Food question from a newbie diabetic cat mum

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by Gemma and Gracie, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Gemma and Gracie

    Gemma and Gracie New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2017
    Hello there, wondered if I could ask for some advice...

    My girl Gracie started her insulin injections (caninsulin) a week ago. She's on a low dose to get started, one unit or digit on the syringe. She seems to be fine within herself and she's definitely stopped drinking so much but we're having a real problem with mealtimes. My vet has put her on a strict 2 meals a day diet with nothing in between and she's having a hard time with it. She's a grazer and always has been, she's always eaten a little and often and never been overweight. It's only been a week so I'm not sure if it's just a habit we need to break or if there's another option for her as it just doesn't feel right. I've been trying to read up and have read different things; My mother-in-law was a nurse and straight away she said surely it's better for her to eat little an often but then said maybe it's different for cats, I'm totally confused! I think there's been times over the last week that she's wanted to eat not because she's hungry but just out of habit but there's definitely been some days that she's genuinely hungry and just can't settle.

    Before she was diagnosed she was a 'bit of both' eater she liked mainly wet food (Whiskas senior in jelly) with a sprinkle of dry food on the top, my vet suggested she tried Royal Canin wet food pouches which she didn't mind but she's not really been so keen on those since she started her insulin injections and in my attempt to make sure she gets enough to eat in her 2 meals a day she's having a bit of both now. I've stopped the dry food completely, she's not missing those. There doesn't seem to be much information about the Royal Canin diabetic food on here so i'm getting the feeling it's not a good one?

    We're not home testing yet but just waiting for a kit to arrive. I've ordered the accu-chek

    I'm just wondering if this is normal in the early stages and it's something we just need to get through or if I've been given some wrong advice from my vet.

    Thanks so much for reading this :)
     
  2. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    Vets will often say that a strict 2 meals a day routine is needed but that doesn't work for most kitties. My vet said it but I don't follow that. My diabetic gets 4 scheduled meals a day and many people here allow their FD kitty to graze all day. The important things are to find a low carb wet food the kitty will eat (does NOT have to be a prescription food!) and remove all food in the 2 hours before you do the pre injection blood glucose test. You don't want that number to be food influenced because you use it to judge whether the dose is too high or not.

    It's great that you'll be testing blood glucose at home. It's the best way to keep Gracie safe. Your current Caninsulin dose of 1 unit (twice a day?) is a good starting dose.

    Re food: are you in the UK? There are UK members who can help you with supermarket food recommendations.
     
  3. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Hi Gemma
    It does sound, as Kris asks above, that you might be in the UK? We can certainly help with food choices... @Elizabeth and Bertie has a list she can link here for you (sorry I am unable to). And maybe one of our other newish (but fast learning!) UKers could give you some more ideas... @Monica Lewis

    Good luck and stick around here, it is a brilliant source of advice and support for all aspects of FD treatment!

    Diana
     
  4. Gemma and Gracie

    Gemma and Gracie New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2017
    Thanks for your reply, it's made me feel a lot better and gives me some hope that we'll be able to do this.

    Do you know why the vets suggest the 2 meals a day? When I spoke to my vet about the problems I was having I didn't really get an answer and just told I 'had to be strict.'

    I am in the UK - I've found the UK food list on here, which is a huge help, the whole site is brilliant,I'm so glad I've found it.

     
    Critter Mom likes this.
  5. Gemma and Gracie

    Gemma and Gracie New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2017
    Thank you Diana, I am in the UK. I'm so happy I've found this site.
     
  6. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    I don't know the specific reason why vets suggest the two meals a day regimen. I've read comments here on FDMB that it's "old school" thinking. What I do know is that very many of us don't follow that routine and our kitties are happier for it. ;)
     
  7. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    It's a great site, Gemma!
    It might be helpful to you to go to the Caninsulin forum here and look for the Beginners Guide" thread... it was updated only very recently by a group of us here to give a broad picture of treating your cat with this insulin. Definitely worth reading it or better still, printing it out and highlighting anything you want to remember or ask questions about.
    I'm so sorry I can't do links but hopefully @Kris & Teasel might be able to?
     
  8. Elizabeth and Bertie

    Elizabeth and Bertie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Hi Gemma, as Kris says above I also think this is 'old school' thinking. I had exactly this advice 11 years ago! But I didn't take it, because my cat liked to eat throughout the day. And I soon learned that this is the case for many cats on this forum (there are some exceptions however).
    Vets may still suggest 'two meals a day' just so that the cat has food on board for when the insulin starts to work, and that is certainly important. But newly diagnosed kitties are quite often very hungry and it may be hard for them to eat all the food they need in just two meals.

    Here is the link to the document that Diana mentioned. It was co-written just recently (by the folks in this thread and a few others) to help newcomers with kitties on Caninsulin (Vetsulin).
    Beginner's Guide to Caninsulin (Vetsulin)

    Eliz
     
    Kris & Teasel likes this.
  9. Monica & Josie

    Monica & Josie Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2017
    Hi Gemma,
    Im also in the UK. My vet advised us to feed Josie 4 pouches a day which I actually spread out giving a whole pouch in the mornings and evenings plus half a pouch whenever Josie wonders in the kitchen to ask for food. I think it's good for them to eat little and often as they get older it's easier to digest smaller amounts plus it keeps the blood sugar level more even.
    Vets usually go by the book and not too flexible when it comes to bending the rules.If the twice a day feed is not working for Gracie you could give a go with the smaller portions spread out.

