Adopted one week ago - Diabetes

Discussion in 'Welcome to the Group - Post an Introduction Here' started by smiley747, Jun 22, 2015.

  1. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    So, I adopted a 7 year old cat one week ago, only to notice problems when she came home and find out today that she's diabetic. I got her from the humane society, where I have adopted many pets over the years. I already have 4 cats and wasn't planning on adopting, but she was sweet and I wanted to give her a chance because she was older - We are kinda attached to her already, but I don't know if I can handle the financial, etc. responsibility of a diabetic cat. I've only had her a week. Seems a bit unfair, but she is very sweet. I don't want to give her away and she'd probably be put down??? if I brought her back, I don't even know if I'd have the heart to bring her back. UGh gotta be realistic. I can't keep her food separate from 4 other cats. I don't know what to do. We have a child involved. They always say give an older pet a chance and this is my first time doing that. This really sucks. I am such an animal lover. I am lost on this one.
     
  2. Lisa and Witn (GA)

    Lisa and Witn (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    There are ways to keep the costs down for caring for a diabetic cat. It will take some commitment from you to give her the care she needs, but it can be done economically.

    The first is by hometesting. This means using a human glucose meter to test before every shot. This will tell you if it is safe to give insulin and if the dose is working. Many of us use the Walmart Relion meters. They are very inexpensive to use but reliable. Don't worry, we can teach you how to test. Another advantage to hometesting is that you do not need to keep taking your cat back to the vet just to be tested. Their test is really not reliable anyway since vet stress can raise the glucose levels.

    Insulin - if the vet prescribes either Lantus or Levemir, ask for a prescription for the pens instead of vial. A package of pens will last a lot longer than a single vial of insulin. With the vial, the insulin becomes ineffective after a few months and you end up throwing away a lot of insulin. With the pens, you will be able to use almost every drop.

    Diet - the best thing for all of your cats is to change them over to a low carb/high protein canned food diet. Remove the dry food out of all of their diets. This is healthier for all of your cats and also reduces the chance that any of the other cats will develop FD. Plus it means you do not need to separate them when feeding. Many of us feed our cats either Friskies or Fancy Feast canned foods.

    At one time I had two diabetic cats (1 was adopted) and was unemployed at the time. And also had 4 other cats. So I know it can be done.
     
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  3. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

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    Jun 22, 2015
    I don't mean to seem like i'm uninterested. I just feel overwhelmed and it feels like a lot to take on because I just "met" this cat. It's not like we have an established bond for years like I have with my other pets. I have had them from very very young (my dog one year). Most are shelter pets. I've been really lucky health wise. Well, the food thing is a relief. So, I don't have to spend a fortune on special food? Friskies or fancy feast is okay? The vet mentioned prescription food. I feel bad for the little baby. She's very sweet. She came from a divorced couple who had her from kitten age for 7 years and gave her up. Neither of them wanted her. I suspect they knew she was sick when they turned her in. Of course I'm just guessing and that's neither here nor there. This is tough. Of course, I just found this out this morning so gotta soak it in. My husband and I plan to take weekend trips too, so I don't know how all this would work. :( Sad for the sweet little thing. Her name is Brandy. Thank you So much for taking the time to give me all of that information. Any idea (ball park) on the cost of insulin monthly? I know there are many different types, etc.
     
  4. Lori & Lulu

    Lori & Lulu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2015
    Welcome, and kudos for you for giving Brandy a chance. I`m Canadian, and I know lots of U.S. friends on this site purchase insulin online from Canada, apparently it`s much, much cheaper here. I`m sure someone will chime in soon with the names of online Canadian pharmacies.
     
  5. Lisa and Witn (GA)

    Lisa and Witn (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    We understand. Getting a diagnosis of diabetes is overwhelming. However, it is something that is very managable.

    A lot of vets try to push their prescription foods. Most of the times, cats stop eating them any way. For the Fancy Feast and Friskies, the pate flavors have lower carbs. Anything with gravy in it is higher in carbs and you want to avoid these.

    If you buy the pack of pens, depending on your dose, one package could last 9 months or more. So even though the initial cost may seem high, over a year, it is very economical. Some pharmacies will also sell you single pens to help bring the cost down. With any insulin, you want to start low and go slow. What this means is you start at a low dose, 1 - 2 units twice a day. Then over several weeks determine if an increase is needed and if so, only increase by 1/2 unit. Wait at least one week between increases to determine if another increase is needed. This is one benefit of hometesting. We can help you decide if an increase is needed. Another way to also save on insulin costs if your vet prescibes Lantus or Levemir is to order it from a Canadian pharmacy. If your vet prescribes ProZinc or BCP PZI, these will be ordered through your vet since they are animal insulins. All of them work well in cats. It has been several years since I have had diabetic cats, so some of the other members can give you estimates of the insulin costs.

