I got a question from a human about what happens if a diabetic cat like me gets too much insulin and our blood sugar levels get too low. She is wondering if it is like what happens with a human diabetic, where they will drink a sugary drink to boost their blood sugar to a safe level. Just like with us diabetic cats, often, a high or low blood sugar level doesn’t show any signs. Instead, a test reveals the condition.
This is a very good question, and remember, while I am happy to answer questions, always check with the humans in white coats. It is likely they will tell you the same thing, but they know more about the specifics you are dealing with than I do.
When a diabetic cat, or human, has a blood sugar level that drops too low due to getting too much insulin, we enter a condition called hypoglycemia, or insulin shock. This is a life threatening condition. It is said that a high blood sugar level will kill slowly, but a low one will kill quickly. Low blood sugar levels must be treated immediately.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
- Confusion and dizziness
- Loss of balance
- Loss of excretory control
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Sleepiness or unresponsiveness
If you suspect that your diabetic cat is suffering from a hypoglycemic incident, you may not want to even wait to confirm it by taking a blood sugar reading. Remember, in this situation, the body does not have enough fuel to keep it running, and seconds count! It is far better to address a potential hypoglycemic incident and elevate the blood sugar level than to test first to confirm and allow potential damage to be done.
When dealing with a suspected hypoglycemic incident, corn syrup or honey should be rubbed on the gums, which will allow the sugar to enter the blood stream. A trip to the humans in white coats is also required, and during the trip, this treatment must continue.
The best thing to do with hypoglycemia is to avoid triggering it. Careful regulation of the insulin doses a diabetic cat like me gets is the best way to prevent it.
I hope this makes this part of what we diabetic cats deal with a little more clear.