New and panicked....

Discussion in 'Welcome to the Group - Post an Introduction Here' started by Nikki_Renee, May 29, 2015.

  1. Nikki_Renee

    Nikki_Renee Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    Hello,
    I'm new and just wanted to introduce myself. In 2011 my boyfriend and I's male cat Nemo was diagnosed with diabetes. He was put on prescription diet food and has been fine until recently. He started drinking a lot of water, using the bathroom a lot, and just looked really uncomfortable. So yesterday I took him to the vet. Tonight we get a phone call at 9p.m. confirming all his symptoms are do to his diabetes and that a good diet wasn't enough anymore. They want to start him on insulin but the monthly fee the vet is asking is awfully steep. Nemo is 11 and is our baby. We are going to be everything we can to do whatever is best for him. I just feel like I don't have enough information and am quickly becoming overwhelmed.
     
  2. Vyktors Mum

    Vyktors Mum Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2011
    Hello there, welcome to the best place that you never wanted to be :)

    The good news is that if you home test you won't need the vet for anything more than your insulin prescription since you have found us. Here we deal with diabetes 24/7 and have done for years and years. We are not vets but the level of knowledge here about all things diabetes related is likely much higher than your vets knowledge. Most vets, being general practitioners across multiple species, aren't as up to date as we'd like them to be in relation to feline diabetes.

    A few questions to help us help you:

    How much does Nemo weigh, and what is his ideal weight?

    Has the vet started him on insulin and if so what type and dose?
    The best insulins for cats are the long lasting varieties - lantus, levemir, PZI or prozinc. Vetsulin/canninsulin doesn't generally do well with cats.

    If insulin hasn't yet been started you may want to change Nemo to a low carb canned food diet before you do - depending on how high his numbers are - otherwise it's better to change over once you are proficient with home testing as a change to a low carb diet (which the prescription foods aren't) can have a big impact on the numbers.

    Are you prepared to home test? Most of us use human meters and depending on where you are located people can advise you as to the better options. Home testing sounds a bit scary at first but when introduced the right way etc. most cats adjust very quickly and soon start looking forward to their tests because of the low carb treats involved :cat:

    Lastly, don't panic, we can absolutely help you to help Nemo. We know you are going to have a lot of questions so don't be shy about asking, everyone here was a newbie at some point so we understand where you're at :)
     
  3. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Welcome to FDMB, the best place you never wanted to be.

    There are 4 things you'll need to manage your kitty's diabetes:
    - You - without your commitment, the following won't work
    - A long-lasting insulin such as ProZinc, Lantus, BCP PZI, or Levemir
    - Low carb over the counter canned or raw diet, such as Friskies pates. See Cat Info for more info
    - And home blood glucose monitoring with an inexpensive human glucometer such as the WalMart Relion Confirm or Target Up and Up (the pet ones will break your budget!)
     
  4. Nikki_Renee

    Nikki_Renee Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    He weighs 20lbs (19.9 to be exact) and is really fat. I'm not sure what his target weight is. However, his blood glucose level was 460.
    We haven't been started on insulin yet. We just got the call last night so this is all very very new.
    I'm a little nervous about switching his food. He gets crystal in his urine if he isn't on his prescription food. He's also EXTREMELY picky about what he eats. He doesn't like treats of anything. We have been having to monitor him though, because lately he has been really attracted to the dogs food and we catch him trying to steal some all the time.
    I don't know anything about the home monitoring. Our vet said that for these first few months we have to bring in a sample of his urine every two weeks. Then they are going to charge us $65 to test it. Is that normal.

    I REALLY appreciate all the help.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
  5. phlika29

    phlika29 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2014
    Hi to you and nemo

    Vets typically like to have cats in for a day to do a blood glucose curve. So the urine test isn't a typical one for a diabetic cat but maybe that is for something else.

    I took my cat in for a curve initially but quickly realised I could and should do the same thing at home. It is a lot cheaper and a lot less stressful for both the cat and you.

    It can be daunting to start with but if you get a good routine going it will soon become second nature.

    Have a look at this link:

    http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/threads/hometesting-links-and-tips.287/
     
  6. Nikki_Renee

    Nikki_Renee Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    @phlika29 he has a problem with crystals in his urine so maybe that is the reason for the tests. I am headed to Walmart now to get a glucometer. I'm just unsure which one I will get. I'm become very overwhelmed with people telling me to put him down so he doesn't suffer. I don't feel like that's the best answer.
     
  7. Shiloh & Rhonda

    Shiloh & Rhonda Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2015
    I use the Reli On Prime. I have seen several recommendations for the Reli On Confirm. Can we ask your name and your cat's name? And a general location for you?

