Interpreting behavior after 1st dose of insulin

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by TooSweetKittyMom (GA), Mar 3, 2018.

  1. TooSweetKittyMom (GA)

    TooSweetKittyMom (GA) Member

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    I just gave my kitty her first dose of insulin. It's been in my fridge for a few days, but this was the first morning I've been able to stay home to keep an eye on her reactions, so she had to wait. This morning I gave her twice her usual amount of canned food to make absolutely certain her blood sugar wouldn't be too low. She gobbled it down and still seemed to frantically want more, and generally seemed restless and unsettled. I was able to distract her with some treats (which she probably shouldn't have any more) long enough to give her the shot, and within minutes she settled down and seems calm and relaxed, although she does seem to want a good drink of water. Is it possible that the insulin made her feel better that fast? I don't know anyone with diabetes well enough to ask what that first shot felt like.

    On the flip side, how can I tell the difference between a blood sugar crash and normal cat behavior? She always settles down for a long nap in the morning, so if she's lethargic on top of that, I might not notice until it's too late.

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. Sean & Rufus

    Sean & Rufus Well-Known Member

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    I'm still working on that myself. I think the biggest thing is to test at home and see what the numbers are to correspond with behavior. Rufus used to feel good when his numbers were high, and when they were lower he was pretty lethargic. Now he accepts and tolerates the lower numbers. Are you testing his bg at home?
     
  3. TooSweetKittyMom (GA)

    TooSweetKittyMom (GA) Member

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    Thanks! I haven't done any home testing and don't yet have the equipment. I'm supposed to try 1 unit of insulin twice per day and then bring her back in a couple of weeks for a day of monitoring, and we'll go from there. Right now she's snuggling on my lap and seems pretty comfortable.
     
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  4. Sean & Rufus

    Sean & Rufus Well-Known Member

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    Do you plan on home testing? My vet told me not to do it, and eve tried to talk me out of it later on when I decided to home test. At first I was glad she didn't want me to, because I was scared and nervous to. Now it's so easy and he doesn't mind me doing it one bit. And not to scare you, but I truly feel Rufus would be having major problems right now if I wasn't testing. He went from 6units down to 1unit! If I wasn't testing at home I would not have known!
     
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  5. TooSweetKittyMom (GA)

    TooSweetKittyMom (GA) Member

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    I'm not sure yet - this is all so new to me! I like the idea of doing it, but it also seems overwhelming, and the equipment will be an additional expense; I think that's why my vet recommended the current plan. She'd be fully supportive if I wanted to go that route, though.
     
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  6. Sean & Rufus

    Sean & Rufus Well-Known Member

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    The whole process of diabetes is overwhelming, but you'll get used to it. There is a lot of info here, and plenty of nice people to help with questions you have. Testing is a little spendy, but worth is to keep them safe if you can afford it. Best of luck to you and kitty :)
     
  7. TooSweetKittyMom (GA)

    TooSweetKittyMom (GA) Member

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  8. krazy4kritters

    krazy4kritters Member

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    You really should home test. You don’t need to buy the expensive pet meter. A majority of people here use a human meter. By testing at home, especially before shots, you know if you are giving him insulin at a safe bg number.
     
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  9. TooSweetKittyMom (GA)

    TooSweetKittyMom (GA) Member

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  10. Tanya and Ducia

    Tanya and Ducia Well-Known Member

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    Feb 25, 2017
    I wish I could give your post ten likes it deserves.
    @TooSweetKittyMom
    Taking frequent tests, and especially the pre-injection tests, and keeping good record of it is the only way to interpret what is going on with your cat. Unfortunately, the behavioral patters, although helpful in general, are not the way to understand and/ or to pin point the working, the most effective dose for a diabetic patient.
    If you administer insulin, highly potent hormone, without knowing the pre injection glucose level you are risking Hypoglecimia - potentially fatal situation. Many cats including my Ducia are asymptomatic during fast dropping of the BG levels - you cannot see the crash coming until it's too late. Cat looks/ behaves normally, often is asleep - one could never tell what's coming. Taking tests at home is the only way to keep your kitty safe - if s/he receives a dose.
    My cat had symptomatic Hypo a year ago - trust me, you don't want to see it. It's miracle she is alive.
    Apologies for sounding Penny Dreadful but I really wanted to stress the arch importance of home testing.
    Best of luck!
     
  11. Stephanie & Quintus

    Stephanie & Quintus Well-Known Member

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    Welcome aboard, to the somewhat overwhelming but hopefully rewarding land of FD! Here you'll be able to learn more than you ever dreamed of to help your kitty get better.

    The only way, actually, is to measure blood glucose. That's why people here hometest.

