Diabetic Complications

Seizures are a Major Challenge

Our 13 year old cat had been a diabetic for 9 months. We dropped her off for boarding but later received a call that she had gone ‘ critical’ but was stable. During our trip back home we were informed that she had had seizures. She was ok under anti-seizure medication but when it wore off the seizures started again. We were advised that euthanasia was the only humane option. Did our cat know us the last time we held her and said goodbye? We wish we had not left on our trip and wish we could have her alive for one more day.

Dr. Nichol:
I am very sorry for your loss. Our pets are so special to us. It must have been really hard when your kitty destabilized while you were away. Her situation was unusual, even for experienced general practitioners. Dr. Anne Hale, of the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center, is residency trained in internal medicine. She gave this perspective.

“Diabetes mellitus occurs most commonly when the blood glucose (sugar) gets too high from a lack of insulin or a block to the insulin’s effect on the body.  This is managed with insulin by injection. Most diabetic cats can live a normal life as long as their insulin/glucose ratio is monitored and other organ systems like the liver and kidneys are supported.  The most common complication is hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) secondary to insulin administration during a fasted (not eating) state.  Cats often prefer to eat in private and this can make it difficult to know if they have eaten.  They may appear mentally inappropriate, collapse or seizure.  Glucose orally or IV will resolve the signs.”

“If the insulin dosing is not correct, an even more serious complication, ketoacidosis may occur when the body substitutes muscle and fat byproducts for energy sources.  This can lead to liver, kidney, stomach and intestinal problems.  In severe cases seizures can be seen.”

I know that no amount of understanding can bring back your beloved kitty. She may not have heard your voice when you held her the last time but she certainly felt your love, just as she did all 13 years you shared with her.