New Member 2/9/20 Introduction and does this sound right?

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (Welcome & Main Forum)' started by _Bobbie, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. _Bobbie

    _Bobbie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2020
    Hello,

    I am so grateful to have found this website and forum, though admit it feels a bit overwhelming. My 17yo sweet boy, Alex, was just diagnosed on Friday, and while my vet is trusted and helpful, I am trying to learn all I can beyond what information she has provided.

    Alex has been dealing with some gastro issues along with worsening arthritis for a couple of years, and I think that caused me to miss some of the symptoms of the onset of his diabetes. He had bloodwork done at his last annual appointment in June 2019, and everything was normal. He has always consumed a lot of water, so any increase didn't really register with me. He started having difficulty with his hind legs a little over a month ago, but I unfortunately assumed it was related to worsening arthritis. I realize now that it was the onset of neuropathy. A couple of weeks ago I became more concerned about his staggering, and started googling. That is the first I saw anything about diabetes related neuropathy. When I saw videos of cats walking exactly the way Alex walked, I realized there might be something more significant going on, and finally took him to the vet. And sure enough, his GL was 450, so here we are.

    So the vet has prescribed 2 units of ProZinc every 12 hours. She advised against doing home testing right now (to avoid additional stress for him), with the plan being 2 weeks of insulin injections to try to stabilize him, then putting him on a Freestyle Libre for a while to gather more data. But from the reading I'm doing here, it doesn't seem like a good idea to give insulin without testing first. I would love to get opinions about this.

    Also, since he has a history of not responding well to changes in diet, even when done very gradually, she thinks it is best not to mess with his food too much. She did give me a couple of cans of Purina ProPlan DM to see how he responded to it, and he liked it well enough. I'm also looking at the food list (which is incredible by the way) for lower-cost options and will see if we can transition him to a LC wet food.

    For his neuropathy, I am looking into Zobaline. My vet had not heard of it, but is going to do some research and let me know what she thinks. Does anyone here use it? Should I hold off on giving it to Alex until we see if it will improve once he is more stable from the insulin?

    I'll also mention that he is taking Tylan powder for his gastro issue and gabapentin for arthritis. And he is a big boy and weighs about 17 pounds (7.7kg), though his ideal weight would be closer to 20 lbs.

    I will do a lot more reading around the forms, but appreciate any thoughts anyone cares to share with me here. Thank you so much!
     
  2. Nan & Amber (GA)

    Nan & Amber (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2016
    Hello and welcome!

    Sounds like you are really doing your homework to try to help your boy Alex! Hopefully, you'll have him feeling better soon.

    A couple initial thoughts: I think it makes sense to do any diet changes very slowly, given his other issues. I'll add to that that I would strongly advocate that you start home testing blood glucose before doing any changes, as changing to a low-carb diet can reduce insulin needs sharply. You really need to be home testing in order to keep Alex safe. As I'm sure you have already gathered by reading around here, we are big advocates of home testing in general, but in particular in that situation. It can be a steep learning curve (for both of you!) to get it up and running, but most cats soon adjust very well. We can offer lots of tips and tricks to get through those beginning stages, and put your vet's fears about stressing Alex out to rest.

    Several people have tried the Freestyle Libre for their kitties. I think the general sum-up is that they are great when they work, but can be fussy on cats, starting with difficulties getting the things to stick on and stay, and not get scratched off by the cat. And then sometimes the mechanisms don't work as well or for as long as they are supposed to. But they are a wonderful option to use for cats who really resist testing by hand, or for petsitting situations where the sitter is unwilling to test, etc., and when they are working they are a great way to get lots of information easily.

    Lots of folks around here use Zobaline, and many swear by it for reducing or erasing their cats' neuropathy. It can take some time, but I don't know of any other effective treatment (other than slow healing after the diabetes is better regulated, but that can take a lot of time). I don't see any reason to hold off starting it-- it shouldn't interfere with or be interfered with by insulin.

    2U of Prozinc is higher than we'd normally start with, but then Alex is a big boy. Hopefully one of the Prozinc users can chime in here with some more specific thoughts about the dose, but I'll just recommend (again!) that you consider giving home testing a try, to help keep him safe.

    Welcome again! Alex is a total cutie, by the way :cat:!
     
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  3. jt and trouble (GA)

    jt and trouble (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Testing is your most valuable asset. Make sure he gets a treat right after you stick his ear. That way he will learn to associated the stick with something very yummy. A little bit of his fave treat can go a long way. ;)
    People here are experts and if you experience problems once you start testing all you have to do is ask for help. Good luck, you have found the best site on the planet!
     
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  4. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    My recommendations.

