Glucose in the Urine in Cats

PetMD Editorial
April 23, 2010
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Glucosuria in Cats

Normally, the kidneys are able to reclaim all of the filtered glucose from the urine into the bloodstream. Glucosuria (or glycosuria) is characterized by the presence of glucose into the urine. It is nearly always due to kidney disorders, such as diabetes mellitus.

Symptoms and Types

Glucosuria is categorized as hyperglycemic (260–310 mg/dL ) or normoglycemic, and subcategorized as transient or persistent. Symptoms will depend on the underlying disease, but some possible signs include:

  • Diluted urine
  • Increased thirst and drinking (polydipsia and polyuria, respectively)
  • Renal failure
  • Urinary tract disease
  • Possible systemic disease (in hyperglycemic glucosuria)                   

Causes

Hyperglycemic glucosuria

  • Transient
    • Stress-related hyperglycemia
    • Adverse drug reaction (e.g., epinephrine, morphine, and phenothiazines)
  • Persistent
    • Systemic disease
    • Diabetes mellitus
    • Overactive adrenal gland (hyperadrenocorticism)
    • Sudden inflammation of the pancreas (acute pancreatitis)
    • Lesions in the central nervous system (brain, spine, etc.)
    • Adrenal gland tumor (pheochromocytoma)
    • Progesterone-associated hyperglycemia
    • Excessive growth hormone (acromegaly)
    • Bacterial infection in the blood (sepsis)
    • Glucagonoma (tumor in the pancreas which secretes glucagon, a hormone which increases blood sugar)
    • Chronic liver failure
    • Etiologic agents such as heavy metal poisons, drugs, and chemicals

Normoglycemic glucosuria

  • Congenital normoglycemic glucosuria
    • Primary renal glucosuria
    • Congenital diseases associated with kidney dysfunction
  • Acquired normoglycemic Glucosuria
    • Acute kidney failure

Diagnosis

You will need to give a thorough history of your cat’s health to your veterinarian, including the onset and nature of the symptoms. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination as well as a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, electrolyte panel, and urinalysis to detect any underlying systemic diseases causing the glucosuria -- though often there is too little glucose present in the cat's urine to be detected. Hexokinase- or glucose dehydrogenase-based techniques are recommended for quantification of urinary glucose.

Treatment

The type of treatment will depend on the underlying cause of glucosuria. If a urinary tract infection is present, for example, antibiotics will be employed and adjusted according to the culture. Meanwhile, solutions or medications that may have caused the glucose to appear in the urine should be discontinued immediately.