    For the weekends you need to travel, see if there is someone that is at your vet's office that may consider being your pet sitter for the weekend. Or if you have a friend or relative that is willing to learn to hometest. You can also tell us where you are located, city & state only, and someone on the list may also have some recommendations for someone in your area.
     
  6. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2015
    You need some time to absorb the diagnosis and the information you have. Believe me we have all been through the shock of a diabetes diagnosis so we understand at least in part how you are feeling. Give yourself a chance to digest it all and then decide what is going to work best for you and your family. You have been thrown one heck of a curve ball and I can only imagine the internal struggle you are going through. :bighug::bighug::bighug:

    The cost of insulin will depend on the type of insulin you use and the dose your cat needs. Here is a link to info re: Canadian Pharmacies that are used by our American friends.

    http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/threads/insulin-from-canadian-pharmacies.49608/

    Lantus which I use, comes in small pens which if kept in the fridge can be used up. Larger vials tend to expire before they can be used up so there can be a lot of waste. So while the larger vials appear less expensive on the surface, the waste factor has to be a consideration and that of course will depend on what dose your cat needs. Most cats do NOT require large doses so the cost is no where near what it costs humans.

    There are a lot of variables so it's not easy or reasonable to give you a monthly estimate of costs. It can however be managed economically as others have said. Lots of people go on vacations and weekends away by finding a friend or neighbour to help so please don't let that be your only deciding factor.
     
  7. Shiloh & Rhonda (GA)

    Shiloh & Rhonda (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2015
    Smiley, I have a similar story. When I was in my last year of law school, actually the summer before, I adopted an older cat. 9 years old to be exact, and she had been at the shelter for over a year! For the first week I had her, this cat ate nothing! Not one thing! I took her to vet, who checked her over including her liver (worried about hepatic lipidosis), and he said that if I hadn't told him she wasn't eating, he would say I had a perfectly healthy cat. He wanted to do exploratory surgery, insert a stomach tube, etc., etc. Obviously only having her for a week and getting ready to start back to school, the finances weren't there. I couldn't imagine giving her up, but couldn't imagine spending that kind of money on a cat I just adopted. I asked the vet what my other options were, and he suggested syringe feeding. I did that with one of the Hills prescription food for two months! I was supposed to be doing two large syringes three times a day. But I got to thinking, if she keeps getting this much, she isn't going to be hungry and won't eat. So I started cutting back. I actually got down to one syringe every other day. I realize that sounds horrible, but I thought, maybe she really does have something going on healthwise and I am just delaying it and torturing her. After about a week of the every other day feeding, she woke me up one morning, just yelling at me! As I got up, she ran in the kitchen, sat down by her empty bowl and continued to yell at me. From that time on, for the next five years, she ate like a pig, and was the most loving cat. I lost her at 14 to kidney and liver failure. But I wouldn't have traded those five years for anything. It's completely a personal choice, and nobody is going to judge you if you feel that you just can't do it. But she could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you!
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015
  8. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Welcome to FDMB, the best place you never wanted to be.

    There are 4 things you'll need to manage your kitty's diabetes:
    - You - without your commitment, the following won't work.
    - Low carb over the counter canned or raw diet, such as many Friskies pates. See Cat Info for more info. If already on insulin, you must be home testing before changing the diet.
    - A long-lasting insulin such as ProZinc, Lantus, BCP PZI, or Levemir.
    - And home blood glucose monitoring with an inexpensive human glucometer such as the WalMart Relion Confirm or Target Up and Up (the pet ones will break your budget!).
     
  9. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    Well, the vet gave me an APPROXIMATE list of expenses should I try to care for Brandy. I have called around some of the low cost clinics and none of them could help with insulin costs, which I get. I considered trying to "re-home" her at a no-kill shelter. I've only called a couple. They said they were full and that I'd probably get the same answer at the others, but I will keep calling. I'm not even sure I could give her away, but I'm not sure I can keep her and take all of this on either. The vet guessed that she may live about 2 to 3 years if she gets this regulated. Of course that is just a guess, but it seems so short to put her through all of this :( This really sucks. Anyway, here's what the vet said...does this sound accurate??? I'm going blindly here.

