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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, 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), 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.

High Blood Sugar Average Cost

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Average Cost

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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
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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.
  • Hyperandrenocorticism, enlargement of or tumor on the pituitary gland, which causes excess levels of cortisol in the bloodstream, affecting the dog’s metabolic process.
  • Dental, kidney or urinary tract infections.
  • Reaction to certain medications.
  • 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. 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. Low fat nourishing food is now recommended as part of the initial treatment. (It will be gradually re-introduced). Pancreatitis can be life threatening, however most dogs will recover without long-term consequences.
  • Hyperandrenocorticism caused by enlargement of the pituitary gland 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 hyperandrenocorticism 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 infection, the infection will be treated on a case-by-case basis, typically with antibiotics.
  • For high blood sugar caused by reaction to medication, the use of the medication will be stopped 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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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 dogs 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 hyperandrenocorticism, rechecks 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.

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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

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Beagle

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Twelve Years

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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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3 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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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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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0 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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Pomeranian/ chihuahua

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Four Months

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Unknown severity

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6 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Hyperactivity

She was having a hypoglycemic attach and my daughter gave her to much syrup now she is hyperglycemic. How can we get her blood sugar back down she won’t eat or drink. She just runs around non stop

July 10, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Ellen M. DVM

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6 Recommendations

Hi there, thank you for your question! I would not worry too much about hyperglycemia. In a young, healthy dog, it shouldn't be an issue. Hypoglycemia can be life-threatening, so it's much more important to treat that, which I'm glad you did! In a puppy that small, they should be fed three times a day to prevent hypoglycemia. If it keeps happening, I recommend contacting your veterinarian about doing some blood work. A healthy dog should not be having repeated episodes of hypoglycemia and this could indicate issues with the liver.

July 11, 2020

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Penny

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Jack Russell

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11 Years

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Moderate severity

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3 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Poor Breathing
Poor Breathing, Vomiting A Little

Penny was snoring and breathing rapidly about 3 months ago so our vet prescribed a small steroid tablet once a day. Last week she stopped eating for a few days but this wasn't unusual. She would then go back on her food and eat ravenously.This didn't happen this time and she started vomiting water that she had been drinking excessively but we have had unusually hot weather in the UK. She was panting and lethargic. The vet ran blood screenings and she was diagnosed with diabetes. She went to the vets every morning, was on a drip all day and came home at night. Her ketones were high and she needed potassium and of course, insulin. She seemed much brighter after 3 days on the drip and came home on the weekend. She ate and drank and barked! On Sunday her breathing became laboured and she couldn't get comfortable. She kept going into the garden and laying down. I stayed with her all night. There had previously been a loud argument in the house and I thought this had upset her. That night I couldn't give insulin as she couldn't eat. She couldn't drink in the morning and had bloody diarrhoea. I took her to the vets who put her on the drip but rang to say it would be best to euthanise her. She died naturally before I could get there. Previously her liver function was a little abnormal but kidneys ok. The day she died her liver readings were bad, glucose high and pancreas inflamed. No tumour. I am devastated and can't understand what happened. Please help.

Aug. 3, 2018

Penny's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

I am very sorry for your loss, that is terribly sad. Diabetes can be a very difficult disease to control, and when it is to the point of ketosis, can cause many secondary changes in the body that can spiral out of control. I'm not sure how it was determined that Penny did not have a tumor, but with her pancreas and liver function compromised, I think that may have been an underlying cause. Again, I am sorry for your loss.

Aug. 3, 2018

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Benny

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mongrel

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Five Years

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Mild severity

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5 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

High Blood Sugar Readings.

Hi. My five year old terrier Benny has been on medication for skin parasites (Funit) and needed a blood test for his liver. All the results were fine except his sugar at 234. However he hates going to the vet and has to be dragged trembling and shaking. Is it true the stress can cause high sugar levels and does the 234 mean he has diabetes. They have put him on Hills w/d diabetic dry food and he has no other symptoms and is fit and well. Thank you. Robert.

July 10, 2018

Benny's Owner


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5 Recommendations

Stress may cause blood glucose to go above 234mg/dL to 300 or 400mg/dL, to rule out stress induced hyperglycemia it is important to do a serum fructosamine test as this remains normal in cases of stress induced hyperglycemia. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.vetsulin.com/vet/Cats_Diagnosis.aspx

July 10, 2018

Thank you. I take it that it is possible Benny may not be diabetic and the Hills food may help keep his blood sugar in the normal range. At what levels would he need insulin please?

July 10, 2018

Benny's Owner

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Stormy

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Malamute

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9 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

My female malamute has had diabetes for bout 9 months,2 months ago she was 90 lbs taking 15 units of insulin. twice a day after meal of 3/4 cup of boiled meal and 3/4 cup of hills dry ,her glucose was perfect now in the 3 and 4 hundreds an wont come down even tho shes up to 32 units,wat the heck im losing it,only change is i went up a cup of food because she was losing weight now 77lbs.

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luca

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Yorkshire Terrier

dog-age-icon

8 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Increased Drinking

our 8 year old yorkshire terrier dog went blind at six years old through diabtis,his weight is good, he has gone blind but i give him 2 injectios a day after his meals of 7.5 caninsulin. we went and had a blood test,and they said that it was high,so they want to do a second test ,just to make sure. what is the next step please,we were told that he is on the maximum caninsulin

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JoJo

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Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

6 Years

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

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Urine Spotting

If a 13 lb, 6 year old Chihuahua-Beagle has an elevated glucose of 162 after fasting, could this indicate something may be going on? Would it be advisable to find the source and/or wait until it comes down before having any surgical procedure, including a dental cleaning? Would it be dangerous to go under anesthesia if the cause is not looked into? Thanks

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Digger

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mixed 17 lbs

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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Moderate severity

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3 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Sleeping Drinking More At Night

My 9 year old dog diagnosed 2 weeks ago with diabetes. Vet put him on Vetsulin 4 units once a day. This dog has always only ate in the evenings and never in the morning. The reason for taking to the Vet was excessive peeing and drinking. The insulin has not helped. Like clock work this dog starts peeing and drinking at 2 am every morning and lasts for a couple of hours. Urine is clear as water. He is soaking 4 to five puppy pads between 2am and 6 am.Almost seems he is peeing more than he drinks.

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Marley

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Australian Shepherd

dog-age-icon

4 Years

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Serious severity

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4 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Drinks Alot

Went for TPLO surgery in May. Stopped for very severe reaction to anesthetic. 10 days later surgery completed with different anesthetic. After home from 2 week stay at sitter (our vacation) began increased thirst/urination, accidents in house. Sept checked sugar it 570. Decided to start insulin and changed to weight management food. Increase dose every 2 weeks. It is now January. She is up to 40 units twice a day. No food except with insulin. Sugar still 500 range

High Blood Sugar Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$2,100

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