Management of feline diabetes mellitus

Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2001 Sep;31(5):881-913. doi: 10.1016/s0195-5616(01)50004-2.


Up to one quarter of diabetic cats can be well controlled with oral hypoglycemic drugs, although at least 75% require insulin therapy. Most available insulins provide good clinical control but only moderate glycemic control. Because mild to moderate hyperglycemia is well tolerated by cats receiving insulin but hypoglycemia can be life threatening, conservative insulin dosing is recommended. Clinical signs and water intake indicate whether a dose adjustment is required, but serial blood glucose measurements are usually needed to determine the direction of the adjustment. Starting doses of 0.3 to 0.5 IU/kg administered twice daily (rounded down to the nearest whole unit) are usually safe. Dose adjustments should not exceed 1 IU per cat every 2 to 4 weeks unless clinical hypoglycemia has occurred. Cats with clinical hypoglycemia need to be reassessed to see if they are in remission. If not, a 50% to 75% reduction in dose is advised. Approximately 30% of cats go into diabetic remission 1 to 4 months after an adequate treatment protocol is instituted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Area Under Curve
  • Cat Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cat Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cats
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / veterinary*
  • Female
  • Hypoglycemia / prevention & control
  • Hypoglycemia / veterinary*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Polyuria / veterinary
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Thirst


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin