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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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Emmitt

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domestic short hair

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15 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Excessive Thirst
Tired
Peeing Alot
Hungry
Listliss

My 15 year old cat was diagnosed with diabetes for a year. He was doing great this whole time until a months ago. Noticed that he was losing weight, drinking tons of water. His glucose was in the 300s. He was currently on 1unit BID. His vet thought that maybe his Lantus was expired. So we bought a new bottle. Didn’t matter, his glucose climbed up to 414. The vet bumped it used to 2 units a day. I suggested that he may have a UTI because we discovered that his litter box was a little pink. He then gave him an antibiotic shot. We bought him back the following week, it checked at now 515. Vet says to bump him up to 3 units BID and bring him back in the week. It is now 616. 616. Now my vet thinks that I need to bring him back in 3 weeks because he’ll probably need to adjust to his 3 units BID. I feel like this happened when his thyroid got treated with the transdermal gel- he was diagnosed with thyroid disorder 2.5 months ago. His thyroid is fine now but his glucose is crazy. He has lost so much weight, I worry that he’ll die on me. Should I listen to my vet and see him in 3 weeks or should I get a 2nd opinion? He is already on a prescription diabetic cat food diet.

June 25, 2018

Emmitt's Owner

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1 Recommendations

There is a relationship between thyroid activity and blood glucose levels, if the thyroid function is high then their is the chance of high blood glucose also. Regular monitoring of the blood glucose levels is important as is timing of feeding and insulin administration; in these cases it is more of an art than a science when it comes to management. You should visit another Veterinarian for a second opinion to put your mind at rest and to cover all bases so you know all is being done for Emmitt. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 26, 2018

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Joy

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Unkown

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4 Weeks

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Lethargy
Seizures
Disorientation
Weakness
Seizures, Disoriented, Back Legs Nouse
Can'T Use Back Legs
Seizures At Around Same Time Daily

I found a new kitten that was ill. I noticed she was having trouble eating and when not pushed to eat she would get really sick and lose function of her hind legs. Then go into seizures.

June 24, 2018

Joy's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Kittens are sometimes affected by parasites or infectious diseases that can cause these sorts of problem. She may also have a problem with her liver or other systemic disease that is causing this. Since I cannot examine her, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian, as they can look at her, determine what might be going on, and let you know what her expected recovery might be like with treatment. I hope that she is okay.

June 24, 2018

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Oscar

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Blue russian mix

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17 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Sleeps A Lot, Pees A Lot

My cat is 17 years old. He has been diabetic for 3-1/2 years. He has been on Prozinc for all that time. I test him 2x a day so I can give him the proper amount of insulin. He has been well managed that way. Now, his numbers are high. 300-500. What am I doing wrong??

May 19, 2018

Oscar's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Managing conditions like diabetes is more of an art than a science, you should think about visiting your Veterinarian and discussing the history with them and getting a more comprehensive blood test done to be on the safe side; you may be doing nothing wrong and the blood glucose may still increase. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 19, 2018

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Abby

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tabby

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13 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

My 13 yr old cat was diagnosed with diabetes and was on insulin for over a year. Her BS then started going lower to around 67-70 so they told me she was in remission and to stop the insulin. She has been her normal self up until yesterday, now she won't eat or drink and is very lethargic. I did get 1/2 tsp of water in her by syringe this morning. I can't get her to the Vet until Tuesday. What should I do?

April 8, 2018

Abby's Owner


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1 Recommendations

Without examining Abby and checking her blood glucose (given the history of diabetes) I cannot really give any recommendation or suggestion on what to do next as we are not sure whether the glucose has risen or fallen from physiological range; you should ensure that Abby is hydrated, eating and comfortable but try to visit a Veterinarian as soon as possible. If the delay is due to money, there are charities (see link below) which may be able to help you. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 8, 2018

I can't get to a vet until tomorrow morning. My cat has all of the symptoms of hyperglycemia. What can I do tonight to help him? He seems so miserable and weak. He is eating. He is also drinking a lot.

May 16, 2018

Sam K.

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Odie

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Shorthaired feline

dog-age-icon

7 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Pulling Out His Fur

My diabetic cat is pulling out fur from his back. He's never done that before being diagnosed is is on lantus twice a day his levels are still high it's been almost 3 months since he was diagnosed

March 2, 2018

Odie's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Any case where behavioural changes like chewing and pulling fur out of the back should be seen by your Veterinarian to determine the cause; hormonal conditions may cause issues with the skin but shouldn’t result in a cat pulling out fur. Your Veterinarian will check Odie over to look for any other concerning symptoms and will also look into whether a change needs to be made with medication or diet. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

March 2, 2018

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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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