How to Treat Ketoacidosis in Cats at Home

Do you have a cat suffering from ketoacidosis? Learn how to treat and manage ketoacidosis in cats at home. You can take steps to reduce the discomfort for your cat and prevent any serious health risks.

Quick facts: Treating Ketoacidosis In Cats At Home

  • Ketoacidosis can be managed by a combination of dietary changes, insulin therapy, and other supportive care at home. (The Merck Veterinary Manual)
  • Treatment of ketoacidosis in cats is dependent on identifying and treating the underlying cause. (Vetstreet)
  • Ketoacidosis is frequently caused by uncontrolled diabetes in cats and requires prompt attention. (American Animal Hospital Association)
  • A ketoacidosis diet in cats should be high in calories, low in carbohydrates, and provide adequate amounts of essential fatty acids. (Veterinary Partner)
  • Research has found that high doses of omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial in the treatment of ketoacidosis in cats. (NCBI)


Ketoacidosis is a serious medical condition in cats that requires urgent veterinary attention. It is caused by an inability to produce enough insulin and is characterized by high levels of ketones, which are acidic compounds produced as the body breaks down fat for energy. This can lead to dangerous levels of acidity in the blood (known as hyperosmolarity), which can have fatal consequences if left unchecked and untreated. Fortunately, it’s possible to treat ketoacidosis at home with a few simple steps, so long as the cat’s condition is not too advanced.

The first step in treating ketoacidosis at home is increasing your cat’s fluids. This can be done by using a syringe or dropper to administer oral rehydration solutions like pedialyte or Gatorade, or simply giving your cat wet food that is high in water content. It’s also important to monitor your cat’s vital signs closely, as well as make sure they are eating regularly and receiving plenty of rest. If you notice any changes in behavior or health status, it’s best to contact a veterinarian right away for advice and further treatment.

Finally, cats with ketoacidosis should always receive supplemental insulin therapy administered by a qualified vet in order to bring their blood glucose under control and prevent potentially life-threatening complications from occurring.

What is Ketoacidosis?

Ketoacidosis is a condition where there is a build-up of ketones in the blood, which can cause your cat to become weak, lethargic, and dehydrated. Treatment of ketoacidosis requires you to give your cat the proper care they need and to understand the condition.

Let’s explore what ketoacidosis is and how to treat it in cats at home:


Ketoacidosis is a condition in which the body produces too much ketone bodies, increasing levels of ketones in the blood and urine. It can occur due to several causes, including diabetes, excessive caloric intake or starvation, excessive exercise or illness. In cats, ketoacidosis is most commonly caused by diabetes mellitus, an illness where the body lacks insulin and cannot properly process sugars. If not treated promptly, it can lead to organ failure and even death.

Other common causes of ketoacidosis in cats include:

  • Pancreatic insufficiency, which occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough pancreatic enzymes needed for digestion.
  • Excessive calorie intake; starvation; poor diet; stress; infection or trauma;
  • Maternal imbalance diseases such as Cushing’s disease; and certain medications.
  • Ketoacidosis is also more likely to occur if the cat is overweight or obese.


Ketoacidosis is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that involves an accumulation of ketones in the bloodstream. Ketoacidosis occurs when the body is unable to effectively metabolize carbohydrates, resulting in the production of ketones instead. Signs and symptoms of ketoacidosis include increased thirst, increased urination, vomiting, abdominal pain, dehydration and decreased appetite. If left untreated, the condition can lead to coma or even death due to acid buildup in the blood.

It’s important for cat owners to recognize the warning signs of ketoacidosis, so they can take swift action if their cat becomes ill. Early diagnosis and implementation of treatment can help prevent serious health consequences. Some common symptoms include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive panting or rapid breathing
  • Lethargy and listlessness
  • Muscle weakness or tenderness on palpation (examination by hand)
  • Skin that stays warm longer than usual when touched (known as a positive thermograph test)
  • Color changes in urine tests or ketone tests


Before treating ketoacidosis in cats, it is important to accurately diagnose the condition. Symptoms such as vomiting, dehydration, excessive urination, lethargy, and rapid breathing are indicative of ketoacidosis and may be followed by testing of the cat’s blood glucose and ketones.

