Diabetic Ketoacidosis In Dogs
My dog is diabetic. He has been doing pretty well overall, but recently he became really ill. He stopped eating well, started drinking lots of water, and got really weak. His veterinarian said that he had a condition called “ketoacidosis,” and he had to spend several days in the hospital. I’m not sure I understand this disorder. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a medical emergency that occurs when there is not enough insulin in the body to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. The body can’t use glucose properly without insulin, so blood glucose levels get very high, and the body creates ketone bodies as an emergency fuel source. When these are broken down, it creates byproducts that cause the body’s acid/base balance to shift, and the body becomes more acidic (acidosis), and it can’t maintain appropriate fluid balance. The electrolyte (mineral) balance becomes disrupted which can lead to abnormal heart rhythms and abnormal muscle function. If left untreated, diabetic ketoacidosis is fatal. How could this disorder have happened? If a diabetic dog undergoes a stress event of some kind, the body secretes stress hormones that interfere with appropriate insulin activity. Examples of stress events that can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis include infection, inflammation, and heart disease. What are the signs of diabetic ketoacidosis? The signs of diabetic ketoacidosis include: Excessive thirst/drinking Increased urination Lethargy Weakness Vomiting Increased respiratory rate Decreased appetite Weight loss (unplanned) with muscle wasting Dehydration Unkempt haircoat These same clinical signs can occur with other medical conditions, so it is important for your veterinarian to perform appropriate diagnostic tests to determine if diabetic ketoacidosis in truly the issue at hand Continue reading >>
Diabetes Complications In Dogs And Cats: Diabetes Ketoacidosis (dka)
Unfortunately, we veterinarians are seeing an increased prevalence of diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats. This is likely due to the growing prevalence of obesity (secondary to inactive lifestyle, a high carbohydrate diet, lack of exercise, etc.). So, if you just had a dog or cat diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, what do you do? First, we encourage you to take a look at these articles for an explanation of the disease: Diabetes Mellitus (Sugar Diabetes) in Dogs Once you have a basic understanding of diabetes mellitus (or if you already had one), this article will teach you about life-threatening complications that can occur as a result of the disease; specifically, I discuss a life-threatening condition called diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA) so that you know how to help prevent it! What is DKA? When diabetes goes undiagnosed, or when it is difficult to control or regulate, the complication of DKA can occur. DKA develops because the body is so lacking in insulin that the sugar can’t get into the cells -- resulting in cell starvation. Cell 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. Symptoms of DKA Clinical signs of DKA include the following: Weakness Not moving (in cats, hanging out by the water bowl) Not eating to complete anorexia Large urinary clumps in the litter box (my guideline? If it’s bigger than a tennis ball, it’s abnormal) Weight loss (most commonly over the back), despite an overweight body condition Excessively dry or oily skin coat Abnormal breath (typically a sweet “ketotic” odor) In severe cases DKA can also result in more significant signs: Abnormal breathing pattern Jaundice Ab Continue reading >>
Doctor, You Aren’t Listening To Me... What If I Do Nothing?
A month ago my sister wanted to know if her Jack Russell Terrier could be sick because he was drinking and peeing all the time. I told her he needed to go to the vet; he could have a simple urinary tract infection or he could have more going on. Inside my head, I was screaming “diabetes” as polyuria/polydipsia (drinks a lot and pees a lot), or PU/PD as medical types call it, is a hallmark for diabetes mellitus in dogs, cats, and people. In dogs, diabetes mellitus rarely responds to dietary changes - unlike some people and some cats - and almost always requires twice daily insulin injections to control the disease. Having seen clients react to a diagnosis of diabetes, I wondered how my sister and her husband would react if they had to take care of this chronic condition that requires significant planning and scheduling. It’s not for every owner: while it’s not expensive, it requires insulin injections every 12 hours, 7 days a week for the rest of the pet’s life, with no time off for good behavior. It requires considerable commitment, which can be particularly difficult for people like my sister and her husband who work outside the home and can’t drop everything to give a pet medication at the appropriate times. I wondered what they would choose to do if their dog did have diabetes rather than a urinary tract infection. Receiving a diagnosis of a chronic disease can be difficult to wrap your mind around. During my years in practice, I noticed that there are some pretty universal questions most clients ask. “What are my options and what will happen if I do nothing?” When I hear this, I translate this into: a. How will the disease progress? Will this be a disease that progresses quickly or is it going to be something that is a nagging problem for years to co Continue reading >>
