14 year old cat- just diagnosed!

Discussion in 'Welcome to the Group - Post an Introduction Here' started by FauxxFox, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. FauxxFox

    FauxxFox New Member

    Jan 17, 2015
    Hello everyone! My 14 year old DSH Tabby was just diagnosed today with diabetes. She still has a normal ketone level, so she is not at the worst state just yet. However, her BG levels are pretty high right now.

    I was just wondering, for a couple of you guys, how you have dealt with older cats around 14 that have been diagnosed with diabetes. My family is a bit worried about the price of insulin and the food and we have considered a couple options regarding her quality of life, as she is an old cat. Has anybody had a cat with diabetes survive to be far older than 14?

    I know some people have had remission success and dramatic improvements with just diet change, while others have been giving insulin for years.
  2. Lisa and Witn (GA)

    Lisa and Witn (GA) Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Two my cats were 17 when diagnosed. With the proper care, you still should have several years with your cat. Witn was almost 20 years old when she crossed the bridge and it was from CRF and not diabetes. I lost the other, Rascal, to CRF also. Both were diagnosed with CRF several years before the diabetes.

    Diet should be a low carb/ high protein canned or raw food diet. Many of us feed our cats either Friskies or Fancy Feast canned food. No dry food - it is high in carbs. Pate flavors are lower in carbs and you want to avoid any flavors with gravy in the name.

    There are 4 insulins that work well in cats. Lantus and Levemir are human insulins. If your vet prescribes either one of these, ask for the prescription for the pens instead of vial. The issue with the vial is that the insulin will become ineffective long before you use it all. You will end up throwing a lot of it away. The pens are smaller containers of insulin and there are 5 pens to a package. Depending on your dose, one pack of pens could give you 9 months or more of insulin. Both manufactures often have discount coupons on their site for the pens and also, if you are in the US, you could check about buying it from Canadian pharmacies to save money. The other two insulins are PZI and Prozinc. These are animal insulins you would buy from your vet. All of these work well with cats.

    You also want to learn to hometest. This means using a glucose meter to test a drop of blood from your cat's ear before every shot. You can use either a pet meter or human one. We recommend the human meter because the strips are easier to purchase at your pharmacy and cheaper than the pet meter strips. The pet meter strips are usually purchased through a vet's office. You test before every shot to determine if it is safe to give the insulin and check if a dose change is needed. It also saves unnecessary trips to the vet just for testing.

    Many of us have older cats that were diagnosed with FD. To me, 14 is not old. With the proper care, you still may have several more years of time to spend with her.
  3. Elizabeth and Bertie

    Elizabeth and Bertie Well-Known Member

    Sep 6, 2010
    Hello and welcome to FDMB,

    14 is not actually that old for a cat these days. Cats are living longer than they used to.
    My diabetic boy was diagnosed at the age of 8 and will have his 16th birthday later this month. And I've known some diabetic cats on this forum to live into their late teens and beyond (I recall one here who lived to be 21...).

    Diabetes is a treatable condition, and, with good care, it need not shorten lifespan at all. A diabetic cat can live as long and healthy a life as a non-diabetic.:) My own cat was in pretty poor health when he was diagnosed. But treating his diabetes gave him a whole new lease of life.

    Yes, there are some costs involved in treating diabetes. But quite a few folks here are managing on pretty tight budgets. And there are ways to save money. (For example, it's not necessary to buy any fancy prescription food. A decent quality ordinary canned food is fine.)

    And who knows; your cat may even be one of the lucky ones that goes into remission! ;)

  4. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

    Oct 6, 2010
    If you're not using insulin yet, a diet change to low carb, over the counter canned food, such as the Friskies pates may drop the glucose level 100-200 mg/dL off the bat. There is a terrific food list at Cat Info that lists the percent of calories from each of protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Anything under 10% is OK for regular feeding, to start.

    Testing at home may result in numbers that are from 100-180 mg/dL lower than at the vet, so getting an inexpensive human glucometer, such as the WalMart ReliOn Confirm, matching test strips, and alternate site lancets will have you geared up for testing. We can coach you through it here.
  5. Squeaky and KT (GA)

    Squeaky and KT (GA) Well-Known Member

    Jul 19, 2011
    Welcome to the best place you never wanted to be! What's your kitty's name? My current diabetic is also 14 years old, he's nowhere near 'Old', just ask him. :) There's lots of ways to cut costs and make this all work.

