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Diabetes with Coma in Cats

6 min read



If your cat has been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus but is alert, active, and eating, it will be started on insulin therapy and a special food diet. Some cats are able to take medications by mouth instead of insulin injections to help control blood sugar.


If your cat has diabetes along with other problems like depression and dehydration, it will be kept in the hospital for several days, where it will be given fluids and insulin until its blood sugar levels have stabilized. It will also be started on a special diet to control blood sugar.


If your cat is diabetic and in a coma, is having seizures, or has almost no energy (is very lethargic), it can be considered to be in a life threatening condition. Your cat will be placed in the intensive care unit of the hospital for several days where your veterinarian can intravenously (IV) treat it with fluids and electrolytes. Your cat's blood sugar and electrolyte level will be determined every few hours until it has stabilized. Your cat will also start receiving insulin to bring down the blood sugar level, and you will be given medications to help control vomiting or other symptoms your cat might have.


While your cat is in the hospital, your veterinarian will be watching for and treating other diseases which can occur while your pet is being stabilized. Some of these are heart failure, kidney failure, bleeding into the intestines, or infections. Getting your cat to the point where it feels better is a slow process, since bringing the blood sugar down too fast could make your cat's health worse. Cats that have become very ill with diabetes do not do well, especially if they have other diseases concurrent with diabetes.


Living and Management


Once your cat's blood sugar has been brought down and it is eating and drinking on its own, it will be able to go home with you. Most cats that have been very sick with diabetes will need insulin. Some cats are able to take oral medications to help control blood sugar; your veterinarian can tell you whether your cat is a good candidate for oral medications. Your veterinarian will teach you how and when to give insulin injections to your cat, and will also help you to formulate a diet to control its blood sugar levels. It is important to follow all of your veterinarian’s instructions for meals, and for scheduled insulin or medication. Do not change the amount of insulin you give or how often you give it without consulting with your veterinarian first.


Initially, your cat will need to return for follow-up visits frequently, and there may be times when it will need to remain in the hospital for some of these visits so its blood sugar level can be checked every two hours. Occasionally, some diabetic cats can become non-diabetics again, but more often affected cats need insulin and special food for the rest of their lives. Your veterinarian will discuss with you how to tell if your cat is becoming a non-diabetic again.




To prevent your cat from developing dehydration, seizures or a coma because of diabetes, you will need to stick to a regular health and diet schedule with your cat, and return to your veterinarian for all follow-up visits. This will ensure that your cat is receiving the correct dose of insulin.


It will be important to monitor your cat for any changes in its appetite or behavior, including its energy levels. One of the health issues that arises with this condition is a higher frequency of infections, and you will need to have your cat treated quickly before it gets out of hand if this should occur. Consult with your veterinarian as soon as you notice any changes.



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