Hello from Downunder

Discussion in 'Welcome to the Group - Post an Introduction Here' started by Andi&Mr.Pip, Jan 20, 2015.

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  1. Andi&Mr.Pip

    Andi&Mr.Pip New Member

    Jan 19, 2015
    Hello everyone,
    My name is Mr. Pip and I live in Australia.
    Up until last week I worked at my live-in position as a mouser in my dad's factory. Actually, almost two years ago my job description changed, I transferred to the office, and it was my job to sit on my bosses lap during the day and purr a lot. I am very good at my job.
    Then, last week, my popularity amongst the workers dropped a lot since I didn't manage to make it outside to the toilet. My dad/boss cleaned the carpets, put me in the transport box and took me in his car to his private home. When we arrived, I was greeted by my feline step brother and my feline step sister, and my human mum, she looked worried. Although she knows that I really dislike car rides, she took me to the doctor the next day. This is what she says:

    Hi, I am Andi and I really liked Henry's* introduction, hence I tried to write from Mr. Pip's perspective.
    Mr. Pip's estimated age is appr. 16 years. Almost two years ago he had an epileptic seizure which lasted for at least 90 minutes before he received medical care. All blood tests returned negative, there was never a reason found for this episode and it never returned. He recovered quite quickly from being blind, but his back legs never straitened out again and his confidence seemed to have suffered and he remained less active than he was before.

    Last Friday, as mentioned above, my husband decided to 'retire' him completely, as he had observed changes in Mr. Pip's behaviour (urinating inside, not being eager on physical contact as usual, not coming when called).I spent the night together with Mr. Pip in one room and noticed that he got up a number of times to drink and urinate.
    The doctor took blood and urine for testing, and I was told an hour later on the phone that Mr. Pip has a urinal infection plus diabetes and that I can come and pick up a VetPen starter kit.
    Since Friday (it's Tuesday today) we returned to the doctor three times for blood glucose testing and his interim dosage of Caninsulin is 2 times two units a day.
    Since then I am very happy with Mr. Pip: he is more relaxed yet more active, he very clearly wasn't ok before and I can see a lot of physical stress releasing from him. His two feline step siblings are very considerate of him, but he still seems to think hissing at them is the way to go... Lots of changes in his life!

    So far this is our introductory story.

    For next week the Veterinary Clinic wants Mr. Pip back for a whole day for a glucose curve.
    Spontaneously I asked the doctor: Can't we do this ourselves at home?! The vet looked at me and said: "But you need a glucometer like this!"
    And he mentioned that he has a human client who has diabetes himself, who figured out howto do the testing on his cat at home.

    This is how I found my way here as I would like to explore the possibilities of blood glucose testing at home. Thank you very much for hosting this informative, clearly life enhancing forum!

    My first step that I have planned is to find a suitable glucometer/test strips, the one which is often recommended here is not available in Australia I suspect.
    Plus I have a few worries about testing Mr. Pip myself, I do not fear handling of needles at all but I am afraid that Mr. Pip will get very cranky with us as he can be very moody as well. Would the one-day-in hospital option be a good option anyway?! I have read the introductory information on www.felinediabetes.com, but have to read it again to understand the pros and cons.

    Greetings to everyone here!
    Andi & Mr.Pip

  2. Wendy&Neko

    Wendy&Neko Well-Known Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    Hello and welcome Andi and Mr. Pip. We do encourage home blood glucose testing here. It's the best way to keep kitty safe. Cats have the unique ability to go into diabetic remission, and the only way to know that is by testing at home. Kitties can get very stressed at the vet. Not so much my diabetic cat, but my other cat once tested about 11.7 (211) at the vet and 2.9 (53) at home. I'm giving you blood glucose numbers that the rest of the world (including me in Canada) use, and the numbers in brackets are the system the US uses. Just multiply our numbers by 18 to get the US numbers. That's the standard we've adopted on this board. Anyway, you wouldn't want to determine what insulin dose to give a cat based on stress inflated numbers at a vet clinic. And if you do the testing yourself, you'll also save yourself a ton of money.

    As for blood glucose meters, you can pick up one used for humans. I recommend finding one that needs a minimal blood drop size and cheaper test strips. If you search around here you can find tips for testing and there are lots of good videos on Youtube. Start by just rubbing Mr. Pip's ears and maybe giving him a good low carb treat so he gets used to the feel.

