Critical care monitoring considerations for the diabetic patient

Clinical Techniques in Small Animal Practice
Heather E Connally


Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a common endocrine disease encountered in the emergency and critical care setting. The diabetic Ketoacidotic (DKA) animal represents an extreme of the DM patient with regard to hyperglycemia and acid-base and electrolyte derangements. Prompt diagnosis of DKA in a critical patient and rapid initiation of appropriate therapy are necessary for a positive outcome. The steps of treatment, in order of importance, include initiation of intravenous fluid therapy, insulin therapy, electrolyte replacement, and reversal of the metabolic acidosis. The main goals of therapy--including correction of dehydration, electrolyte abnormalities and acidosis via aggressive fluid therapy with electrolyte supplementation and correction of ketoacidosis and hyperglycemia via initiation of insulin therapy--can be achieved if these steps are followed. Because of the severity of metabolic alterations in the DKA animal, frequent and careful monitoring are paramount because they will allow the clinician to tailor treatment to each case.


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