? Newbie -- Cat hardly eating

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by Hannah & Max, May 13, 2019.

  1. Hannah & Max

    Hannah & Max New Member

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    May 13, 2019
    Hello all,

    My 7 yr old cat, Max, was just recently diagnosed with diabetes last week after bringing him to the vet for a lack of appetite. He is now on 1u of ProZinc insulin, twice daily. My vet recommended home testing (which is rare, apparently) and she told me to purchase an AlphaTrak 2 -- which in of itself was very difficult to find and now I'm wondering if I should get a different monitor after reading some of these posts, especially with how expensive the strips are...

    My main concern with all of this is his lack of eating. Before he was diagnosed I was giving him 1/2 of a can of Friskies pate morning, noon and night but about a week before his last vet appointment, his appetite started to decline. Near the end of the week, I was very concerned and that's when I got him into the vet. Now that we know what's wrong, his vet said to give him two meals only, 12 hours apart, so that's what I've been doing but his appetite still isn't back. I've tried syringe feeding, sprinkling parmesan cheese, catnip, etc. but nothing perks his interest. He still eats his treats (Temptations) like he normally did but that's obviously not enough for a meal. I've had to force feed him with the syringe by making the pate into a puree but he hates it and I hate doing it to him :( The vet said as long as he eats 1/2 of what he normally would and his blood sugar reading isn't under 200 then I can give the insulin so I've been doing that but I worry about him getting low blood sugar with the lack of food, especially if he will be home alone that day. He has also vomited a couple times and looks like he might be losing more weight. His follow-up appointment is tomorrow and I'm definitely anxious for it to be here already. Does anyone have any other tips for getting him to eat?
    While I was away from home the other day, my mom took care of him and, unfortunately, bought him some dry food (Fancy Feast) and that is the only food we can get him to eat. She said she gave it to him out of desperation because he hardly touches his pate (she knows I'm vehemently against dry food.) I've tried mixing it with the pate but he will only eat the dry kibble that is around the pate.. Should I just give him the kibble until he is more regulated and has a better appetite? I tried emailing my vet but it was Mother's Day weekend so I haven't gotten a response yet.

    Another question, what is the normal blood sugar range for cats? His has been between 200-400 (except for last night when he was 192) when I've been testing but I'm not even sure if I'm testing properly.. I've been feeding him, which is a long process with the lack of appetite, THEN testing glucose before giving the insulin. Am I supposed to test before feeding? And are you also supposed to test between shots?

    One last question, is there any place specifically for emotional support through all of this? As I'm sure you all know, this is very overwhelming to jump right into and I've also had some family members say some pretty insensitive things which really doesn't help.

    I'm sorry if these questions aren't formatted properly. If I did it wrong let me know and I can create separate threads for each one.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this long post and help. I'm happy to take ANY advice you are willing to give as this is such a completely new thing for us. I've read the FAQ and I'm sure I will be rereading it as much as I can.

    Hannah & Max
     
  2. Sapphire Skye

    Sapphire Skye Member

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    Feb 19, 2019
    Is he over weight? or thin?
     
  3. Sapphire Skye

    Sapphire Skye Member

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    Feb 19, 2019
    You should test before feeding so you get an accurate glucose reading and ensure he is not low before giving the shot. I would test, feed and give shot. Also I would feed every 12 hr but Safie was underweight and the new vet told she needed to eat more. because she was so thing I let her eat and didn't withhold food from her.
     
  4. Hannah & Max

    Hannah & Max New Member

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    May 13, 2019
    He is overweight but also a pretty buff cat to begin with.
    He weighed 17 lbs at the last appointment before his diagnosis, when he was on dry food, but that was in Oct 2017. After that appointment, I swapped him to wet food only since I was worried about his weight/health and he may have lost some pounds after that. When he was weighed last week he was 13 lbs.
     
  5. Hannah & Max

    Hannah & Max New Member

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    May 13, 2019
    Okay! Thank you for letting me know. I'll start testing before feeding. So, if it's under 200 before he eats then I shouldn't give him the insulin --even if the food raises it up more?
     