    Another thing that is key to treating diabetes are feeding low carb wet food or raw. What is Mr. Pip eating now? If it's higher carb, don't change the food until you are testing because that can drop the insulin needs quickly. Infections from a UTI can also raise the blood sugar levels, so if the antibiotic resolves that, the numbers may go down - yet another reason to be testing at home to catch that.

    And lastly, the other good reason for home testing is to see if Vetsulin is the right insulin for Mr. Pip. For most cats, it doesn't last long enough. It didn't for my Neko. We recommend longer lasting insulins like Lantus, Levemir, or Prozing/PZI. You are lucky you are in Australia. One of the foremost veterinary researchers on feline diabetes is at the University of Queensland. Many of us use the dosing protocol Dr. Rand developed for Lantus or Levemir.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2015
  3. phlika29

    phlika29 Well-Known Member

    Sep 14, 2014
    Hi Andy.

    Henry's introduction was really cute wansn't it and so was Mr Pip's.

    Wendy has given you some great advice. The majority of people here test their cats at home. Once you get into the swing of it it just takes a couple of seconds and can help to keep your cat safe. This link will help you to understand how you go about doing it

  4. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

    Oct 6, 2010
    Welcome to FDMB.

    Some additional assessments you might make are listed in my signature link Secondary Monitoring Tools. The most important one is urine ketone testing. Ketones form as a by-product of fat breakdown for energy, when there isn't enough insulin to use the glucose. Too many ketones may indicate diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially fatal, expensive to treat, complication of diabetes. If you get a chance today, pick up some of the urine testing strips from the local pharmacy/chemist, so you can watch for those.
  5. Andi&Mr.Pip

    Andi&Mr.Pip New Member

    Jan 19, 2015
    Hello Wendy,

    Thank you very much for all your information and advice. I agree that home testing would be the only way to get to know what is really going on, and is invaluable to be able to detect and react quickly to changes. Every human who gets diagnosed with diabetes in countries with access to high level medical care is being taught how to blood test at home, that suggests it won't be a bad idea for companion animals as well I think :)
    Thank you a lot for explaining about the numbers, that is the key for me understand the posts on this forum and the information on the web site! I also started looking at a few videos on youtube, and I think I already can visually locate that little vein on Mr. Pip's ear, although he has a black coat. What a good hint to get him used to ear rubs!
    The diet always has been mainly wet food, I also fed him an Australian dry food ('Advance'), for days we come home late, but all our cats are really keen on wet food, and he goes well with two feeds at 07:00 and 19:00 hrs eating appr. 130-150g each day at the moment (he weighs 4,8 kgs (I guess that is 9,6 lb)) , he is a smaller cat. I am quite sure it is low carb.
    When I started my online research, the first thing I came across was a comparison study of different insulins for cats, and it is interesting that you say it did not last long enough for Neko, as I am observing a slight nervous behaviour with Mr. Pip 10 hours after the morning feed/insulin shot.
    Let's see if we can benefit from the research in Queensland, I do not know if my Vet Clinic works with different kinds of insulin, I will find out. It seems Caninsulin is the only one which offers a pen for animals, and maybe that's why it was the first choice? On the web I found three vet clinics offering expert treatment of feline diabetes, but they are in Victoria, 800 kilometres away, which is to far away.

    Hello phlika29,
    Is that true, just a couple of seconds? Thank you for the link, I will study before I prick! I liked the 'personal note' at the bottom, as this is my main concern.

    Hello BJM,
    Thank you for making me aware of the Ketones, I thought they are more an indicator than a problem themselves... Something I must have missed while I was already a step too far ahead trying to understand glucose curves...
    This afternoon I came across the information you provide via the signature. I will add the strips to my shopping list!

    It is quite overwhelming to experience your support, thank you so much for your reassurance everyone and sharing all your knowledge.
    Cheers Andi
  6. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2013
    Hi Andi and sugardude Mr. Pip and welcome to the FDMB.

    Thanks for the great info. This is the "introduce yourself and cat" forum and the Feline Health (the Main Forum) is for posting of any questions you may have. Hope to see you posting over there real soon!