    Don't mess with his food right now.
    At least test at pre-shot test time, to make sure he is high enough to give the insulin in the first place.

    "STARTING DOSES
    The recommended starting dose for ProZinc/PZI is .5 units or one unit twice daily, every 12 hours. We start low and increase doses slowly, if needed, based on home testing results."

    Have you seen our
    BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO PROZINC/ PZI INSULIN FOR DIABETIC CATS

    and this link to the dosing protocol we use here for Prozinc.
    PROTOCOL FOR PROZINC / PZI
    Once you put the insulin in, you can't take it back out.
    Do you have a Hypo kit prepped and ready? Just in case.
    How to treat HYPOS - THEY CAN KILL! Print this Out!!
    and
    jojo and bunny's HYPO TOOL BOX

    Don't forget to put some treats for you in the Hypo tool kit. Chocolate covered pretzels anyone?:)

    I think that is enough information to hit you with right now. We are here when you have more questions.

    p.s. Thanks for the signature info already. It helps us to help you better. Hello Bobbie and extra sweet sugardude Alex.

    p.p.s. Gabapentin can help with not only the arthritis pain, but also the nerve pain with the diabetic neuropathy. Yup, nerve pain hurts, trust me on that one.
     
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  5. Juls and Billy

    Juls and Billy Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2019
    Hello Bobbie! Boy are you and Alex in the right place. In each section of the forums, there are sticky posts at the top. Reading these really helped me understand what was going on when my Billy was diagnosed last month.

    I wanted to agree with the other posters about two things:

    1- I don't agree with your vet about not home testing right away. Most cats don't find it that stressful, especially if bribes of cuddles or low carb treats are involved. My vet also did not suggest home testing and started Billy on 2 units of Prozinc twice a day (only one if he wasn't eating- Billy was so sick at first.). If I had followed those instructions, I would have lost Billy on day five. I'm very serious. His morning blood sugar was only 52 and I would have given him 2 units of insulin because he was eating.

    2- I agree with Deb about starting at no more than 1 unit twice a day. Billy's diagnosed blood sugar was over 500, he had neuropathy, and that 2 units was way too strong for him. It's what caused his hypo event day 5. Slow and steady treatment really does win this race, and it's safer for Alex. Every cat is different, but please click on the link in my signature that "Billy's Spreadsheet." You can see exactly how fast we had to cut that 2 units. Certainly some diabetic cats start at 1 unit twice a day and have to increase the dose, but it's far safer to start low and go slow. Do give it some consideration.

    We all know how overwhelming this can all be a first, but it gets easier as soon as you have a few days to get into the swing of things, I promise. You're already taking great care of Alex and learning all the things! Lots of members use Zobaline with good effect. My Billy's neuropathy cleared up quickly once we got his blood sugar more regulated, so know that it has a great chance of getting better now that you are treating the diabetes. You rock for taking such good care of Alex!
     
  6. _Bobbie

    _Bobbie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2020
    Oh my goodness!! Thank you all SO much for all this helpful information! I will likely respond more individually later, but just wanted to send a general thanks. I am going to head to CVS and pick up a glucose monitor and test strips shortly. And yes, I will start out with just 1 unit of the ProZinc, despite my vet’s instructions. I think she recommended that because he is such a large cat and because we won’t be changing his diet. But better too little than too much at first for sure. Billy’s story is terrifying - I’m so glad you tested!
    If anyone has a quick recommendation for a glucose monitor that I would likely be able to find at a drug store, I would appreciate it. I will also do some searching on here for different brands that I see.

    More later. Thanks again to you all ♥️
     
  7. Diane Tyler's Mom

    Diane Tyler's Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    If you have a Walmart by you most of us use the Relion Prime human meter
    It's 9 dollars and for 17.88 you can buy 100 strips or how many more you want to buy. Since in the beginning you will be testing a lot and will go through the strips quucqui and it's always good to buy extra. The pet meters are expensive and the strips even more outrageously expensive. Of course it's your choice
    Glad to see you are lowering the dose of insulin.
    I don't know what I would have done without all the amazing members here giving advice.
    I have to say they know way more than most vets do.
    We are the ones who are with our cats 24/7 and taking care of them, testing them, keeping them safe because we are testing them. Everyone here is so helpful, caring, knowledgeable, I can't say enough about them. Wishing you all the best with your boy Alex. He sure is a cutie
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
  8. _Bobbie

    _Bobbie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2020
    Thank you. Heading to Wal-Mart now.
     
  9. Diane Tyler's Mom

    Diane Tyler's Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2018
    Excellent
     
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  10. Sienne and Gabby (GA)

    Sienne and Gabby (GA) Senior Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Welcome to FDMB!

