Feline Diabetes Pet Health Terms  



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Also: Our FDMB Glossary


fasting blood glucose test:

a check of a person's blood glucose level after the person has not eaten for 8 to 12 hours (usually overnight). This test is used to diagnose pre-diabetes and diabetes. It is also used to monitor people with diabetes.


1. One of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide fat are butter, margarine, salad dressing, oil, nuts, meat, poultry, fish, and some dairy products. 2. Excess calories are stored as body fat, providing the body with a reserve supply of energy and other functions.

50/50 insulin:

premixed insulin that is 50 percent intermediate-acting (NPH) insulin and 50 percent short-acting (regular) insulin.

fluorescein (fluh-RESS-ee-in) angiography (an-gee-AH-grah-fee):

a test to examine blood vessels in the eye; done by injecting dye into an arm vein and then taking photos as the dye goes through the eye's blood vessels.

fructosamine (frook-TOH-sah-meen) test:

measures the number of blood glucose molecules (MAH-leh-kyools) linked to protein molecules in the blood. The test provides information on the average blood glucose level for the past 3 weeks in humans, usually over 1-2 weeks in felines. Reference fructosamine ranges in the cat are from 175-400 µmol/L. Well-regulated diabetic cats usually have serum fructosamine values below 400 µmol/L, while poorly regulated diabetics usually have fructosamine concentrations above 600 µmol/L.

fructose (FROOK-tohss):

a sugar that occurs naturally in fruits and honey. Fructose has 4 calories per gram



(GA) (GEE-a):

an abbreviation placed in parentheses after a companion animal's name to indicate that they have Gone Ahead to Rainbow Bridge; passed away.

gangrene (GANG-green):

the death of body tissue, most often caused by a lack of blood flow and infection. It can lead to amputation.

gastroparesis (gas-tro-puh-REE-sis):

a form of neuropathy that affects the stomach. Digestion of food may be incomplete or delayed, resulting in nausea, vomiting, or bloating, making blood glucose control difficult.

gingivitis (JIN-jih-VY-tis):

a condition of the gums characterized by inflammation and bleeding.


a group of cells that secrete substances. Endocrine glands secrete hormones. Exocrine glands secrete salt, enzymes, and water.

glargine (GLAR-jeen) insulin:

very-long-acting insulin. On average, glargine insulin starts to lower blood glucose levels within 1 hour after injection and keeps working evenly for 24 hours after injection.

glaucoma (glaw-KOH-muh):

an increase in fluid pressure inside the eye that may lead to loss of vision.

glimepiride (gly-MEH-per-ide):

an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand name: Amaryl.)

glipizide (GLIH-pih-zide):

an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand names: Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL.)

glomerular (glo-MEHR-yoo-lur ) filtration rate (GFR):

measure of the kidney's ability to filter and remove waste products.

glomeruli (glo-MEHR-yoo-lie):

plural of glomerulus.

glomerulus (glo-MEHR-yoo-lus):

a tiny set of looping blood vessels in the kidney where the blood is filtered and waste products are removed.

glucagon (GLOO-kah-gahn):

a hormone produced by the alpha cells in the pancreas. It raises blood glucose. An injectable form of glucagon, available by prescription, may be used to treat severe hypoglycemia.

Glucophage, Glucophage XR :

see metformin .


one of the simplest forms of sugar.

glucose tablets :

chewable tablets made of pure glucose used for treating hypoglycemia.

glucose tolerance test:

see oral glucose tolerance test.

Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL :

see glipizide.


an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is a combination of glyburide and metformin.

glyburide (GLY-buh-ride):

an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand names: DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase; ingredient in Glucovance.)

glycemic (gly-SEE-mik) index:

a ranking of carbohydrate-containing foods, based on the food's effect on blood glucose compared with a standard reference food.

glycogen (GLY-koh-jen):

the form of glucose found in the liver and muscles.

glycosuria (gly-koh-SOOR-ee-ah):

the presence of glucose in the urine.

glycosylated hemoglobin:

see A1C .

Glynase PresTab :

see glyburide.


see miglitol.


a unit of weight in the metric system. An ounce equals 28 grams. In some meal plans for people with diabetes, the suggested amounts of food are given in grams.