Patient professional reference Professional Reference articles are written by UK doctors and are based on research evidence, UK and European Guidelines. They are designed for health professionals to use. You may find the Pre-diabetes (Impaired Glucose Tolerance) article more useful, or one of our other health articles. See also the separate Childhood Ketoacidosis article. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a medical emergency with a significant morbidity and mortality. It should be diagnosed promptly and managed intensively. DKA is characterised by hyperglycaemia, acidosis and ketonaemia: Ketonaemia (3 mmol/L and over), or significant ketonuria (more than 2+ on standard urine sticks). Blood glucose over 11 mmol/L or known diabetes mellitus (the degree of hyperglycaemia is not a reliable indicator of DKA and the blood glucose may rarely be normal or only slightly elevated in DKA). Bicarbonate below 15 mmol/L and/or venous pH less than 7.3. However, hyperglycaemia may not always be present and low blood ketone levels (<3 mmol/L) do not always exclude DKA. Epidemiology DKA is normally seen in people with type 1 diabetes. Data from the UK National Diabetes Audit show a crude one-year incidence of 3.6% among people with type 1 diabetes. In the UK nearly 4% of people with type 1 diabetes experience DKA each year. About 6% of cases of DKA occur in adults newly presenting with type 1 diabetes. About 8% of episodes occur in hospital patients who did not primarily present with DKA. However, DKA may also occur in people with type 2 diabetes, although people with type 2 diabetes are much more likely to have a hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state. Ketosis-prone type 2 diabetes tends to be more common in older, overweight, non-white people with type 2 diabetes, and DKA may be their Continue reading >>
How Long Does Diabetes Ketoacidosis Last?
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a common complication of diabetes in children, which needs hospitalisation and can be fatal. In most cases of diabetic ketoacidosis, death is caused due to cerebral edema or complication of DKA. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) can be the first sign or presenting symptom in some cases of type 1 diabetes (before diabetes is diagnosed or they have any other symptoms). According to studies, about 20 to 40% of newly diagnosed patients of type 1 diabetes are admitted in DKA. Duration of Diabetic ketoacidosis: with appropriate treatment (fluid replacement and insulin therapy), DKA can be corrected in about 24-48 hours (depending on the severity of DKA at presentation). In most cases, the duration of therapy is about 48 hours. Treatment for DKA aims to correct the metabolic abnormalities of DKA such as high blood sugar level, high ketone levels and serum osmolality with insulin and fluids. Treatment of DKA includes: Insulin replacement to correct blood glucose levels. Fluid and electrolyte replacement to correct dehydration and imbalance of electrolytes in the body. Treating the cause of DKA (such as infection, injury etc). Duration of fluid replacement: fluid is replaced slowly; if it is given at an excessive rate or more than required, it can cause brain swelling (cerebral edema). Most cases have a fluid deficit of about 10% or 100 ml/kg. Fluid is given intravenously (into a vein) slowly with the aim of replacing 50% of the fluid deficit during the first 12 hours of presentation and the remainder within the next 12-16 hours. As high blood sugar is corrected more rapidly than ketoacidosis (high blood ketone levels), glucose-containing fluids is given once the glucose falls to < 14 mmol/l to prevent the fall in blood glucose levels hypoglycaemia). Dur Continue reading >>
