Advice on doing BG tests at home much needed!

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (Welcome & Main Forum)' started by Mhanson07, Jan 13, 2020 at 1:36 PM.

  1. Mhanson07

    Mhanson07 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2019
    Hello All! My name is Molly and my 10-year-old short hair Douglas (Dougie) was diagnosed with diabetes on 12/28/2019. I have started to administer insulin morning and night (ProZinc U-40) 7am & 7pm. I have also been trying to read up on everything I can, and I am so overwhelmed. Injections are really hit or miss. All the example injection videos I see make it look easy, and sometimes it is, but some days he whips his head and body around making it near impossible to give the shot without potentially hurting him (he did this once with the needle in and I'm afraid it might have hurt him and turned him off to the process). He also does not have a lot of extra skin on the scruff so I have been experimenting with the front "armpit area" on either side, as there is a lot of extra skin there, but he seems more sensitive in that area. If I can grab the scruff the right way it always goes in easily.

    I also have just received the AlphaTrak2 BG test monitor kit and am now even more overwhelmed. He gets so ancy before feeding times I have no idea how to get him still long enough to poke him. I attempted to test for the first time last night in the ear and paw and it did not go well.

    Blood Testing is where I seem to have the most need for information as I have yet to successfully test, and from what I've read it is very important to home test. As well as information on blood glucose testing, any tips, tricks, treats, or just general advice on how to ease into this process for an overwhelmed newbie and nervous/ confused critter would be sooo appreciated, because right now I feel like I am bombing. (Please explain like I am 5)

    Thank you so much in advance!!!
     
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  2. Kate & Toby

    Kate & Toby Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2019
    Hey molly, welcome! And a big hey to Dougie. First of all a massive well done, you seem to already have a good grasp of the basics, please do stay, the guys on this forum are AMAZING and will help you get Dougie feeling tip top again.

    With regards to your questions. First of all, be kind to yourself, this is a tough gig for a sugar cat mummy too. It's never easy to begin with, given some practice you and your boy will soon get to grips with the shots and the tests.

    We find that treats are the key to happy testing. You can either buy low carb treats or you can just use a piece of cooked chicken etc. Soon Dougie will associate tests and shots with a treat.

    Maybe dont stress about the testing, just have the kit out and let him see and smell it and give him low carb treats, that way he wont associate bad times with seeing the kit. Soon kit will equal treat.

    We usually start off with diet as a starting point. So give us some more info on what Dougie eats, dry or wet, how often etc.

    Where in the world are you and Dougie living? This will help others in making recommendations (add to your already super signature)

    Prozinc is a good insulin, an unusual first choice of insulin so perhaps give us some background to how your cat was diagnosed and what led to that choice of insulin. How much insulin are you giving?

    Stick around, you wont regret it. Xx
     
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  3. Amina&M'row

    Amina&M'row Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2019
    Welcome to both of you, and purrs & earscritches too. When M'row was first diagnosed, I was sooooo stressed out, so I feel for you a whole lot.I kept on reading here, looking at videos, and after a while everything mellowed out fine. A lot of folks use & like the tenting method for giving insulin. I prefer lying him on his side, squashed up against my thigh. Then I part his longish hair until I see skin, pop the needle in almost parallel to skin, slide it in there, and inject. You cant do this over a bony area, or where there's a lot of underlying muscle (like the back legs, front legs. You don't have to try this way, of course. And if you think you've given a fur shot, where some or all of insulin got on fur but not inside kitty, everybody says Do Not Give Any More Insulin to make up for this. Blessings, love, and purrs. It does get easier pretty fast. Oh, something else: some vets R great with feline diabetes, some just awful. Not a lot of FD training in vet school: so many animals, so little time. Anyway, if your vet tells you to do or not do something that seems weird to you, you can run the issue past everyone her. Just put "911" at the beginning of the post so people will see it's urgent and look at it
     
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  4. Amina&M'row

    Amina&M'row Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2019
    And I forgot to mention that well cared sugar kitties live as long as anybody else :)
     
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  5. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    DO NOT PUT 911 on your post unless a genuine medical emergency. Cat seizing, comatose, etc. (You should be going to an emergency vet first anyway instead of posting here).

