Life-Threatening Complications of Pet Diabetes

Living With A Diabetic Dog: How To Keep Your Dog Healthy, Prevent Common Problems And Avoid Complications

When diabetes goes undiagnosed, or when it is difficult to control or regulate, the complication of diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA) can occur.

DKA develops because the body is so lacking in insulin. Insulin starvation causes the body to start breaking down fat in an attempt to provide energy (or a fuel source) to the body. Unfortunately, these fat breakdown products, called “ketones,” are also poisonous to the body.

Clinical signs of DKA include the following:


2.Not moving ( hanging out by the water bowl)

3.Not eating


5.Excessive thirst and urination (strong yellow urine)

6.Large urinary clumps in the litter box .

7.Weight loss

8.Flaky skin coat

9.Abnormal breath (typically a sweet “ketotic” odor like pear drop sweets)

In severe cases DKA can also result in more significant signs:

1.Abnormal breathing pattern

2.Abdominal pain

3.Tremors or seizures



Diagnosing DKA

Treatment, typically, is required for 3-7 days, and includes the following:

1.A special intravenous catheter called a “central line” (That aids in ketone reduction and helps dehydration by injecting insulin regularly in very small doses.)

2.Aggressive intravenous fluids

3.Blood sugar monitoring in order to check that the ketones are disappearing.

4.A fast acting or ultra fast acting insulin, regular or Lispro, typically given intravenously or in the muscle

5.Blood pressure monitoring

6.Nutritional support (often in the form of a temporary feeding tube)

Preventing DKA

In order to prevent diabetic ketoacidosis regularly monitor your dog’s blood glucose levels and check for ketones using a ketone meter.

Help keep your diabetic pet healthy – after all, it’s treatable!

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