High Blood Sugar in Cats

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

High Blood Sugar in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

High Blood Sugar in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is High Blood Sugar?

High blood sugar is caused by the body's inability to make its own insulin or use it effectively. When your cat eats he digests fats, proteins and carbohydrates for his body to use. Sugar, or glucose, is an important substance because it provides him with the energy he needs to live. His body should also produce insulin to regulate the flow of glucose. If he isn't producing insulin, his body will use other sources for energy and his blood sugar will be high.

Keeping your cat healthy requires being in tune with his body. It is important to learn his behavior, so you will know if he isn't at his best. While most cats are generally healthy, some develop medical conditions similar to humans, including hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar. Diabetes mellitus is a condition that occurs in cats which is characterized by high blood sugar.

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High Blood Sugar Average Cost

From 341 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,200

Symptoms of High Blood Sugar in Cats

Cats with high blood sugar will exhibit certain symptoms that will let you know something isn't right. Below is a list of the most common symptoms seen in cats with diabetes:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Difference in gait (walking)
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Depression

Types

There are two types of diabetes mellitus that can occur in cats and cause hyperglycemia:

Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus

Cats with this type of diabetes do not need daily doses of insulin to regulate their blood sugar. It is controlled with diet alone. 

Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus

This form of diabetes requires daily insulin injections to control fluctuating blood sugar. Most cats diagnosed with high blood sugar will need insulin to stay healthy. 

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Causes of High Blood Sugar in Cats

While the exact cause of diabetes in cats is unknown, there are some factors veterinarians believe contribute to its development.

  • Advancing Age
  • Being overweight
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cushing's disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Certain medications, such as steroids

Temporary increases in blood sugar that are not linked to diabetes may be caused by:

  • Stress
  • Infection
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Kidney disease
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Diagnosis of High Blood Sugar in Cats

Your doctor will do a thorough examination of your cat to reach a diagnosis. First, he will ask you some questions regarding your cat's health and medical history. He will also perform a physical examination and take his vital signs such as temperature, weight, heart rate and respiration rate. Diagnostic tests are a critical part of diagnosing high blood sugar in cats. Your veterinarian will draw blood from your cat and run a CBC, biochemical profile and blood sugar analysis. A urine sample will also be taken to determine the level of sugar in his urine.

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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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Worried about the cost of High Blood Sugar treatment?

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Recovery of High Blood Sugar in Cats

If your cat has high blood sugar, you must learn how to care for him so that he does not have serious complications that could threaten his life. Cats with diabetes often do not want to eat, but they need regular nourishment to keep blood sugar steady. Your doctor may prescribe special food and it is important that he eats regularly. He may also require oral medications and insulin injections on a daily basis. Most injections are given twice a day. Your doctor will teach you the best way to give insulin injections. It is important to be comfortable with this, as it is necessary to prevent a health crisis. You may also need to check your cat’s glucose levels each day at home. This is very important because when your cat's blood sugar is high, it spills into his urine. Once it has done so, his sugar levels are most likely very high. You can check his urine output for sugar by placing a detector in his litter box, but this can be a bit unreliable. Your doctor will most likely advise you to check his blood sugar with a blood sample obtained from his ear or foot. There are special units designed to check your cat's blood sugar.

If not treated, high blood sugar can shorten your cat's life. Diabetes in cats can lead to unhealthy looking coats, liver problems and chronic bacterial infections. Cats with uncontrolled blood sugar can develop a fatal condition known as ketoacidosis. If this occurs, he must be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Diabetes can also cause cats to develop hind-leg weakness. 

While it is challenging to care for cats with high blood sugar, it can be managed with medication and dietary changes. Developing a good relationship with your veterinarian is key to helping your cat stay healthy while managing his disease.

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High Blood Sugar Average Cost

From 341 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,200

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High Blood Sugar Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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domestic shorthair feline

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Eleven Years

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8 found helpful

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8 found helpful

Has Symptoms

I took my cat to vet to be treated for what I suspected was a uti because he was peeing outside his litter box. The vet didnt think he had a uti & suspected he was diabetic because he had glucose in his urine. Did blood work. His glucose was 500. She gave him an antibiotic shot & talked about diabetes treating options. No symptoms, no weight change. Vet wants me to begin 2 units of Lantus 2x a day. I've been checking his bg every 12 hrs at home & his readings range 269-300. He has not urinated outside his litter box since the vet visit. Does he really need 2units 2x a day?

March 1, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Maureen M. DVM

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8 Recommendations

Hello, Yes, please follow the prescription as indicated. It helps to keep his blood sugar levels within the normal range. In your next review you could enquire about adjusting the dose depending on the results from the blood work and urinalysis.

March 4, 2021

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dog-breed-icon

Domestic cat

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Twelve Years

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Concave

My diabetic cat has pancreatitis. Before 7 units of insulin..his numbers were 538. 2 hrs after it was 406. Should I increase units of insulin?? He is on prozinc

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. There are many other factors in whether you need to change his insulin. Diabetes and pancreatitis can be difficult conditions to manage, and I hesitate to give you an answer to that question without knowing more about your cat and the situation. It would be best to contact your veterinarian, or call a 24 hour veterinary emergency clinic, and give them the information so that they can advise you better. I hope that all goes well for your cat.

Sept. 30, 2020

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High Blood Sugar Average Cost

From 341 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,200

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