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What To Do In A Dog’s (or Cat’s) Diabetic Emergency

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WhyDoesMydDog.com is not a licensed veterinarian.
These videos are only meant to guide you before taking your dog to the vet.
Always consult a licensed veterinarian for all medical questions.


Patrick Miles, DVM is owner and veterinarian at Priceless Pet Clinic in Normandy Park WA. He has worked in emergency medicine since graduating veterinary school and spent seven years at Animal Critical Care and Emergency Services.

What to do in a diabetes emergency?

If you suspect that your pet may be having a reaction to or an overdose of insulin or a low blood sugar, they really need to be evaluated as soon as possible. A simple thing to do at home prior to coming in would be the simply rub either corn syrup, maple syrup or even just dissolving some sugar in some water really quickly and rubbing that on their gums. Because they will absorb that sugar across the mucous membranes and that may actually buy a little bit of time before you are able to get them into a veterinarian.


What are the symptoms of a diabetes emergency?

  • Excessive drinking for more than 3 days
  • Excessive urination or inappropriate urination in the house for more than 3 days
  • Reduction in or loss of appetite
  • Weakness, seizures or severe depression
  • Behavioral change, muscle twitching or anxiety
  • Constipation, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Signs of a bladder infection (passing frequent small amounts of urine, straining to urinate, blood in the urine)
  • Swelling of the head or neck

Contact your veterinarian immediately for possible adjustment of the insulin dose or treatment of additional medical problems.