What Does End-Stage Feline Diabetes Look Like? Find out more about end-stage diabetes or ketoacidosis in your cat

What Does End-Stage Feline Diabetes Look Like?

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Find out the causes and symptoms of End-stage diabetes, also known as ketoacidosis, in your cat and what you can do to deal with the same.

If your cat has diabetes and it goes untreated, the result is end-stage feline diabetes, also known as DBA or Diabetic Keto-Acidosis.  It usually occurs when the kidneys cannot produce enough insulin to lower blood sugar levels, but it can also occur when the pancreas stops producing insulin altogether. 

Diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, is a very serious condition that can be fatal to cats.

 Ketoacidosis occurs when the body produces too many ketones, an alternative source of energy. High levels of ketones can lead to dehydration and coma, or death if not treated quickly.

What Are the Signs of Ketoacidosis?

Watch out for the following symptoms of Diabetes in cats. 

  • High levels of thirst 

  • Frequent urination 

  • Weight loss

  • Lethargy and fatigue

Apart from these, the symptoms of DKA are the ones mentioned below. If you notice these symptoms in your cat, take him or her to the vet immediately.

  • Vomiting

  • Abdominal pain or distention, your cat will look bloated

  • Excessive appetite and weight loss

  • Depression, lethargy, uncoordinated movements

Prevention of Ketoacidosis

If your cat is diagnosed with diabetes, follow the below steps, as advised by the experts at Vetsulin.com, to ensure it does not worsen and turn into an emergency like ketoacidosis.


Choose cat foods with quality sources of protein and low carbohydrates. You should order your pet supplies from a site where you can choose from reliable products like Natural Balance dry cat food. You can also try diabetic prescription diets like the Purina pro plan for cats. They need a high-protein diet to support insulin or oral pet medication.

Obese cats are four times more likely to develop diabetes than cats with ideal body weight, mentions the Cornell Feline Health Centre. Hence managing weight through diet and exercise is very important to prevent diabetes in your cat.

Ideally, your cat should be offered meals at the same time each day. If they want to keep nibbling throughout the day, try to control the portion sizes or take advice from your vet.


Monitor glucose levels through blood tests and urine tests. 

You can do at-home tests using urine samples to check the levels of glucose and ketones. Seek medical intervention if levels are dangerous to prevent ketoacidosis.


Provide balanced exercise opportunities to your cat to ensure optimum calorie burning. 

Choose interactive toys for cats that offer entertainment and engagement for your feline friend without tiring them out too much. 

Instead of toys that excite them too much, provide toys like this tunnel from kong toys that let them exercise at their own pace. 


Female cats should be spayed. This is done to prevent the female hormone progesterone from triggering insulin resistance, which is the cause of diabetes.

Treatment for End Stage Diabetes in Cats

If your cat goes into DKA, then emergency procedures like an IV drip will be needed. The following steps will happen in conjunction with a healthy diet regimen.

  • The vet will likely administer an IV antibiotic, fluids, and dextrose for shock. In some cases, a short stay at the hospital may be necessary till the blood sugar stabilizes.

  • Long-acting basal insulin is recommended by vets after studies. Glargine is the preferred basal insulin of choice. You should be able to buy the same from your pet pharmacy.

  • After insulin stabilizes the blood sugar levels, your cat can go on oral medication that will manage its diabetes going forward. Glipizide is a prescription drug that is administered commonly. 

It is important to know the signs of feline diabetes and ketoacidosis so that you can take action early on to save your cat’s life. If you suspect that your cat has either of these conditions, contact your vet immediately.

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