  6. Sapphire Skye

    Sapphire Skye Member

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    Feb 19, 2019
    I dont have the answer to that one. My Safie’s diabetes was completely out of control and her numbers were always well over 400. 709 before she passed.
     
  7. Lisa and Witn (GA)

    Lisa and Witn (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    For newbies, we recommend the 200 as a "don't shoot" number. As you become more knowledgeable on how your cat responds to the dose, you will probably be able to lower that number. There is a ProZinc group on this site and they will be able to guide you.

    Try a different brand of cat food. Many of our members feed their cats Fancy Feast. I know that all of my cats will not eat Friskies pate flavors anymore. I think Friskies changed their formulation a while back because all of my stopped eating it at the same time.
     
  8. CandyH and Catcat

    CandyH and Catcat Well-Known Member

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    Apr 23, 2019
    no specific place for emotional support, this is the best forum for that -- your questions on ProZinc might get more authoritative answers on the ProZinc forum, but for general "dealing with cat with diabetes" -- you are here :), and here are some hugs :bighug::bighug::bighug:

    yes, make sure he hasn't eaten in the previous 2 hours, test (I have to feed my Catcat a little bit before he'll let me prick his ear, I poke while he's eating), give a treat after the test (even if you don't get a result), feed him a meal, then shoot -- my Catcat is on Vetsulin so my schedule/procedure is a little different, I feed small meals every hour or so for the first half of the cycle, with ProZinc you most likely don't have to; Catcat is underweight so differing from Max

    Temptations treat is full of carbs .. I keep a few around in case of hypoglycemia, but see if you can find a treat better suited for a diabetic -- freeze dried meat with no other ingredients, may be in the dog aisle rather than cat -- I was recommended dried bonito chips, found at an Oriental grocery where they're used to make broth; those work a treat (LOL)

    I wound up getting a can of every cat food I could find that didn't obviously have carbohydrates in it (wheat, corn, potato, peas, carrots, gluten, rice, etc), then looked at the cat food info linked here https://catinfo.org/docs/CatFoodProteinFatCarbPhosphorusChart.pdf and found a few more that are low carb even with those ingredients; tried each -- I got lucky, Catcat would eat any or all with enthusiasm --

    any particular food or ingredient that you fed him prior to his vomiting? some cats have allergies, have heard chicken and fish could be culprits

    make sure sure SURE the vet tests for ketones, get some test strips (Ketostix or the equivalent) for that yourself, this is crucial if cat's eating very little .. several ways to get a urine sample from him .. I have an alternate litter box filled with lentils if I need to check -- bet that will work better than crumpled plastic wrap in his usual box, haven't had to do it yet

    here's some coffee :coffee: just keep your cool :cool: learn as much here as you can :bookworm: ask questions o_O time to exercise patience ;)
     
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  9. FurBabiesMama

    FurBabiesMama Well-Known Member

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    Jul 6, 2017
    You can get emotional support here! You have definitely found the place with a lot of people who can understand and sympathize with what you are going through.

    Normally, diabetic cats eat like they are starving (though they are losing weight), so I wonder if the not eating is for some other reason. You mentioned vomiting as well. Those can be symptoms of many things, but pancreatitis and ketoacidosis come to mind for me. You may want to talk to the vet about that tomorrow. I have not had personal experience with either, but I know people here have. So, you could probably search the forum for posts about them or even start a new post specifically asking for symptoms/info on them, if you want.

    The dry food and temptations are not good for your cat's glucose levels, but keeping him eating is very important, obviously. Have you tried different wet foods? I make bone broth for my girls, have you tried that? https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/12/02/pet-bone-broth.aspx There is also a liver shake some have used: http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/threads/the-liver-shake-for-sick-cats.30432/

    As far as the 'normal' range for glucose, if you are using an AlphaTrak, a good range is about 70 to 150. Here is a link to the ProZinc forum if you have questions specific to using the insulin: http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/forums/prozinc-pzi.24/
     
  10. Hannah & Max

    Hannah & Max New Member

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    May 13, 2019
    Thank you, I will check out that group! After looking at the replies on this thread I went and got some Fancy Feast to try. He ate nearly half a can on his own so that's a good sign! Just curious, when was it that your cats stopped eating Friskies? Was it when they started changing the package design? I'm just wondering if the formula change bothered Max as well.
     
