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  1. Jennifer & Splunk

    Jennifer & Splunk Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2017
    Hi everyone!

    Wow, what a wealth of information there is on this site. I'm so impressed... and a bit overwhelmed. My vet referred me here after my baby, Splunk, was diagnosed with diabetes a couple of weeks ago. Like many other people who are new to this, I'm completely overcome by it all, and my head is swimming with questions. Having worked in healthcare for years, I have experience with human diabetes, but this is pretty different. And also, Splunk is my best buddy, so... well, you know how it feels.

    I see from the sticky post that we're not supposed to post health questions here, so I won't, but I guess I'll post a bit of a story about how we got to where we are. I really appreciate being able to share this with people who understand.

    Splunk is an exceptionally friendly 14-year-old tabby cat. He's just wonderful. I pulled him out of the Toronto Humane Society (yup, a Canadian, here) when he was about eight weeks old. He was very sick with some sort of idiopathic illness when he was a kitten, but has been remarkably healthy since. He has a low-grade heart murmur (don't they all?!) but other than that, he's good. He had his teeth done (and routine bloodwork prior to anaesthesia) last summer, and everything was normal then.

    He lives with five other cats, ranging in age from 9 to 23. We're dealing with a variety of chronic feline medical issues here, including IBD, renal failure, and a nasty cardiac arrhythmia.

    In August, we moved to a bigger house, and I noticed him starting to lose weight. At first, I thought he was just slimming down a bit because he had more room to run around. But he lost more and more weight, and I became increasingly concerned. I booked him an appointment for a checkup, and the morning before we were supposed to go to the vet, this happened:

    - He vomited around 2am; I stayed up with him for a couple of hours, and he seemed ok.
    - When I got up again around 7, he was sitting on his bed, all hunched up, not willing to move, grunting occasionally, looking pale, and he screamed when I picked him up. He had abdominal pain.
    - We rushed to the vet, who said he was presenting as if he had pancreatitis.
    - X-rays showed more gas in his GI tract than usual, but were otherwise normal.
    - Urine showed low levels of glucose; the vet attributed this to him "dumping" glucose in a time of high stress.
    - Bloodwork showed a BGL of 12 (we use mmol/L here, but I think that's about 216 in mg/dl), plus toxic neutrophils (indicating infection), and an elevated liver enzyme.
    - The next day, the right side of his nose swelled up.
    - His back legs started shaking.

    Weird, right? So I'm told it wasn't pancreatitis after all. I was worried about his sugar levels, as he'd never dumped glucose before in times of stress, but the vet (who is a feline specialist) was pretty sure he didn't have diabetes, because, at 12 mmol/L, his sugar was not too high, he wasn't PU/PD, and he didn't have flaky skin. Anyway, we put him on antibiotics for a presumed tooth infection (from nose swelling), liver support, and pain killers. He didn't tolerate the first antibiotic, so we switched after a couple of days.

    It took a while, but after about a month, he was almost back to normal, though he was still too skinny for my liking, and I was worried about that unsteadiness in his back legs. I asked for another set of bloodwork, and this time I asked if we could do a fructosamine test. His fructosamine came back over 400, so he was diagnosed with diabetes.

    I wonder now if he did in fact have pancreatitis when this all started, and maybe it was masked by some other stuff that was going on. Knowing that he has diabetes, and knowing that there is a high incidence of pancreatitis and oral infections in diabetic cats, I wonder if he got hit with both of these at once. Anyway...

    Because he had a sort of atypical presentation, we were worried we weren't seeing the whole picture, and he had a cardiac and an abdominal ultrasound. The cardiac ultrasound was largely unremarkable. The abdominal ultrasound showed some slight changes to the pancreatic ducts, but nothing very significant or particularly diagnostic.

    At the time he was diagnosed with diabetes, we hadn't seen his sugar higher than about 16 mmol/L (288 mg/dl), so the vet and I were both feeling very cautious about the amount of insulin he should be getting.

