New with questions

Discussion in 'Welcome to the Group - Post an Introduction Here' started by Cat mom, Apr 9, 2017.

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  1. Cat mom

    Cat mom Member

    Apr 9, 2017
    I have 4 cats, all litter mates that will be 15 years old in July. Originally, there were 5, one literally dropped dead during the night at 7 years old and I always believed it was from diabetes.

    One of them, a male named Summer was diagnosed w/diabetes a week ago. I had a feeling it was diabetes due to his symptoms, excessive drinking of water and urinating and eventually his walk became a stagger and his coat is dull, meow & purr changed and horrific weight loss.

    I have spent over $500 this week alone (that I do not have) on testing, an Alphatrak and insulin. I cannot afford the vet recommended insulin (Lantus) so I had no choice but to go w/Novolin N (NPH) which was the least expensive. I have had cats my entire life and I am no stranger to the age 15, I know any attempts at saving a life at this point could be futile.

    The vet put him on 1 unit twice per day and this is like giving him nothing. He started insulin last Thursday and his BG has been higher than the original blood test at the vet. He is bouncing from 300-600 and has never gotten anywhere near normal. I told the vet and she offered nothing more than to say "bring him back in 7 days" and then she and all the veterinarians I have seen for the past 20 years went on Easter vacation, I can't get in until the 25th at earliest.

    I have done a crash course in feline diabetes and know that carbs are bad, dry food is a huge no-no and read many threads here before joining, including one on NPH, where most don't prefer it, one member loved it.

    My question, is this a "normal" dose of N? I have smart vets, but I am getting the feeling they are diabetic-illiterate. The vet wanted him on Lantus, which is nowhere near affordable for me and she mentioned 1 unit twice per day. Are all insulin's started at 1 unit twice per day?

    Question 2: how long does it take on insulin to begin to see lower BG levels?

    Summer is a dry food addict, more so than the other 3 cats, but they have all eaten dry food their entire lives. I stopped it cold turkey 2 nights ago and went to canned food. I have read that most vets prefer 2 feedings a day. I cannot do that. Having 4 cats, I am changing all their diets for Summer, but they are hungry and I am feeding them canned 4 times per day, two feedings have ZERO carbs the other 2 feedings are about 5 carbs each.

    Strange part, Summer's symptoms seem a tiny bit better. He's not staggering as much, he's interacting w/the other cats more than he was, he just isn't normal.

    Question 3: Do all foods, even zero carb foods create insulin spikes?

    Question 4: I am unable to time the shots at exactly 12 hours apart, my father is under the care of Hospice and I am taking care of him and now a diabetic cat. If I am early or late (within an hour) on the injections how bad is this?

    Question 5: Has anyone used Blood Sugar Gold from Pet well Being? I've been reading the reviews and it sounds amazing.

    Sorry for the long post. I have more questions, but I think 5 for now is enough, lol

    Thank you for any advice you can offer.
  2. Yong

    Yong Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2017
    Welcome Cat mom and Summer!
    You will find tons of information and caring people here who live and breathe FD 24/7. I trust them more than any Vet. Unfortunately, Vet's do not seem to receive much training on feline diabetes or proper nutrition / treatments. Lantus is one of the preferred insulins for cats and many order from an actual pharmacy in Canada. I think around $150+S&H for 5 pens. Depending on the dose that can last some kitties a year.
    I don't know much about Novolin N but most cat's do start on low doses. We had a flux of Vets starting kitties on waaaay too high a dose, so your Vet has an extra brownie point for that ;).

    Glad you are testing, do you have BG numbers for this week? We use a Spreadsheet here:
    If he's only been on insulin for a week, chances are you may not see improvements immediately. I didn't see any for over a month with my boy. Suspecting I didn't catch it as early as possible.
    A lot of us use human meters for testing BG due to test strip price of AlphaTrak 2.
    Question 1: Unfortunately, there is not a "normal" dose as every cat is different (ECID).
    Question 2: Also depends on the kitty. Have you done a diet change yet? This article may help:
    Question 3: Some kitties are super carb sensitive so it is possible to influence the blood sugar.
    Question 4: I've been told Prozinc is the most flexible with 12/12 schedules. I believe Novolin N is a shorter acting insulin like Vetsulin/Caninsulin (8-10hours). Hopefully someone more experienced will confirm.
    Question 5: I'm sure at least 1 other person has tried. I'll look around for you.

