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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.

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. Half of all 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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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 will 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. While there are special units designed to check your cat's blood sugar, you can also use one designed for humans. 

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 which worsens as they age. This hinders them from walking and jumping as they normally would. 

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

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Domestic cat

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Twelve Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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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Spike

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Orange tabby

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12 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

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Loss Of Appetite, Loose Stools

Hello, my cat was diagnosed with diabetes two weeks ago and put on 2 units of Novolin N twice a day. Everything seemed to be going well until I was going to be late coming home one evening, so I called the vet who told me to feed and give the insulin when I got home. However feeding and insulin at 9:30PM instead of 7:30PM caused his morning feeding and insulin to be before the 12 hour window, since I had to go to work.(I did wait until 8:30PM to give his insulin.) He recently developed very loose stools and stopped eating, but he was drinking just fine. This happened when my vet was closed, so since he wasn't eating I didn't give him two of his shots. Now he is eating again so I will resume his shots and get him to the vet as soon as they open. My questions are: How long after he eats do I have to give him his shot? If he won't eat, should I skip the shots until he does? If I am going to be late coming home, should I skip the shot until the next morning? I realize consistency is crucial, but is there any window at all between eating and insulin? I have not started home monitoring of his sugar yet which is my next adventure. Thanks for your help. This is so new for both of us.

Sept. 3, 2018

Spike's Owner

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Persephone

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DOMESTIC

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9 Years

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Moderate severity

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3 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lathargic

My cat's blood sugar is at 480. I gave her 2 units of insulin about 2 hours ago but her blood sugar has not come down. Should I be getting her to the emergency room or just wait for it to work? Thank you

Aug. 11, 2018

Persephone's Owner

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3 Recommendations

You should keep an eye on the blood glucose levels, but if there is no response from the insulin, you should visit your Veterinarian or an Emergency Veterinarian especially if it gets any higher. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 12, 2018

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Oliver

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Short-haired cat

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10 Months

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Serious severity

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3 found helpful

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Excessive Peeing And Drinking

My kitten has diabetes. He is less than 1 year old. We had him on 5 units twice a day. About 2 weeks ago we took him to the vet and his number was 97. A few days ago when I was cleaning the litter box I noticed there was a lot of pee in there.( I have multiple cats so it's hard to monitor water and food intake) I took him to the vet today and his number was 411. I was told to increase his insulin to 6 units twice a day. Why did his number increase so much? Could something else be going on? Is there anything similar to diabetes that he could have that's causing him to need so much insulin?

June 28, 2018

Oliver's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

There aren't really any other diseases that will cause that dramatic an increase in blood sugar, but that is a very wide range for him. It would probably be a good idea to have a 12 hour glucose curve done to see how he is handling the insulin, and he may do better on another type of insulin. Diabetes can be a difficult disease to manage and may require frequent communication with your veterinarian. There are also blood test kits for cats that owners can use at home to help manage this disease.

June 28, 2018

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Bugs

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tabby

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12 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

None

My 12 year old male cat was diagnosed with diabetes in March. Over 400 at the vet's office. He was on Prozinc and a zero carb food. I started home testing, and he was in the 110 to 140 range, all the time, so we stopped his insulin. The last two days he has tested at 173 and 179. Should I be concerned, and start him back on his insulin? Thank you.

June 27, 2018

Bugs' Owner

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1 Recommendations

Keep an eye on the glucose levels and the interval between feeding and sampling, it may be worth taking a few samples over the course of a day to get a glucose curve as changes to diet or frequency of feeding may help; then you should discuss with your Veterinarian as I am not legally able to tell you to give insulin as I haven’t personally examined Bugs. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 28, 2018

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Allie

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short haired

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15 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Drinking Exc

My 15 year old cat was diagnosed with diabetes after having symptoms of excessive drinking, eating, and losing weight. The mobile vet was only able to get a very small amount of blood after trying several times. He was put on Prozinc at 4 units twice a day. He was doing very well and looked and acted great for eight months, but then started drinking excessively again, poor coat, and eating like a mad man. He was on RC dry food which I know now was a mistake. But I followed the vets instructions. He continued to get worse so I took him to another vet and left him for the day so they could do blood tests and when I picked him up they also were not able to get blood. He declined to the point where I chose to euthanize him. I have had so much guilt and regret and can’t seem to find out why the vets could not get blood from him.

