Newbie here...a little overwhelmed

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by DavesMom, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Nov 13, 2017
    Hey everyone! Copying some questions from my intro post because I was told I should get some more answers here.

    My Dave (we think he’s around 14-15...took him in as a stray about 9 years ago) was diagnosed with diabetes on Friday. We have a Home vet who came to visit on Friday, tested his levels and said it was very obviously diabetes. She put him on 3 units of Vetsulin and has suggested changing his diet to a prescription dry food. She said she would like to come for visits once a week for the first month to test his glucose levels.

    I started to do my research, and realized a lot of people just do home testing, which I think would probably be better for us, but I’m a little nervous for it to be honest. I’ve seen people say 3 units is far too much (his glucose level was 550, vet said it should be around 150). I’ve seen people say changing to low carb wet food could make it so that he doesn’t even need insulin!

    I’m just a little overwhelmed with everything and don’t really know where to start. Don’t I need my vet in order to get the prescription for needles and the insulin? If that’s the case, should I let her stop by for this first month, or maybe just ask her about Home testing?

    Ahhhhhh!!!! I am willing to do anything for my Dave, but this is just all so stressful.
     
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  2. Sharon14

    Sharon14 Well-Known Member

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    Aug 16, 2015
    Hi again Dave’s mom (what shall we call you?). HERES some info on vetsulin. Testing is really easy once you get the hang of it. You can pick up a human meter at the pharmacy, just get one that uses the smallest amount of blood. Many here use the Relion Confirm or Micro from Walmart. You’ll also need lancets, size 26, and test strips for your meter. Other things that are helpful are cosmetic pads to hold behind the ear and neosporin ointment with pain relief. @JanetNJ has a great video in her signature on testing and there are several on YouTube. I highly recommend that you begin testing. It’s really the only way to know if it’s safe to give insulin and see how well the insulin is working. Please read the vetsulin info and keep asking questions!:cat:
     
  3. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Nov 13, 2017
    Thank you! I just spoke with my vet and she thinks Home testing is a great idea, and was going to go over it with me this week during Dave’s one week check up.

    Also, you can call me Katie!
     
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  4. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 3, 2016
    3 units may be a little high to start. Do you have Dave's first blood sugar readings. It would be much better if you tested Dave at home because a week's worth of AM, mid-day and PM readings, even without insulin, will give you a much better idea of how to dose him. Probably 95% of us home test, it's not as stressful and not nearly as painful as it looks. "I’ve seen people say changing to low carb wet food could make it so that he doesn’t even need insulin!" is right up there with alien abductions. Food will help and Dave could go into remission someday but for now if he's a full blown diabetic he will need insulin. You don't need a prescription for syringes or any of your test equipment. Is Dave a bad traveler? Just wondering why you're having a vet do home visits. It's true that even the most relaxed cat will test higher at the vet but don't home visits cost a lot more? Save your money now for future problems, Dave being 15 years old is well into his senior years.
    As for the stress we have all been there, all of us! Noah is our second diabetic cat and even that doesn't make me a man of cat-knowledge. I've done my share of nervous pacing and staring at cats while they're asleep wondering if they really are just sleeping. Just being here puts you over the hump. You should also start a spreadsheet for Dave and have it published here, no privacy concerns.
    No matter what you need to know there's no such thing as a stupid question here. You're basically doing a medical procedure at home so how can any question be stupid or non-relevant?
    Dave is a great name. We've always given our animals human names but the best was a stray that wandered in our back door and just made himself at home. I had to come up with a quick name so we called him Bob.
    Best of luck with Dave and keep posting about everything; food, litter, what a wreck you've become. And where's Dave's photo?
    There's one more thing. When a member makes a mistake or a bad suggestion none of us get childish about it. This may be the last place on the internet where no one gets stabbed in the eye for wearing the wrong shoes.
    :coffee: ;) :eek: :joyful::joyful::joyful:
     
  5. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Oh my Gawd, you're only 27! We're all just a bit older than that (just a bit times 4). If you stick with us you'll be one of the few that doesn't just pack it in. This is a lot easier when your social life consists of eating dinner in front of the TV and going to bed at nine. We understand how this will interfere with your life so don't feel bad about asking about dose schedules and not being at home 24/7. You have to have a life before you can take care of another. It seems to me I was 29 just yesterday. Of course men don't really age past 12 mentally. :rolleyes:
     
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  6. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Nov 13, 2017
    Yes, I am only 27. Seems very overwhelming, but Dave has grown up with me, and I couldn't imagine being without him. I am already having a bit of concern not being home too often. I sometimes leave the house at 6:30 am for work, and don't return home until around 8 pm after working out. I live alone, so there's not much room for help in the department of 12-hour insulin shots. Home vet visits are definitely easier for us because Dave does not travel very well, and our home vet that we have is very reasonably priced.