    If you could setup some information in your signature, it helps those of us with bad memories

    If you think of any more questions, post them on the Main Health Forum :)
  3. Djamila

    Djamila Well-Known Member

    Aug 1, 2015
    Yes, to everything Yong said with a couple of additions:

    Question 1: There is no normal dose, but staring at 1 unit is a normal starting place, so good job to your vet for that decision! From there, your home testing will help us (and your vet) give you the best advice about raising or lowering your dose. It's fantastic that you're testing at home, so well done! If you set up a spreadsheet like Yong said, it will keep everything organized and clear. You can also email the link to your vet and save money on needing to go in for too many check-ups.

    Question 2: I hate giving this answer, but....every cat is different.

    Question 3: yes, all foods will raise BG in a diabetic cat. However, lower carb foods raise it less, and less dramatically. And the increase from food is temporary. After about two hours, it levels out.

    Question 4: You'll need to post in one of the forums for your insulin to get the best answer to this, but from what I've read, I agree with what Yong said.

    It's great that you're getting all of your kitties transitioned to low-carb wet food. All of them will benefit from that, especially since they are from the same litter of kittens and have shown a family tendency to diabetes. Recommending two meals/day is "old school" thinking. Most of us have found that are kitties do better, and are safer, having access to food all day. The one caveat being if your kitties are overweight, but if they are a healthy weight, or if they've lost a lot of weight from the diabetes, then free feeding, or several smaller meals throughout the day, are recommended.

    A note on home testing: the test strips for the alphatrak are quite expensive. However, the AT will give you the same numbers as the vet which can be very helpful to both you and your vet. However, many of us use human meters because the test strips are much less expensive, and we tend to do a lot of testing around here. Both approaches work - it's just whichever you prefer.
  4. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Jun 8, 2016
    Welcome... sorry about the diagnosis, but you really did find the best place for information and support in coming here. My cat was on Vetsulin (in remission currently) which is similar in many ways to Novolin N. If you find over time that Novollin is just not working for you and you want to give Lantus a try, Yong mentioned that many on here order it from Canada. The pharmacy is called Mark's Marine Pharmacy, and they are substantially less than here in the US. You can get a year's supply for like $150.

    1 unit is the common starting dose that we all recommend. It's entirely possible that your cat's dose will need to be raised, but the only way to know that is by testing.

    You have the Alphatrak meter which is an AWESOME pet meter. it's the one I use.... that being said, the strips are really expensive. The cheapest place I've found them is on They always have coupon codes so it usually comes to about $48/50 pack. If the cost becomes prohibitive, many here use human meters. The relion Micro is a popular choice from walmart. The numbers aren't the same as alphatrak, but it will still be able to tell you if the cat is high or low and help you track trends.

    We use a spreadsheet on these boards to help give each other dosing advice... Yong gave you the link to that. :)

    Foods without carbs won't significant bg spikes... but just serving plain chicken or something is not a balanced diet. Most here feed fancy feast classic or Friskies pate. There are a small handfull of diabetic friendly dry.... my favorite is Young Again Zero (available on at 1% carb. Another is Evo Cat and Kitten at about 8 % carb. I serve my cats a combo of fancy feast classic twice a day and young again to free feed on. Only feeding twice a day is an old fashioned idea for treating diabetes... most find smaller meals throughout the day/night is better, as long as there is no food 2 hours before preshot testing time.

    I have not used Blood Sugar Gold.

    Adjusting shot times within an hour time is ok for in and out insulins like novolin and vetsulin... jut test before you shoot.
  5. Cat mom

    Cat mom Member

    Apr 9, 2017
    Thank you so much for your thorough answers. Great answers with a ton of good info.

    MORE questions, sorry these posts are so long.

    I've read that the BG numbers will be higher at the vet due to stress. Well, his was 401 at the vet and he was COMPLETELY stressed out, even panting! The Alphatrak 2 comes in with some ridiculously high numbers. I bought it on Amazon new and I returned it because I thought it had to be broken. I bought a new one and it has the same ridiculously high BG results always higher than the vet and he's on insulin now! I know there is a setting for cats and the number on the strips is 93, so I set it at 93. Could there be any other setting #'s for cats on the Alphatrak? I just cannot believe his BG is as high as it reads. It doesn't make sense. Any help with this would be appreciated.

