? New Here - Feeling overwhelmed

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (Welcome & Main Forum)' started by Camille and Oliver, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. Camille and Oliver

    Camille and Oliver New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2020
    Hi all,

    I am so grateful to have found this forum. Receiving the feline diabetes diagnosis has been really devastating and overwhelming for me. I have been reading every bit of information I can online. Some of the statistics leave me optimistic about treatment and others leave me terrified of what could happen, and worse yet, it not working and me having to lose my best friend to this illness.

    It started off for us on September 20th. Shortly after moving to a new home, and forcing my indoor/outdoor cat to stay inside while transitioning to the new home, he was left using solely his litter box. Instead of using it as he should, he was peeing in spots out of the ordinary. I put down white garbage bags around his litter box as he kept peeing right beside the box and noticed blood in the urine. I rushed him in to the vet, and was told he had high sugars in his urine. He tested at 12.8 so I was sent home and told to bring him back if I see any symptoms of diabetes and for further glucose testing at a later date. I brought him in about a month later. Glucose levels were at 15.8, so rising, but they advised this could be from the stress of the car ride in, and being poked at the vet. Once again, sent home to monitor for symptoms of diabetes.

    I did notice him start to be more lazy, but always in the winter he stays inside more to be out of the cold (We live in Canada). He was only going pee on average 1 time a day, he was not drinking more water than usual, and did not notice an increase in appetite. I switched him off of all hard foods in September, and was feeding fancy feast, in addition to Hills M/D (which he was not happy about).

    This past weekend, neuopathy kicked in. One minute he appeared fine, the next I noticed about a 30% decrease in the use of his hind legs - they seemed weak and wobbly. So after a solid panic attack on my end, I rushed him in to the vet where his glucose level was 20.2 and a diagnosis was made.

    We started administering insulin. ProZinc - 3 units twice daily. I was told to come back in 2-3 weeks for frucosamine testing or possibly a glucose curve if my cat would allow it (He is very feisty to say the least). I am extremely uncomfortable administering insulin blind. My grandfather was diabetic and my mom is a nurse, we always knew the risks of insulin shock. I tested him last night before giving him the insulin injection and it came back at 24.4. I tested 6 hours after/before injections and it was 11.2. I am going to move forward with testing twice daily before administering the insulin for peace of mind.

    My big concerns are the following: 1. The vet told me to only feed him twice a day when insulin is given - he is used to eating several small meals a day, I am now concerned he is not eating enough food.
    2. My veterinarian is a new grad and I can tell she has very little experience treating diabetes in felines. How do I go about finding someone who really knows what they are talking about?
    3. I called other vet clinics in search of someone comfortable treating diabetes, and they all seem to administer different types of insulin. What type is best? If I switch vet clinics, can the insulin be changed out or should it be changed without giving it a good period of time to see if it works well?
    4. How often should I be performing glucose curves?
    5. I am having difficulty getting blood from his ears, and had better luck using the big pad on his paw - is this okay?
    6. Most importantly - will this work? Will he be okay? Will his neuropathy subside? I read only 46% of cats live longer than 2 years post diagnosis. My cat is only 8.5 years old - I want him to be able to live a long, healthy life.

    Thank you all for reading my long, drawn out post and for any advice you can provide for this scared cat momma.

    Camille
     
    Jennifer R. likes this.
  2. Jennifer R.

    Jennifer R. Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2019
    Welcome to the forum, I am a fairly new user myself, and my cat is around 9 years old, so I hear you about not wanting to lose your fur friend so soon. I would read the intro posts, and create a speadsheet showing his glucose readings - translate them into US human meter values if possible.
    Read this post for instructions: http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/threads/new-how-you-can-help-us-help-you.216696/
    I hope some of the more experienced people will chime in.
    I know I have seen people say that they successfully treated the neuropathy with methyl B12.
     