HDL cholesterol (kuh-LESS-tuh-rawl), stands for high-density-lipoprotein (LIP-oh-PRO-teen) cholesterol:

a fat found in the blood that takes extra cholesterol from the blood to the liver for removal. Sometimes called "good" cholesterol.


blood in the urine


see dialysis.

hemoglobin A1C test:

see A1C.

hepatic lipidosis:

Fatty liver disease. This can occur in anorexic cats. A potentially fatal disease.


the passing of a trait from parent to child.


see hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome.

high blood glucose:

see hyperglycemia.

high blood pressure :

see hypertension.

high-density lipoprotein cholesterol:

see HDL cholesterol.


see human leukocyte antigens.

home testing:

home blood glucose (BG) testing as opposed to urine testing or BG testing at the vet. Home testing uses a blood glucose meter and skin pricks to obtain blood samples.  For detailed instructions, refer to the FelineDiabetes.com educational site. 


the part of the cat’s back legs about halfway up (where the joint is) that comes into contact with the floor in certain cases such as  diabetic neuropathy.  

home glucose monitor:

see blood glucose meter.

HOME TESTING: This is home blood glucose (BG) testing as opposed to urine testing. Home testing is done with a blood glucose meter (Glucometer Elite, Accu-Check Advantage, FastTake, etc.) and "ear pricks" (or in some cases, paw pricks). To get the most detailed instructions, go to http://www.sugarcats.net/sites/harry/index.htm

honeymoon phase :

temporary remission of hyperglycemia that occurs in some felines newly diagnosed with diabetes, when some insulin secretion resumes for a short time, usually a few months, before stopping again.

hormone :

a chemical produced in one part of the body and released into the blood to trigger or regulate particular functions of the body. For example, insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas that tells other cells when to use glucose for energy. Synthetic hormones, made for use as medicines, can be the same or different from those made in the body.

hyperglycemia (HY-per-gly-SEE-mee-uh):

excessive blood glucose. Fasting hyperglycemia is blood glucose above a desirable level after a person has fasted for at least 8 hours. Postprandial hyperglycemia is blood glucose above a desirable level 1 to 2 hours after a person has eaten.

hyperinsulinemia (HY-per-IN-suh-lih-NEE-mee-uh):

a condition in which the level of insulin in the blood is higher than normal. Caused by overproduction of insulin by the body. Related to insulin resistance.

hyperlipidemia (HY-per-li-pih-DEE-mee-uh):

higher than normal fat and cholesterol levels in the blood.

hyperosmolar (HY-per-oz-MOH-lur) hyperglycemic (HY-per-gly-SEE-mik ) nonketotic (non-kee-TAH-tik) syndrome (HHNS ):

an emergency condition in which one's blood glucose level is very high and ketones are not present in the blood or urine. If HHNS is not treated, it can lead to coma or death.

hypertension (HY-per-TEN-shun):

a condition present when blood flows through the blood vessels with a force greater than normal. Also called high blood pressure. Hypertension can strain the heart, damage blood vessels, and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney problems, and death.

hypoglycemia (hy-po-gly-SEE-mee-uh):

a condition that occurs when one's blood glucose is lower than normal, usually less than 70 mg/dL. Signs include hunger, nervousness, shakiness, perspiration, dizziness or light-headedness, sleepiness, and confusion. If left untreated, hypoglycemia may lead to unconsciousness and cina. Hypoglycemia is treated  in cats by rubbing a carbohydrate-rich food such as a Karo syrup or molasses on the gums. It may also be treated with an injection of glucagon if the person is unconscious or unable to swallow. Also called an insulin reaction.

hypoglycemia unawareness (un-uh-WARE-ness):

a state in which a cat does not exhibit the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Cats who have frequent episodes of hypoglycemia may no longer experience the warning signs of it.

hypotension (hy-poh-TEN-shun):

low blood pressure or a sudden drop in blood pressure. Hypotension may occur when a person rises quickly from a sitting or reclining position, causing dizziness or fainting.