Ketones in the urine, as detected by urine testing stix or a blood ketone testing meter, may indicate the beginning of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a dangerous and often quickly fatal condition caused by low insulin levels combined with certain other systemic stresses. DKA can be fixed if caught quickly. Diabetics of all species therefore need to be checked for ketones with urine testing stix, available at any pharmacy, whenever insulin level may be too low, and any of the following signs or triggers are present: Ketone Monitoring Needed: Little or no insulin in last 12 hours High blood sugar over 16 mmol/L or 300 mg/dL (though with low insulin, lower as well...) Dehydration (skin doesn't jump back after pulling a bit gums are tacky or dry) Not eating for over 12 hours due to Inappetance or Fasting Vomiting Lethargy Infection or illness High stress levels Breath smells like acetone (nail-polish remover) or fruit. Note that the triggers and signs are somewhat interchangeable because ketoacidosis is, once begun, a set of vicious circles which will make itself worse. So dehydration, hyperglycemia, fasting, and presence of ketones are not only signs, they're also sometimes triggers. In a diabetic, any urinary ketones above trace, or any increase in urinary ketone level, or trace urinary ketones plus some of the symptoms above, are cause to call an emergency vet immediately, at any hour of the day. Possible False Urine Ketone Test Results Drugs and Supplements Valproic Acid (brand names) Depakene, Depakote, Divalproex Sodium Positive. Common use: Treatment of epilepsy. Cefixime/Suprax Positive with nitroprusside-based urine testing. Common use: Antibiotic. Levadopa Metabolites Positive with high concentrations. Tricyclic Ring Compounds Positive. Commo Continue reading >>
How To Treat Ketoacidosis
Immediately drink a large amount of non-caloric or low caloric fluid. Continue to drink 8 to 12 oz. every 30 minutes. Diluted Gatorade, water with Nu-Salt™ and similar fluids are good because they help restore potassium lost because of high blood sugars. Take larger-than-normal correction boluses every 3 hours until the blood sugar is below 200 mg/dl (11 mmol) and ketones are negative. It will take much more rapid insulin than normal to bring blood sugars down when ketones are present in the urine or blood. Often, one and a half to two times the normal insulin dose for a high blood sugar will be necessary. Higher insulin doses than these will be needed if there is an infection or other major stress. If nausea becomes severe or last 4 hours or more, call your physician. If vomiting starts or you can no longer drink fluids, have a friend or family member call your physician immediately, then go directly to an emergency room for treatment. Never omit your insulin, even if you cannot eat. A reduced insulin dose might be needed, but only if your blood sugar is currently low. When high blood sugars or ketoacidosis happen, it is critical that you drink lots of fluid to prevent dehydration. Take extra amounts of Humalog, Novolog or Regular insulin to bring the blood sugars down. Children with severe ketoacidosis lose 10-15 % of their previous body weight (i.e., a 60 lb. child can lose 6 to 9 lbs. of weight) due to severe dehydration. Replacement of fluids should be monitored carefully. The dehydration is caused by excess urination due to high blood sugars and is quickly worsened when vomiting starts due to the ketoacidosis. The start of vomiting requires immediate attention at an ER or hospital where IV fluid replacement can begin. If only nausea is present and it is possible Continue reading >>
The Scary Experience Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Today, we’re excited to share with you another guest blog from Katie Janowiak, who works for the Medtronic Foundation, our company’s philanthropic arm. When she first told me her story about food poisoning and Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), I knew others could benefit from hearing it as well. Thanks Katie for your openness and allowing us to share your scary story so that the LOOP community can learn from it. Throughout this past year, I’ve had the honor of sharing with you, the amazing LOOP community, my personal journey and the often humorous sequence of events that is my life with T1. Humor is, after all, the best (and cheapest) therapy. Allow me to pause today to share with you the down and dirty of what it feels like to have something that is not the slightest bit humorous: diabetic ketoacidosis.You are hot. You are freezing. You are confused. You are blacked out but coherent. You go to talk but words fail you. Time flies and goes in slow motion simultaneously. You will likely smell and look like death. In my instance, this was brought on by the combination of excessive vomiting and dehydration caused by food poisoning and the diabetic ketoacidosis that followed after my body had gone through so much. In hindsight, I was lucky, my husband knew that I had food poisoning because I began vomiting after our meal. But I had never prepped him on diabetic ketoacidosis and the symptoms (because DKA was for those other diabetics.) Upon finding me in our living room with a bowl of blood and bile by my side (no, I am not exaggerating), he got me into the car and took me to emergency care. It was 5:30 p.m. – and I thought it was 11:00 a.m. The series of events that led up to my stay in the ICU began innocently enough. It was a warm summer night and my husband and I walke Continue reading >>
Why Does Diabetes Cause Excessive Thirst?