    On another note, he's had an ear infection and the vet rx'd Tresaderm! I read her that is a NO because it has steroids, I took him off of that now. I wonder if Tresaderm could have caused higher BG. I can't believe she prescribed it. He also had a high WBC and she put him on Clavamox. Are infections w/high WBC's common in diabetic cats? I just don't know if there is more going on here, although the vet thinks diabetes is the cause of all his symptoms.

    I am finding that diabetes is a very specialized area and not all veterinarian's know what they are doing, including my vet. An example, the first thing I found in my "crash course" was to get the cat off dry food. I presented that idea to my vet who said, "No he can snack on dry food". I knew she was wrong and during the night I'd leave dry food out and by morning Summer's BG would be close to 600. So I said enough is enough, dry food is gone.

    All of my cats have always eaten (in addition to dry) Trader Joes canned foods. I've now studied their food and was so happy that the Trader Joe's Tuna which is for cats has zero carbs. Another food they like from Trader Joe's is 5 carbs. What is the max amount of carbs a diabetic cat should have per day?

    I don't know how long I will continue this I am literally putting pills down his throat, poking him to make him bleed and then giving shots. At his age, I honestly don't know if I should be doing this.... putting him to sleep may be more humane. It's just horrible. I love him dearly and I can't stand to see him like this and to keep adding to his stress, I don't know how long I will allow myself to do this to him. What a horrible diagnosis diabetes is. :(
  6. Djamila

    Djamila Well-Known Member

    Aug 1, 2015
    I'm so sorry this is causing you and Summer so much stress! It is a lot to figure out at the beginning, but I promise it will get easier very quickly.

    I'd like to recommend that you post this out on the main forum where more people will see it.

    A couple of quick thoughts though:
    Cats can have very high blood glucose. Much higher than humans can handle. Unfortunately, your AT2 is most likely reading correctly.

    Infections can cause high BG numbers. Getting the infection under control will be very important. This is the area in particular that makes me suggest posting on the main forum. I don't have a lot of experience with different meds and infections and I think out there you will find people with much more expertise.

    Good job getting off the dry food. Aside from the carbs, dry food can lead to a variety of other health problems like UTIs, so if your cats are taking to wet food, keep it up! Generally diabetic cats should eat foods that are lower than 10% carbs. And for most cats, the lower the better. Here is a link to a great food list that most of us use to help in choosing foods.

    And again, try to hang in there: once the infection is under control, you won't have to be pilling all the time anymore, and you'll get a better sense of where Summer's BG really is, and can consider the quality of life issue with more information.

    Sending you lots of hugs!!!
  7. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Jun 8, 2016
    It's not uncommon for a newly diagnosed uncontrolled diabetic to read in the 500-600 range. Sorry but your meter is correct. Each bottle of test strips has a number to program in. When you get a new bottle of test strips you will put in the number code on that bottle.

    Ear infections can definitely raise bg levels. They may come down once that resolves itself.

    Good call getting rid of the dry. There are a few that are diabetic friendly... Young Again Zero carb food available at, and Evo Cat and Kitten in the purple bag. Otherwise stick to low carb wet. Whatever you feed should be under 10% carb. (Although wise to have a few Hugh carb gravy foods on hand in case of hypoglycemia).

    Diabetes is treatable. More than that, cats are one of the only animals whose pancreas had the potential of healing and going into remission. (My cat food after 4 months). Don't give up. The antibiotics are temporary. The shots don't hurt. If the ear pokes are done in the right spot they don't hurt either..... My cat doesn't even notice most of the time.
  8. Cat mom

    Cat mom Member

    Apr 9, 2017
    Thanks so much. You are all so positive and uplifting, it helps me.

    I don't like that the vet only prescribed 1 week of Clavamox. I have to wonder if that is long enough and even the dose at 62.5 (he weighs 9lbs) seems low.

    How will I know if the infection is gone? Or if she prescribed the right abx? I can't afford blood tests all the time, minimum is $200 for bare minimum testing.

    I will post that question in the main forum as suggested right now.
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