    HI reading on your meter. Not an emergency.
    Cat sleeping more than usual? Not an emergency.

    Much better to:
    1. Write a new post at the end of your thread. Click on post reply.
    2. If you have a question, go to the top of your original thread.
    3. Go over to the right hand side of the screen.
    4. Click on Edit Thread.
    5. A black box appears.
    6. Change the thread prefix to ?
    7. Change the post title to reflect your question.
    8. Save changes after you have changed the post title.

    p.s. Hi Molly!
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020 at 4:23 PM
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  6. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    • The 911 prefix in the subject line should only be used for emergencies such as symptomatic hypos, very low numbers (below 30 on a human meter), and/or very sick cats potentially needing ER care. Please remove the 911 as soon as someone has responded and you have received help.

     
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  7. CarolinaGirl

    CarolinaGirl New Member

    Joined:
    Monday
    Hi Sally - I'm also new here; my Maisy was diagnosed this afternoon, and I've been a wreck ever since. Like you, I'm overwhelmed. Maisy also has IBD and a thyroid issue, so adding diabetes to the mix has knocked me back. I'm grateful you posted and will keep reading the responses coming in so that I don't feel so alone. Right now, though, I really just want to cry.:(
     
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  8. Mhanson07

    Mhanson07 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2019
    Thank you all for the replies and the info! It is a good feeling to know that Dougie and I are not going through this alone and that it will get easier. I took your advice and got some treats (high protein, all meat, low carb, no grain) and gave one to Dougie after he sniffed around the testing equipment- no test administered, just getting comfortable :), and another after he got his insulin shot about 30 minutes later.

    To give a little more information:

    Dougie was previously eating Fancy Feast wet food with some kibble on top, but when diagnosed, switched to Purina ProPlan Vet DM wet food- 3/4 can morning and night. He is on 2 units of ProZinc in the morning and 2 units at night. This was the only option of insulin I was given at the time by the vet.

    I had initially noticed an increase in water intake, he would even lick the shower floor when it was wet. I was unaware this was a symptom of diabetes at that time. It wasn't until I came home from work one day and noticed him limping and not being able to stand on his back paw pads that I knew something was wrong. Unfortunately, he had developed neuropathy in both of his back legs.
     
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  9. Mhanson07

    Mhanson07 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2019
    Hello there! Before I posted I was actually pretty teary-eyed reading through other sites and information trying to make sense of it all. I am so grateful I found this forum because I was feeling very alone and nervous up until now. It is very comforting to know other people are in the same boat, as well as knowing that there are so many people here that have been where we are and can help guide us. Good luck to you, fellow cat mom! May we get through this with ease.
     
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  10. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Hi Molly, Deep breath, hold , release, deep breath, hold release. Now repeat after me "I've got this". "I can do this". All these people here will do their very best to help me and my kitty."

    We may not be vets, but we are dedicated diabetic cat owners with a wealth of knowledge to share.

    You can shoot the insulin in many spots. Here are Marje and Gracies shooting tips http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/threads/testing-and-shooting-tips.85113/#post-1377750

    Shooting
    We all have our own techniques for shooting but just a few thoughts and others may bring some of their ideas in as well.
    • Injection sites:
    You can shoot the scruff, side of chest, side of belly, side of flank....wherever your kitty is comfortable and you have the least chance of doing a fur shot.

