7-year-old best buddy just diagnosed

Discussion in 'Welcome to the Group - Post an Introduction Here' started by orangeollie, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. orangeollie

    orangeollie New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2019
    Hi there! We're so happy to have found this community.

    I'm the proud best human of a 7 y/o ginger kitty. She was fit and active when she was younger, jumping around for anything, then moved into a home with my partner's cat who was more of a grazer. She took advantage of that food grazing, got a bit chubby as time passed, and despite some food limiting and vet-diet-foods, she remained chubby for some time. 2017 she was peeing in funny places, so we had a full blood panel and urine test completed, everything came back normal and we were happy campers.

    Cut to the past few weeks, she was looking slim so I weighed her and she had lost about 4-5 pounds since her last visit (outside of 2018's physical and rabies shot), and she was drinking a lot of water. One evening she vomited, which is very out of character for her, and we headed off to the vet. The changes:

    Spring 2017: BG level during blood test was 7.1
    April 9, 2019: BG level during blood test was 24.1

    Starting April 10, she's been on 1 unit of insulin 2x daily. So we're only on day two here, but we're all in good spirits about it. I do B12 shots on myself, so the needles weren't intimidating and she's just purred right through them. Her urine came back today (April 11) and she has an infection, which apparently is common around a diabetes diagnosis, and she's going to be on Avanticlav (spelling?) starting today once I go pick it up, which seemed like a quick "nip it in the butt" scenario when I spoke with my vet.

    I'd love to hear if anyone has had experience with such a young kitty and DB. I'm hoping her young age and newfound lightfootedness will perk her odds better towards remission, combined with our complete dedication to helping her.

    The vet will be doing her initial BG tests (weekly) until her levels are more regulated, and they said I could get into home testing as well. I have yet to find a conclusive answer for human vs. feline glucometers and would also love to hear about any experiences that this community has had. At local drug stores, human glucometers are free with the purchase of 100 strips, which is about $83-100 depending on brand. The vet's purple (I think ATrak) metre will be roughly $80 for the metre and 50 strips, with new packs of strips being $34 for $50, which is cheaper than human ones, seemingly. Open to insights!
     
  2. Larry and Kitties

    Larry and Kitties Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Some caretakers are now using the Relion (Walmart) Premier which comes in different models. See:
    https://www.diabetesdaily.com/blog/blood-glucose-meter-review-relion-premier-blu-and-voice-590726/
    Strips are about $18/100. Caretakers used to use the Relion Confirm or Micro confirm but the strips and meters have been discontinued.
    There is also the Relion Prime.
    Human meters read a little lower than pet meters like the AlphaTrak. However, the strips for pet meters are a lot more expensive. I use a human meter.
    BG value taken at the vet are typically higher than those at home due to vet stress. They can be 100 (US units) or more points higher.
     
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  3. orangeollie

    orangeollie New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2019
    I'll have to check out my local store, as even a "use most of the time" tool, this seems very affordable when compared to others and compared to the ATrak. I should have noted that I'm in Canada, though, and it doesn't appear that our stores show anything online. With that being said, I'm close to the border, but the exchange rate might not make it worth it anyhow. I'll check out my local store :)
     
  4. Idjit's mom

    Idjit's mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2018
    Good morning and welcome to FDMB. What a pretty little girl! Thank you so much for taking the time to create your signature so that we can see Ollie's information. That's a great help. Would you please edit the signature to include what kind of insulin Oliie is on?
    We have many Canadian members who use human glucometers, and if you would post in the Main Health forum asking for input and suggestions, I know you will get responses.

    Home testing is the best way to keep Ollie safe and to see how the insulin is affecting her. We use a spreadsheet here to record the insulin and testing data if you would like to get that set up in advance and be ready to start recording when you begin testing.
    http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/threads/fdmb-spreadsheet-instructions.130337/
    http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/threads/understanding-the-spreadsheet-grid.156606/

    I also recommend that you visit www.catinfo.org which is an excellent resource about feline nutrition. We recommend a low carb wet diet for sugar cats, for all cats really. The dry food is very high in carbs and contributes to the sugar levels in the blood. This would make it much more difficult to regulate the blood sugar or get Ollie to remission.
    Dr. Pierson, who created the nutrition website, has also compiled a food chart with the percentages of protein, fat, phosphorus, carbs and calories in very many commercial brands. If you would care to ask our Canadian members what food they feed their diabetic cats, I'm certain you are going to get suggestions.