  11. FurBabiesMama

    FurBabiesMama Well-Known Member

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    Jul 6, 2017
    Glad to hear he is eating!!!
     
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  12. Hannah & Max

    Hannah & Max New Member

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    May 13, 2019
    Thank you for the support, Candy! I would gladly take a hug! :):bighug:

    Thanks for letting me know about the high carb content. I asked my vet if it was high because I was worried that it might be but she told me they were fine to give as rewards. I will be on the lookout for fresher and better treats. I got him a Fancy Feast filet chicken treat tonight and he loved it so I might start swapping him to those to start transitioning off of the Temptations.
    Sadly, I don't live near any Asian markets -- I would always keep bonito chips in the house if I did! I love making miso soups and Japanese-style food.

    Yes! I love the catinfo.org site! That was the site that convinced me to switch him to wet food in the first place.

    The first time he vomited was early in the morning so the only thing he had eaten before that was his pate dinner. The next morning he also vomited after breakfast and treats.

    During the last visit, they did a urinalysis though I'm not sure if that included testing for ketones. I will talk to her about it tomorrow-- If I do test on my own, what is a good test strip brand to get?

    Thank you again for your support!!
     
  13. Hannah & Max

    Hannah & Max New Member

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    May 13, 2019
    I've definitely been concerned about ketoacidosis... The vet emailed me back later today and she was also concerned about the lack of appetite and vomiting. She mentioned possibly antibiotics or pain killers because it might be dental related-- something I told her I was concerned might be the cause or at least impacting it-- but of course she will do a thorough exam first to see if that's really it.

    No, I haven't heard either of those before! I will look into them, thank you for the informative links! Do you give bone broth alongside their regular meals?

    Okay, thank you for all of your helpful advice! I really appreciate it. :)


    I will post an update tomorrow on what the vet says/how the appointment goes. Should I post the update in this thread?
     
  14. Hannah & Max

    Hannah & Max New Member

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    May 13, 2019
    I'm sorry to hear about her passing :( Losing a dearly loved furry friend is always hard. I hope you are doing okay.
     
  15. Lisa and Witn (GA)

    Lisa and Witn (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    It was sometime last year before they changed the package. If it was one cat, then I would suspected they were bored with it. But 6 cats, Friskies changed something. It was also with all of the pate flavors.
     
  16. CandyH and Catcat

    CandyH and Catcat Well-Known Member

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    Apr 23, 2019
    thanks for the hug, I can always use one, like almost all newbies, I'm still stressed and wanting intensely to do the right thing

    Cat Man Doo brand has feline-branded bonito flakes (available at chewy dot com at least), if you can't get them anywhere else (check online, human style may be available there, hubby got me a 3.5 ounce bag, big as a full size potato chip bag, for $6 plus tax) -- like anything else, the feline-specific will be smaller and considerably more expensive

    far as I know, ketone strips are pretty much ketone strips, and they run something like $10-12 for 100 -- I got 50 of the ReliOn brand at Walmart for $7 including tax; there are special strips to go in special meters which can be switched from glucose measuring to ketone measuring, for a price -- and I'm seeing a meter called Keto-Mojo being marketed to humans on ketogenic diets -- I have a friend doing this, hoping it doesn't affect her health long term

    might be a good idea to have your vet give you copies of all test results -- just in case for some reason you might have to talk with a different provider -- vets go on vacation, get in accidents, may need to get a second opinion some time -- knowledge is power :smuggrin:
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  17. Sapphire Skye

    Sapphire Skye Member

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    Feb 19, 2019
    Thank You. I am doing okay. I know I gave her a great life and I went above and beyond for her. She did the same for me in so many ways. She is now at peace, pain free and perfect again. cat_wings>o
     
