Does Your Cat Have High Blood Sugar?


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Hyperglycemia is a term that is used to refer to higher than normal glucose levels in the blood. Glucose, a carbohydrate sugar that circulates in the bloodstream is responsible for supplying energy to the body and the normal levels of glucose are anywhere between 75 and 120 mg.The pancreas produce insulin and release it into the bloodstream when the level of glucose rises and it plays a crucial role in keeping the blood sugar within the normal limits. If there is an insulin deficiency of if the insulin concentration is low, there is a sharp rise in the glucose levels leading to hyperglycemia.Pancreatitis can be a cause of hyperglycemia as it impairs the pancreasโ€™ ability to produce insulin. Other causes include hormonal imbalance, diet and infections of the urinary tract or the teeth. Senior cats are at a high risk for developing hyperglycemia. However, no breed is disposed to the condition. Male cats that are neutered are also at risk.In general, our feline friends are prone to hyperglycemia, especially when they are under stress (the sugar levels can spike up to 300 or 400 mg). This is quite often just a temporary spike and necessitates further observation as it is not sufficient to diagnose diabetes mellitus or chronic hyperglycemia.


The clinical symptoms of the condition vary depending on the underlying condition. Your cat might not show any of the symptoms, especially if the spike is temporary or due to hormonal imbalance or stress. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Increased urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive hunger
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Cataract
  • Nerve damage in the leg
  • Liver enlargement
  • Severe depression
  • Wounds that do not heal (and increased chance of bacterial and fungal infection)
  • Tissue damage (because of the excess sugarโ€™s oxidizing effect)

Some harmful drug interactions (especially with heartworm medication), or intake of solutions with high glucose can lead to hyperglycemia. Some of the reasons for low glucose consumption include:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • High levels of progesterone
  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Insufficient waste excretion by the kidneysReasons for high glucose production include:
  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Hyperadrenocorticism
  • Pancreatic neoplasia
  • GlucagonomaPhysiological causes:
  • Soon after the meal
  • Excitement
  • Exertion
  • Stress
  • Bacterial or fungal infections that can drive up the blood sugar levels
  • Kidney infection
  • Dental infection
  • Urinary tract infection
Diagnosis and treatment

The vet will conduct a complete blood profile, including a CBC, a chemical profile and urinalysis. The blood samples will be tested immediately for high levels of blood sugar. In cases where the spike is due to hormones or stress, the only abnormal thing would be the raised blood sugar.Urinalysis might also reveal higher glucose levels, bacteria, pus and excessive ketones in the urine, as is observed with diabetes mellitus. The treatment for the condition depends on the underlying cause. Bringing down the glucose levels abruptly can cause hypoglycemia. Your vet will guide you on the most appropriate course of action.

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