    Good morning

    These are possible costs for diabetic maintenance



    W/D diet ( for diabetic patients) $38 for a 8# bag.



    Glargine insulin $ 90 We would have to adjust her dose depending on response and/ or if we try the diet. This is the cost per vial, I got it online. We do not carry insulin.

    Insulin syringes 100 u $ 14 per 100 count (online) I’ll give you a prescription for the insulin and the syringes. We can teach you how to administer the injections once you get the insulin and syringes

    Glucose curve $ 120 One week after we start her on insulin we need to do a glucose curve to evaluate her response to the insulin and adjust it if needed (decrease or increase the insulin dose)

    Fructosamine $ 115 This test has to be done every 6 to 9 month to make sure glucose ( sugar on the blood ) is regulated.
     
  10. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    I truly am lost here. I have a 3 senior pets at home (all currently healthy) and two one year old kittens/cats, in addition to Brandy. (plus a ten year old step daughter) I need to save my money for the medical expenses I know I will have with my seniors, but I don't want to dump Brandy like her other owner's did. They left her like this. Though, I suppose they had their own reasoning...
     
  11. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2015
    OK deep breathe!!!! You are obviously suffering from the shock of hearing all these costs and that is to be expected however, there are things you can do to lower those costs.

    I am in Canada and I don't know where you are located so I cannot speak to the cost of the Glargine in your neck of the woods. I also believe the vet may be quoting you the cost of a 10ml vial of insulin as opposed to the 5 pack of 3ml pen vials which while more expensive initially are actually MUCH MUCH MUCH more cost effective. Either that or you are in the US. You can however order Glargine from Canada for far less money.

    The other two things that pop off this page is the glucose curves and the fructosamine test. No matter what the vet tells you, you can do this without incurring all of those costs.

    Most of us here home test our cats with a human glucometer and run our own curves to see how kitty is doing. We fill in a ready made spreadsheet available on this site and then send a copy to the vet showing our home test numbers so we can get vet advise abut dosing.

    While vets will tell you the fructosamine test is a necessity and kind of the holy grail of making sure kitty is regulated, my recent experience shows that is not the case and I am educating my vet with my experience. I don't think most folks on this board bother with it.

    So while there is the the additional cost of testing strips if you home test, this all can be handled much more economically than what the vet is quoting you.

    Then there is the food he is recommending. There are several commercial brand foods that will NOT break the bank like the Rx stuff your vet is peddling and is also much healthier for your cat. Believe it or not, some people get their cats totally regulated on commercial food alone.

    I am not putting your vet down....you may have an excellent vet but most don't treat that many diabetic cats and just don't know all the tricks people here have to keeping costs down.

    I applaud you for taking in Brandy and for thinking this all through so thoroughly. I also applaud you for taking the health of your other pets into consideration. I would not want to be in your position and it's obvious you are really struggling with this but I don't want you to make decisions based on faulty information from your vet either.

    I'm sorry I can't write more just now as I have to go out but I am sure someone else will chime in with more info soon.

    If you would update your profile to show where you are located, we'll be able to give you a better estimate of the potential costs this adventure entails.

    Keep your chin up.....we'll help you figure this out and then you can make a decision knowing you have enough information to be comfortable that you've made the right decision for you and your current crew.

    :bighug::bighug:
     
  12. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015

    Hi - Well, not only is the diabetes new to me, but so is the vet. This is an animal hospital affiliated with the humane society and my other vet is too far away (I moved in the last few months) I am located in Florida, in the U.S. Yes, I am really struggling with this because of all the different reasons.
     
  13. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2015
    One other thing I forgot to mention.......a cat that is well regulated can live to a ripe old age so don't let the vet's comments scare you off. There are numerous people on this board who can attest to this! A cat not receiving treatment could very well take a couple of years to succumb to the diabetes. When treated that just isn't the case.

    Just saw your other note and can see the new vet is just adding to the situation here. Being affiliated with the Humane Society may or may not be a good thing. His experiences with some of the cases they see may be influencing his take on this.

    I really have to go right now but I'm sure others will chime in shortly and I will check back in with you a little later.

    I wish I could come give you a hug! You need one! :bighug:
     
  14. Oreo's human

    Oreo's human Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2015
    Just a little more encouragement. My cat was diagnosed in March and has not been well regulated. I have really started diving in by changing his food and testing his sugar. In two weeks, he is doing fantastic. I took him off the commercial Rx diets and have gone to regular foods and with the assistance of these great people. His glucose levels are good and his is happy. I haven't seen him so well in awhile. A little bit of effort and I have seen a huge response. It is totally over whelming at first but I promise you are not alone. This site really rocks!
     