    [​IMG]
    • Site Rotation
    It's actually a great idea to rotate sites in order to prevent development of a lipoma or scar tissue. A lipoma is just a thickened area of fatty cells right under the skin. If you shoot in the same place repeatedly and your kitty develops one, they often will go away on their own if you switch to another site. However, if you change injection sites every day (if possible), there is a much decreased chance in developing either a lipoma or scar tissue. Both of these can affect absorption negatively. If your cat prefers scruff shots only, you can shoot one side in the morning and the other side at night; you can also move the scruff site so the first day, you shoot at the inner scruff on one side, the next day, the middle scruff, and the third day, the outer part of the scruff. Or, if kitty is tolerant of any injection sites, you can shoot one side in the mornings and shoot the scruff the first day, the chest the next, the flank the third day. In the evenings, you can shoot the other side of the kitty but in the same order.
    • Absorption Rates
    Theoretically, shots absorb slower when given in the scruff area as opposed to the chest, belly, or flank. This does not mean the BG numbers will be different. It just affects the absorption rate....faster or slower. But, ECID and you can keep track of where you shoot and see if the absorption rates vary for your kitty depending on shot site.
     
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  11. Juls and Billy

    Juls and Billy Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2019
    Hi Molly and Dougie!

    I'm a newbie too. My Billy was diagnosed on Dec. 28th. I know how scary it can get. I remember all too well the first shot I gave Bill. Our vet hadn't said anything about testing BGL at home, and before the first shot I freaked out a little. It wasn't the shot itself, I've had practice giving my mom's cat a shot, it was the insulin. I freaked out about giving him insulin when I didn't know his BGL. I already had a meter from when I had diabetes last year before I kicked it to the curb. So, I tried to test Billy, like 5 times. Did it all wrong. Burst into tears. Then my fiance woke up and helped me figure it out.

    Now it's two weeks later. Billy has gone from looking horrible to feeling great! I test and give shots like a pro. And I still get anxious now and again, but it's so much easier. This message board saved Billy's life and my sanity. So I'm here to tell you to take a deep breath, it's going to be all right.

    Read, read, read. So much good information here. Read all the sticky posts. The more you know, the less scary it is. You couldn't be in a better place.

    Now, just to show you some photo proof of what a difference a little knowledge can make.
    Here's Billy day 1. So sick. He's not in the middle of closing his eyes. He looked like that for over 2 days.
    [​IMG]
    Now, this pic was taken on day 11.
    [​IMG]

    With good treatment, your Dougie will start feeling better before you know it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020 at 9:17 AM
    Reason for edit: Fixing giant pictures.
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  12. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    You are not alone.
    We are here for you.
    Keep asking questions.
    It get's better.
    Really it does. Go back and look at Billy's pictures for proof.
     
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  13. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    @CarolinaGirl
    No more tears. You've found us. We'll help you all we can.

    Please start your own thread. You want to be in the Feline Health (Welcome and Main forum). Go to the top of the screen, look over on the right hand side. Click on where it says 'Post New Thread' and we'll get you started. We like to focus on each member in their own thread, and help them individually.

    When you start your own thread, please tell us your name and a little bit more about Maisy if you would please.

    It's great to read other peoples posts, but we want to answer your specific questions and address any concerns you may have with your Maisy. ECID Every Cat is Different. Every Caretaker is Different.

    When you are ready. CarolinaGirl
     
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  14. Mhanson07

    Mhanson07 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2019
    Aw I'm so glad Bill is doing better!! Love that name too lol! Thank you for the dose of inspiration :) . Were there any tricks you found that made the tests and/or insulin easier?

    Update: When it comes to the insulin its still really back and forth. If he sees the needles he bites and constantly moves around which makes it really challenging to even get a grip on the injection site. Full force fight or flight going on over here.... I still have not attempted another BG test even though I am nervous not knowing his numbers. I am letting him sniff the equipment and rewarding with a treat, and will perhaps let him see me with the lancet out before a treat tonight. I was reading another forum on this site, and on the FB group about something called "Freestyle Libre". Has anyone tried/ had success with that? Having constant updates on his numbers on my phone and not having to give him extra pokes everyday sounds really appealing to me, but the product seems relatively new/ marketed specifically for human use. My other thought when reading about Libre was that knowing his numbers were in constant analysis would really ease my anxiety when on vacation this summer (I'm so nervous to leave him even though its like 6 months away lol).
     