    I am both excited and nervous to start home testing, as I think that will ease my anxiety about it a little bit. I will be going to pick up a tester at Walmart today on my way home from work. I don't have the exact measurements of his first reading, but the vet did show me the reader, which said 550. Not sure what the exact units of measurement were, but I can find out more on Friday when she comes back for his follow up visit (she only charges $25 per visit, which is worth it for me to decrease Dave's stress of traveling!)

    I am sure I will have a million more questions. It seems the more I read, the more questions I have. One simple question is what are the best low carb treats for my furbaby? Dave loves treats, and the vet vetoed the ones he currently has in the house, so I need to find a good alternative, especially given how calm he has been throughout the weekend.
     
  7. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 3, 2016
    As time goes by more people will offer help. Just be patient. You'll soon recognize who the most common people are, what they have to offer and even their style of communication. I have less clinical knowledge than most but tend to get more involved emotionally. Some members who have been here for years know more than some vets. The more you read the more questions you have will be true. For Noah his treatment is rather simple but for many others one thing leads to three more and a lot of lost sleep. What you're doing is not just clinical, you've made a choice to help Dave as best you can, good on you. Cats have always been third class citizens and many vets wouldn't think twice about making your life easier because Dave is so much "trouble". Noah costs me the same as I pay for internet service and is our last yellow cat, why would I not spend 15 minutes twice a day with him? People need to think twice before getting a pet, where am I going to be in 20 years if I get another cat now. With a little luck Dave has at least 5 to 7 years left, my record is 23.
     
  8. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Nov 13, 2017
    Our record was 20 with our Simba, but he was a little senile his last year or two of his life, he thought he lived next door, so we rarely saw him.

    It is definitely a huge decision, my dad already doesnt understand why I wouldn't just choose to put him down instead of treating him for this, but he is my best friend, so I'm willing to do anything I can to make him comfortable for however much longer he has left on this world <3
     
  9. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 3, 2016
    Cats and dogs always make best friends. They don't do any of the nasty things humans do to each other. We had a Border Collie that had dementia, the smartest dog in the world not knowing where she was at the end of the block. This was a dog who knew some basic American sign language and walked everywhere without a leash. Noah is also showing signs of dementia.
     
  10. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

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    Jun 8, 2016
    It's so treatable and once you are in the routine of it, it's really not difficult. The conversation I would have with my vet if I were you is

    "since I'm planning on switching to low carb food and haven't started home testing yet, I would prefer to start at one unit and raise him up gradually as needed.... I'm scared he will hypo when I'm not home.".

    Most of us feed fancy feast classic or Friskies pate which are all under 10 percent carb. Snacks can be freeze dried meats, fresh meats, deli meat without fillers (Boars Head), catnip, tuna... No temptations or party mix type snacks. (Although I have ever found just a few temptations can raise the bg fast if he dips too low.

    I have a video in my signature showing how I test my cat CC.
     
  11. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Nov 13, 2017
    Thank you very much! I will definitely dip the units down at least until I start home testing. Just went out during my lunch break to buy the ReliOn Micro tester, test strips, etc.

    I forgot to grab lancets, so will have to grab them later. Do you guys have a go to syringe that you usually use? I know my vet mentioned you can get them at Walmart (she gave me U40 syringes) but wasn't sure if there is a difference past that.
     
  12. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Nov 13, 2017
    I'm sorry for the million questions. This just came across my mind. Dave has pretty scarred ears from when he was a fighter back in his stray cat hayday. His ears are very scarred, and he doesn't grow fur on quite a few patches of them. Will this be a problem for testing?
     
  13. Veronica & Babu-chiri

    Veronica & Babu-chiri Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2016
    Hi and welcome Katie and Dave!!