7 0 We’ve written before about the signs and symptoms of diabetes. While there are a lot of sources about what symptoms diabetes causes, and even some good information about why they’re bad for you, what you don’t often get are the “whys”. And while the “whys” aren’t necessarily critical for your long-term health, they can help you to understand what’s going on with your body and why it acts the way it does. That, in turn, can help with acceptance and understanding of how to better treat the symptoms, which in turn can help you stay on a good diabetes management regimen. In short, you don’t NEED to know why diabetes causes excessive thirst, but knowing the mechanism behind it can make your blood glucose control regimen make more sense and help you stick to it. So why DOES diabetes cause thirst? First, we’d like to start by saying that excessive thirst is not a good indicator of diabetes. For many people, the symptom creeps up so slowly that it’s almost impossible to determine if your thirst has noticeably increased (unless you keep a spreadsheet of how much water you drink, in which case you also probably get tested pretty regularly anyway). It’s also a common enough symptom that a sudden increase in thirst can mean almost anything. Some conditions that cause thirst increases include allergies, the flu, the common cold, almost anything that causes a fever, and dehydration caused by vomiting or diarrhea. So while excessive thirst is one of those diabetes symptoms that happens, and needs to be addressed, it’s not always a great sign that you should immediately go out and get an A1C test. Why does diabetes cause thirst? Excessive thirst, when linked to another condition as a symptom or comorbidity, is called polydipsia. It’s usually one of the Continue reading >>
's Experience With Ketoacidosis.
Signs Treatment Zama's experience Diabetic ketoacidosis is caused by a lack of insulin or an insufficient amount of insulin. Since the lack of insulin means that glucose in not able to be used, the body searches for a new source of energy. In this condition, the diabetic breaks down body fat (lipolysis) to use as energy. During lipolysis, waste products called ketones are produced. Ketones are eliminated in the urine and through the lungs. Under normal conditions, the body can tolerate and eliminate ketones. But in diabetic ketoacidosis, fats are being broken down at such a high rate that the body can not eliminate the ketones fast enough and they build up in the blood. In high amounts, ketones are toxic to the body. They cause the acid-base balance to change and serious electrolyte and fluid imbalances result. Some of the signs of ketoacidosis include polyuria polydipsia lethargy anorexia weakness vomiting dehydration There will probably be ketones in the urine (ketonuria) The breath may have a sweet chemical smell similar to nail polish remover. However, some owners have said that even during documented ketoacidosis, their pet's breath did NOT have any unusual odor. Treatment Mildly ketoacidotic animals can be alert and well hydrated. After your pet is stabilized, your pet can return home and be treated with proper diabetes management techniques including insulin therapy, diet, and exercise. "Sick" ketoacidotic animals require intensive medical management in the vet hospital. This is a life-threatening emergency that requires complex medical management and monitoring. It may take several days for the animal to be out of danger. Treatment involves injections of regular insulin, intravenous fluids, electrolytes, and frequent monitoring of blood glucose, blood chemistry, Continue reading >>
Diabetes With Ketone Bodies In Dogs
Studies show that female dogs (particularly non-spayed) are more prone to DKA, as are older canines. Diabetic ketoacidosis is best classified through the presence of ketones that exist in the liver, which are directly correlated to the lack of insulin being produced in the body. This is a very serious complication, requiring immediate veterinary intervention. Although a number of dogs can be affected mildly, the majority are very ill. Some dogs will not recover despite treatment, and concurrent disease has been documented in 70% of canines diagnosed with DKA. Diabetes with ketone bodies is also described in veterinary terms as diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA. It is a severe complication of diabetes mellitus. Excess ketone bodies result in acidosis and electrolyte abnormalities, which can lead to a crisis situation for your dog. If left in an untreated state, this condition can and will be fatal. Some dogs who are suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis may present as systemically well. Others will show severe illness. Symptoms may be seen as listed below: Change in appetite (either increase or decrease) Increased thirst Frequent urination Vomiting Abdominal pain Mental dullness Coughing Fatigue or weakness Weight loss Sometimes sweet smelling breath is evident Slow, deep respiration. There may also be other symptoms present that accompany diseases that can trigger DKA, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease. While some dogs may live fairly normal lives with this condition before it is diagnosed, most canines who become sick will do so within a week of the start of the illness. There are four influences that can bring on DKA: Fasting Insulin deficiency as a result of unknown and untreated diabetes, or insulin deficiency due to an underlying disease that in turn exacerba Continue reading >>
