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Biological variation of serum insulin concentrations in healthy cats


The prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) in cats is increasing. It has been proposed that fasting concentrations of insulin and glucose can be used for screening of reduced insulin sensitivity in cats. Reduced insulin sensitivity may indicate that cats are at risk of developing DM and motivate early preventive actions such as weight reduction and change of diet. To correctly interpret results it is important to know the biological variation of insulin i.e. the normal variation of insulin between and within cats. For glucose, coefficient of variation (CV) for between and within cats is reported to be 8.1 and 6.8%, respectively, but until now there are no data of biological variation of insulin in cats.


To determine biological variation of insulin in healthy cats.


Healthy cats (n=5) were sampled in their home environment once a week for 5 weeks. Blood samples were drawn from the cephalic vein in the morning after >12 hour fast. Insulin was measured in duplicate by the previously validated Mercodia feline insulin ELISA. Nested analysis of variance was used for statistical calculations.


Insulin ranged from 71.8-304.5 (median 127.3) ng/L. CV between and within cats was 58.0% and 34.1%, respectively.


Biological variation of insulin within a cat is considerably higher than previously published results for glucose. This needs to be taken into account when interpreting insulin concentrations.

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Correspondence to Emma Strage.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Strage, E. Biological variation of serum insulin concentrations in healthy cats. Acta Vet Scand 57, O14 (2015).

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  • Public Health
  • Glucose
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Blood Sample
  • Veterinary Medicine