Newbie with questions

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by ibdcat, Jan 30, 2012.

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  1. ibdcat

    ibdcat New Member

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    Jan 26, 2012
    Hi, I am Lynda and Martha is my cat, CRF and IBD, and testing over 300 several times in a row BG. I just received my new monitor for her and have watched the videos and read posts, etc. but I am still so nervous about it. Any suggestions from person experience will help.
    Question: The Smart Cat Box--is the litter for that hard or soft? There is a similar box out there that I've tried, with the holes in the floor, but the litter was hard and large and she will not use it. This one sounds like a great idea. Which brings me to my second question:
    Question: Is urine testing bg better than blood testing? Is one preferred over the other? With The Smart Cat Box, it looks much simpler to get the urine reading than drawing blood each time. Thank you so much! confused_cat
     
  2. MommaOfMuse

    MommaOfMuse Well-Known Member

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    May 26, 2010
    Can't answer the questions about the smart box, but I can about testing.

    Blood testing is much better than urine testing, because blood testing lets you know what the blood sugar is at that exact moment, where as urine testing only gives you what it is several hours later, as the bladder has to fill before urine is released. Urine testing also will not catch a low blood sugar reading to help you catch the onset of a hypo brewing.

    Blood testing is very easy once you get the hang of it. I have two diabetic cats both of which I adopted as diabetics. And began testing both within minutes of them being in my home. If testing was hurting either one of them then they should want to avoid me like the plague, but not only don't they avoid me, they actually run to their testing spot when they hear the meter beep on. Only one of my two are insulin dependent, but with the one that is still on insulin, Musette, I test her often and her ears still look just as pretty as they were the first time I saw her.

    Mel, Maxwell, Musette & The Fur Gang
     
  3. Teresa and Poopy

    Teresa and Poopy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    First things first...Welcome to the FDMB family, Lynda and Martha! cat_pet_icon

    Being nervous is only natural. :smile: I was actually terrified. LOL

    Testing the blood is much better than testing the urine. The blood is now, urine was then. As far as litter boxes, can't help much there.

    Now, for testing the blood. The videos are usually made with cats who are used to blood testing. When I first started trying (yes, I said trying) to test Poopy, it was new to both of us and he was not too pleased. He didn't want me messing with his ears, much less giving them a poke for blood! :lol: It was a process we both had to learn. Have you ever tried explaining anything to a cat? LOL

    Bottom line, I think it's more the newness than anything that bothered him. And knowing how important his safety rested on me being able to test him, we kept at it. Now Poopy purrs through the whole ordeal (sometimes I still have to poke more than once to get enough blood to test), and runs to his treat bowl afterwards.

    The support and guidance I received from the wonderful folks here helped me through it all. Here are some of the suggestions that helped me:

    Breathe - it's easy to get frustrated or nervous, so just breathe! It will be ok. :smile:
    Warm the ear - use a rice sock or pill bottle filled with warm water
    Place something firm behind the ear so the ear doesn't move (bend) away from the lance
    I scoop the blood up on the back of my nail to avoid the ear flicks or blood smears across the ear, then test from my nail
    Use the smaller number lances (the smaller the number, the larger the needle) - 25-27 are great for starting out
    Low carb treats after pokey pokes! This is a biggie. Got to make it worth their while to be patient, you know! ;-)

    Also keep in mind, not every poke will produce blood. And that is fine! Each poke you do will help Martha's ears grow more capillaries for future pokes. :D So every poke does count!

    Let us know how it's going, and don't hesitate to ask questions. We're all here to help our fuzzy loves, and to help each other. Let us know how we can help you help Martha. :D
     
  4. hmjohnston

    hmjohnston Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2011
    testing gets easier. I did a weekend of testing for a curve this weekend and Sneakers didn't like me one bit! But today she was better and only flicked her ear at me in annoyance but didn't try to run away for the first time. And I changed her treat to something with beef in it- ALWAYS give a treat!

    Good luck and welcome!
     