  15. Juls and Billy

    Juls and Billy Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2019
    Every cat is different, but here's what worked with my Billy. Food. He's a chow hound. I got him the good treats (Halo freeze dried chicken) I made him some plain boiled chicken breast and chopped it up, and if he's not hungry at BGL testing time, I even use catnip. It took a few days, but now Billy is pretty chill about the testing. He purrs when he gets food, now he purrs when he sees me grab the testing kit! Oh, he still ducks his head at the wrong time or gets wiggly, but it's so much easier. Cuddles, pets, and praise also help. It helps cement testing time as a time when Billy gets lots of positive attention, instead of something scary. As for the shot itself, I do it when he's eating and he doesn't even flinch because he's busy. I always pull food for 2 hours before the shot, so he's hungry, and I always give him one of his favorite flavors of pate for shot time, so he's distracted.

    Make sure you pull the skin up, and keep the syringe at a very flat angle. You're just aiming to get under the skin, and this hurts a lot less that if you end up sticking him in a muscle, which will make him more upset about the shot.

    I have not used the Freestyle Libre. I know each one only lasts 14 days, and it's expensive. I did see one post where a cat mom used the Libre and did meter tests to see how accurate it was for a cat, and it seemed very accurate. Frankly, it's too expensive to even be an option for us.
     
  16. Mhanson07

    Mhanson07 New Member

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    Dec 28, 2019
    Well one of us got our blood drawn! Lol!
     

    Attached Files:

  17. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    So you tested it didn't you?
     
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  18. Juls and Billy

    Juls and Billy Member

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    Dec 28, 2019
    Aww! Maybe it's time to clip Dougie's nails. Granted, you might have to use a towel to make him a kitty burrito to do it, but it might be worth it.
     
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  19. Mhanson07

    Mhanson07 New Member

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    Dec 28, 2019
    I didn’t but I really should have lol
     
  20. Mhanson07

    Mhanson07 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2019
    Update: so we still have not tested but I can tell we’re close! With the help of treats he now comes to me when he sees the black case and the supplies. Today I got him in position, played around with getting the paper towel & lancet (cap on) up to his ear and got a light on the vein and when he would wiggle away I’d let him, treat, and try again. We did this a few times and it went well so maybe tonight I’ll try to actually poke him!!

    also, I’ve noticed that he is wayyy more laid back during our night time insulin injections. In the morning (like today) he just will not even let me get near him after he eats. After about 20 minutes of attempts (with a few short breaks) I ended up kinda holding him down and getting the needle in but he kinda wiggled it out while I was injecting and it mostly got in the fur... then he started licking the area... is it bad if he accidentally licks some of the insulin??? I tried to wipe it up ASAP but I think he got a little in his mouth.

    anyways we’re sort of slowly getting the hang of things thanks to advice from you lovely people! So thank you again!!
     
  21. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    When you poke, you are not actually trying to hit the vein. You are aiming for the sweet spot.

    • Be sure to poke in the "sweet spot" and not the major vein that runs along the length of the ear. Poking the vein will not only hurt, but will result in a lot of blood. The sweet spot is on the edge of the ear.
    [​IMG]
    Ok if you do hit the vein, but be aware that your testing area may look like a crime scene from CSI, with blood spatters. You'll need to put pressure on the vein after to stop the bleeding.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020 at 9:52 AM
    Reason for edit: forgot sweet spot diagram
  22. Mhanson07

    Mhanson07 New Member

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    Dec 28, 2019
    oh my ! That’s good to know !
     
  23. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

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    Jan 31, 2013
    Go take a look at Marje and Gracie's testing tips.

    There is even more info on home testing here. Hometesting Links and Tips - includes numerous links, instructions, pictures, & videos

    Check out the Health Links/FAQS forum. Index 'sticky' pinned at the top has links to a ton of information.
     