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Lisa

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Siamese

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7 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Hyperdipsia, Dull Coat, Asthma

Hello! My 7 year old cat has hyperdipsia and dull coat for a couple of years. My old vet said it was due to occasional cortizone she took due to asthma. My new vet performed a blood test and diagnosed she has diabetes and should start insulin treatment. Her tests (taken under anaesthesia) are as follows: SGOT-AST 78 IU/L (44 – 82 IU/L) SGPT-ALT 144 IU/L (44 – 82 IU/L) Glucose 631 mg/dl (68 – 136 mg/dl) creatinine 0,97 mg/dl (0,9 – 2 mg/dl) urea 50 mg/dl (42 – 70 mg/dl) albumin 3,2 g/dl (2 – 3,2 g/dl) protein, total 8,0 g/dl (5,8 – 8 g/dl) globulines 4,8 g/dl (3,8 – 4,8 g/dl) Do you think she has diabetes? Or do you thing she should have more tests performed and what exaclty? Thank you!

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Cocoa

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Siamese

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11 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Drinking, Weight Loss Urinating

I have an 11 year old Siamese who was drinking and urinating a lot. Went to get and glucose levels 1000. (Not a miss print). Put on vetsulin 2x a day 1 unit. Retested 3 weeks and it was down to 174. Reduced to one shot a day same 1 unit dose. She also had a UTI and got antibiotics and that is clear now. My question is why so much drop in level of glucose in such short time?. We did stop all dry and feed ff classic 2x day only and then give shot after she eats but do I keep giving shot?

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Oliver

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Domestic Tom Cat

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss, Excessive Thirst And Urination

Hi, my aprox 9 year old male cat was overweight and it was always joked about or mentioned in passing at vet check ups but I was never warned he could be headed for disbetes. Honestly as much as I try to stsy informed, I dodn't know they could get it. He started losing weight which was very noticeable sonce he's so big, and was eating, drinking, and urinating non stop it seemed. He was diagnosed by an in office glucose test. Put on Vetsulin and is only tested by fructosamine blood testing every 3-4 weeks. That number has not gone down at all, and in fact went up once. They are so worried abt "low" blood sugar that they'll only increase insulin by 1/2 unit per each high test. So even though I've sonce found out he should be at 5 units for hos weight(which is now 17.6, down from 21, he's still at 3! I love my vet practice, so does my community and I have no reason not to trust them, but my I did speak to another vet friend of mine out of state that says they're being too conservative! Its SO frustrating, I want him to improve and feel better. After advice from one of the staff, we did stick with his fancy feast wet food he loves. I look for the highest protein styles, and he has to have a small amt of carbs because he also has mega colon, but we limit it to 1/4 cup a day which he rarely eats anyway. He just suffered a full pound of weight loss last week and they're very concerned that something else is wrong. Going today for a full blood work screening! I have a husband with chronic heart failure who got worse in Sept, I just ended up in the hosp.for a "mini" (Thank God) heart attack, and this stress over my poor guy is too much! Good luck to everyone out there dealing with this issue, I hope you see better results!

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Louie

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tabby

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Thirsty
Lost Weigh
Increased Food

My 11 year old cat had been losing weight so took him to the vet and his glucose was over 300 so started him on low dose of insulin. Took him back the next week and it was over 400. Insulin was increased again. Also they did not say to wait for six hours after his shot. Went in today after 6 hours, a week later and it was over 500. Increased insulin again but they did not tell me I should not let him eat right before his test. I’m so upset but he does seem to be alright. Any suggestions? Can he die when it’s that high?

High Blood Sugar Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$1,200

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