regulated cats blood glucose level should not be below 100 mg/dL at any time. Because hypoglycemia can be life-threatening, it is always better for the blood glucose level to be too high than too low.
Treatment Of High Blood Sugar In Cats
How your cat will be treated for high blood sugar depends on the nature and severity of his condition. Cats that are not seriously ill or in grave danger, are typically treated with daily insulin injections, dietary changes, and oral medication. Lifestyle and dietary changes, along with treatment of underlying conditions may be recommended. If your cat is in immediate danger, he may be admitted to the hospital for IV fluids and medications to stabilize his blood sugar.
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Early Signs Of Diabetes In Cats
1. Excessive Urination & ThirstYour cat may be suffering from Type I or Type II diabetes if they are urinating frequently. The kidneys attempt to remove the excess glucose from the body through urine. The high concentration of glucose pulls excessive amounts of water into the urine. Increased urination can mean high body water losses, possible dehydration, and increased thirst.
2. Increased Weight Loss & AppetiteWhen a cat has diabetes, cells can no longer absorb the glucose from the blood appropriately. As a result, starved cells will trigger the breakdown of the fats and proteins available in the body as an alternative source of energy.
The cat may lose weight in a failed attempt to fill the void left after burning fats and proteins, and as a result, their appetite increases.
What Triggers Diabetes In Cats
The biggest contributing factor for type 2 diabetes in cats is weight. Cats who are overweight are significantly more likely to develop type 2 diabetes as a result of increased hormone secretion. This can also happen if you feed your cat a diet thats too high in carbohydrates.
Keep in mind that cats can also develop type 1 diabetes, which is a genetic form of diabetes thats not caused by health and lifestyle factors. Type 2 diabetes is typically considered more manageable than type 1 diabetes, but you should talk to your vet about treatment options for diabetes either way.
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Determining The Optimal Insulin Dosage
Some veterinarians like to hospitalize the cat on the first day of insulin treatment to ensure that the cat does not become hypoglycemic . If the cats blood sugar level does drop too low, the vet may elect to lower the insulin dose. Normally, insulin doses are not increased after this first day, as not enough time has passed for the cat to adjust to the insulin.
It can take weeks to find the correct dose of insulin. To determine if the dose needs to be changed, a veterinarian may do a glucose curve 7-14 days after the insulin is started. The cat will stay in the hospital and have his blood sugar checked every 2-4 hours to determine how low the glucose level goes and how long after the insulin is given it happens. Based on the results, the vet may alter the dose of insulin.
Alternatively, the cats person can perform the glucose curves at home with the use of a glucometer, an in-home glucose-measuring device. These are relatively easy to use and most people can become quite comfortable using them.
Treatments Available For Cats With Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Treatment for DKA differs from case to case, but generally, it has two stages. The first stage is called as initial, while the second is ongoing. DKA in cats demands intense and rapid management, especially at the start. This initial treatment process includes analyzing and addressing the cats medical history and clinical problems.
Furthermore, you might have to admit the pet to the hospital for several days. Cats suffering from DKA are usually treated through these methods, but as mentioned above, it may differ from patient to patient. The general DKA treatment plan includes:
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Treatment Of Feline Diabetes
Managing feline diabetes is a lifelong commitment that requires vigilance and good communication between you and your veterinarian.
At the time of diagnosis, your cat may need to be hospitalized for several days until their glucose level is controlled and they are feeling well. If your cat is in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis at the time of diagnosis, they will likely require extended hospital stays and intensive care.
The primary goals of treatment of feline diabetes are centered on:
Restoring normal blood-glucose levels
Reducing or eliminating the clinical signs of excess thirst and urination
Normalizing weight and appetite
Avoiding inducing inappropriately low glucose levels
Your veterinarian will develop a plan that is tailored to your cats specific needs. If your cat has concurrent diseases, your veterinarian will recommend treatment for those as well.
Tingling Hands And Feet
Over the years, hyperglycemia can begin to impact nerve function and eventually cause nerve damage, called neuropathy, Dr. Hatipoglu says. The most common kind of neuropathy is peripheral, according to the NIDDK, which affects the extremities. You might start noticing feelings of tingling, numbness, or burning in your hands, feet, arms, and legs, per the Mayo Clinic.