    You are doing a great thing taking care of Dave, it is really overwhelming at first but it does get easier once you and Dave get the hang of it and establish a routine, Babu is also 15 years old ( 14 when he was diagnosed) and a year after his diagnosis he is happy in remission and still running around (not playing much but he's always been a potato coach)

    I also work full time so I get an idea of how things may sound a little bit complicated, I left home 10 minutes after giving Babu his AM shoot and came back running (literally ) with barely enough time to give him his PM shoot, which also meant that the mid cycle tests got done during the night or on the weekends, also meant I had to be more careful and sometimes a little bit less aggressive in the dosing to keep him safe, but still diabetes is totally manageable even with a full time job.

    I got a timed feeder that I program to open mid day so that he can have a snack midday, I either put a frozen pouch under the food or actually freeze some of the food so I leve it on the feeder and by the time it opens food is at a nice room temperature but still ok.

    Is good that your vet is willing to do house visits, mine does too (or sends a vet tech) and It has helped me a lot, because I can call him and arrange a house visit for shooting when something came out at work and I knew I wasn't going to make it so it may be a good idea to discuss this issue with your vet in case you need it, which doesn't mean I didn't miss a shoot eventually because I got stuck in traffic or something else came out at the last minute and couldn't get home on time ( life happens).

    And keep asking questions, there are people here with a lot of experience that can help you

    This is a list with food that you can use and find one that is high protein, low carb ( and given his age I would recomend as low in phosporus as you can find ) that would suit you and that Dave likes, look for one that is 10% carb or less

    http://catinfo.org/docs/CatFoodProteinFatCarbPhosphorusChart.pdf
     
  14. Sharon14

    Sharon14 Well-Known Member

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    Aug 16, 2015
    Hi Katie! As far as I know, the only syringes Walmart sells are u100. You can use them, but must use THIS conversion chart. As far as scarred ears, is he ok with your fooling with them? If so then it will probably be ok. If not, you can also use the paw pad to test.
     
  15. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Nov 13, 2017
    He loves getting his ears rubbed!! His temperament is incredible, which I think will really help with this whole thing. Thank you all so much for all the info.
     
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  16. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

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    Jun 8, 2016
    I don't know if you can get u40's in a store. Usually they carry u100. These are the u40's I get

    https://www.adwdiabetes.com/product/18553/ulticare-u40-pet-29g-3-10cc-1-2in-half-unit


    These are the lancets I get

    https://www.adwdiabetes.com/product/8013/trueplus-sterile-lancets-28g-100ct
     
  17. jayla-n-Drevon

    jayla-n-Drevon Well-Known Member

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    Oct 11, 2015
    Hi hun, welcome aboard!
    I know your are being bombarded with information so I am just stopping by to say hello and it does get easier :)
    If you decide to test using the ear here is a great picture as many try to aim for the vein which might give you a look like this:woot::confused::confused:
    It is fine to use that blood if you hit the vein but the sweet spot has much less feeling and much more cooperation.
    Many wise people here and we tend to get a bit overwhelming I encourage you to remember it is out of concern and truly wanting to help...deep breaths it will all be ok!:bighug:
    Link below for the sweet spot :)
     
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  18. jayla-n-Drevon

    jayla-n-Drevon Well-Known Member

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  19. Randi & Effy

    Randi & Effy Member

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    Oct 8, 2017
    Hey Katie! I'm Randi. My boy just got diagnosed exactly a month ago, he was also a stray that I took in. We're around the same age! :) I have no idea what I'm doing still either so lets be friends, lmao. I need a fellow cat mom to keep me sane, girl. This forum is literally my safe place lately.

    There's a brand called youngagain who makes zero carb dry food, my cats won't eat it but they did send a free thing of treats with the food so I would check them out as far as treats go! Where are the scars on his ears? I find the best place to poke is along the edges but not too close to the edges. My parents also think I'm insane for not just putting Effy down, but he's my child and I would do anything to help him. My vet still hasn't put him on insulin but that will most likely change this week. I don't know if theres a dm on here or anything but if there is we should definitely talk. I know the feeling of being overwhelmed but ready to fight, lol. I saw you already got a meter so ignore my other comment. Anyway, it gets less scary as the days go by but i'd love to chat about how doing the insulin is going for you so far, i'm like absolutely terrified to start mine on insulin.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
    Reason for edit: *editing because I jumped straight to commenting and didn't read through everything, lol.
  20. Randi & Effy

    Randi & Effy Member

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    Oct 8, 2017
    Also I can give you the link to the meter I got, it was off amazon and it's available with prime so you can get it fast if you haven't already gotten one. Also I have a few youtube videos of people home testing that helped me out tremendously!
     