Diagnosing ketoacidosis in cats requires the expertise of a veterinarian and this is the first step to treating the condition.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are an important diagnostic tool in treating cats with ketoacidosis. Your veterinarian will take a blood sample from your cat and evaluate the results to make an accurate diagnosis. The blood tests can detect any underlying causes of ketoacidosis, including diabetes, pancreatitis, liver failure, thyroid disease, renal failure, or an infection. It is important to note that the blood test results may be normal in some cases of mild ketoacidosis as there may not be enough glucose levels present yet to detect it.

A complete blood count (CBC) will provide information about the red and white blood cells as well as the platelet count. A serum biochemistry profile will provide information on organ functions such as liver enzymes, electrolytes and glucose level. A urinalysis provides information on protein and sugar levels in urine that could indicate diabetes or other medical issues which could contribute to ketoacidosis.

Urine Tests

Urine tests are an important tool for diagnosing ketoacidosis in cats. Urine tests can help detect the presence of glucose, ketones, and electrolyte levels. In cats with untreated ketoacidosis, their urine usually contains high levels of glucose, ketones and electrolytes.

This is because their bodies are trying to flush out excess sugar due to inadequate insulin production, which can result in acid buildup in the blood. It is important to keep track of your cat’s urine output in order to detect any changes that may be linked with high levels of glucose or ketones.

Additionally, if your cat has been experiencing symptoms such as excessive urination or increased thirst and appetite, a urine test can provide valuable information about the severity of their condition.


Ketoacidosis is a potentially life-threatening medical condition in cats, so it is important to provide your cat with the appropriate treatment. There are several treatment options that can be used at home to help manage the symptoms and help your cat recover from ketoacidosis. Let’s look at some of these treatment options in more detail:

  • Option 1
  • Option 2
  • Option 3
  • Option 4
  • Option 5

Diet Changes

Diet changes are an important part of treating ketoacidosis in cats at home. It is essential to provide your cat with a low carbohydrate diet to reduce the amount of glucose and insulin in the bloodstream. This can be done by switching from a high carbohydrate, dry food diet to a high-protein, low-carbohydrate canned food or raw diet.

Additionally, look for foods that are higher in healthy fats such as fish oil or coconut oil, as well as fiber sources like psyllium husk powder or pumpkin puree. You may even choose to try a prescription veterinary therapeutic ketogenic canned food for cats. Make sure to adjust the portion size of the new diet so your cat does not become overweight during treatment.


When it comes to treating ketoacidosis in cats at home, supplementation is key. Supplements can help in the management of ketoacidosis and should be added to the cat’s diet on a daily basis. These supplements include:

  • Essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential for cell membrane integrity and energy metabolism.
  • Supportive supplements such as probiotics may help with digestive disturbances and gastrointestinal symptoms associated with ketoacidosis.
  • Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants may also be beneficial to cats diagnosed with ketoacidosis as they can help with glucose and lipid metabolism, along with providing overall immune system support.

A veterinarian or nutritionist should be consulted before adding any supplement to a cat’s diet.


Fluids are one of the most important treatments for cats with ketoacidosis. The goal is to replace fluids that have been lost due to dehydration, as well as to help flush the acids from their system.

Fluids can be delivered subcutaneously (under the skin), intravenously (directly into a vein), or both depending on the severity. Subcutaneous fluids are typically more comfortable for cats because they are less invasive than an IV, and can also help prevent dehydration in cases where a cat is vomiting or not drinking enough water.

When delivering fluids to your cat, use a lactated Ringer’s solution that is specifically designed for cats and follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully. Your vet may also recommend an electrolyte supplement or other medications as part of their treatment plan.


A common treatment for ketoacidosis in cats is insulin therapy. Insulin therapy helps to reduce the levels of glucose, free fatty acids and ketone bodies in the body, allowing the cat’s metabolism to return to normal. It also helps prevent further complications from ketoacidosis such as sepsis or kidney failure.

