Lactic Acidosis in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment All You Need to Know About Lactic Acidosis in Cats

Lactic Acidosis in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Lactic acidosis can be a problem that calls for serious concern in your cat. In this article, we look deeper into some causes and symptoms and how they can be resolved.

Lactic acidosis is a condition caused by an elevated lactic acid level in the body. While it can have an influence on both humans and animals, we are especially worried about how it will affect cats. In this essay, we explore the rarely discussed topic of lactic acidosis in felines and discuss its causes, symptoms, and treatments.


Lactic acidosis in cats occurs when there is an abnormal accumulation of lactic acid in the bloodstream. The causes of lactic acidosis in felines include:

  • Reduced Oxygen Supply: The lactate in cats can increase due to Inadequate oxygen delivery to tissues, known as hypoxemia, which can lead to lactic acidosis.

  • Impaired Metabolism: Disorders that affect the cat's metabolism can disrupt normal processes and lead to the production and accumulation of lactic acid in your felines.

  • Underlying Diseases: The causes of lactic acidosis are not always directly treatable. Certain underlying medical conditions, such as kidney disease and liver disease, might be a cause and will need to be taken care of first.

  • Exercise-Induced: Intense or prolonged exercise can cause lactic acid to accumulate in the muscles of your cats.

  • Medication Interactions: Taking some drugs together can make cats more prone to developing lactic acidosis. 


Lactic acidosis in cats can manifest through various signs and symptoms. Some feline lactate acidosis symptoms are:

  •  Weakness and Lethargy: Cats affected by lactic acidosis may appear less active or have difficulty engaging in normal activities.

  • Decreased Appetite: Cats with lactic acidosis may experience a reduced appetite or complete loss of interest in food.

  • Vomiting and Diarrhea: Certain gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea can occur in cats with lactic acidosis. 

  • Rapid Breathing: Cats may exhibit increased respiratory rate or difficulty breathing.

  • Abdominal Discomfort: Abdominal discomfort in cats with lactic acidosis can sometimes be visible.

  • Neurological Signs: In critical cases, cats may display neurological abnormalities, including disorientation, confusion, tremors, seizures, or even coma. 

  • Collapse: In advanced stages of lactic acidosis, cats may experience sudden collapse or weakness, as the body's metabolic balance becomes severely disrupted. 


Diagnosing lactic acidosis in cats involves a comprehensive veterinary evaluation. The goal of the diagnostic procedure is to determine the underlying cause of lactic acidosis and evaluate the condition's severity. Below are a few prominent diagnostic methods:

  • Physical Examination: The veterinarian will conduct a detailed physical examination of your cat, looking for any abnormalities.

  • Blood Tests: Lactate levels will be assessed using blood samples. 

  • Urinalysis: Urine samples can provide valuable insights into the cat's overall health and help determine the underlying cause of lactic acidosis.

  • Imaging: Diagnostic imaging methods like X-rays or ultrasound may be used in specific circumstances.

  • Extra Tests: The veterinarian may advise a few extra tests depending on the probable underlying reason. 

  • Evaluation of Underlying Conditions: Since lactic acidosis can be a secondary condition resulting from underlying diseases or medical conditions, the veterinarian will work to identify and address these factors. 

Treatment and Management Options

Lactic acidosis treatment in cats depends on the underlying cause, the severity of the condition, and individual factors. The main objective is to deal with the root cause. Here are some standard treatment and management approaches:

  • Supportive Care: Cats with lactic acidosis may need supportive treatment to maintain their health.

  • Taking care of the underlying conditions: Long-term therapy of lactic acidosis depends on addressing its underlying etiology. This could entail specific treatments like medications to control diabetes, management of kidneys, and more.

  • Oxygen Therapy: Oxygen therapy helps increase oxygen levels in the bloodstream and aids in the correction of acidosis.

  • Medications: Depending on the underlying cause, specific medications may be prescribed to address the condition and restore metabolic balance. 

  • Nutritional Support: Cats with lactic acidosis may have decreased appetite or nutritional imbalances. Ensuring adequate nutrition is crucial for their recovery. 

  • Observation and Follow-up: Regular monitoring of lactate levels, organ function, and overall health will be required to assess the cat's response to treatment. 

Prevention Tips

Lactic acidosis in cats can be avoided by adopting proactive steps to reduce the likelihood that the disease will arise. While not all cases of lactic acidosis can be prevented, implementing the following prevention tips can help reduce the likelihood of its occurrence:

  • Regular Vet Checkups: Make an appointment for your cat's regular veterinarian checkups. Regular checkups can aid in the early detection of underlying disorders or illnesses, allowing for prompt treatment and action.

  • Maintain a Healthy Diet: Give your cat a diet that is well-balanced and nutrient-dense. 

  • Adequate Hydration: Make sure your cat has access to fresh, clean water at all times.

  • Monitor medicine: If your cat has to take medicine, be sure to adhere to the dosage and administration guidelines carefully. Recognize any possible interactions or negative consequences that can lead to lactic acidosis.

  • Maintain an Active Lifestyle: Engage your cat in regular exercise and play to promote overall health and well-being. 

  • Awareness of Toxins: Be mindful of potential toxins in your cat's environment. Ensure that they are not exposed to harmful substances.

  • Environmental Safety: provide a safe and secure environment for your cat. Minimize the risk of accidents or injuries that can lead to hypoxia or metabolic disturbances.

  • Education and Awareness: Stay informed about feline health, including potential risk factors for lactic acidosis. Educate yourself about the signs and symptoms to watch for, enabling early recognition and timely veterinary care.

By implementing these prevention tips, you can greatly reduce the risk of lactic acidosis in your cat. Keep in mind to speak with your vet for specific advice and direction suited to your cat's requirements and circumstances.

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