  5. Vyktors Mum

    Vyktors Mum Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2011
    I thought I was going to throw up the first time I went to blood test Vyktor but I knew I had to do it if I wanted to keep him safe and have any chance of him getting better so I did it. I think I am one of the lucky ones because we didn't have any significant problems (apart from my nausea!). It may also be that I was so 'lucky' because of the way I introduced the testing. I started off spending a couple of days getting him used to me rubbing his ears first. He didn't like that at all to start off with and though he still doesn't like that bit so much within a week he was purring through tests in anticipation of the raw chicken treat that was coming. These days (and we've only been at it a bit over a month) he doesn't even want the treat every time but he'll still purr through most of the tests!

    The day I did the first test I wasn't planning to I was just planning to add clicking the lancet near his ear so he could get used to that too but it didn't seem to bother him so I went for it. It was about a week before I didn't feel ill going to do his test but by that stage I had realised that it bothered me a lot more than it bothered him :lol:

    I would recommend you do a control test on yourself (your meter booklet will tell you how or ring the helpline as you don't want your results upsetting your cats average) first too, then you will feel more confident that you're not hurting your cat.
     
  6. ibdcat

    ibdcat New Member

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    Jan 26, 2012
    Thank you so much for your replies. I see I will have to focus on one thing--which is generally true anyway---and that is that, we WILL do this because it's for Martha's safety. One thing, she is already used to me messing with her ears because she has been getting medicine gel in them. I can't get my new meter to work right though.
    Teresa, that's a good idea about getting the blood on my nail first and going from there. (If there is enough blood)
    Vyktor's Mom......I already to testing on myself and it HURTS......which is a deterrent for sticking Martha.
    Does anyone NOT use the lancet? I noticed one guy on youtube just used the little needle. Does anyone do this? How does it work for you?
    I also appreciate the info about urine vs. blood testing. And I think I will pass on the box.
     

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  7. Brian

    Brian Member

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    Jan 7, 2012
    None of my cats (I tried testing all 5) even flinched at the lancet device, so I don't worry too much about causing pain. You don't have to use the spring loaded lancet device, some people freehand it and just hold the lancet in their hand. You have better aim this way. Be sure to apply pressure after stabbing to reduce/prevent bruising (though the little bruises you may get are not ghastly and will heal) and you can apply neosporin with pain relief to help speed up any healing that's needed.

    It's generally recommended that you test the urine for ketones, and my feeling is you may as well test the urine for glucose at the same time (there are keto-diastix that have both tests on one strip for convenience). It gives you info you might not otherwise have while you are learning the indispensable blood testing, and even with regular blood testing it can give a double check against your blood readings (the numbers aren't directly comparable though).
     
  8. Teresa and Poopy

    Teresa and Poopy Well-Known Member

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    Dec 17, 2011
    Martha is adorable!

    Blood droplet size will be determined by your meter. Different meters take different sizes. I've erred quite a few strips, hoping I had enough. It's one of those live and learn things. :D A handy tip - if the blood droplet you get is more than you need for one test, wait to see if you need to test the same droplet more than once before getting rid of it. I've had to do this a time or two - sometimes a test number will seem odd and I'll test again to be sure (occasionally a strip just doesn't want to play fair! ;-) ). I know Poopy appreciates me not poking him more than I have to. ;-)

    Poking ourselves seems to hurt much worse than poking kitty, so don't let that bother you. Perhaps we have more nerve endings in our skin than cats do in their ears. :?:

    What insulin are you using, and what's the dose?

    What food does Martha eat?

    What's her favorite treat?

    Nothing like a twenty questions morning, eh? :lol:
     
  9. ibdcat

    ibdcat New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Thanks for the compliment about Martha's pic. BTW I was trying to get it in the little box on the right hand side the way you guys have it, but it ended up inside the post.
    Martha is not on insulin yet. She has an appointment this Thursday to determine these things. It's important that I learn home testing because I want to be able to "know things" without running her to the vet every few days. (He's an hour, one way) The vet has taken her off prednesone and dexamethasone because of her high sugar readings. I also need to know how to home test because I'm so afraid of hypo. I have it myself, which is why I have to test myself. And it's downright scary. And Martha can't talk and tell me, "Mommy, I need an orange!" :YMSIGH:
    Martha is on Hills prescription diets. K/D, I/D dry--but mostly I like to give her canned--also prescription---I/D, Z/D. Her favorite treat (the ONLY treat she will eat) is Good Life Catnip flavored. I have tried the diabetic Hills but she is not interested. :YMSIGH:
     