    And if you are up to it, and if he doesn't seem to be suffering, don't worry about what other people suggest about putting him down.
     
  8. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Check out the Friskies Special Diet pates for cats prone to urinary issues. It is low carb and renal friendly.
     
  9. Nikki_Renee

    Nikki_Renee Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    Thank you guys! I got the reli on confirm and I will definitely look into it @BJM
     
  10. TigzMom

    TigzMom Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2015
    Hi there
    My Tigz was diagnosed in April and although I'm certainly not an expert, I can understand how you feel. Initially, I was worried as well that I wouldn't be able to manage Tigz diabetes and that he might suffer and that I'd have to put him down. However, everyone here is super knowledgable regarding how to manage feline diabetes.
    Although I like my vets, I found the info, suggestions and advice here to be a great help!
    I also was initially told to do a blood glucose curve at the vets, but I decided to take Tiggy's care into my own hands and do his blood glucose tests and blood glucose curve at home. My Tigz is partial to treats, so I was able to find a low-carb "treat" that he insists on getting after his BG testing. And he is very used to getting a little poke in the ear. In the beginning he was a little wiggly, but since he realized he gets his special "treat", he is more than willing to sit still for mommy!
    Once I was able to show my vets his SS and his progress, they were on-board with everything. Every vet is different in how they manage diabetic cat care. And, as they say here on FDMB, every cat is different. But, everyone is here to support you. You can do it!
    Best Wishes!
     
  11. Nikki_Renee

    Nikki_Renee Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    Thank you so much! We need as much encouragement as we can get. We don't have the insulin yet but the vet said it should be here Tuesday. They still haven't given us much information as far as the plan but I went ahead and got a glucometer yesterday. We went ahead and tested his blood glucose for practice and out of curiosity. It was 349 mg/dL. I can tell he doesn't feel good either. He just lays by him water bowl all day looking sad and when he does lay with us he's super moody. I just want him to feel better.
     
  12. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Since you are waiting on insulin, I'd go ahead with the diet change using the Friskies Special Diet pates. That may drop the glucose 100-200 mg/dL. Change about 20-25 % different food each day to minimize digestive upsets or food refusals.

    With a die hard dry food eater, check out Young Again Mature dry low carb on the internet.
     
  13. Nikki_Renee

    Nikki_Renee Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    Right now he is on the Hills m/d prescription diet which I have read is bad for his diabetes. We are really nervous to switch though because he hasn't had any crystals in his urine since he was put on it. What if I switch him and he starts having other problem. I truly appreciate all your help.
     
  14. Nikki_Renee

    Nikki_Renee Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    Also, my cat is not a fan of cat treats at all. Before his diabetes got out of control I tried to give him treats and he doesn't like them. I've tried hard and soft and different flavors. What can I use as a treat after checking his BG. The only thing he likes is tuna. Idk how that will affect his diabetes though.
     
  15. Shiloh & Rhonda

    Shiloh & Rhonda Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2015
    Nikki, I have given tuna as a treat, but based on a suggestion from someone here on the board, I rinsed it first, to get rid of the extra sodium.
     
  16. Nikki_Renee

    Nikki_Renee Member

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    May 29, 2015
    @Shiloh & Rhonda Thank you!
     
  17. Shiloh & Rhonda

    Shiloh & Rhonda Well-Known Member

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    May 9, 2015
    Glad I could help. And welcome! I have only been here about three weeks, and I know how overwhelming it can be.
     
  18. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    Oct 6, 2010
    He might like dried bonito flakes if he is a seafood fan, or maybe freeze dried shrimp (ex PureBites). Or a particularly favorite toy or grooming?
     
  19. Nikki_Renee

    Nikki_Renee Member

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    May 29, 2015
    @BJM he doesn't like toys either. He likes to be brushed though.
     
  20. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    Oct 6, 2010
    Then use that as a positive reinforcement. For things you want him to do, always do a smidge of brushing after completing the test, be it testing, shooting, or cuddling before bedtime.
    If I say "brush, brush", I have several cats come running for it.
     
  21. Nikki_Renee

    Nikki_Renee Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2015
    Thank you! And thanks to you guys advice we are having a meeting with our vet next week when we get the insulin about eventually changing his cat food. He's on the Hill's perscription diet w/d dry food currently.
     
