Does my cat have Acromegaly?

Discussion in 'Acromegaly / IAA / Cushings Cats' started by Princessk, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. Princessk

    Princessk New Member

    Mar 14, 2015
    I live in Australia. I have been to see so many vets here including 3 cat specialists and ALL have different views. My cat's insulin doses are always high, always going up, up, up (7units, 7.5units, 8units) it never stops going up. Only 1 Vet suggested that my cat MIGHT have Acromegaly causing her insulin resistance. I dont really understand why cant my Vet cannot find out for sure whether my cat DOES or does NOT have Acromegaly? Surely there is a blood test for Acromealy as we live in the 21st Century.
  2. Wendy&Neko

    Wendy&Neko Well-Known Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    Hello and welcome. Vets used to be trained that acromegaly was very rare, but the newer research shows that 20--25% of diabetic cats may have acromegaly.

    Have you tried contacting the University of Queensland School of Veterinary Services? They have researchers there that are specialists in Feline Diabetes and they should be able to tell you how to get your kitty tested for Acromegaly. In North America and Europe, they test blood for IGF-1 (insulin growth factor), which is produced as a result of the growth hormone. Above normal levels of IGF-1 tell you whether there is excess growth hormone, which is a by product of the benign acromegaly tumor. I have seen research papers by Dr. Jacquie Rand at U of Q where she mentions feline test subjects with acromegaly, so she must have some way of testing for it. The definitive test is a CT scan, but that's rather expensive.

    We have a post here with lots of information about acromegaly and pointers to on line articles. And this article is a recent one that I've found with lots of description/pictures. Note that not all acrocats are easily identified visually. My Neko had very few symptoms when she was first diagnosed almost three years ago.

    What insulin are you currently using? Are you testing her blood sugar at home?
  3. Princessk

    Princessk New Member

    Mar 14, 2015
    My story is complicated. I have contacted Professor Rand from University of Qld (via email only) and complained about a LACK OF CHOICE on vet prescription diets here in Australia. In Australia, our Vets prescribe HILLS for everything. The HILLS brand here is being protected. Hills-Australia generates so much employment for Vets and Vet Nurses. The problem with setting up a “Single Supplier” arrangement is that our cats suffer badly from NO CHOICE but to eat HILLS MD (the highest carb vet diet).

    NOT every diabetic cat responds well to a HIGHER carb vet diet from eating HILLS MD food. I firmly believe this HILLS food is causing havoc to my cats insulin requirements.

    I begged the Professor I want the SAME vet prescription diet that she used inside her university studies on feline diabetes (namely Purina DM) because it is the lowest carb vet diet on the market (4.5 percent carbs) to try on my cat too. I will pay you THREE times the value of one tin of that cat food I told her.

    Australian university vet schools have used the LOWEST carb vet diet since 2002 but they restrict access to this diet for studies only making these university diabetic cats the luckiest diabetic cats in the whole country. This is ridiculously true !

    In Australia we can only buy HILLS MD (the highest carb vet diet contains a whopping 15.7 percent carbs). In Australia, we can only buy glargine insulin.

    I told the Professor that if my cat can try the LOWEST carb vet diet then maybe my cats’ insulin dose would progressively come down.

    Rather than address this issue of WHY IS THERE A LACK OF VET DIET CHOICE in Australia, she preferred to conclude that my cat has insulin resistance probably caused by acromegaly. What a strange thing to say to both my cat and I without eliminating the HIGHEST carb vet diet in the first instance.

    I gently responded that I would prefer NOT to blame my cat on another disease until I can obtain the LOWEST carb vet diet and test whether my cat only has diabetes and not something else like acromegaly.

    I am not a medical person but I know that eating the CORRECT low carb vet diet is part of the Treatment Package for success. As a responsible Pet Parent, I have a responsibility to ensure that I give my cat the correct vet diet namely PURINA DM (and NOT the vet diet called HILLS MD which Vets here prefer to protect on the Australian market because they are reaping from the investment opportunity).

    I believe it is easier to blame my cat for another underlying disease rather than submit an application form to IMPORT the correct lower carb vet diet for Purina DM. I believe the contractual relationship between Hills-Australia and my Australian Vet Association is ridiculously cemented in place making it impossible for my Vets to ever import Purina DM into Australia.

    I have taken the initiative to import Purina DM from the United States (without any help from any Vet here) but at great cost to me financially which has destroyed my family budget. My consignment of Purina DM will take 5-7 weeks to arrive in Australia before I can test this low carb vet diet on my cat.

    After switching vet diets in 7 weeks time, if my cats insulin levels continues to go up, up, up…then I could explore other possibilities for insulin resistance.

    In the meantime, while I wait for my cat food to arrive, I will read about acromegaly (thank you kindly for your links) but I am praying that by simply switching vet diets that my cats insulin requirements will go down, down, down
  4. Wendy&Neko

    Wendy&Neko Well-Known Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    You don't need specialist vet food for your diabetic cat. It's costs more and is usually of lower quality than good quality commercial low carb wet food. Here is a post someone did on Australian canned food suitable for diabetic cats.The members here from Australia generally use commercial canned food and save their money for test strips for home testing their cat's blood sugar. Is it too late to cancel your order?

    Recent research studies have shown that 20-25% of diabetic cats have acromegaly. You should know within two weeks of switching to a lower carb food whether your cat still needs high amounts of insulin due to the food being fed.
  5. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

    Oct 6, 2010
    If you're so inclined, there is a recipe for raw food at Cat Info.
  6. Blue

    Blue Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Princessk, you don't need to feed an special, fancy, expensive vet food... I am not sure said you did, but anyway, you can feed ordinary store bought pate food. Most people in the US and Canada just feed Fancy Feast pate or Friskies or 9Lives, .... you will know if the food is causing your cat's numbers to rise easily..... so long as you are home testing, pick up an ordinary blood glucose meter like the OneTouch or Aviva, or Accu-Chek, the test strips for the meter, some lancets and a lancet device, you can test at shot times, and then an hour after feeding to see how much the food caused your cat to rise.

    I don't know if I missed it or not..... what insulin are you giving? Since you are at a higher dose, you may want to be using Levemir (detemir) as Lantus has been said to sting, that's according to what some humans have said, and if you are using some other type of insulin, what is it?

    Sure there's a test for acromegaly!
    Here's the link for the test we have done in N. America to get the IGF-1 value

    I had 2 cats positive for feline acromegaly, and the vet I went to at first knew nothing about the issue or where to get the test done. I had to print out the above sheet and take it to the vet! It's taught in vet school that it's a rare condition, so students get nothing in the way of education and so, why would they know where to get the test done? Oh well, we can get angry at them or get them the info and say do it!

    Now make sure you are home testing as that's the only real way to get true numbers from your cat to see how the insulin is working, and if the food change makes a diff.

    Maybe if you show the vet the above link for IGF-1 testing, your vet can ask where blood is usually sent for testing.
    Your range is diff though.... maybe over 1000 is positive, or maybe it's 2000. Anyway, keep bugging your vet.
    Most vets are pretty lousy at nutrition for animals, and no surprise your vet is like others.... all about the money by pushing lousy pet foods.
  7. Blue

    Blue Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Info I got from a lady who owned an acro cat and is in Queensland advised the following:
    "contact a place called The Cat Clinic. There is one in Brisbane and one in Melbourne that I know of. Very smart vets."

    Maybe you can have your vet contact those clinics for info on the testing.

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