    As for food I feed Josie Natures Menu regular or Country Hunter version which has very high protein content and no gluten, cereals, sugars or other additives added whatsoever.
    Vet advised me to feed Hills prescription food to start with but when I read the ingredients listed on the box I was mortified how much rubbish they contained - pretty much everything we supposed to avoid when caring for a diabetic kitty!:banghead: So I refused and spent hours on the internet researching the best option available turning myself into a Feline Diabetes Cat Nutritionist!:cat:
    Tried several brands with Josie until finally settled for Nature's Menu and Tesco Finest ( premium) chicken and fish selection. Also a very popular choice is Sheba Fine Flakes at 2.4% carbs I think..and HiLife. These are conveniently available in supermarkets or Pets at Home
    You will probably go through a few brands in the game of trial and error until you and Gracie settle for 'The One' or 'The Two' and will probably end up with a very impressive collection of various cat food boxes in the cupboard taking over your whole kitchen!:smuggrin:

    Really good you're going to do home testing, it's much easier to have a better understanding of how Gracie responds to Caninsulin and also essential to monitor her to keep her safe.

    Welcome on board, you'll get the hang of this in no time!:cat:
     
    Elizabeth and Bertie likes this.
  10. Gemma and Gracie

    Gemma and Gracie New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2017
     
  11. CassWTribby

    CassWTribby Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2017
    Caninsulin has a harsh low and it happens quickly. Within 2 hrs after shot. My cat Tribby was on Caninsulin for quite a few months. Ideally you want to feed a good quality low carb food 20-30 mins before the shot.
    Are you home testing? This is really important with caninsulin because it works fast then runs out typically at 10 hrs post shot.
    What I did was test. Feed. Wait 20-30 mins then inject. If she doesn't eat don't inject! If also home test 1 1/2-2 hours post shot to see how it's affecting her.
    Food should be left out all day and even over night to make sure if her bgl drops she can self treat with food to raise it. I leave canned out and raw complete on a plate with an ice pack underneath.
    You will both get into a rhythm and it gets easier as you go.
     
  12. Monica & Josie

    Monica & Josie Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2017
    Hi Gemma, how are you guys getting on?
     
  13. Gemma and Gracie

    Gemma and Gracie New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2017
    Hi Monica, I started Gracie on 4 meals a day at the beginning of the week which has made her much happier. Yesterday we had to visit our vets for a follow up appointment and we saw a different vet this time. When I spoke to her about the food and told her I'd switched to 4 meals a day she basically confirmed what you guys had said above was the best and right way to feed her. I was a bit cross because basically I'd been given 2 completely different sets of advice from the same surgery but the most important thing it's suiting Gracie now. We had to have a Fructose blood test ( I think that's what it was called) which my vet thought would be better for her than going in for the curve test and the good news was that the diabetes is being well controlled at the moment on the dose that she's on (1 unit) But poor Gracie has other troubles; what started us on this journey was a case diarrhea which she's had for weeks now and isn't clearing up and we've tried all sorts. We're now trying another type of antibiotic and if that doesn't help at all, we're going back for a Hypothyroidism test, she isn't showing some of the common signs but it could well be that.
     
  14. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    With persistent diarrhoea in the mix I'd recommend asking your vet to also run a Spec fPL test for pancreatitis (many cats have low-grade chronic pancreatitis comorbid with their FD) and to check Gracie's B12/folate levels.

    Here's some info:

    IDEXX Labs - Pancreatitis and treatment guidelines


    Mogs
    .
     
  15. Gemma and Gracie

    Gemma and Gracie New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2017
    Thanks so much for the info. She's given a stool sample and it showed nothing alarming but I don't know if that would show pacreatitis so I will ask and also about the B12 / folate levels.
     
  16. Diana&Tom

    Diana&Tom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Hi Gemma, glad to hear that Gracie is doing better on a different feeding regime. Sadly not all vets by any means are clued up about FD and it's not uncommon to find wildly differing views. The new one at your practice sounds better!

    How are you getting on with a meter to check Gracie's bg at home? I think you said you had ordered an Accu-Chek? It is time very well spent familiarising yourself with it so you can check Gracie's bg before giving insulin. If her diabetes is currently well controlled that's great but it may mean that she needs less insulin in the future. You can also avoid having to do fructosamine tests at the vet - vets like this as it gives a result such as "well controlled" (among others) but it is actually an overall picture of the average level of bg over a period of two or three weeks, a period during which a cat's bg *might* be fluctuating a lot with highs and lows. What you need to know really is the actual bg at any given time in the cycle, so that you know whether it's safe to give insulin or not. I hope this make sense!

    Do keep coming here and asking questions about anything that's bothering you or you are unsure of. There is a lot to take in but it does all fall into place gradually!

    Diana
     

Share This Page