    Just to let you know, when Idjit was diagnosed, we learned to home test, transitioned off dry food, and with a very short time of insulin therapy, he went into diet controlled remission. This doesn't always happen, but there is hope.
    You want to be home testing before you would begin a diet transition, as the low carb food can significantly lower the blood sugar level, and you would want to be very aware of BG levels to prevent a hypoglycemic event.

    Let us know how we can help further. We can direct you to links that will provide information about your specific needs and questions, while you learn to navigate the board.

    Best wishes going forward. :cat:
     
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  5. orangeollie

    orangeollie New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2019

    Hi there! Thank you so much Idjit's Mom!

    I've added my (not super informative - yet) spreadsheet details to the signature, as well as adding her insulin variety.

    The vet does have a vet food variety of the same brand/diabetic Rx that the dry food is of (we grabbed some for treat days for her) that perhaps I can look at transitioning to as we move through the dry food and get into home testing. Since we'll be at the vet regularly for monitoring and testing her at the beginning, that doesn't seem like it should be a problem, but "hot darn" it's worth a pretty penny. They may have cases, I hope. Perhaps that'll please both sides of the fence AND help her on her road to recovery! Thanks!

    I'll check out the other areas and hopefully connect with some other Canadian sugar kitties :) Thanks again.
     
  6. Idjit's mom

    Idjit's mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2018
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  7. Larry and Kitties

    Larry and Kitties Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Based on other posts from Canadians, meters/strips are more expensive than in the USA but human insulins suitable fro cats like Lantus and Levemir are a lot less expensive in Canada and no prescription is even required. Caninsulin (called Vetsulin in USA) is sutime prescribed but a vet and is not really suitable for ats and was developed for dogs.
     
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  8. orangeollie

    orangeollie New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2019
    Interesting! I’ll look forward to hearing from the others that were tagged in. She’s on Lantus as of now, which was $100/100 units. Doesn’t seem too bad. I returned to the vet today, they confirmed the ATrak is $80 and strips are $100/50, or $2 each, whereas human ones with a free meter seem to run about $100/100 strips. Not opposed to the extra cost if it’s whats best, but if there’s no difference I’d rather save money for future expense.
     
  9. AmandaE

    AmandaE Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2019
    Hi @orangeollie!

    I'm also new to having a diabetic cat, he's definitely older than Ollie but I can offer up some of my experiences and thoughts as a fellow Canadian in hopes that they will help you get adjusted.

    I recommend getting your diabetic supplies from Shoppers Drugmart. You can use your optimum card and optimum points to your advantage when it comes to paying for test strips. If you pay attention to when there is 20x the points events to purchase your strips you can rack a ton of points up fast, which you can in turn use as actual money towards more diabetic supplies!! I specifically recommend signing up for their email list so that you can know when they have 20x the points deals.

    Shoppers also has the BD ultra fine 100u syringes which have half unit measurements in case you eventually need to do more fine dosing than whole units. They are about $40 /100... I didn’t really shop around for these ones.

    I ended up deciding on the freestyle lite human glucometer, it is $79.99 / 100 strips and the lancets are $11.00 / 100. Additionally the lancets are 28 gauge which is the size that was recommended to me from the forum. That being said. If you don’t plan to use the lancet pen, and you plan to hand prick Ollie’s ear instead (I personally prefer the hand prick) you can basically buy whatever is cheapest. They are all around $10-12 for 100 at Shoppers. I also like the freestyle lite because it requires very little blood and reads very quickly.

    Another tip I got on the forum which was surprising and mega helpful to me was that in Canada you can actually get lantus over the counter at the pharmacy! I was so shocked about it but I confirmed it with my pharmacist so... no need for another vet bill to get a prescription.

    You will save so so so much money if you test at home, the savings make it easy to justify paying for test strips for sure.

    I have less advice on food but: if you do plan to switch to wet food Walmart has 32 packs of Friskies Pates for around $18 ($0.56/156g cans) and petvalu has a sweet deal on right now for Fancy feast that is 10 cans for $5.00 until April 14th a bargain I was able to take advantage of thanks to @MrWorfMen's Mom

    TLDR; Shoppers, freestyle lite, lantus available over the counter :p
     
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  10. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2015
    Hi from a fellow Canadian! I'm in Toronto.