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  18. CandyH and Catcat

    CandyH and Catcat Well-Known Member

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    Apr 23, 2019
    oh -- hurray that Fancy Feast may be the ticket at least for now -- Catcat wasn't as thrilled with the Friskies mixed grill, as he was with other brands, I took a chance, were two flavors of Friskies pate at the Dollar Tree store, they may be the "before the change" leftovers, but Catcat is still chowing down more happily on Fancy Feast pate, Blue Wilderness grain free (currently on sale at Tractor Supply, $1 if you buy 10 -- regularly $1.49), 4Health grain free (only 2 flavors low enough), and a couple of types that aren't on the ingredient-analysis list but with lists of ingredients that look carb limited -- he didn't like the Merrick food, did go for the Newman's Own and the Nature's Variety Instinct -- I'm saving the sample cans of Weruva catsinthekitchen Isla Bonita for post-test treats
     
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  19. FurBabiesMama

    FurBabiesMama Well-Known Member

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    I add it to their wet food, but the article/video recommends it for times when they are not eating. In that case, you can just give the the broth or possibly just the broth with some of the chicken meat in it.
     
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  20. Hannah & Max

    Hannah & Max New Member

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    May 13, 2019
    Me too. I feel like I watch the clock like a hawk, counting down the minutes to the next dose!

    Thanks, I have heard of that brand. I will be looking into healthy, low-carb treats that don't break the bank! I have a feeling I will be ordering online a lot more.

    Okay, thanks! I did talk to my vet about the ketones yesterday. She said they tested him last week and that he did have some in his urine.
    She told me she didn't have experience with the ketone strips that you get in stores but that it's totally my call if I want to try them, which I think I will, just in case.

    Actually, I already did that at the last appointment! :D I try to get copies of results any time tests are done -- people or animals.
     
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  21. Hannah & Max

    Hannah & Max New Member

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    May 13, 2019
    So, update from the vet appointment:

    She wants me to do a glucose curve sometime this week to figure out if his current dose of insulin is enough. She did a physical exam and we discussed various possibilities for the lack of appetite. She doesn't think he has pancreatitis, his abdomen isn't particularly sensitive, but she isn't sure on the exact cause of the appetite loss. She thinks it might be because he isn't regulated yet, so with his glucose still high, he feels sick. Luckily, he hardly lost weight. His weight last week was 13.80, now it's 13.70 so it wasn't as big as I thought it was.
    He needs a dental, but she doesn't think that's what caused the appetite issue, so no antibiotics.

    Like I mentioned in the reply above, I will get some ketone test strips. The only worry she had was it compounding the problem of bothering him so much already.

    He's normally a very sweet cat, but now that he recognizes the insulin syringe it's much harder to give the insulin. He's been getting upset when injecting it and even bit me this morning... :( When his vet asked how the injections were going, we talked about how upset he's been getting and she said we might need to try a smaller needle. She said scratching the area before injecting might help the numb the skin in that area, but so far it seems to make him angrier. Depending on how it goes this week, we might change the size at the next follow up appointment (next week.)

    He still isn't eating the amount that he would have before being diagnosed, but he is eating much better than he has been. He seems to like the Fancy Feast pate. Because he's been better about eating, the vet doesn't want to possibly deter him by giving an appetite stimulant-- another thing to irritate him with-- so we won't be adding anything else as of yet.

    Also, side question, when it comes to glucose testing, is it bad to test the same spots? I've been afraid of scar tissue building up, so I've been testing in a different spot of the ear each time, but of course, this makes it harder to draw blood on the first try. Once when I tested, the lancet went through his ear so I've been afraid to go near the thinner edge near the tip again.


    I'm sure once I'm in the solid routine of things I won't be stressing so much. Thank you all for giving such helpful advice, it's very reassuring to have a supportive group of people who have been through what you're going through, know all the ins-and-outs, and have made it through it!
     
