Info Ketones, Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), and Blood Ketone Meters

Discussion in 'Health Links / FAQs about Feline Diabetes' started by Jill & Alex (GA), Apr 9, 2015.

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  1. Jill & Alex (GA)

    Jill & Alex (GA) Senior Member Moderator

    Dec 28, 2009
    Ketones, Ketoacidosis and Diabetic Cats: A Primer on Ketones

    Signs of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)

    • Drinking excessive amounts of water OR no water
    • Excessive urination
    • Diminished activity
    • Not eating for over 12 hours
    • Vomiting
    • Lethargy and depression
    • Weakness
    • Breathing very fast
    • Dehydration
    • Ketone odor on breath (smells like nail-polish remover or fruit)
    Pet Diabetes Wiki "Ketoacidosis": What is it? Is it dangerous? When to go to the vet? How do you test for it?
    Please go to the link to read all about ketones and diabetic ketoacidosis.

    "The Hows and Whys of Ketones" by Kathy and Cashew (GA)

    "6 of one, 1/2 dozen of another....ketones, ketosis, etc." by Hope + (((Baby)))GA

    Hope + (((Baby)))GA, "The normal pH for a feline is 7.4 and is necessary for the normal function of many enzyme systems. When pH drops below this value the cat is referred to as being acidotic."

    "Ketones in the urine, as detected by urine testing stix or a blood ketone testing meter[1], 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."

    Do I need to worry about kitty developing ketones if kitty is OTJ (off the juice) or when blood sugar numbers are not high?

    Yes, even if a cat is not on insulin, he is still a diabetic, and it is possible that ketones and DKA can develop especially if he is skinny and not eating right. Sometimes, cats blood sugar goes into the "normal" range for the wrong reasons (like poor appetite or illness) and they actually still do need insulin to help them gain weight, heal and prevent ketones.​

    The basic recipe for developing DKA = an insufficient supply of insulin + inappetance + infection OR other systemic stresses.


    Tips to catch and test a urine sample

    When do ketones show up on a blood ketone meter such as the Nova Max Plus or Precision Xtra Blood & Ketone meters?

    Two of the latest scientific studies (linked below) concerning measurement of ketones when using a blood ketone meter provide an up-to-date interpretation that when a blood ketone concentration of 2.4 and 2.55 are obtained, DKA is more likely to be present.

    Measurement of ketones - Weingart_J VET Diagn Invest-2012(1).pdf
    Measuring ketones - JSAP_Zeugswetter - 2012.pdf

    Suggested reading:


    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2024
    Reason for edit: added ketones/DKA in lower numbers or not on insulin; removed dead link
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