  15. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2015
    @Oreo's human ...I am so glad to hear things are going so well for you and Oreo.

    I cannot imagine the struggle this poor woman is going through. I get attached to furry creatures in a heartbeat too. She was being so kind hearted adopting an older cat, it really sucks she got dealt this card to play! I really hope Smiley sees your encouraging story! ,
     
  16. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    Yes, I saw the responses. Thank you Mrwolfmen's and everyone! I am still struggling with everything. It's a bit stressful, but we'll see how it goes. Thank you for all of your messages!!!
     
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  17. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

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    Feb 18, 2015
    @smiley747 -thanks for the update. Please keep us posted and if you need any help, don't hesitate to ask!:DWe have a fountain of knowledge amongst the folks here and you might get some tips to bring your stress level down!
     
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  18. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    Question...I got a quote for the insulin glargine 100 ml 1 vial of $298 - Is that correct?? for ONE vial??!!! If a cat needs twice a day, how long does one vial last? I can not afford that right now. I didn't think it was THAT expensive
     
  19. Shiloh & Rhonda (GA)

    Shiloh & Rhonda (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2015
    Yeah, that is about right, in the US. But think about it. The vial contains 1000 units, if I am remembering correctly. If you are giving 2 units twice a day, that is almost 9 months. See if you can get the vet to prescribe the pens. You can sometimes get the pharmacy to dispense 1 pen for much cheaper.
     
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  20. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Also check your local Craigslist if you are in the USA.
    There may be a Canadian pharmacy you could use such as this one.
     
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  21. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    well, it says on the prescription that it is one hundred units, not one thousand. so i thought that was only like 2 months - way expensive. 9 months would be okay
     
  22. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    i'm not quite sure the glucose reading i'm supposed to be aiming for. the other day (without eating dinner) hers was 304 - i know that is high. Tonight - about 5 hours after her dinner and recently after several small snacks it was 319.
    This is on no insulin yet. I know it's high but is that a super high number??? I'm trying. I had a volunteer come over the other day to help show me how to take the blood, so I got that part down thank goodness. She doesn't LOVE it, but at least I can do it
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015
  23. Shiloh & Rhonda (GA)

    Shiloh & Rhonda (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2015
    It is 100 units/ml, the vial is 10 ml. So 1000 units per vial.
     
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  24. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

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    Jun 22, 2015
    Gotcha! Don't have a clue lol So, at that price that's roughly $33 a month then is not THAT expensive if that was the case. but everyone says its like $85 to $150 a month - i know it depends on a TON of things though.
     
  25. Shiloh & Rhonda (GA)

    Shiloh & Rhonda (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2015
    Normal range for a cat not on insulin is 50-120. Well regulated, I believe, is 150-200. 319 is a high number, but not super high. Can you remind me what you are feeding?
     
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  26. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

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    Jun 22, 2015
    ohh i see, so it's way high then since she's not on insulin. She is getting friskies or 9 lives canned only. for about the past week and a half. (I've only had her just over 2 weeks or so) Her first blood test (at the vet) was 460. I know going to the vet makes it higher too
     
  27. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    her blood test results report show the range for glucose to be 64 to 170 mg/dl as normal I guess
     
  28. Shiloh & Rhonda (GA)

    Shiloh & Rhonda (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2015
    When do you plan on starting on the insulin?
     
  29. Shiloh & Rhonda (GA)

    Shiloh & Rhonda (GA) Well-Known Member

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    May 9, 2015
    Since you are home testing, can I try to help set up a spreadsheet for you?
     
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  30. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

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    Jun 22, 2015
    well i was finishing the antibiotics and hoping the diet would make a dent. dont have the money for the insulin yet either. doing the best i can at the moment. wer were hopiong that maybe it was just a uti and not diabetes but i guess not :(
     
  31. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    i wanted to give her a chance at her age, but i wasn't planning on adopting a diabetic cat from the shelter either. causing a lot of stress in our household. but we are doing our best to care for her. she is pretty sweet.
     
  32. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2015
    These numbers are based on the use of a lab blood analyser calibrated for cats or a pet glucometer.


    These numbers are the numbers you will be working with using a human meter. They are lower because a human meter reads the cat's blood a little lower. The human meters are used by the majority of folks here and a lot of vets due to the pet meters and their strips being far more expensive.