    I perfectly understand the rationale for the vet suggesting you start out like that. If you're open to the idea of hometesting and in addition to that your vet would be supportive, I'd really encourage you to start as soon as you can. As said above, meters aren't that expensive (get a human one, some are even given free if you buy 100 strips -- trust me, you'll use them). Look at the cost of strips rather than the meter.

    Measuring BG regularly will help you keep your kitty safe from potentially deadly hypos. It will also give you the data to adjust her insulin earlier (or at least sound the alarm bell with your vet) if the dose seems way too low. Once you start you will look back at those first few injections you gave "blind" and shudder at the thought...

    Don't hesitate to come with your questions!
     
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  12. TooSweetKittyMom (GA)

    TooSweetKittyMom (GA) Member

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    Mar 3, 2018
    Thanks, all. I greatly appreciate the suggestions and help. I hadn't realized human monitor systems would work for cats. I'd run over to Walgreens tonight to pick one up, but without further instructions from the vet on appropriate numbers, how to adjust the insulin accordingly, and just exactly where the best poking spots can be found on my particular kitty, it would sit in its box until at least the middle of next week anyway, as that's the soonest I could get her in for another appointment. So, as much as I do see what a good thing it will be, it will have to wait a bit.

    Also, I'm planning on switching her diet. She's been eating Wellness Core for several years, both canned and dry, so I'm going to try just stopping the dry food and feeding exclusively canned, and we'll see if that makes a difference. I'm very much hoping she's one of those kitties where a diet change alone will turn her around, although that may be wishful thinking.

    So - until we get the monitoring sorted out, what's the best course of action?
    A. Continue with the blind injections twice a day? (On that note, it will be nearly impossible for me to time them exactly 12 hours apart, so what should I do instead?)
    B. Do the injections ONLY when I am going to be able to keep an eye on her for the next several hours?
    C. Forget about the injections entirely until I can get the monitoring set up, and just work on the diet change?

    Basically, this feline diabetes thing seems to be a college level course, and I've gotten as far as reading the syllabus and testing out the lab equipment. I am grateful to have found this board.
     
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  13. Sean & Rufus

    Sean & Rufus Well-Known Member

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    Jan 10, 2018
    If I were you I'd do option C until you get to monitoring. Which insulin are you using? Also, some of the wellness core wet foods are a little high in carbs also. Have you seen the wet food list? It's pretty handy: http://catinfo.org/docs/CatFoodProteinFatCarbPhosphorusChart.pdf It's best to try to stay under 10% carbs.
     
  14. krazy4kritters

    krazy4kritters Member

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    Jan 18, 2018
    I am also new to this. I know how overwhelming and scary it can be. I understand wanting to wait to have your vet show you how to test. If your lucky, your vet will be on board with it. To be totally honest, 99% of what I learned and how I treat my cat came from info I learned here, including how to home test. I even adjust my cat't insulin without talking to my vet. I haven't even been in contact with my vet since his Dx on Jan 18th. I suggest you read, read, read. Start with the sticky note posts.

    As for diet, low carb canned food is best. Nothing with veggies in it and typically no gravy. Lots of us feed fancy feast pate or friskies pate. Believe me, Fanct Feast is the last food on the planet I thought I would be feeding my cats! I swithched everyone over to Fancy Feast and Sheba pates.
     
  15. Tanya and Ducia

    Tanya and Ducia Well-Known Member

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    Feb 25, 2017
    Good plan! Have you seen Dr. Pierson's food Chart? HERE it is. Choose below 10% carbs per 100 Kcal + lower than 200 per 100 Kcal Phospourous(optional).
    I'd go with plan C - to see he diet effect - but to know it you'll need to test. Ask your vet to teach you how to test - the best spot is on the ear's rim - between the rim and the vein that goes along ear's edge - try not to pirce the vein - it is painful. Bu t the spot between the edge and the vein - is your best bet.
     
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  16. TooSweetKittyMom (GA)

    TooSweetKittyMom (GA) Member

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    Mar 3, 2018
    Thanks! I did find her normal Wellness varieties on the chart, coming in at 10% carbs or lower, so that was some good news. The complicating factor is that she eats Wellness because several years ago we discovered a grain intolerance. Poor thing was miserable with IBS symptoms. Wellness cleared her right up, and with all these extra pokes and vet visits I'd like to at least allow her the comfort of her familiar foods, even if she won't be able to have the crunchies any more.
     