  3. Wendy&Neko

    Wendy&Neko Senior Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Hello and welcome. Waving at you from the west coast of Canada. :) If you give us a general idea where you live, maybe another member will have a recommended vet clinic. But if you like the certain vet, you can still work with them, and talk to us about diabetes. My vet got me started on Caninsulin, great insulin for dogs, not so much for most cats. Anyway, a locum vet got me on Lantus and testing. I ended up staying with my vet and working with her for everything else. Dosing I did with help from here.

    Good for you on home testing. What type of meter are you using? Paw pads are find if you can't do ears. I would also keep doing some mid cycle tests to see how low he is going on that dose. Don't forget spot checks at night, many cats go lower at night. A test before bed is a good time. Curves are traditionally once a week, if you do them. Some of our dosing methods have you test at least four times a day, which gives you enough data so that you don't have to do curves all the time.

    Prozinc is a good insulin, as is Lantus and Levemir. Typically we suggest trying an insulin for six months to see if it's working. Three units is a higher dose than we'd start any insulin. Is he a large kitty?

    Feeding smaller meals or grazing is fine, though preferably fewer carbs after nadir, when the insulin effect is reduced. And in the beginning, remove food two hours before your preshot test, so that number is not influenced by food. No need to feed the M/D, it's higher carbs that you'd really like anyway. But do any food transitions slowly. You do want to be testing regularly when you remove higher carb foods from the diet.

    My girl lasted 5 years on insulin, and that was pretty good considering she had a lot of secondary conditions. We've had cats last 8, even 11 years on insulin. So yes, cats can live happy diabetic lives. It's also possible with the right treatment, for cats to go into diabetic remission.

    I am going to remove the GA from your post - it means Guardian Angel or Gone Ahead, for kitties that have predeceased us.
     
    Jennifer R. likes this.
  4. Red & Rover (GA)

    Red & Rover (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2016
    Just stopping by to say welcome from central Ontario.
     
    Jennifer R. likes this.
  5. Camille and Oliver

    Camille and Oliver New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2020
    I am on Vancouver Island and my sweet kitty's name is Oliver.

    I am using a human meter - the One Touch Ultra 2. My vetrenarian told me that it will not give accurate results and I should get the alphatrax but from what I have found from my research it seems most people are able to get accurate results using a human meter.

    From what I have read online, I am also realizing that 3 units twice a day is a high dosage (compared to others). My boy was 18lbs in September but as a result of the diabetes is now sitting around 15.8lbs. He is a big, solid cat, I would not say he is fat (anymore), just big.

    With giving up the M/D, and feeding only fancy feast - are there specific fancy feast foods you would recommend? Are all of them high enough and protein and low enough in carbohydrates?

    I really appreciate all of the support & information.
     
  6. Wendy&Neko

    Wendy&Neko Senior Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    I don't feed any fancy feast, but those who do only feed the pates. Here is a food chart for US foods, but a lot of them are available in Canada. Look for ones under 10% in carbs.

    I am on the mainland, so my vet won't work for you. The One Touch is just fine, that's what my vet used. She said it compared favourable to the lab test results when she tested it. It needs a larger blood drop than other meters, so often people will use a different human meter brand. But if it works for you, keep using it.

    Some cats need higher doses, but they start low and work their way up. Since you are testing, Oliver will tell you whether this is a enough, too much or too little.
     
  7. Ken and Sneakers

    Ken and Sneakers Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Hi and Hello


    1. The vet told me to only feed him twice a day when insulin is given - he is used to eating several small meals a day, I am now concerned he is not eating enough food.
    The only thing is that with the insulin you are using, in most cases your cat has to eat before the shot. As long as you can make that happen, you can feed many more meals

    2. My veterinarian is a new grad and I can tell she has very little experience treating diabetes in felines. How do I go about finding someone who really knows what they are talking about?

    I would have hoped that a new grad without experience would have more knowledge then the ones doing this for years sigh,,,

    3. I called other vet clinics in search of someone comfortable treating diabetes, and they all seem to administer different types of insulin. What type is best? If I switch vet clinics, can the insulin be changed out or should it be changed without giving it a good period of time to see if it works well?
    For most cats imho Lantus is best by far. Hypoglycemic attacks although possible is something that rarely happens with this insulin. The success rate and remission rate if things are done right is very high. Also it is expensive so you can check on craigslist to see if people are selling it there for a big discount. Just don't buy any that has been already used.