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) happens when your blood sugar is high and your insulin level is low. This imbalance in the body causes a build-up of ketones. Ketones are toxic. If DKA isn’t treated, it can lead to diabetic coma and even death. DKA mainly affects people who have type 1 diabetes. But it can also happen with other types of diabetes, including type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes (during pregnancy). DKA is a very serious condition. If you have diabetes and think you may have DKA, contact your doctor or get to a hospital right away. The first symptoms to appear are usually: frequent urination. The next stage of DKA symptoms include: vomiting (usually more than once) confusion or trouble concentrating a fruity odor on the breath. The main cause of DKA is not enough insulin. A lack of insulin means sugar can’t get into your cells. Your cells need sugar for energy. This causes your body’s glucose levels to rise. To get energy, the body starts to burn fat. This process causes ketones to build up. Ketones can poison the body. High blood glucose levels can also cause you to urinate often. This leads to a lack of fluids in the body (dehydration). DKA can be caused by missing an insulin dose, eating poorly, or feeling stressed. An infection or other illness (such as pneumonia or a urinary tract infection) can also lead to DKA. If you have signs of infection (fever, cough, or sore throat), contact your doctor. You will want to make sure you are getting the right treatment. For some people, DKA may be the first sign that they have diabetes. When you are sick, you need to watch your blood sugar level very closely so that it doesn’t get too high or too low. Ask your doctor what your critical blood sugar level is. Most patients should watch their glucose levels c Continue reading >>
A Preventable Crisis People who have had diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, will tell you it’s worse than any flu they’ve ever had, describing an overwhelming feeling of lethargy, unquenchable thirst, and unrelenting vomiting. “It’s sort of like having molasses for blood,” says George. “Everything moves so slow, the mouth can feel so dry, and there is a cloud over your head. Just before diagnosis, when I was in high school, I would get out of a class and go to the bathroom to pee for about 10–12 minutes. Then I would head to the water fountain and begin drinking water for minutes at a time, usually until well after the next class had begun.” George, generally an upbeat person, said that while he has experienced varying degrees of DKA in his 40 years or so of having diabetes, “…at its worst, there is one reprieve from its ill feeling: Unfortunately, that is a coma.” But DKA can be more than a feeling of extreme discomfort, and it can result in more than a coma. “It has the potential to kill,” says Richard Hellman, MD, past president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. “DKA is a medical emergency. It’s the biggest medical emergency related to diabetes. It’s also the most likely time for a child with diabetes to die.” DKA occurs when there is not enough insulin in the body, resulting in high blood glucose; the person is dehydrated; and too many ketones are present in the bloodstream, making it acidic. The initial insulin deficit is most often caused by the onset of diabetes, by an illness or infection, or by not taking insulin when it is needed. Ketones are your brain’s “second-best fuel,” Hellman says, with glucose being number one. If you don’t have enough glucose in your cells to supply energy to your brain, yo Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis Explained
Twitter Summary: DKA - a major complication of #diabetes – we describe what it is, symptoms, who’s at risk, prevention + treatment! One of the most notorious complications of diabetes is diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. First described in the late 19th century, DKA represented something close to the ultimate diabetes emergency: In just 24 hours, people can experience an onset of severe symptoms, all leading to coma or death. But DKA also represents one of the great triumphs of the revolution in diabetes care over the last century. Before the discovery of insulin in 1920, DKA was almost invariably fatal, but the mortality rate for DKA dropped to below 30 percent within 10 years, and now fewer than 1 percent of those who develop DKA die from it, provided they get adequate care in time. Don’t skip over that last phrase, because it’s crucial: DKA is very treatable, but only as long as it’s diagnosed promptly and patients understand the risk. Table of Contents: What are the symptoms of DKA? Does DKA occur in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes? What Can Patients do to Prevent DKA? What is DKA? Insulin plays a critical role in the body’s functioning: it tells cells to absorb the glucose in the blood so that the body can use it for energy. When there’s no insulin to take that glucose out of the blood, high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) results. The body will also start burning fatty acids for energy, since it can’t get that energy from glucose. To make fatty acids usable for energy, the liver has to convert them into compounds known as ketones, and these ketones make the blood more acidic. DKA results when acid levels get too high in the blood. There are other issues too, as DKA also often leads to the overproduction and release of hormones like glucagon and adrenaline Continue reading >>
What Is It? Diabetic ketoacidosis is a potentially fatal complication of diabetes that occurs when you have much less insulin than your body needs. This problem causes the blood to become acidic and the body to become dangerously dehydrated. Diabetic ketoacidosis can occur when diabetes is not treated adequately, or it can occur during times of serious sickness. To understand this illness, you need to understand the way your body powers itself with sugar and other fuels. Foods we eat are broken down by the body, and much of what we eat becomes glucose (a type of sugar), which enters the bloodstream. Insulin helps glucose to pass from the bloodstream into body cells, where it is used for energy. Insulin normally is made by the pancreas, but people with type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent diabetes) don't produce enough insulin and must inject it daily. Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School. Continue reading >>