    We have a wonderful 'Main Health' forum where you will find lots of additional information and can ask all sorts of questions! We look forward to seeing you there so we can all help you get your feet on the ground!

  6. FauxxFox

    FauxxFox New Member

    Jan 17, 2015
    Thank you everyone! I am new to everything diabetes, both feline and human, as I have never met anyone or any furry friend with diabetes.

    I have been doing research all day. My kitty's name is Jinxy, which is very fitting. The first day we got her she broke her leg. And a few years later she developed hepatitis lipidosis (fatty liver syndrome) but recovered. And now, diabetes. I am glad to hear many of you have cats that have reached older ages than 14, as I have always heard that is relatively old for a kitty.

    I am fortunate and work at a veterinary hospital so my veterinarians have suggested starting Jinxy on insulin and Science Diet M/D dry, which I've read reviews on and heard successful things with diabetic kitties. Luckily she is acting normally, aside from increased drinking and urination. I'm just trying to look at the best options as far as food and insulin as price is our main concern here. My family has no concern about monitoring BG and giving insulin, we are just looking for the best foods and insulin that lead to successful rates. Although I know it is not always possible, I am hoping to find a way to progress toward possibly taking Jinxy off insulin (that is, if we even start it) so it would be easier on my family financially.

    I appreciate everyones suggestions thus far and I am going to continue to do research prior to making any abrupt decisions. We are starting the M/D tonight. But that is all we have decided.
  7. phlika29

    phlika29 Well-Known Member

    Sep 14, 2014
    My cat remi was diagnosed at 15 and off the insulin just a few months later with the help of this forum.

    Dry food is not recommended for diabetic cats as it is just too high in carbohydrate. The recommendation is to feed a cat a wet food that has less then 10% of calories from carbohydrate

    Dr Pierson has a great list of foods that I would suggest you try over the hills dry. If you get the food right it can lower the blood glucose by 100 points if you are lucky.

  8. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2013
    Hi Jinxy and welcome to your and your caregiver. Like many new people on the FDMB, you introduced your cat but forgot to introduce yourself. Would you please share your first name with us?

    The Feline Health (the main forum) is the best place to post questions like you have. Hope to see you over there real soon.

    Wink was 12 I think when he was abandoned by his family at a cat shelter. He is 14 now and has just celebrated his 2 year gotcha day dannifursary today as a beloved member of my family. Cats can live long and healthy lives with diabetes. It does take a bit of extra care, but the bond you develop with your kitty is so amazing. Wouldn't trade those pajama parties for anything!
  9. FauxxFox

    FauxxFox New Member

    Jan 17, 2015
    It seems like a lot of people are having success rates with the insulin and food so I'm hoping she may go into remission and we can continue to monitor her BG throughout the rest of her life.

    And yes! My name is Katelyn. I am 21 years old, going to college in Florida and have had Jinxy now for 12 years so she has been with me the majority of my life.

    Out of curiousity, what insulin do you all recommend and where do you get it from? People have talked about two types of insulin that have had high success rates. Others have talked about getting pens versus vials. Our main concern here is money, not actually administering the medication. So I was wondering what everyone recommends and where everyone gets it from that is the least expensive in price.
  10. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

    Oct 6, 2010
    All of the insulins require syringes to give; we treat pens like mini-vials. It is more cost effective to get Lantus or Levemir in pens (US) or cartridges (Canada, where it is often less expensive!)
    ProZinc, and BCP PZI are 2 other insulins which may be used for cats.
    Lantus and Levemir are human insulins which may be used for cats.