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  24. Mhanson07

    Mhanson07 New Member

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    Dec 28, 2019
    Finally got to poke the ear ! He didn’t put up much fuss once he realized it was treat time right after ! WoOHOo major success! Unfortunately there was no blood??? I didn’t use the pen thing cause I don’t think he would like it and the small needle was easier to “sneak around” with but I know I punctured the ear, yet nothing ? Is this normal? I warmed up the area and everything. Hmmm.
     
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  25. Juls and Billy

    Juls and Billy Member

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    Dec 28, 2019
    It can be hard to get used to, especially lancing by hand. I was so horrible at it that I had to switch to a clicky pen. Even so it's common, especially at the get go, to have to poke more than once. After 17 days practice, I still have to do multiple pokes sometimes. It does get easier as you get a better feel for where the sweet spot is.
     
  26. Mhanson07

    Mhanson07 New Member

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    Dec 28, 2019
    YAY WE DID IT!!! Finally got the first at home test which feels awesome! He came in at 215. But I’m still a little confused. Does that mean I shoot or no??
     
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  27. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

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    Jan 31, 2013
    Shoot. Give insulin I mean.

    Welcome to the Vampire Club! That first successful BG test is so hard sometimes.
    vampire smiley 1.png

    First number for your spreadsheet (SS).
     
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  28. Mhanson07

    Mhanson07 New Member

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    Dec 28, 2019
    thank you!! So moving forward, my vet told me that 70 and below is too low, 90-200 is the happy place numbers and 200+ is too high. I believe I’ve gathered that I do NOT shoot if he is too low. But do I shoot only in the 90-200 range ? What do I do if numbers are high? Still shoot?
     
  29. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    You give insulin if the BG pre-shot tests are 200 or above.

    Here is some info on Prozinc for you
    • The proper sequence for dosing insulin is: Test/Feed/Shoot. In the beginning, if your cat’s BG is not up to at least 200 mg/dL {11 mmol/L}, if your schedule allows, you can stall (without feeding) for 20+minutes, then retest the BG. You are looking for a number that is rising, not falling and up to 200 mg/dL {11 mmol/L}. If you stall once, but can’t do another round of stalling and your cat hasn’t reached a BG of 200 mg/dL {11 mmol/L}, you’ll need to skip the dose and wait until the next cycle. NOTE: Because pet-specific meters (such as the AlphaTrak2) often read higher than human meters, you may want to adjust the NO-SHOOT number to 225 mg/dL {12.5 mmol/L} or even 250 mg/dL {14 mmol/L} This gives you an added margin of safety when using an AlphaTrak2 or other pet-specific meter.
    • IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not feed your cat within the two-hour window right before the scheduled dose time; doing this can raise your cat’s blood significantly, giving you a higher BG number based on food. This could result in your giving insulin when you should not, or giving more insulin than you should.
    • FDMB has general BG references for use with human meters: A cat is considered regulated if BG is in the mid-200s mg/dL {mid-11s mmol/L} for pre-shot and in low 100s mg/dL {low 5.6s mmol/L} or double digits (U.S. mg/dL) for nadir. (BUT not below 50 mg/dL {2.8 mmol/L} which is approaching hypoglycemia range, which is too-low blood glucose - we commonly call this “hypo.”) If you are using an Alpha Trak2 (pet meter) your hypo range starts at 69 mg/dL {3.8 mmol/L} and below. Again: You may want to consider raising your No-Shoot number to as much as 250 mg/dL {14 mmol/L} in the beginning of this sugar dance when using a pet-specific meter. That’s your and your vet’s decision.
    • If you need help with a hypo, post right away on the PZI forum and on the Health forum with the title: 911 HYPO - Need Help ASAP to get the maximum guidance to help you steer your cat back to safer levels. If hypo symptoms are severe (seizure/loss of consciousness, etc.) go to the nearest ER vet clinic immediately.
    Read more about using Prozinc here.
    BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO PROZINC/ PZI INSULIN FOR DIABETIC CATS
     

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