  22. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    Oct 6, 2010
    Change the food now; w/d prescription pet food is junk for diabetic cats. Most vets have very little nutrition education and what they get is done by prescription pet food manufacturers. I think that might be a conflict of interest, don't you? Pop over to Cat Info and read what Dr Lisa Pierson has to say about feline nutrition. It is her specialty. Wet food helps dilute crystals due to the water content and the Friskies Special Diet is designed for cats like him.

    It is easier and safer to do the food change before the insulin is on board as you don't have to worry about hypoglycemia. It can drop the glucose from 100-200 mg/dL and reduce the needed insulin dose 1-2 units, which will save you money!
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
  23. Nikki_Renee

    Nikki_Renee Member

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    May 29, 2015
    Going to the link right after this. Would the m/d wet food be a good switch or do I need to get away from prescription food all together?
     
  24. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    Oct 6, 2010
  25. Nikki_Renee

    Nikki_Renee Member

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    May 29, 2015
    Thank you so much. After reading that article I feel guilty for feeding him that food all these years. I just always assumed my vet was right.
     
  26. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    Oct 6, 2010
    Many of us did the exact same thing. I remember growing up and one of our cats was on the C/D cat food. He was euthanized for renal disease when I came home from my first semester of college.
     
  27. Nikki_Renee

    Nikki_Renee Member

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    May 29, 2015
    We have decided to switch to the food you suggested before starting the insulin. Once we have him completely switched over, how much should we be feeding him a day?? And should we just start with one flavor??
     
  28. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    Oct 6, 2010
    How much does he weigh and how much shoud he weigh?
    Roughly 0.5 to 1.0 ounces per pound per meal seems to work as a starting point, then add or subtract as needed to maintain ideal weight.

    Note: the unregulated diabetic is ravenous because he can't use all the calories he eats, so adding 50% more food, plus adding some extra water will help fill him up.
    Spreading food thinly on the plate will help slow him down so he doesn't scarf 'n' barf.
    And feeding him mini-meals may keep him from getting too hungry (sometimes they vomit if too hungry).
     
  29. Nikki_Renee

    Nikki_Renee Member

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    May 29, 2015
    Thanks! He absolutely loved it. He was actually trying to eat around his old dry food. Now he's acting like he's starving again though but we gave him quite a bit earlier. Probably more than we should have. We didn't hear from the vet today so we haven't started insulin. We wanna get him used to this food first anyways. You've been a lot of help.
     
  30. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    Oct 6, 2010
    Maybe give him a day or two, so long as he seems OK, to get used to the new food.
     
  31. Nikki_Renee

    Nikki_Renee Member

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    May 29, 2015
    @BJM We normally feed him twice a day but feeding times aren't currently consistent. We may switch to 3 smaller meals with water in them. We will be giving insulin twice a day, will it still be okay to feed three times a day?
    I got the glucometer and other supplies. We have been testing it about once a day. We are going to start using the spreadsheet once we start insulin He was 460 at the vet. These have been his readings at home since then and we are about to test him again:
    349 mg/dL
    Friday, May 29
    5:41pm

    339 mg/dL
    Saturday, May 30
    4:32 pm
    6 hours after eating

    300mg/dL
    Sunday, May 31
    7:27 pm
    7 hours after feeding

    220mg/dL
    Monday, June 1
    1:18 pm
    13 hours after feeding
     
  32. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Oh Goody! Numbers!! Even though you're not giving insulin yet, recording them helps us see how he is doing. Try testing before the meal, then about +2 and +4 hours later to see what happens. Any residual function in the pancreas will show up as a drop at +4 hours from a food spike at +2 hours.

    Can we get you started using our grid to record your glucose tests? It will help us give you better feedback. Instructions are here.

    Understanding the spreadsheet/grid:

    The colored headings at the top are the ranges of glucose values. They are color-coded to clue you in as to meaning.

    Each day is 1 row. Each column stores different data for the day.

    From left to right, you enter
    the Date in the first column
    the AMPS (morning pre-shot test) in the 2nd column
    the Units given (turquoise column)

    Then, there are 11 columns labeled +1 through +11
    If you test at +5 (5 hours after the shot), you enter the test number in the +5 column
    If you test at +7 (7 hours after the shot), you enter the test number in the +7 column
    and so on.

    Halfway across the page is the column for PMPS (evening pre-shot)
    To the right is another turquoise column for Units given at the evening shot.

    There is second set of columns labeled +1 through +11
    If you snag a before bed test at +3, you enter the test number in the +3 column.

    We separate day and night numbers like that because many cats go lower at night.

    It is merely a grid for storing the info; no math required.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  33. Nikki_Renee

    Nikki_Renee Member

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    May 29, 2015
    Sounds great! Thank you!
     

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