Glossary and Abbreviations


Twice a day. From latin bis in die
Blood Glucose (bg) or  Blood Sugar (bs)
The concentration of glucose in the blood.  Measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) in the US, and millimoles per liter (mmoles/L) in metric.
Note: different countries use different units of measurement. This is important to remember if you are talking with someone from Canada who is using the metric system. The conversion factor is approximately 18.  Divide the US value by 18 to get the metric value. Examples: In the US, a bg of 100 mg/dL is about the same as 5.6 mmol/L.  In Canada, a metric bg of 22 mmoles/L  is equivalent to a US bg of about 396.  Make sure you know what units you are dealing with. Here's a handy reference chart
Blood glucose curve
(serial blood glucose determination) When the blood glucose is measured several times over a period of several hours. A typical blood glucose curve would involve taking bg tests every 1 or 2 hours for 12 hours. Sometimes a 24 hour long curve is done. The amount of time between each test can also vary. A blood glucose curve helps determine the onset, peak, and duration of action of the insulin.
Diabetic cat
Diabetic dog
A disorder of glucose metabolism where there is not enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.  Or, where insulin is present, but the cells do not respond to it properly.
diagnosed, diagnosis
Produced inside the body. Insulin produced by the pancreas is endogenous insulin.
Supplied to the body from an external source. Insulin injected into the body is exogenous insulin.
A hormone secreted by the alpha cells of the pancreas. Glucagon is responsible for raising blood glucose.
A molecule (single unit) of sugar. Glucose is one of the main sugars used by the body's cells for energy.
Glucose in the urine
A period where the diabetic enters a phase of either reduced insulin requirement, or requires no exogenous insulin. The "honeymoon" happens relatively soon after diagnosis (weeks to months) and is temporary.  It may be related to irregular functioning of beta cells. "Honeymoon" occurs in dogs, cats, and humans. The term "honeymoon" is often used interchangeably with "transient diabetes" - but they have different meanings.
A substance produced by one part of the body that travels throughout the body and controls functions of other cells.  Both insulin and glucagon are hormones: they are produced by the pancreas and travel through the body and control glucose metabolism in other cells.
Elevated blood sugar (hyper = high)
Low blood sugar (hypo = low)
A hormone secreted by the beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin is necessary for glucose to enter cells. Insulin is responsible for lowering blood glucose.
Insulin abbreviations
R  regular (fast acting)
N  NPH [a big long name] (intermediate acting)
L  lente (intermediate acting)
ultralente (long acting) not to be confused with U as in Units of insulin
(Diabetic ketoacidosis) A serious medical condition resulting from uncontrolled diabetes. Ketoacidosis occurs when the body uses fat as an energy source and ketones build up in the blood. Ketoacidosis starts slowly and builds up. Ketoacidosis is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical treatment.
Waste product produced when the body is using fat as an energy source. Ketones are acids, and can cause damage or death to cells. Excess ketones accumulate in the blood and are excreted in the urine. Acetone is a ketone which can be eliminated through the lungs. Ketoacidotic animals often have a chemical smell to their breath (Some nail polish removers contain acetone - it is a similar smell).
Ketones in the urine.  Occurs when the diabetes is uncontrolled and the body is producing ketones.
The chemical processes in cells that are involved in using energy and building substances the cells needs. Glucose metabolism relates to how cells use or store glucose.  Anabolism refers to the building up processes, catabolism refers to the breaking down processes. 
The lowest point.   Refers to the lowest blood glucose concentration on a bg curve.
Polydipsia (PD)
Excessive thirst or drinking
Excessive hunger or eating
Polyuria (PU)
Excessive urination
A few hours after eating
Protamine Zinc Insulin
Once a day.  From latin: quaque die.  Same as s.i.d.  but not to be confused with q.i.d.
Four times a day.  From latin: quater in die
Once a day.  From latin semel in die
Subcutaneous.  Given beneath the skin.
Three times a day  from latin: ter in die
Transient diabetes
A period where the animal does not require exogenous insulin.  This period can last weeks, months, or years. Transient diabetes is not uncommon in cats, but it usually never occurs in dogs.

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Updated October 2000
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