What is DKA and how is it different from regular “Diabetes”?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – my vet says my cat as “DKA”, some form of diabetes. How does DKA differ from regular diabetes?

Peaches S. San Francisco


Hi – thanks for your email. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), the most severe form of Diabetes Mellitus, results in severe changes in blood chemicals including imbalances in small, simple chemicals known as electrolytes.

The underlying disease is diabetes mellitus but severe chemical changes can make it become DKA. DKA is generally a temporary problem and when corrected, you are left with regular diabetes.

An article that might be helpful to you is Diabetes Mellitus in Cats and Diabetic Ketoacidosis in Cats.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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