What are Glucose Levels?
Your pet’s glucose levels indicate how much glucose or sugar is circulating in your pets system at a given time. These glucose levels fluctuate throughout the day and are strictly controlled by hormones so that they are maintained within a certain range. Catabolic hormones such as glucagon and catecholamines help to increase glucose levels, while the anabolic hormone insulin helps reduce glucose levels.
When these hormone systems are not functioning properly, glucose levels are not adequately regulated and this can be dangerous for your pet. High glucose levels are referred to as hyperglycemia and when this is a chronic problem, it is known as diabetes. Low glucose levels or Hypoglycemia can occur when the pancreas secretes too much insulin, when pets are not eating enough to support their energy requirements or as a result of insulin treatment in diabetic pets.
Hypoglycemia is a common problem with insulin treatment and can occur even when pet owners are being very careful. This happens because insulin production and requirements can fluctuate without warning in diabetic pets and so it is something that needs to be monitored closely.
High glucose levels or hyperglycemia generally results in long term complications such as blindness, neuropathy and kidney disease if left untreated. Hypoglycemia, on the other hand is more immediately life threatening and if levels are too low, every cell in the body becomes starved of life-supplying sugars. Symptoms of low blood sugar may include decreased heartbeat, slow breathing, weakness, disorientation, seizures and loss of consciousness.