When your cat becomes diabetic their blood glucose (BG) elevates because their pancreas is not producing sufficient insulin. When your cat consumes food, their body converts that food to glucose and if there is insufficient insulin production, then the glucose is trapped in their blood and that glucose cannot be used to fuel their body. In response, your cat starts to metabolize body fat to fuel their energy needs. Ketones are a byproduct of this body fat metabolism and can buildup in both the blood and urine. High levels are dangerous and usually only occur when your diabetic cat is no longer able to absorb sufficient glucose from the blood. If your cat’s BG number is high enough and large amounts of ketones are produced, then it can cause a life threating condition for your cat and insulin is almost always necessary.
Generally, your Vet will find ketones when BG is in excess of 500. Since ketones are dangerous most Vets would recommend that you start your cat on insulin immediately. If the vet does not find ketones then trying our food prior to starting insulin is often times warranted.
Once you remove all carbs from your diabetic cat’s diet and place them on a diet containing less than 1% starch/carbs they usually respond very quickly. A reduction in excessive urination is usually seen within the first week or two. Activity level and attitude also quickly improve. We recommend monitoring the BG at least once a week to see if the BG is moving in the right direction. If you are giving insulin then we strongly recommend that the blood glucose be checked prior to each injection of insulin and the dose be adjusted accordingly.