    You are the 2nd or 3rd new member from Australia in the last few weeks. I know we rounded up some information on good low carb food options available in Australia. I know that the Fancy Feast pates "down under" are not good options, as they put cereals in them in Australia whereas they don't do that in the USA. Let me look for the food options for you.
  7. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2013
  8. Vyktors Mum

    Vyktors Mum Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2011
    Good meters in Australia are the accucheck performa and the freestyle optium (that one will also test for ketones). I do not recommend the freestyle light as it gives low readings in higher numbers - on humans too!

    Lantus does come in pens as well. However you will want to get syringes to draw doses from it as the pens can only adjust in 1 unit increments which is too much for a cat.
  9. Voula

    Voula Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2014
    Hi Andi. I am from Australia too. I have two glucometers the freestyle lite and the freestyle optium which as Serryn said tests for ketones too. The freestyle lite does tend to give lower readings at high glucose levels and I have found it gives readings approximately 10% lower than the freestyle optium at high readings. But I find it sufficiently accurate generally and occasionally I do a comparison test with both glucometers and mostly the readings are similar apart from higher readings above 15 or thereabouts. I found with the optium when I was first home testing I often could not get a test done due to a too small blood sample so I bought the lite one which works with a smaller blood sample and that has been much better as I get a test done nearly every time now. But because we are doing well with home testing now I could easily use the optium which requires a bigger blood sample for the test. It is good that your vet is open to home glucose testing. I have found that apart from our vet the other vets and nurses at the clinic we go to are a little surprised that I do home blood glucose testing. But now we are getting lower glucose levels I can't imagine giving insulin without knowing what the blood glucose level is or knowing how low the glucose levels are going. I was at the vet teaching hospital a week and a half ago and a woman was there with her dog who was recently diagnosed with diabetes and she was going to sit in the waiting area for eleven hours she said to get a glucose curve done. I told her that I home test and that she could do that at home when she got more confident as she was very overwhelmed with having given her dog her first insulin dose. It seemed such a stress on her and her dog to be sitting there all day to get a curve done. Now this was at the veterinary teaching hospital and they should be up to date on the latest knowledge and hopefully they will tell the woman she can do tests at home. Anyway welcome to the board and at first it is all very overwhelming but you get used to a new routine with time.
  10. phlika29

    phlika29 Well-Known Member

    Sep 14, 2014
    Hi andu

    To answer your question yes it only takes a few seconds once you get the hang of it. It can be frustrating at first but once the ear learns to bleed it becomes easier. My biggest tip is to heat the ear with a rice sock before you prick it.

    You will get into a routine of test, feed and inject.
  11. Andi&Mr.Pip

    Andi&Mr.Pip New Member

    Jan 19, 2015
    Hello Wendy&Neko, BJM, phlika29 and
    Deb & Wink, Vyktors Mum and Voula,

    A big thank you for all your support, home testing is working really well and Mr. Pip is what you call OTJ!

    As we continue to watch our little Mr. Pip closely I will post all future questions in the main/appropriate forum.

    You people rock!
    Voula likes this.
  12. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

    Oct 6, 2010
    Wow! That was fast!
    We have a spreadsheet for folks to use in recording the glucose tests and you didn't even have time to get one into your signature!
    We say a cat is officially off the juice (insulin) if it can go 14 days with no insulin and normal glucose numbers. Those numbers are listed in my signature link Glucometer Notes.
  13. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2013
    To keep Mr. Pip OTJ, follow these suggestions.

    Here are some tips to stay OTJ (off-the-juice, insulin being the juice)

    1. Never feed dry - not even treats. If you change wet food types, be 100% sure the new food is also low carb and same low carb % as your current food. Some cats are very carb sensitive and an increase from 3-6% to 8-10% can spike the BG’s. Don’t feed if you aren’t sure!
    2. Weigh every 2 weeks to 1 month to watch for weight changes. Too much of a weight gain can cause loss of remission.
    3. Measure blood once a week, indefinitely. You want to catch a relapse quickly. Some people only do checks every 2 weeks to a month.
    4. No steroids or oral meds with sugar - remind your vet whenever giving you any medication. Always double check.
    5. Monitor food intake, peeing and drinking. If increasing, a sign of losing remission.
    6. Regular vet checks for infection such as dental , ear or UTI. And get them treated quick!

    If your cat does fall out of remission you need to be more aggressive and resolve issues/ back on insulin as soon as possible as the window for a second remission is tight if any. Pancreatitis, hyperthyroid, dental issues are the most common reasons cats fall out of remission.
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