    I am the "best human" of an extra sweet little girl who is now in remission thanks to what her human learned here and she was just past her 4th birthday when diagnosed. She also has a secondary somewhat rare condition which made her a little more of challenge than most. She lives up to her name...Menace.... in all aspects of her life and I wouldn't have it any other way! :woot:

    I was going to ask you where you found AT2 meter strips for $34/50 strips because the cheapest I ever found were at The Pet Pharmacist and their current price is $92.68 plus tax ($104.73 total) for 50 strips. I used a pet meter initially because I didn't know a human meter was an option and even when I did find out, I didn't want to confuse communications with my vet early in our journey. Eventually I got to the point where I wasn't consulting my vet regularly and switched to a human meter. While a pet meter will give you readings more equivalent to animal lab values than a human meter, the methods and protocols here are written for use with human meters. Pet meters are actually a relatively new tool and human meters have been used for cats far longer. All you need to know is what normal range is on the human meter and when to take action to ensure BG doesn't drop too low. Knowing what I know today, I'd recommend just getting a human meter. Not only are the strips much more economical (although our prices are higher than in the US) but you also don't pay 13% sales tax on them and they are readily available locally.

    Come join us on the Health Forum with any and all questions/concerns you have. I look forward to getting to know you and Ollie better!
     
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  11. Ti-Mousse

    Ti-Mousse Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Hello and welcome to this Forum!
    I'm Canadian and mom of Ti-Mousse 5 y.o. diabetes cat diagnosed last November. As Linda (MrWorfMen's Mom) said for the meters, most of us are using human meters (I'm using FreeStyle Lite free meter at the purchase of 100 strips) and the protocols refer to numbers from human meters which will be alot easier for you to follow! My vet suggested the AlphaTrak but the strips were so expensive that I decided to go with a human meter. It's wonderful that you are ready to home test; this is the main key to achieving good results.
    Looking at your SS, you're using the US SS instead of WORLD which we use in Canada. Instructions: http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/threads/fdmb-spreadsheet-instructions.130337/
    Definetely dry food should be changed to low carb wet food; there is a list of low carb food which a lot of members are referring to: https://catinfo.org/docs/CatFoodProteinFatCarbPhosphorusChart.pdf. Transitioning from dry to wet should be done carefully as BG will be affected.
    Read the yellow Stikies and keep posting, we are there to help little Ollie ! :bighug:
     
  12. orangeollie

    orangeollie New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2019
    Hi Amanda! This is awesome. Having a Shoppers within a 1km radius of our house is a must, I don't know why I didn't think of this! I've been saving those darn Optimum Points, and she's definitely worth spending them on. Great idea! Last time they did "Spend $50 or more" I ended up with an extra $20 in points, so not too shabby. Gotta love Shoppers! Also, good point on the 13% sales tax/lack of. Brilliant.

    How did you transition out of your vet's advice/animal meter to more self-managing here with a human meter?

    I'm open to any advice on hand prick vs. lancet; Ollie isn't too fussy about me (the vet techs, different story) picking and prodding at her. She's used to being attacked with love from me hah.

    The vet is $19+tax per test. While I'm definitely willing to pay to have them test her in order to manage insulin dosages, even buying THEIR meter is only the cost of 4 visits. Crazy! My vet has also said that the human ones are acceptable, so it's nice to know that they aren't feeding me bull about only trusting the ATrak/their meter. The food, on the other hand, I intend to ask about when we return next week.

    Thanks so much for the advice! Glad your
     
  13. Ti-Mousse

    Ti-Mousse Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Lantus or Levemir are not expensive in Canada. For the strips, that's what I was paying $2 each.... when I saw people testing 8-10 times a day :woot: I switched meter!
     
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  14. AmandaE

    AmandaE Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2019
    Shoppers ftw! I love it too!!

    It was pretty easy for me actually, because poor Mowgli got off to such a rocky start with our vet. Unfortunately due to what I saw as high dosages and sporadic dosing schedules (even though I was boarding him at the vet and was paying for someone to come in every 12 hours for a shot) I wasn't left with a lot of faith that they had a good understanding of feline diabetes, even if they had great intentions... I came to this conclusion when I did some of my own research on the insulin he was prescribed at the time (Caninsulin) in which they were giving a higher start dosage than the actual Caninsulin website recommended. SO... that's how I came to trust an online forum for dosage advice over my vet.

