Hypoglycemia in cats - Causes, symptoms and treatment

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Hypoglycemia, or low blood glucose, it can be very dangerous for our cats. Hypoglycemia in cats can be caused by various reasons, mostly being a sudden drop in glucose due to insulin treatment used in diabetic cats. Other more or less frequent causes are hypoglycemia of the neonate, sepsis, liver disease, pancreatic tumors that release a lot of insulin, prolonged fasting or diseases that cause malnutrition.

Symptoms can be mild disorientation, blurred vision, and weakness or severe symptoms such as ataxia, tremors, seizures, depression, and even coma and death. The diagnosis is made fundamentally with blood tests and the measurement of glucose levels and the treatment will seek to recover the glycemia as soon as possible. Keep reading this AnimalWised article to learn more about the Hypoglycemia in Cats, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment to apply.

You may also be interested in: Hypoglycemia in Dogs - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Index
  1. What is hypoglycemia in cats?
  2. Causes of hypoglycemia in cats
  3. Feline hypoglycemia symptoms
  4. Diagnosis of hypoglycemia in cats
  5. Treatment of feline hypoglycemia

What is hypoglycemia in cats?

Hypoglycemia is a sugar drop (glucose) in the blood in an organism. Glucose is one of the main sources of energy, and the food source for the brain of our felines.

When blood glucose drops, the body's cells don't have enough fuel and start to appear bugs, loss of consciousness and the life of the cat is in danger. Hypoglycemia is not a disease, but a symptom of underlying problems.

Causes of hypoglycemia in cats

The main causes of hypoglycemia in cats are:

  • Insulin treatment can cause hypoglycemia in diabetic cats.
  • Tumor of the pancreas (insulinoma).
  • Liver disorder (lipidosis, neoplasia, portosystemic shunts, glycogen storage disorders).
  • Sepsis.
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis.
  • Intestinal malabsorption.
  • Prolonged fasting.
  • Cushing's syndrome (hyperadrenocorticism).
  • Prolonged seizures.
  • Erythrocytosis (increased red blood cells).
  • Excess carbohydrates in the diet and a sharp reduction in proteins (cats can live perfectly with very low amounts of these nutrients, since they synthesize glucose with proteins as they are carnivores).
  • Hypoglycemia in baby cats (they are usually more predisposed to suffering from it, since their liver, the one in charge of stabilizing glucose levels, is still developing, so widely spaced meals, stress or infections can cause hypoglycemia in kittens).

Feline hypoglycemia symptoms

The symptom that can trigger hypoglycemia in cats are:

  • Anorexia or increased appetite.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Soft spot.
  • Lethargy.
  • Disorientation.
  • Anxiety or nervousness.
  • Increased heart rate (tachycardia).
  • Low energy.
  • Confusion.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Tremors.
  • Ataxia.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Seizures.
  • Depression.
  • Death.

Depending on the severity from hypoglycemia, some cats will only be disoriented and shaky and others will have seizures, fainting, and even shock.

Diagnosis of hypoglycemia in cats

As the symptoms are very nonspecific, to diagnose hypoglycemia in a cat a blood test, measuring glucose. When blood glucose is less than 3.5 mmol / L hypoglycemia is diagnosed. However, the most striking and worrying symptoms usually occur when blood glucose drops below 2.8 mmol / L. In addition, we will look at the following:

  • Medication dosage- Inquire if the dose of diabetes medication is too high, has not been updated, or a dosing error has occurred.
  • Malnutrition: if the cat is dehydrated and thin, consider malnutrition or a prolonged fast and investigate any underlying disease.
  • Fever: if the feline has a fever, it should be thought that a microorganism in the blood is causing this problem, causing septicemia. Leukocytosis (increased white blood cells), neutrophilia with a shift to the left, or neutropenia with toxic neutrophils may be observed on laboratory tests..
  • Biochemistry of blood serum: a complete biochemistry of the blood serum should be performed to look for alterations in liver enzymes in search of any liver disorder, in addition to an ultrasound with sampling if any alteration is observed.
  • Ultrasound: abdominal ultrasound will be performed in search of a tumor in the pancreas, intestine or liver.

Treatment of feline hypoglycemia

Asymptomatic hypoglycemia is resolved with feeding with frequent, infrequent meals, especially in kittens. Honey can also be applied to the cat's lips to quickly get a source of glucose.

When a cat has already developed more or less severe hypoglycemic symptoms, it is necessary to take it with urgency to a veterinary center to put treatment. Said treatment will include:

  • Serum with dextrose: administration of serum with dextrose intravenously. Rapid clinical improvement should be noted and glucose should be measured within 5-10 minutes of bolus dextrose administration. For this measurement a glucometer can be used, which is less stressful for the feline.
  • Corticosteroids: In cases of insulin overdose in diabetic cats, corticosteroids such as dexamethasone at a dose of 0.1 mg / kg intravenously or prednisolone at a dose of 0.5 mg / kg orally should be used, in order to antagonize the insulin action.
  • Intravenous glucagon infusion- For insulin overdose or when intravenous supplementation is ineffective, an intravenous glucagon infusion can also be used.
  • Treat the disease: after stabilizing the cat, the underlying disease should be treated, if any, to avoid future hypoglycemia that can endanger the life of our little feline.

This article is merely informative, at AnimalWised.com we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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