    What sort of GI issues is Alex dealing with. It looks like Tylan is an antibiotic and often used for diarrhea and inflammation. Depending on what's going on, we may have some suggestions!

    Once you have your meter, you may want to take a look at this post on helping us to help you. There is a link to our spreadsheet template along with all sorts of other information that is useful for getting started on this adventure.

    Please let us know how we can help.
     
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  11. Juls and Billy

    Juls and Billy Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2019
    Billy is a big boy too--26 pounds! What I've learned here is that dosage doesn't really depend on weight. I'm just so thankful for this site, and that I started home testing right away. I also wanted to mention that I started Billy's diet change right away, which is another reason the home testing was so important. I know your Alex has other health issues as well. If and when you transition him to a new diet, take it slowly. Diabetes treatment takes as long as it takes, there's no need to rush it. Even if Alex has to take insulin the rest of his life, he can be happy and regulated.

    I use a cheap ReliOn premier meter from WalMart. Meter is inexpensive, but the big savings is on the test strips, which are quite cheap. Testing ketones is also very useful. I got a pricey blood meter because Billy is a shy pee-er, but many members use inexpensive Ketostix and test urine. You might want to pick some up while you are getting your other supplies, just so you have them if you need them.
     
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  12. _Bobbie

    _Bobbie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2020
    He was having very soft stools that often had blood in them and losing weight, despite having normal bloodwork and good appetite. We first tried flagyl, which seemed to help for a few months but then stopped working. The Tylan powder has been effective for almost a year now. Though I have read that B12 in the form of methylcobalamin can also help with GI issues in addition to neuropathy, so I hope maybe that will be the case for Alex. But I would love suggestions if you have any!
     
  13. _Bobbie

    _Bobbie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2020
    I love big kitties! 26 pounds - awesome! So much to snuggle!

    I got the ReliOn monitor and test strips, and grabbed some ketone test strips, too! I've been reading all the info and watching videos about how to use them. Planning to do 11am and 11pm insulin injections, so trying to get prepared to do my first test in an hour. And I still need to figure out how to set up a SS.

    Thanks for all the help and the reminder to be patient! I definitely need to hear that.
     
  14. Deb & Wink

    Deb & Wink Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Juls and Billy and _Bobbie like this.
  15. _Bobbie

    _Bobbie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2020
  16. NancyF

    NancyF Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2020
    Welcome. I'm new here too. I wish I had done more research when my Georgie was diagnosed. Just had a scary day and I have also decided I'm reducing his does to 1 unit of his insulin.

    I really have to wonder if vets use weight to prescribe the dosage. Georgie is a big cat too, and used to weigh 30lbs. We missed his symptoms because we had been trying to get him to lose weight. So when he first started, we were thrilled.

    Everyone on this forum has been so so helpful. I probably would have had a nervous breakdown by now without them. I'm still feeling like I'm in over my head and overwhelmed, but I know there's support here
     
  17. Sienne and Gabby (GA)

    Sienne and Gabby (GA) Senior Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    S. boulardii is a probiotic that is very helpful with diarrhea. I use ReNew brand.. Others have used Florastor. Both are available on Amazon. You start with 1/4 of a capsule x2/day and can gradually increase to 1/3 or 1/2 capsule x2/day.

    If there was any thought that this was IBD, you may want to try novel proteins. I've been feeding my IBD cat a raw diet and it has done wonders.
     
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  18. _Bobbie

    _Bobbie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2020
    We tried Fortiflora and ProViable probiotics for Alex initially, but they didn't seem to touch it. Neither contain S. boulardii. I will look into ReNew and Florastor. Thank you!

    Thanks, I have heard this, and considered switching to duck (he has always eaten chicken). I am not changing his diet for a bit, but will definitely try a novel protein when I do start to change it.

    Thanks so much for these suggestions!
     
  19. Sienne and Gabby (GA)

    Sienne and Gabby (GA) Senior Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    If you think Alex is sensitive to poultry, I wouldn't try duck. My guy had eaten turkey and chicken his entire life when he was diagnosed with IBD and the vet warned against Duck. I'd look at either venison, lamb or rabbit. ZiwiPeak on one brand that carries these flavors and their foods do not contain any carrageenan or gums.
     
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  20. _Bobbie

    _Bobbie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2020
    Thanks, @NancyF. I hope Georgie (and you!) are doing better today. I feel so on guard with Alex now, and terrified of messing something up. I am really grateful I found this group, and that I am no longer "shooting blind."
     
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  21. _Bobbie

    _Bobbie Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2020
    That is good to know, thanks.
     

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