    No meter will read exactly the same as a lab analyser and usually the tests done at the vet are elevated anyway so you don't need to be concerned about the different numbers being quoted. Both are correct. You just need to know which numbers you are working with.

    I know all this sounds like a lot to take in right now, but we will help you get it all straight and you'll feel much better about the situation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015
  33. Shiloh & Rhonda (GA)

    Shiloh & Rhonda (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2015
    @Marje and Gracie , I tried to create a spreadsheet for Brandy. This is the link. Unfortunately, I am not sure what to do with it now. Or how to allow Smiley to take it over and add the numbers. Can you help?
     
  34. Marje and Gracie

    Marje and Gracie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Thank you, Rhonda :bighug:

    The link isn't working so it has to be published. I'll send you a PM with some instructions because it involves personal email addresses to transfer ownership.
     
  35. Maggies Mom Debby

    Maggies Mom Debby Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Did you say antibiotics? Why is Brandy getting antibiotics? Infection can cause an increase in blood glucose levels.
     
  36. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    When you have a moment, could you add a few tidbits to your signature? It will help us give you feedback.

    Editing your Signature

    In the upper right corner of the screen, within the dark blue bar, you will see ID, Inbox, and Alerts

    Click on your ID.

    On the left, under Settings, Click on Signature.
    This is where you will put information that helps us give you feedback.
    This is where you paste the link for your spreadsheet, once it is set up.
    Add any other text, such as
    your name,
    cat's name,
    date of Dx (diagnosis)
    insulin
    meter
    general location (city and state/province)
    any other pertinent issues like if there are any food issues, history of DKA, hepatic lipidosis, pancreatitis, allergies, IBD, etc.
    Click the Save Changes button at the bottom.

    Always click the Save Changes button at the bottom when you have changed anything.
     
  37. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

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    Jun 22, 2015
    the vet said she had some sort of infection - probably a UTI
     
  38. Maggies Mom Debby

    Maggies Mom Debby Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    So, is the infection gone? No more symptoms? If the UTI is gone and her BG is still high, it isn't just caused by the infection.

    As I said, having an infection can raise glucose levels all by itself. We have seen cats whose BG levels will return to normal after a dental. On the other hand, UTI's are pretty common with diabetics. Monitoring Brandy's BG levels will be very important in keeping her safe.
     
  39. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    well, I don't know if the infection is gone. How would the vet determine that? It seems hard to tell if it comes with diabetes or stands on it's own. I don't know her symptoms before she came to me a few weeks ago. All she had that I noticed was drinking too much water, which is how this whole thing got started. She drinks normally now and urinates normally. She behaves fine. She grooms herself. She eats fine. Not sure what else to look for
     
  40. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2015
    When did she finish the antibiotics? Have you been checking her BG readings since the course of antibiotics got finished? If she is drinking normally, peeing normally etc. it's quite possible it was the infection but her BG numbers should be way down if the infection has been cleared for a few days and that was the reason for the high numbers. The excess drinking and urinating could have been from the infection. Fingers crossed!
     
  41. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

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    Jun 22, 2015
    I checked it a few days ago. The numbers were the same. Don't think the infection is the reason for the numbers.
     
  42. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2015
    Can you check it again and see where she is now? Not sure how long it would take for the BG elevation to clear from an infection. This might be a long shot but it's worth checking.
     
  43. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

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    Jun 22, 2015
    okay so do I check it before her dinner or after?
     
  44. Maggies Mom Debby

    Maggies Mom Debby Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
  45. smiley747

    smiley747 Member

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    Jun 22, 2015
    Well, for those interested her number last night was 350, but that was after she ate. My husband didn't tell me that he had already fed her (grrrr) so I put her through that (she was NOT happy this time) for nothing
     
  46. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Quick note: Most of the Friskies pates on the list at Cat Info are low carb. There may be some newer ones out that are not on the list. If so, you can use this online calculator to get some estimates of the calories from each of protein, fat, and carbohydrate, then calculate the percent of total calories from each source.
     
  47. Shiloh & Rhonda (GA)

    Shiloh & Rhonda (GA) Well-Known Member

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    May 9, 2015
    BJ, just to clarify for me, and anybody else that may be wondering, are we looking at the wet matter or the dry matter carbs?
     
  48. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    Oct 6, 2010
    It calculates both wet matter and dry matter carbohydrates as weight based values.
    However, what we want is the percent of calories from each of protein, fat, and carbohydrate. The calculator provides the calories for each and the total calories, so we must do the math.
     

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