  21. jayla-n-Drevon

    jayla-n-Drevon Well-Known Member

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    Oct 11, 2015
    Dr Elsey has 2 dry foods
    Chicken almost 5% carb and salmon is about 9%.
    They will send a sample if you email them.
    It is called clean protein.
     
  22. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Nov 13, 2017
    Not sure if this will work but I tried to snag a picture of his ears. 5248F9FB-706D-4880-B064-F1942193AFCC.jpeg
     
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  23. The Mama

    The Mama New Member

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    Nov 6, 2017
    I use Vet's Choice U40 pet syringes. They are very inexpensive online. I have tried so many brands but this one seems the most consistently good and my cat never complains. Some online pharmacies have wanted an RX for the syringes, so once I found one that didnt I have stuck with them. I use ADW diabetes website now.
    I know some people like Ulticare, so maybe I had a bad lot, but I got a box of 100 of those and have tried them over and over between brands and my cat jerks every time I have used one. My vet sells VetOne and those are also pretty good.
    My cat is currently on Vetsulin and was up to 4 units for a while and now is down to 1 unit. I can almost tell from her behavior now if she is on the right dose, possibly because we have bonded so much with all the attention she gets and when I am home she is never more than few feet away. :)
    With Vetsulin I have been just searching for the best price every month online, all of the US sites will charge for cold shipping automatically even if they claim it will be free before you put in your credit card info. It's really not much more to just get it from my vet though.
    You and Dave will get the hang of this. It seemed really overwhelming to me at first, but now it's no big deal.
     
  24. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Nov 13, 2017
    Thank you! My vet has been providing me with U40 syringes, 100 for $25, but I may start to get them online. I took a look online and agree about the expensive cold shipping, it ends up being much less expensive to get the Vetsulin directly from my vet, she only charges $55 per bottle. I'm shocked about how good he has been so far this past week, and hoping that he gets used to the home testing as well. Fingers crossed!
     
  25. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Nov 13, 2017
    Hey guys. Wanted to give an update. My vet came last Friday to do a one week check up. His levels were down to 182, which she said was great given his initial reading at 550! She showed me how to home test, and honestly, I've tried a couple times since, and either cannot get a prick that draws blood, or on one occasion, my machine beeped that there was enough blood, and then gives an error that there WASN'T enough blood :( I feel like an absolute failure that I cannot seem to get the hang of home testing on his ears. It is stressing me out every time I try, and in turn, I believe that is stressing him out as well. I also noticed his hind legs slipping and sliding a lot over the past few weeks, looked it up, and realized that it is most likely diabetic neuropathy, which I read can be reversed over a few month time span once his blood sugar levels are in check, but I just feel at a loss. I feel like I cannot succeed at taking care of my baby, like a failure. I have watched about 20 videos on home testing and can't seem to get it right. He absolutely hates being held down so I can try to see the vein, and I feel like I've pricked him a million times and haven't gotten one accurate reading since the home vet left :(
     
  26. Sharon14

    Sharon14 Well-Known Member

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    Aug 16, 2015
    Sometimes it takes a little practice, but I promise you’ll get it! What size lancet are you using? Be sure it’s 26-28gauge. Also be sure to warm the ear well, some use a rice sock warmed in the microwave, and, after the prick, use a milking motion from the base of the ear to the prick point. You want to aim for the area between the vein and the edge of the ear- it’s really close to the edge. The more you test the easier it will be to get blood. Before you start, take a deep breath and relax, even try singing softly, it really helps! Keep trying and keep asking questions.
     
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  27. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Nov 13, 2017
    Thank you for the encouragement. I am not sure what size lancet I am using, I can check when I get home. I will make sure to keep trying with the proper size, and the warming of the ear is something I haven't tried yet. Will do that tonight. Thank you :)
     
  28. Sharon14

    Sharon14 Well-Known Member

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    Good luck! Let us know how it goes. I’m sure others will have more ideas that may help.
     