    He's now on ProZinc, 0.5 units, twice daily. Because I'm a worrywart, I check his sugar before each dose of insulin (I was surprised to hear this isn't a common practice with diabetic care in cats). I've been keeping a chart, and his blood glucose levels have been between about 10 (180) and 23 (414). I have so many questions about this chart, and what it should look like, but I'll post those in the health section.

    He's tolerating all the poking and prodding remarkably well, but I'm worried we haven't come close to controlling this thing. Of course, I'd like to see it in remission ASAP!

    Anyway, that's our tale of woe, and I thank you very much if you've read this far! It's so great to have found a community of people who have similar concerns.

    All the best, and Splunk sends purrs and head-butts to you and your furry friends. :)

    Jennifer
     
  2. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Welcome Jennifer. Hes had quite a difficult time of it. He's so lucky you are on top of things and get your cats the treatments they need! 23 year old cat? That's amazing!!!

    We Evan totally help with dosing help... We use Google Sheets to share our spreadsheets.... See the link in my signature below.

    I'll post the link to the spreadsheet template.
     
  3. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
  4. Yong

    Yong Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Welcome Jennifer and Splunk!
    23 years old kitty is amazing! I had to re-read that sentence :cat:. Great to hear how on top of things you are! And home testing already! Janet gave you the SS template link that we all use here. I will just add 2 more:
    Signature information helps those of us with bad memories: http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/threads/editing-your-signature-profile-and-preferences.130340/
    And it's good to have this ahead of time: http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/threads/how-to-treat-hypos-they-can-kill-print-this-out.15887/

    I will see you on the Prozinc forum! :) And Main Health ;)
     
  5. Jennifer & Splunk

    Jennifer & Splunk Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2017
    Hi Yong and Janet,

    Thanks so much for all the information. I'll add a signature today.

    Thanks for the spreadsheet... I have SO many questions about dosing and what good sugar levels should look like, so I'll import my SS to Google Docs and will post a question about that today.

    Suki, my 23-year-old, says thanks for the encouragement! :)
     
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  6. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Hey Splunk, sounds like your mom knows her stuff and shouldn't feel too overwhelmed. We have had a few guests of the Toronto Humane Society and a 23 year old cat in our home, small world. It is absolutely typical (mandatory) for us to check sugar before insulin. This is a never ending "your vet is wrong" theme here. You're in the right place now, welcome.
     
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  7. Jennifer & Splunk

    Jennifer & Splunk Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2017
    Ah, thanks so much. Glad to hear I'm not over-reacting by testing before each shot. (I mean, I wouldn't give a human insulin without checking BGL first, so why should it be different for cats?) And yes, small world! Hi from one 23-year-old kitty to another -- Suki is happy to hear of someone else in her peer group. :)
     
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  8. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Most of us test at least twice a day, and a majority test 4-8 times a day. All these tests help to determine doses and are really helpful.
     
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  9. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    The wonder of genetics. BJ & Leroy were my first longhair Tomcats in 1980. Leroy really did have 9 lives; broken jaw, fell out of a 3rd floor window, 4 hour airplane ride. How could anyone hope a cat would be with you for 23 years? His brother BJ lived to 17. He was at least 20 when I took this photo. So handsome!
    leroy002.JPG
     
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  10. Jennifer & Splunk

    Jennifer & Splunk Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2017
    Oh, he's so handsome! I love older kitties -- they're such perfect creatures. That's a beautiful photo.

    I heard that the world's oldest (known) cat is 32, so I've told all my kitties they have to make it at least that long.

    My first cats were two longhaired calico sisters, both 6 years old from THS in 2002. Heartbreakingly, Yaki died of cancer in 2009, but Suki is still with us. This is her a few days ago:

    IMG_2813.JPG

    IMG_2899.JPG
     
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  11. Phoebes

    Phoebes Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2017
    Welcome Splunk (love the name) and momma bean. What beautiful seniors @Noah & me @Jennifer & Splunk wow that's awesome. Good luck with your furbaby and FD. You are most definitely in the right place. Head bumps
     
  12. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Suki you beautiful girl! The second pic is perfect lighting, and adorable.
     
    Jennifer & Splunk likes this.
  13. Jennifer & Splunk

    Jennifer & Splunk Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2017
    Thanks to you both! All the cats send their love!
     
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