    Cost should be evaluated on a per UNIT dose, not the cost of the vial or 5 pack of pens.
  11. FauxxFox

    FauxxFox New Member

    Jan 17, 2015
    We are looking into getting Lantus. My mom has done some research and has seen a cheaper version of Lantus called Relion (which is Humulin/Novolin-N). Does anyone know about this and if it is the same as Lantus and how good it is for cats? I heard it doesn't require a prescription so that makes me a bit weary.
  12. Larry and Kitties

    Larry and Kitties Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Humulin N/Novolin-N is NOT the same as Lantus. N insulin is shorter acting (does not last for 12 hours) and is not the best for most cats. However, it is better than no insulin
  13. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2013
    Lantus is a gentler, long lasting insulin that usually lasts 12+ hours in most cats. ECID Every Cat is Different. Some cats get longer duration out of one insulin than another one. Humulin and Novolin N are also called NPH insulins or lente insulins. Although some cats do get 10-12 hour duration, most cats only get 6-8 hours duration. That would mean you would need to give insulin 3 times a day, or leave your kitty without adequate insulin amounts for 4-6 hours, twice a day. It's like being on a roller coaster and you can probably imagine how uncomfortable your kitty could feel. NPH insulins cause very sudden, steep drops in the blood glucose (BG) levels so that careful monitoring of the BG levels at home help to keep your kitty safe.

    Wink was on Humulin N when he was first diagnosed. He did not do well, was unregulated for quite some time, so the shelter vet did switch him to Lantus.

    Lantus and Levimir also have a higher success rate (80%+) of getting cats into remission than the NPH insulins (<25%). With a proper low carb diet and some initial support from insulin injectiosn, many cats can heal their damaged pancreas and start producing insulin on their own. It can take some time to achieve this. Not all cats have enough beta cells left in their pancreas to heal and start producing insulin on their own. Some cats need insulin for life. Some need a few weeks to a few months of insulin. It's that ECID Every Cat is Different thing.

    A good low carb food can also help immensely in lowering the need for so much insulin. In combination with insulin, a low carb food can take the load off the pancreas, allowing it time to heal and start producing more insulin on it's own.

    The most important thing to remember is that your cat can live a long and healthy life, even with this diabetes diagnosis.

    Please join us on the Feline Health (The Main Forum) to post any more questions you may have.
  14. Fradysmom

    Fradysmom New Member

    Sep 19, 2017
    Hi, I'm Frady Cat's Mom. Frady is a 14 yr old neutered male, just DX with FB. He also has IBD, another complication. Had been feeding Royal Canin Rx limited ingredient rabbit PR, canned and dry, but switched to Blue Buffalo lim. Ingred. Duck canned food a few months ago. Both have higher carbs, so when FB was diagnosed, switched to Fancy Feast Classic pate.

    His condition was activated by treatment for a pancreatitis attack--a higher dosage of prednisolone (20 mg) than he had been on (5 mg). Also given a course of Clavamox that started a cascade of diarrhea that was unstoppable with Vet's arsenal of diarrhea meds. She never tested for FB. So when he started crashing we rushed to the Emergency Pet Hospital--blood work showed 477 BG, but luckily no ketones in urine. Predict had been weaned down to 12 mg at that time. This Vet recommended getting him back down to reg dose of 5 mg, or even lower to 2-1/2 mg. Have done that.

    Started insulin the next day because he was anorexic that night, couldn't eat. Started force feeding the next am and low dose insulin (1 is) X 2? Touch and go. I had another cat 20+ years ago that was diabetic. Vet did a curve in house, sent us home with insulin dosage based on that and said have a good life! Not much info available then and only urine testing. She was never really regulated properly and had many hypoglycemic events. Now I have the internet, hallelujah! And home monitoring. Have had experience with my mother's diabetes, so understand all that. His readings have been sketching because of the anorexia--yesterday am was 65 on my meter--had not eaten all night even though some dry was available. Day before reading was 101 at Vet's at 2:00 pm. They tested my monitor against theirs--mine 101, theirs 131.

    Today is first day he has eaten on his own--progress. Morning BG @114 with 2:00 am forced feeding. But he is weak in hind quarters, wobbly and still hiding out. Is this common--the initial anorexia and weakness--also acting weird with very loud vocalizations. What about the night insulin if they don't eat at night? I gave 1/2 dose last night and did a forced feeding at 2:00 am.

    Any advice? Thanks.
  15. Red & Rover (GA)

    Red & Rover (GA) Well-Known Member

    May 18, 2016
    Hi @Fradysmom and welcome.
    It would be best if you could start your own thread in the Main Health Forum where you will get more eyes. There are people on the forum who, like yourself, are dealing with multiple issues.

Share This Page