  29. Veronica & Babu-chiri

    Veronica & Babu-chiri Well-Known Member

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    Aug 5, 2016
    Good luck!! it's hard at the beginning but you'll get the hang of it we all struggled at first.

    I did pricked myself a few times (on purpose ) just to learn how to use the meter and the first time I actually got a good drop from his ear I went all the way through ( came out a lot more than a drop) and made a huge hole, I thought I may need to buy him an earring to wear on it but it healed ok
     
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  30. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

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    Good advice above. Aim for the sweet spot. If you poke twice in the same spot, and poke all the way through (don't bother with the device.... Freehand poke), then milk it you should get a drop. Over the span of 1-2 weeks of daily poking capillaries form making it much easier to get a sample.
     
  31. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

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  32. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Nov 13, 2017
    OH MY GOD YOU GUYS, I DID IT! His levels were way higher than I was hoping, but I at least was able to get a drop of blood in order to get daily testing underway and now we can get back on track!
     
  33. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Nov 13, 2017
    So, Dave's sugar levels were at 398 (at 6 hours after AM insulin shot). Is this normal? It seems very high to me. He won't be getting insulin for another 6 hours. Should I give him any in the meantime? Or is this just part of learning his levels and trying to get him 100% regulated?
     
  34. Veronica & Babu-chiri

    Veronica & Babu-chiri Well-Known Member

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    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
     
  35. Veronica & Babu-chiri

    Veronica & Babu-chiri Well-Known Member

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    Part of getting this tests specially the ones you get mid cycle is starting to know how he is reacting and after you get some more information you can then adjust the dosis
     
  36. ZulusMom

    ZulusMom Member

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    Aug 31, 2017
    Good job testing! Don't give him any in the mean time. Like you said, it's part of learning his levels. He might need a dose adjustment but too soon to tell with just the one measurement. Is there any chance it was influenced by food? Either way, keep up the good work!
     
  37. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Okay, thank you. I was sad to see his levels so high, but I am hopeful that it will get better the more I can test.
     
  38. ZulusMom

    ZulusMom Member

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    Aug 31, 2017
    Totally understand - I think I cried the first time Zulu gave me a number over 400. It takes time but it really does get easier, and there are lots of great people here who can help you with dose adjustments once you get more readings. :cat:
     
  39. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Nov 13, 2017
    It could have been. I have been giving him fancy feast in the am and pm before testing, but leaving him some Hills Glucose/Weight Management for during the day/night, because he is a big complainer when his bowl is 100% empty.

    I will just keep my fingers crossed that he improves a bit over time. It might be a matter of getting rid of the kibble, I've heard that it's actually not the best for him!
     
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  40. Veronica & Babu-chiri

    Veronica & Babu-chiri Well-Known Member

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    Aug 5, 2016
    Most of us started with very high numbers but little by little he will get better you just have to be very patient.

    Hills glucose/weight management is very high carb so it is probably influencing his numbers you could try if he would accept some low carb like freeze dried instead
     
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  41. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Nov 13, 2017
    Okay, so it's semi-normal for his numbers to be high this early on? (was only diagnosed 11/10). I was super impressed because at his one week check-up, his numbers were 182, but now I feel like a failure because its so high again. Guess this is going to be a big lesson in patience for me.
     
  42. Veronica & Babu-chiri

    Veronica & Babu-chiri Well-Known Member

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    Especially in the beginning they tend to have ups and downs

    And since you are here and going through the ordeal of testing and shooting and all, you are certainly not failing him you are doing great
     
  43. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Thank you guys. I am so thankful that I found this place! I would be panicking if it weren't for you all. <3
     
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  44. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

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    Jun 8, 2016
    Good job getting that first test! It took me 2 months before I saw a number under 300.... it takes patients. You concurred the first testing hurdle.
     
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  45. DavesMom

    DavesMom Member

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    Nov 13, 2017
    That’s comforting to hear! Just retested before PM shot and he was at 348 so that makes me feel a tad better. It’s so strange, I’m wondering why his level was so low (182) when the vet came to visit. I suppose it’s somewhat normal for them to spike up and down throughout the day.
     
  46. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

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    Whooohoo! You got test number two! See if you can get a +3 or 4 before bed.
     
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