    As far as becoming comfortable self managing dosage, I still am not! I rely heavily on the lantus experts (shoutout @Wendy&Neko ) to provide advice along the way. That being said, in the lantus forum there is a ton of information on which type of regulation will be right for you and then there is step by step instructions on how to choose a starting dosage, when is the appropriate time to change dosage, and how to treat problems like hypoglycemia. These methods are well tested by so many on the forum, and Mowgli has been getting along well since I took charge of his treatment that it gives me faith that the steps work!

    For me, using a human blood meter was a no brainer... I did some research online including reading some papers and watching some youtube videos and thought to myself... why wouldn't I measure my cat's Blood Glucose (BG) myself!? I can do it! and it's safer for dosing. I also was nervous that Mowgli's BG readings at the vet would have been false since he gets so stressed at the vet. I also felt more comfortable leaving for work after dosing Mowgli when I could be sure that his BG levels were high enough to handle the dose in the first place.

    I will say though, it's hard to go against the advice of a vet because of course they are the experts, so I use a combination of online research, consultation with the forum, and consultation with our new vet to decide what is best for us. I will say that he was very supportive of me testing using a human meter so that set my mind at ease as well.

    When I said hand prick, I did mean with the lancet... hand prick with the lancet, as opposed to using a lancet pen ;)

    While $19 / test is definitely a bargain, I would say in this case that the cost isn't the point. You want to be tracking Ollie's BG so that you can be sure he can handle an insulin dose at all I think the importance of this will become more clear as you read the stickies in the main health forum and the lantus insulin forum. Also, you can provide your vet with access to Ollie's spreadsheet and they can see his non stress affected, more accurate BG levels and provide insight into appropriate dosing for him. You can have it all! Help from the forum! Help from yourself! Help from your vet!!!!

    I have a really good feeling about Ollie, I think you can get him under control, big time :D
     
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  15. Larry and Kitties

    Larry and Kitties Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    I think/hope you mean $100 for 10 ml which is 1,000 units. Lantus is a U100 insulin which means that there are 100 units per ml. Lantus is supplied as 10 ml vials and in 3ml pens/cartridges.
     
  16. Wendy&Neko

    Wendy&Neko Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Shoppers near me (west coast) charges way more than anyone else so it doesn’t pay to shop there. Safety pharmacy is way cheaper for insulin supplies. Some people get test strips on eBay for a lot cheaper price. I live near the border and cross border shopped every few months,
     
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  17. AmandaE

    AmandaE Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2019
    Oh interesting! I don’t have many options from a pharmacy diversity point and live about a 5 hour drive from the closest city, but shoppers prices were very similar to the other pharmacy’s in town as well as amazon prices so that’s where optimum points put them into the spotlight as my best option.

    I should have a look on eBay though because I can say that test strip costs are sooo extravagant.

    Also: very jealous of our American friends with their cheapie cheapie strips. Even if we get the advantage of more affordable insulin ;)
     
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  18. orangeollie

    orangeollie New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2019
    I'm close-ish to the border, but the dollar might not be of much use. Shoppers here seems to straddle the line for most things. Thanks!
     
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  19. orangeollie

    orangeollie New Member

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    Apr 10, 2019
    The pack says 100 units/10ml on it, but it is Lantus.
     
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  20. Larry and Kitties

    Larry and Kitties Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    can you post a photo of what the pack says?
    Maybe it says 100 units per ml or maybe just U100.
     
  21. orangeollie

    orangeollie New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2019
    Thank you so much Amanda! Appreciate all the insights and positive kitty love!
    I've ordered a BG monitor so I should be on track to share with them; we're visiting the vet tomorrow so I'll ask what way of communicating her regular numbers is best for them and co-ordinating. I'll also check out the Lantus thread, thank you so much!


    Makes sense to me!
    I posted a pic of what they gave me here. If that helps!
     
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  22. Larry and Kitties

    Larry and Kitties Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    The image includes, like I expected, 100 Units/Unités/mL. 100 units per mL.
     

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