Diabetes in Cats

Diabetes can affect cats, and may mean they need emergency treatment. Here is a guide for owners of diabetic cats including the signs and emergency treatment of hypoglycaemia in their cat. Hypoglycaemia is when the blood sugar levels fall dangerously low (below about 3mmol/l). Signs to look out for in your cat for hypoglycaemia: Weakness/lethargy Disorientation… Read more »

Diabetes can affect cats, and may mean they need emergency treatment. Here is a guide for owners of diabetic cats including the signs and emergency treatment of hypoglycaemia in their cat.

Hypoglycaemia is when the blood sugar levels fall dangerously low (below about 3mmol/l).

Signs to look out for in your cat for hypoglycaemia:

  • Weakness/lethargy
  • Disorientation and/or apparent blindness
  • Seizures
  • Ataxia (incoordination/unsteady gait)
  • Strange behaviour such as searching for food, lip licking or aimless wandering
  • Severe neurological signs like collapse, convulsions, loss of consciousness and eventually death

Emergency treatment:

For mild signs of hypoglycaemia you should offer and encourage your cat to eat. This may treat hypoglycaemia alone. However if your cat is showing more severe signs such as collapse/ inability to eat, it is vital that you apply 1 tablespoon of glucose powder or syrup orally, directly on the gums. If these are not available then honey or sugar should be applied instead as soon as possible.

Monitor your cat closely as improvement should occur in 5 minutes and call your local veterinary practice for further advice. Some cats will need to be admitted to stabilise the hypoglycaemia. It is always advisable to inform your veterinary surgeon of the hypoglycaemic episode, even if was mild and treated at home as the insulin doses may need to be altered ongoing and in case there could be an underlying cause.