Comparison of regular insulin infusion doses in critically ill diabetic cats: 29 cases (1999-2007)

Melissa A. Claus, Deborah C. Silverstein, Frances S. Shofer, Matthew S. Mellema

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20 Scopus citations


Objective - To compare biochemical parameters, neurologic changes, length of hospital stay, and clinical improvement in 3 groups of cats with diabetic ketosis/diabetic ketoacidosis (DK/DKA) prescribed varied doses of regular insulin as a continuous rate of infusion (CRI).Design - Retrospective study.Setting - University teaching hospital.Animals - Twenty-nine client-owned cats with DK/DKA prescribed a regular insulin CRI.Interventions - Cats were grouped as follows: 7 cats each in Group 1 and 2, (prescribed 1.1 and 2.2 U/kg/d, respectively), and 15 cats in Group 3 (prescribed increasing doses as needed).Measurements and Main Results - None of the groups received the total prescribed dose of insulin. The mean actual dose administered/kg/d ranged from 0.30 (0.21) to 0.87 (0.32) U/kg/d in Groups 1, 2, and 3. There was no difference in mean minimum blood glucose (BG) per 4 hours or change in BG from baseline per 4 hours between Groups 1 and 2 (P=0.63, 0.50). There was no difference between groups regarding the time required to reach a BG ≤13.9 mmol/L (250 mg/dL), serum phosphorus or potassium concentrations relative to baseline values (P=0.53, 0.90), length of time until urine or serum ketones were no longer detected (P=0.73), the animal commenced eating (P=0.24), or length of hospital stay (P=0.63). Four of the cats had declining mentation during hospitalization; there were no relationships between osmolality at presentation, either prescribed or administered insulin dose, and mentation changes. Three of the 4 cats with declining mentation survived. Twenty-seven of the 29 cats (93%) survived to discharge.Conclusions - In this study, prescribing the published canine dose (2.2 U/kg/d) of regular insulin to cats with DK/DKA does not appear to increase the frequency of adverse neurologic or biochemical sequelae compared with cats that are prescribed the published cat dose (1.1 U/kg/d). The use of a sliding scale for determination of infusion rates significantly reduces the amount of insulin cats receive in this setting. Determination of whether adverse sequelae would occur more frequently if cats with DK/DKA received the full insulin prescribed doses of 1.1, 2.2, or >2.2 U/kg/d is warranted. Further controlled studies are necessary to determine if higher doses of insulin are associated with beneficial effects on morbidity or mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-517
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Complications
  • Diabetes management
  • Feline
  • Glycemic control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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