  22. CandyH and Catcat

    CandyH and Catcat Well-Known Member

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    Apr 23, 2019
    my experience, still a newbie but learning as fast as I can, those who've been at this longer, chime on in!

    testing on the ear -- am sure you read that people use cotton balls to compress the ear after you've taken the sample; for me that was awkward so I isolated a roll of single ply toilet paper, take one square off, fold it several times, and fold it over the ear at the test site after I've pricked and sampled, hold it for 10-15 seconds, that's all that seems to be needed to allow the site to coagulate, close up, and get to healing .. I don't use the same spot again but several hours or a day later, I might use one close to it -- Catcat doesn't like anything approaching his ear, and the paper was much less noticeable than a cotton ball -- actually I often use it to back up the ear, the opposite surface where I'm pricking, to give a semi-solid surface to prick against -- though he does sometimes jerk or squirm and I prick more deeply than I wanted or intended

    if you are pricking "freehand", holding just the lancet, it works better if you hold it at 45 degrees to the ear, rather than straight down, prick "upwards" -- I try to prick angling towards the ear tip since I've read that the blood flows from ear tip down towards the body

    injecting -- are you pinching a good fold of skin, then sliding the needle through the skin where it's under some tension from the pulling? cats' skin is loose from the body (designed that way because they are prey as well as predators), and what you're trying to do is place the insulin in that space between the skin and the body; yes it's more difficult to create that space when cat's carrying some extra weight -- several videos showing how to inject but it's hard to get a clear shot of the actual shot, especially on a dark colored cat (for me, the opposite problem, the roots of his fur are offwhite, as is his skin, easy to do a "fur shot")

    could it be you are going not only through skin, but into, or uncomfortably close to, the fat and muscle of his body? or, are you using any antiseptic on the site before you shoot?

    needles I'm using at present are 29 gauge, slide them in quickly, he barely notices (I shoot right after I put a spoonful of food down, after having pre-fed a third to a half of his meal half an hour before, since he's on Vetsulin and that's important) -- I also got syringes at Walmart, with half-unit markings, and those are 31 gauge (quite a bit smaller)

    ketone testing is kinda crucial in the situation you describe -- I haven't had to do that, I have a glutton -- you can slide a spoon/ladle under him, put crumpled plastic wrap in the litter box and hope he hits it, others have mentioned replacing the litter with an alternate box filled with lentils instead of his usual -- no personal experience so take it with whatever grains of salt you choose .. I did set up that third alternative but haven't had to deploy it

    good luck, we're all in this together :bighug:
     
  23. AliceMeowliss&Cassandra

    AliceMeowliss&Cassandra Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2019
    Everything I read on this post screams potential ketoacidosis to me, so I would get some artistic or similar, read those directions, and start hovering by the litter box to catch some pee! You don't have to hold the strip under the per stream, fyi. Many people use a long-handled spoon to catch some fresh, but you can also wrap plastic wrap over the litter box, or use a clean, empty box, if you need to.

    Ketones develop when the body has been wasting, or using up fat stores, eating muscle and fat because the body feels like it is starving from the lack of insulin not allowing cells to take in the carbohydrates needed. Ketones are like a side product whose build-up causes a whole host of other issues.....
    (I worry about my Alice's ketones most when her weight goes down after high sugar levels for a bit. I have a baby scale at home to keep track of her weight though because she is just now 5lbs again.)

    Do make sure kitty is hydrated well. If there are ketones, hydrating will help allow the body to clear them. Anything above a trace ketone reading should be a call to the vet, and a post here.


    And that aside, this whole site is emotional support. Every single one of us started at the beginning: scared, confused, tired, trying to figure out all this new information. There is a steep learning curve at first, but it does get easier. It becomes a new routine part of life. A difficult one at times, but time and experience will make things easier, as will continuing to learn.

    You are doing so well already! Keep asking questions. We like helping. :bighug:
     
  24. Hannah & Max

    Hannah & Max New Member

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    May 13, 2019
    I've also been using the "toilet paper method"! It feels more natural for me as well.

