Urine Glucose Testing in Diabetic Dogs and Cats

By Dr . Joi Sutton|2023-09-28T10:51:13-04:00Updated: November 29th, 2011|Pet Care, Pet Diabetes, Pet Newsletter|0 Comments

The mainstay of home glucose monitoring for animals these days is with pet glucose meters. However, some pet owners are unwilling or physically unable to check their pet’s blood glucose in this manner. In these situations, we may use urine glucose monitoring. A veterinarian will not change the insulin doses based on urine glucose results, but urine glucose testing can give us an indication if our insulin dose may need adjusting.

The renal glucose threshold is the blood glucose level such that blood sugar spills over from the blood traveling through the kidneys into the urine. In dogs this threshold is 180mg/dL. In cats the threshold is 220 mg/dL. Where we can get useful information from urine monitoring is if the pet’s urine dipstick shows that there is repeatedly high amounts of sugar in the urine (seen with persistently high blood glucose) or repeatedly negative results for urine glucose (seen with persistently low blood glucose or at least below the urine threshold).

For dogs it is usually fairly easy to collect a bit of urine as the pet is voiding in order to check a urine glucose dipstick. It can be far more difficult to obtain urine from a cat, so Purina came up with the Glucotest. Glucotest is a confetti of glucose indicator paper that clients sprinkle into the top layers of the cat’s litter box. The paper indicates if there is glucose in the cat’s urine.

Some cats lose their pleasant demeanor when coming into a veterinary clinic, perhaps becoming downright fractious, while others appear nervous. These fractious or nervous cats can become hyper-glycemic just from the stress of the situation. It can be difficult to determine if the high blood glucose is from diabetes or simply from a “stress hyperglycemia”. Glucotest can be used in these situations to determine if the high blood glucose is a real finding.

Known diabetic cats can sometimes go into “remission” from their diabetes. This remission can be permanent or temporary. Owners should watch for signs of a relapse of diabetes (weight loss, increased thirst and urination and hunger). Purina Glucotest is a tool that these pet owners can utilize to monitor if the cat is still in remission. Periodically sprinkling the Glucotest into their cat’s litter can alert an owner that the blood glucose is elevated.

As always, do check with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s treatment plan.

NOTE: Consult your doctor first to make sure my recommendations fit your special health needs.

About the Author: Dr . Joi Sutton

Dr. Joi Sutton is a 1993 graduate from Oregon State University. She has practiced both in emergency medicine and general practice. Dr. Sutton has done extensive international volunteer work though Veterinary Ventures, a nonprofit organization that takes teams of veterinarians to undeveloped countries for humane medical care. She also runs a small animal practice in South Florida. Connect with Dr. Joi on LinkedIn

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