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Diabetic cat problems.

Species: Cat
Breed: dsh
Age: 5-8 years
I have a diabetic cat who gets 4ml ProZinc 2x per day with meals. Normally she is ravenous, but the last 3-4 days she has had little to no appetite, is drinking more than usual, and is very lethargic. I tested her blood sugar this morning at 10am, it was 377. I gave her a shot of insulin. I tested it at 2:30 again and it was 372.

Should I give her more insulin, or is there something else I should be doing at this point?

Thank you,

Karl


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear that Miss Kitty may not be feeling well.

I am always concerned when a cat is not wanting to eat, especially if she is a diabetic cat. As you likely know, an glucose value of 377 or 372 is too high.

There are a few possible reasons for this. Yes, it is possible that she needs an increase in her insulin dose. Have you recently gotten a new bottle of insulin? Sometimes there can be errors in dosages. I once had a client who bought insulin from the pharmacy but the pharmacy gave them the wrong strength and the insulin was actually 10x stronger than expected. (In this case, the opposite happened and the cat got too much insulin and went into insulin shock.)

Has the insulin been stored properly? (i.e. in the fridge) Have you had this bottle for a really long time?

If there has been a problem in the way that insulin is stored then this can make it much less effective.

However, if there was simply an issue with the quality of the insulin or the handling of it, it shouldn't cause Miss Kitty to be off of her food unless she was getting this insulin for a long time. Given that she has only been affected for 3-4 days I am concerned that there is something else going on.

If a diabetic cat suddenly becomes unsteady in their glucose levels then I get worried that the body is fighting something else. Some cats can get pancreatitis, which is inflammation in the pancreas. This can make cats very sick and can really mess around with insulin and glucose levels.

Another possibility is a very serious condition called DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis). DKA can happen if a cat has had poorly regulated glucose levels for a while. The body starts to mobilize a product called ketones in order for the body to have an energy source. But, the liver can only handle so much of this and after a while a cat can get very sick. DKA is a life threatening emergency.

It is unlikely that this is something that can be fixed by just increasing the insulin dose. I know this is probably not what you want to hear but I would highly suggest an emergency visit today if that is at all possible.

I would stick with your regular dose of insulin until you are able to speak directly with a veterinarian who can look at Miss Kitty and review her case.

I really hope she is ok!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.