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  17. Tanya and Ducia

    Tanya and Ducia Well-Known Member

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    Feb 25, 2017
    Oh, poor little thing!
    While she is off the dose and a diet control is in trial - might I point your attention to the Tiki Cat Food? ( No, I have no commission or any other interests from the Tiki Cat Co.)
    The poultry variety I fed my girl has nothing but proteins - check it out @Dr. Pierson chart - Puka Puka Luau (yep, that' the real name) and Koolina Luau - many cats like it, zero carbs, lowest P content/ chart, and really good quality, pulled meat like texture - see if she likes it.
    You'll see changes (if any) in a week or so of feeding consistently the same food - smaller portions thru the day are much, much better than the large x 2 a day feeding.
    But, (sorry) again, you'll only know if she is better off if you test at home even without the dose.
     
  18. Smokey and Jessica

    Smokey and Jessica Member

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    Feb 8, 2018
    I vote option C too. Skip the insulin until you have everything you need to test and have given the food change some time to take affect. Just the food will make changes, and without testing, insulin can be dangerous. Option C all the way.
     
  19. CalicoHaley

    CalicoHaley Member

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    Mar 2, 2018
    I back up everyone voting for C. Had I done A, I would have dosed my girl right into a hypoglycemia coma this morning. She was 72. I was supposed to give her 2 units of insulin after breakfast. (It actually turns out that my cat is probably NOT diabetic, but still, blindly dosing can be dangerous. Especially since you're making better dietary choices for your cat. Ask any diabetic person!). B is "eh" and very iffy; I'd only say go ahead if you have corn syrup and a liquids syringe on hand in case a hypoglycemic episode occurs. BUT, do you really want to put yourself in a position of being worried and having to watch your girl very vigilantly 24/7? Do you want to chance a hypoglycemic episode? Probably not. I go mildly hypo every now and again because my diet stinks and it's not nice.

    So, C, C, C! My vet friend said that just making more protein/less carb dietary changes alone works quickly in many cases of feline diabetes, and the prescribed dosage of insulin may end up being too much even before you go back for a check-up.

    Cheers!
     
  20. Stephanie & Quintus

    Stephanie & Quintus Well-Known Member

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    We can give you that information here :bighug:
    (Not to brag but we collectively know way more about treating FD than many vets!)
    You'll find a lot of information on the site. Start here for BG testing for example: http://www.felinediabetes.com/bg-test.htm

    Which insulin did the vet give you?

    If it's difficult for you to inject precisely 12 hours apart, you may be better off with ProZinc than Lantus (I think Levemir also offers some leeway). Caninsulin/Vetsulin is also more forgiving when it comes to shot times but the duration is often way too short for cats, despite it being marketed as "for cats too" (it was initially developped for dogs, who have a slower metabolism than cats).

    The best place to get blood for testing is from the capillaries that run around the ear rim. There are not many nerve endings there. You'll find piles of videos and tutorials online and on this site.

    As for numbers, it depends a bit on what insulin you're giving and what your goal is, and how much you can monitor. With caninsulin and prozinc the initial instructions are to NOT shoot on a preshot test lower than 200 (we always test before shooting to make sure we don't give insulin to a cat that can't "use" it all, like it almost happened to @CalicoHaley). Then we want the lowest point of the curve, as the insulin makes the BG go down, around 100 -- again, depending on the insulin and dosing methods. We have a bunch of dosing methods which help you determine if you stick to the same dose, increase it slightly, or decrease it slightly. Once you know what insulin you're on we can direct you to the instruction stickies in the insulin-specific boards.
     
  21. TooSweetKittyMom (GA)

    TooSweetKittyMom (GA) Member

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    Thank you much! The label says Prozinc. :)
     
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  22. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

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  23. TooSweetKittyMom (GA)

    TooSweetKittyMom (GA) Member

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    Thanks for all the hand-holding! I'm starting to feel like I can do this.
     
  24. TooSweetKittyMom (GA)

    TooSweetKittyMom (GA) Member

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    Mar 3, 2018
    ... or not. Total failure. I think I need to get her accustomed to being pricked, with lots of treats, during times when she's not ravenously hungry and wondering why I'm torturing her instead of giving her breakfast.
     
  25. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

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    Aug 17, 2016
    You can try giving her a little bit of food immediately before testing. It might calm her down and it won’t have had time to affect the BG test.
     
  26. Stephanie & Quintus

    Stephanie & Quintus Well-Known Member

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    Dec 9, 2017
    Also, mess with her ears and treat without pricking. Many times a day.
     
  27. Squeaky and KT (GA)

    Squeaky and KT (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Jul 19, 2011
    Not getting it on the first try, second try or even the third is NOT a failure!!! It startles kitty but that's because it's something different but I promise, she'll get used to it. A cat's ears don't have the nerves like humans, it's not painful, just different. You are NOT torturing her! If you poke and don't get a blood drop, don't get upset either - it takes a bit for the ear to 'learn to bleed' - technically to grow additional capillaries to that area. Each 'pokie' is progress even if it doesn't feel like it.

    HUGS!
     
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