IDDM (insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus):

former term for type 1 diabetes.

immune (ih-MYOON) system:

the body's system for protecting itself from viruses and bacteria or any "foreign" substances.

immunosuppressant (ih-MYOON-oh-suh-PRESS-unt):

a drug that suppresses the natural immune responses. Immunosuppressants are given to transplant patients to prevent organ rejection or to patients with autoimmune diseases.

impaired fasting glucose (IFG):

a condition in which a blood glucose test, taken after an 8- to 12-hour fast, shows a level of glucose higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. IFG, also called pre-diabetes, is a level of 100 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL. Most people with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

impaired glucose tolerance (IGT):

a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. IGT, also called pre-diabetes, is a level of 140 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL 2 hours after the start of an oral glucose tolerance test. Most people with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Other names for IGT that are no longer used are "borderline," "subclinical," "chemical," or "latent" diabetes.

implantable (im-PLAN-tuh-bull) insulin pump:

a small pump placed inside the body to deliver insulin in response to remote-control commands from the user.

incidence (IN-sih-dints):

a measure of how often a disease occurs; the number of new cases of a disease among a certain group of cats for a certain period of time.

incontinence (in-KON-tih-nents):

loss of bladder or bowel control; the accidental loss of urine or feces.

inhaled insulin :

an experimental treatment for taking insulin using a portable device that allows a person to breathe in insulin.

injection (in-JEK-shun):

inserting liquid medication or nutrients into the body with a syringe. A cat with diabetes is usually injected with a short needle in a pinch the skin at the neck.  Inject at an angle to avoid an intramuscular injection of insulin.

injection site rotation :

changing the places on the body where insulin is injected. Rotation prevents the formation of lipodystrophies.

injection sites :

places on the body where insulin is usually injected.


a hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. The beta cells of the pancreas make insulin. When the body cannot make enough insulin, insulin is taken by injection or through use of an insulin pump.

insulin adjustment :

a change in the amount of insulin a person with diabetes takes based on factors such as meal planning, activity, and blood glucose levels.

insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM):

former term for type 1 diabetes.

insulinoma (IN-suh-lih-NOH-mah):

a tumor of the beta cells in the pancreas. An insulinoma may cause the body to make extra insulin, leading to hypoglycemia.

insulin pen:

a device for injecting insulin that looks like a fountain pen and holds replaceable cartridges of insulin. Also available in disposable form.

insulin reaction:

when the level of glucose in the blood is too low (at or below 70 mg/dL). Also known as hypoglycemia .

insulin receptors :

areas on the outer part of a cell that allow the cell to bind with insulin in the blood. When the cell and insulin bind, the cell can take glucose from the blood and use it for energy.

insulin resistance:

the body's inability to respond to and use the insulin it produces. Insulin resistance may be linked to obesity, hypertension, and high levels of fat in the blood.

insulin shock:

see hypoglycemia.

intensive therapy :

a treatment for diabetes in which blood glucose is kept as close to normal as possible through frequent injections or use of an insulin pump; meal planning; adjustment of medicines; and exercise based on blood glucose test results and frequent contact with a person's health care team.

intermediate-acting insulin:

a type of insulin that starts to lower blood glucose within 1 to 2 hours after injection and has its strongest effect 6 to 12 hours after injection, depending on the type used. See lente insulin and NPH insulin.

intermittent (IN-ter-MIT-ent) claudication (CLAW-dih-KAY-shun):

pain that comes and goes in the muscles of the leg. This pain results from a lack of blood supply to the legs and usually happens when walking or exercising.

intramuscular (in-trah-MUS-kyoo-lar) injection :

inserting liquid medication into a muscle with a syringe. Glucagon may be given by subcutaneous or intramuscular injection for hypoglycemia.

islet (EYE-let) cell autoantibodies (aw-toe-AN-ti-bod-eez) (ICA):

proteins found in the blood of people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. They are also found in people who may be developing type 1 diabetes. The presence of ICA indicates that the body's immune system has been damaging beta cells in the pancreas.

islet transplantation:

moving the islets from a donor pancreas into a person whose pancreas has stopped producing insulin. Beta cells in the islets make the insulin that the body needs for using blood glucose.


groups of cells located in the pancreas that make hormones that help the body break down and use food. For example, alpha cells make glucagon and beta cells make insulin. Also called islets of Langerhans (LANG-er-hahns).

islets of Langerhans:

see islets.



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