    Ohh, that's really good to know about the angle! It's been hard for me to do it freehanded.. I started off using the lancet pen but struggled to draw enough blood so I switched to freehand, but I think I might switch back and try turning the depth up on the pen. Freehand pricking has landed me two stabs in my own finger and honestly, it's just very difficult for me to prick him myself. I feel like I'm stabbing him and it makes me feel really bad (I know the pen does the same thing, but I'm not the one who has to actually do the "motion" of it, in that case!)

    I think I am. It takes time for me to find a good spot because I try to find one with lots of loose skin-- though Max immediately knows what I'm up to once I start feeling around the loose skin, so he gets squirmy and irritated. I "tent" the skin with my middle finger and thumb and steady the skin with my index finger while pulling up slightly. I always pull the needle back to make sure there's no blood in the syringe too, of course. Something else that might be adding to the problem is that I have long, natural nails so maybe when I pinch it feels like "extra needles" to him.

    Maybe. How would I be able to make sure it's just the skin? And I'm not using antiseptic-- should I be?
     
  25. Hannah & Max

    Hannah & Max New Member

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    May 13, 2019
    Luckily, he has been very hydrated. Even though he wasn't eating before, he was definitely drinking.
    The ketone reading from the vet was 15 mg/dL on 5/7/19. I'm going to get some ketone strips today (before I forget again!) so I can start testing.

    Thank you so much!! :D I appreciate all the help!


    Max has been doing much, much better this week!
    His appetite is back to normal and he has been more cuddly and friendly. He also seems to be drinking less than last week, still more than he used to before all of this, but it is definitely a plus to see that slow down-- I know excessive thirst is tied in with DKA; Last week he was drinking enough to empty his water bowl daily. The glucose testing is less traumatic for him now; he's been taking it very well. Insulin is still a little tough but changing needles should help.

    I'm doing his first curve today, though I'm not entirely sure on how accurate the results will be. Bg has stayed around the 200's (mg/dL) so far.
    On Sunday morning there was an accident where the glucometer got completely submerged in water (My mom was testing in the kitchen... o_O) The meter isn't available anywhere locally so online is the only option for me. I did 1-day shipping and it ended up getting delayed in transit: go figure. Today was the only convenient day this week to do the curve so, unfortunately, I had to use the current one. I did do a control solution test first and it came back accurate, and the meter doesn't have any apparent damage, but I know it's not wise to continue using this. I will do another curve when the new meter arrives/I have an available day.

    P.s. I know last week I said his next vet appointment would be this week, but with the meter issues, it won't be until next week since they want to see how his curve goes and I definitely want to redo it, just in case.
     
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  26. Hannah & Max

    Hannah & Max New Member

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    May 13, 2019
    Okay, so the meter showed up right after I posted the last update! Lol What a pleasant surprise!

    I just did a control solution test on both meters at the same time and the results were almost exactly the same-- the old meter was just 1 mg/dL lower than the new one (141 vs. 142 mg/dL to be exact.) While I'm not going to use the old meter anymore, and I'm going to ask my vet about this as well, what do you all think about the curve's accuracy? Do you think it's necessary to redo it with the new one even though it appears that the old meter was still accurate? I know it's probably better to be safe than sorry, but I really didn't like putting him through that curve.
    I'm about to check AlphaTrak's website for more information as well.
     
  27. CandyH and Catcat

    CandyH and Catcat Well-Known Member

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    Apr 23, 2019
    no -- no antiseptic, most of them irritate the skin, may not kill whatever germs anyway, and can get carried beneath the skin on the needle -- ye-ouch ! :mad:
     
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  28. CandyH and Catcat

    CandyH and Catcat Well-Known Member

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    Apr 23, 2019
    might be better to do another curve in a week or so instead -- sounds to me like your old meter is still just fine, the variance is well within the margin of error for meters anyway, actually it's better than that -- just as every cat is different, so is every meter, every strip, and every drop of blood ;)
     
  29. AliceMeowliss&Cassandra

    AliceMeowliss&Cassandra Well-Known Member

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