    4. How often should I be performing glucose curves?
    IMHO they are the wrong way to go. Any single day can be an aberration and what happens with the numbers when the preshot is in the 400's (23) can be much different then what happens when the preshot number is in the 200's (12's) I would much prefer that a curve is done over numerous days with spot checks at different times on different days. FWIW many on this board may not agree

    5. I am having difficulty getting blood from his ears, and had better luck using the big pad on his paw - is this okay?
    Yes it's ok but I prefer the ears and I think your cat may too once you get it. Have you tried warming the ears first using a sock with rice zapped in the microwave?


    6. Most importantly - will this work? Will he be okay? Will his neuropathy subside? I read only 46% of cats live longer than 2 years post diagnosis. My cat is only 8.5 years old - I want him to be able to live a long, healthy life.

    Don't know where you read that but yes, he will be great cause he has a great caregiver who wants to learn and do the right thing. The neuropathy will subside as
    you get the glucose numbers down. Have you tried some methylcobalamin? Crush 1 pill into the food every day to help with it
    Listen to me. Your cat will be absolutely fine and will not have his life shortened one iota because of diabetes. Things spound and feel so much scarier then they actually are. You will do great!
     
  8. Panic

    Panic Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2019
    Hello Camille, welcome to FDMB. :)

    To start, feline diabetes is in no means a death sentence. When treated appropriately cats live for many years, like Wendy said. Many lucky kitties here have gone into remission and are solely diet-controlled!

    If Oliver is good about not scarfing his food down all at once (it sounds like he's a grazer which is great), by all means allow him to free-feed. We use food as a guide for blood sugar throughout the day so it's actually harder to control when withholding food to twice a day. Fancy Feast Classics are all perfect, we prefer to use the Poultry & Beef varieties. Seafood is acceptable but as a general rule we do try to avoid it in their daily diet.

    You will unfortunately see most veterinarians don't know much about feline diabetes, and many actually lump canine and feline diabetes together (they are not to be handled the same way). This is partly because more pet owners are more likely to help their diabetic dogs and not so much their cats. I would not toss your veterinarian aside if they are willing to learn - in vet school they simply don't have time to cover all diseases so they end up learning just a little bit of everything that comes through a clinic, and not the specifics. Kinda scary, but it is what it is.

    As far as insulin, you can get Lantus/Levemir or ProZinc. Lantus/Levemir have the highest success rates in cats, but they do not offer a lot of "wiggle room" per shot, meaning it's much more effective by giving insulin every 12 hours, with only a 15 minute difference each time. ProZinc is second best, great results, with about an hour of wiggle room if needed. Consider these when you're choosing an insulin.

    Glucose curves aren't really necessary, as Ken and Sneakers said. For someone that maybe works a full-time job that doesn't get to test throughout the day, a curve on the weekends may suffice if you like, otherwise get at least one or two tests in during each cycle (this includes the night cycle, usually before bedtime) and keep track, that will give a better picture of what Oliver is doing on the insulin.

    The ears will need to learn to bleed before they become easy, and even then you'll probably find one ear bleeds easier than the other. You can use a rice sock to warm his ear or sometimes I'll just hold/rub the ear between my fingers for a minute or two to get it flowing. Make sure you are using 26 gauge lancets to start.

    Oliver will do well if you keep up with monitoring him. :) Any cat has the potential to reach remission - we have had many cats here who have had additional diseases on top of the diabetes resulting in very, very high doses (15+ units twice a day) that have reached remission, isn't that incredible?? The feline pancreas is amazing!

    Keep asking questions! We are here for you!
     
  9. Bron and Sheba (GA)

    Bron and Sheba (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2015
    Hi and welcome Camille and Oliver.
    So glad you found us.
    You have received lots of good advice. I just wanted to welcome you and to say to ask lots of questions as it can be overwhelming in the beginning but does get easier.:)
     

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