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Screening And Fasting Blood Glucose Concentrations
Diagnosis is made based on blood glucose concentration however, currently, there is no commonly accepted lower cut point for diabetes in cats, with values of 180288 mg/dL reported as diagnostic.35,36
Fasted blood glucose concentration in cats is ~3.06.5 mmol/L when measured using a portable glucose meter calibrated for feline blood after overnight hospitalization and withholding food for 1824 hours.37,38 Screening blood glucose has an upper reported cut point of 166 mg/dL , showing the potential effect of stress on diagnosis of diabetes in cats.39 Acute stress can markedly increase glucose concentrations within 5 minutes and may last for 3 hours or longer.40 Struggling can increase glucose concentration on average by 74 mg/dL and up to 195 mg/dL within 10 minutes, associated with increased lactate and norepinephrine concentrations.40 Cats 8 years of age with a screening blood glucose > 117 mg/dL should be admitted and retested 4 hours later, and if not < 117 mg/dL then should be retested after 24 hours. While there are no longitudinal studies looking at nondiabetic cats with increased blood glucose concentrations, cats in diabetic remission with mildly increased blood glucose concentration are at increased risk of becoming diabetic within 9 months.38 Therefore, identification of possible prediabetes and subclinical diabetes and appropriate intervention are likely useful for delaying or preventing progression to clinical diabetes in cats.
How Do Cats Develop Diabetes
While the exact cause of cat diabetes is unknown, obese cats are the most predisposed to developing this disease. Other risk factors include chronic pancreatitis and hormonal disorders such as hyperthyroidism and Cushing’s disease. Certain medications, including corticosteroids have also been linked to diabetes. Male cats also tend to be more prone to this condition than females.
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What Does A Diagnosis Of Diabetes Mean To Me
There are some definite financial obligations involved in treating a diabetic cat however, the majority of expenditure occurs during the regulation phase. The cost is especially great if the cat is ketoacidotic, but this occurs in less than 10% of diabetic cats. Once the cat is stable, the costs for insulin, syringes, and rechecks are minimal.
However, the financial aspect is not the only factor. This disease also requires a substantial amount of involvement on your part to keep the cat regulated. You will be giving insulin injections daily, often twice daily. You will also need to monitor the cats progress and be aware of signs that it is not well regulated. These will be discussed in detail in the following sections.
If you are not dedicated to keeping your diabetic cat regulated, you will be disappointed with the results and the expenses associated with poor regulation. However, most diabetic cats can be regulated and continue to be a pleasant part of your family. But, your commitment and involvement are critical.
What Does A Diagnosis Of Diabetes Mean To My Cat
There are two forms of diabetes:
If ketoacidosis is present, the cat is in a crisis and must be treated quickly. Intravenous fluids are given, and very quick-acting insulin is administered. Generally, 1-3 days of hospitalization are required to stabilize the cat and convert it to the uncomplicated form. The uncomplicated form of diabetes needs treatment, but it is not necessary to achieve regulation of the blood glucose level immediately. As long as the cat is eating and drinking and is not dehydrated, insulin can be gradually worked up to the proper level over several days or even weeks.
The first phase of treatment of the uncomplicated form is called regulation. This means that insulin is given until the proper dose is found to keep the blood glucose in the range of 100-300 mg/dL throughout the day and night. When this occurs, the signs of diabetes are relieved. The cat quits losing weight and begins to gain weight this results in the appetite returning to normal. The cats urination and water consumption also return to normal levels.
The second phase of treatment is called maintenance. This means that the cat has been regulated and has the appearance and behavior of a normal cat. Hopefully, the cat stays in this phase the rest of its life. However, some cats need for insulin changes with time and new circumstances, so occasional re-regulation may be needed.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Diabetes In Cats
The symptoms of feline diabetes can start gradually and get worse over time. Signs may also be subtle and hard to notice since sick cats tend to mask or hide their symptoms when they dont feel well. Initial signs of feline diabetes can include the following symptoms:
- Increased appetite
- Urinating in areas outside the litter box
As the disease progresses, cats can get very skinny and show signs of weakness in their back legs. Eventually, ketoacidosis can occur, which requires immediate medical attention.
Type 2 Feline Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes in cats differs from Type 1 in that the pancreas is still producing insulin, but the cats body is not able to use it properly.
Type 2 feline diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in cats and is often caused by insulin resistance, which can be related to cat obesity. In addition to feline diabetes, an obese cat can also suffer from heart issues, joint problems, and other comorbid cat diseases, which are two diseases that occur together.
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How Is Diabetes In Cats Diagnosed
Although symptoms may point to diabetes, tests will be needed to confirm a diagnosis and rule out other diseases with similar signs. Urine samples to test for glucose may be taken if it is present in the urine, thats a strong indication of diabetes as it isnt being absorbed by the body. Blood tests may also show a high level of glucose. Further tests may be needed if your vet is unsure of a diagnosis, as high glucose levels can also be a result of stress. Your vet may need to admit your pet as an inpatient while they diagnose the problem and get their condition stable.