The most common type of insulin used for cats is a short-acting insulin called regular/USP or Humulin R which will last between 5 and 8 hours depending on the dose given. Other forms of insulin may be suitable for cats, including long-acting insulins; however, it is important to speak with your veterinarian before starting any kind of insulin regimen.

Insulin can be administered either subcutaneously under the skin or intravenously via an IV catheter inserted into one of the cat’s front legs. The route and dosage will depend on your veterinarian’s recommendation; it is important that you follow their instructions carefully in order to ensure that your cat gets the right amount of insulin every day.


Ketoacidosis is a dangerous condition for cats that can be difficult to diagnose and requires immediate medical attention. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent ketoacidosis from occurring in cats in the first place. By being aware of the potential causes and taking the necessary steps, you can help keep your cat safe and healthy.

  • Be aware of the potential causes of ketoacidosis in cats.
  • Take the necessary steps to prevent ketoacidosis in cats.


When it comes to treating ketoacidosis in cats, diet plays a huge role in prevention and treatment. As cats typically don’t eat carbohydrates, they rely on dietary fat as their energy source rather than burning glucose for energy. This can result in an accumulation of ketones in their blood.

To reduce the risk of ketoacidosis, it is important to provide your cat with high-quality protein and fat sources such as fish or poultry. Your cat should also have access to fresh water at all times and you should monitor your cat’s food intake to make sure it is receiving adequate nutrition. Additionally, if your cat is overweight or obese, a low carbohydrate diet may be recommended by your veterinarian to help reduce excess weight.


Exercise is an important step in the prevention of diabetic ketoacidosis in cats. Regular exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight, and is important for overall wellness. Exercise also helps to regulate a cat’s blood sugar levels and can reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

Additionally, regular physical activity can help cats stay mentally sharp and ward off boredom, which can lead to stress.

To help prevent DKA in cats, owners should aim for daily physical activity and mental stimulation by playing with their pets or providing toys that challenge them. Depending on the age and health of your cat, activities could include:

  • Running around or chasing a toy or light object like a ping-pong ball or an interactive treat toy.
  • Adjusting the amount of exercise your cat gets over time as their fitness level changes.

Regular Vet Visits

Regular vet visits should be a must for all pet owners, especially for cats that are prone to ketoacidosis. During the appointment, your vet will review your cat’s medical history and physical exam. They may also order a variety of tests to check your cat’s overall health status and look for any potential warning signs of ketoacidosis.

Regular vet visits can also help identify any underlying conditions that may contribute to the development of ketoacidosis in cats. Additionally, your vet will be able to provide you with useful information on how to spot the signs of this condition early and how best to treat it if it does occur.


In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of ketoacidosis in cats, and to seek immediate veterinary care if you believe that your cat may have ketoacidosis. While it is possible for owners to treat ketoacidosis in cats at home, it is not recommended as there are risks associated with this approach.

If treatment at home is desired or advised by a veterinarian, then owners should closely monitor the cat’s health and progress to ensure that the cat is improving. If at any point during home treatment, the cat’s condition deteriorates then seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

FAQs about: Treating Ketoacidosis In Cats At Home

Q. What is ketoacidosis?

A. Ketoacidosis is a condition where the body produces high levels of ketones and acids in the blood, which can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. It is most commonly seen in cats with diabetes, but can also happen in cats with other medical conditions.

Q. What are the signs of ketoacidosis in cats?

A. The most common signs of ketoacidosis in cats include excessive thirst, increased urination, weight loss, weakness, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

Q. How can I treat ketoacidosis in my cat at home?

A. It is important to see your veterinarian right away if you suspect your cat has ketoacidosis. Treatment will depend on the underlying cause, but may include regulating the cat’s blood sugar levels, providing fluids, and monitoring for any complications. It is important not to try to treat ketoacidosis at home as it can be life-threatening if not handled properly.

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