High Blood Sugar in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

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

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

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

What is High Blood Sugar?

A healthy dog has a blood glucose level ranging from 75 mg to 120 mg. A dog is diagnosed with high blood sugar, or as hyperglycemic, when it exhibits high blood glucose, or sugar above the normal range. Elevated blood sugar may be temporary, stress-induced (more common in cats), or a sign of a serious underlying disease such as pancreatitis or diabetes mellitus. High blood sugar is more common in female than male dogs, and is more likely to occur in older dogs.

Elevated blood glucose can occur transiently fairly often for various reasons (diet, stress, exertion, medications). Moderately elevated glucose can indicate infections (dental, kidneys, bladder, sepsis), inflammatory conditions (pancreatitis) and hormonal imbalances (Hyperadrenocorticism). However persistent high glucose levels in the blood is diagnostic of Diabetes Mellitus. High blood Sugar causes increased thirst and urination. See a veterinarian promptly if your dogs shows these symptoms.

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High Blood Sugar Average Cost

From 11 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,100

Symptoms of High Blood Sugar in Dogs

The warning signs for high blood sugar are varied. If your dog’s high blood sugar is temporary or the result of stress or medication, you may not see any symptoms. However, if it is the result of a serious disease, you will likely see some of the following:

  • Wounds not healing; infections worsening
  • Depression
  • Enlarged liver
  • Urinary tract or kidney infection
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Cataracts
  • Extreme fluctuation in weight, gaining or losing
  • Obesity
  • Hyperactivity
  • Excessive thirst or hunger
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Weight loss
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Causes of High Blood Sugar in Dogs

High blood sugar can indicate one of the following issues:

  • Diabetes mellitus, caused by a loss of pancreatic beta cells, which leads to decreased production of insulin, rending the dog unable to process sugar sufficiently.
  • Pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas, which can damage insulin-producing cells, inhibiting the dog’s ability to process sugar sufficiently.
  • Hyperadrenocorticism: Excess levels of cortisol in the bloodstream, affecting the dog’s metabolic process.
  • Reaction to certain medications such as corticosteroids.
  • Having just eaten, or eaten human food with high sugar levels.
  • Exertion, excitement, or stress.
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Diagnosis of High Blood Sugar in Dogs

If your dog shows any of the symptoms of high blood sugar, consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. As there can be many causes of high blood sugar, be sure to disclose issues the veterinarian is not already aware of, such as recent infections, changes in diet, or any abnormalities that may help with the potentially difficult diagnosis. The veterinarian will conduct a comprehensive round of tests in order to identify if your dog has high blood sugar, and what is causing it. These include a blood sample to be analyzed for a complete blood count, which checks for abnormalities in red and white blood cell count as well as platelet and hemoglobin; and a chemical blood profile, which measures blood sugar, blood proteins, and electrolytes. If high blood sugar is the only abnormality, the veterinarian can determine it to be temporary rather than a sign of something more serious. A specific test measuring fructosamine can determine what the sugar levels have been doing over the previous few weeks. Further, the sample will be analyzed for elevated levels of certain enzymes that can indicate pancreatitis. Depending upon these findings, the veterinarian may or may not conduct x-rays and ultrasound to gain additional insight on the underlying cause.

Additionally, the veterinarian will conduct urinalysis, which can reveal elevated sugar levels, pus, bacteria, and ketone bodies, which in excess are evidence of diabetes mellitus.

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Treatment of High Blood Sugar in Dogs

Treatment will vary significantly depending upon the diagnosis.

  • Diabetes mellitus will be treated with a combination of insulin and diet modification designed to optimize body weight.
  • Pancreatitis will be treated through hospitalization, giving the dog analgesics, antiinflammatories and intravenous fluids for several days. While withholding oral fluids and food in order to allow to pancreas to reset was once advised, low fat nourishing food is now recommended as part of the initial treatment. Pancreatitis can be life threatening, however most dogs will recover without long-term consequences.
  • Hyperadrenocorticism  will be treated with one of several drugs designed to lower the body’s production of cortisol. The veterinarian will prescribe the drug that best fits the severity of your dog’s condition. Most cases of hyperadrenocorticism are caused by a pituitary tumor. Fewer are caused by an adrenal gland tumor in which radiation or surgery may be necessary.
  • For high blood sugar caused by reaction to medication, the use of the medication will be stopped if appropriate and an appropriate substitute will be found.
  • For temporary causes such as just having eaten, having eaten a high-sugar meal, exertion, excitement or stress, no treatment is needed, and the blood sugar will return to normal. In the case of feeding inappropriate food or causing the dog excess stress, take action to ensure this does not happen again.
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Worried about the cost of High Blood Sugar treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

Recovery of High Blood Sugar in Dogs

It is important to follow-up with the veterinarian in order to monitor blood sugar levels. However, frequency will vary depending upon your diagnosis. A diagnosis of diabetes mellitus will require in most cases, twice daily insulin injections and strict dietary changes, limiting the sugar intake and feeding high-protein, high-fiber, low-fat, and low-carbohydrate diet. Close monitoring of your dog's blood glucose is critical to make sure the dose of insulin is correct. Consult the veterinarian about proper level of exercise for your dog’s body type and health, and work to maintain optimum body weight.

In addition to dietary guidelines, strictly follow all of the veterinarian’s advice. In the case of diabetes, pancreatitis and hyperadrenocorticism, rechecks and follow-up blood tests by your veterinarian are very important to monitor your dog’s recovery in order to catch possible re-emergence of symptoms or drug side effects.

High blood sugar could lead to serious medical conditions like diabetes. To avoid high vet care expenses, secure pet health insurance today. The sooner you insure your pet, the more protection you’ll have from unexpected vet costs.

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High Blood Sugar Average Cost

From 11 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,100

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High Blood Sugar Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Beagle

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Twelve Years

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7 found helpful

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7 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Hyperglycemia

My dog was recently diagnosed with diabetes. I check her blood glucose levels every week and they are usually within normal levels. My dog isn’t spayed and is in heat for about 2 weeks now. I noticed her blood glucose levels are increasing, but no other signs of distress. I plan on having her spayed when my clinic can schedule her for an appointment, but it may not be for a couple of weeks. What’s the best way to care for her and manage her diabetes in the meantime? Thanks in advance for the help!

Jan. 1, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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7 Recommendations

Spaying a bitch is generally accepted as part of the treatment for diabetes. It isn't surprising you are noticing these changes and they are expected. While you await your appointment, all you can really do is to keep managing her diabetes as you have been (presumably with insulin and diet).

Jan. 1, 2021

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Lhasa Apso

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Twelve Years

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19 found helpful

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19 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Sleepy

My dog blood sugar is reading is high which means it’s over 650. What can I do to bring it down? She had 8 units of vetsulin at 8 am

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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19 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Diabetes is a very complicated disease to control, and this is something that you can communicate with your veterinary clinic about. She probably needs to have a glucose curve done to see if that insulin dosage is correct. If she is still having problems, It would be best to have her seen by your veterinarian, as they can examine your pet and see what might be causing this, and let you know what treatment might help.

Oct. 11, 2020

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High Blood Sugar Average Cost

From 11 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,100

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