  10. Teresa and Poopy

    Teresa and Poopy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Here's the link to help with making an avatar. :smile:

    The food Martha is eating is high (34% for the canned) in carbs. Steriods can also bring on higher BGs. In my signature is a link to Janet and Binky's canned food list. We aim at feeding our kitties <10 carbs.

    Food, carbs in particular, plays a huge role in diabetes. There are many kitties who have gone off insulin by diet alone when switched to low carb foods. I would give this serious thought for Martha. I am not familiar with CRF and IBD in cats, but I know food plays a part there too. I'd suggest starting another thread, specifically asking about foods for diabetic/CRF/IBD kitties as I know there are other kitties out there with the same issues, for suggestions on what foods work best to address all issues. :smile:

    It would be a lot easier for you and Martha if a lower carb food that also addresses her other issues was started before insulin (and hopefully she won't need insulin). :D
     
  11. Sue and Oliver (GA)

    Sue and Oliver (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Agree that if you can change the food, it could change the whole picture in a very good way.

    While you have the time before insulin, I would set up a routine for Martha for testing. Have a blanket or towel or a spot that will be used for testing. (We used a towel on the couch which is also handy if you need to burrito her at some point.) Take her there and mess with her ears, click the lancet, warm her ears (either the rice sack or a pill bottle filled with hot water) and of course, the treats! When she is used to this (and you are feeling comfortable also) try a poke. (We liked the lancet without the cap but everyone has their favorite method)
     
  12. Robert and Echo

    Robert and Echo Administrator Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Hi Lynda, I am the distributor for the Smart Cat Box. The litter is safflower seed, so it is hard but smooth and a little slippery. The Smart Cat Box litter is a specially developed and grown safflower seed that is larger and contains more oil than the safflower seed you buy in pet or feed stores. That being said, shipping costs are so high these days, that even I don't use the SCB litter but go buy the 50 lb bags of safflower seed at the feed store. More of these seeds slip through the slots and the litter doesn't last as long but with 4 cats who use litter boxes, the savings is significant. I also offer 50 lb bags of SCB litter to be shipped so that saves some money, too.

    I find it interesting that 3 of my cats, who have access to the outdoors, will use the litter box preferentially over going outside. Makes me insane.

    On the other hand, my sister-in-law's diabetic cat has been using the SCB for 2 years and suddenly has decided she hates the litter. This cat is affectionately known as the Maniac ***** From Hell though and often does really bizarre things.

    Glad to see you posting and getting lots of advice!

    _Rebecca
     
  13. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    I see you've got her on a number of prescription foods that were designed for specific problems. You may find it helpful to do some reading on feline nutrition at Cat Info to help you determine if those must be used or if some other alternatives might work for you. Definitely ditch the dry versions though, due to carb content, and stick with canned versions, if you must continue with the prescription diets.

    For IBD - inflammtory bowel disease - cyclosporine is sometimes used. Since you've discontinued the steroids, you may want to investigate using this. I wrap Spitzer's cyclosporine pill (kept in freezer to reduce taste) in half a pill pocket and he eats it with no prompting. I'm just starting to learn about IBD, but there are several folks who are very knowledgeable on the board.
     
  14. ibdcat

    ibdcat New Member

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    Jan 26, 2012
    For the record:
    While we did discontinue the pred and dexamethasone, she is now on a steroid that acts locally in the gut, budesonide.
    I clicked on the Cat Info link you sent, but it kept telling me it "could not find the server."
    Lynda
     
  15. ibdcat

    ibdcat New Member

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    Jan 26, 2012
    Well, I made my first attempt today. I got everything ready and laying out (I thought), and got Martha and put her in the little donut we use for treatments. I cooed and rubbed her ear and she was all settled in. Then I could not find the meter! My husband was petting her to keep her in place while I'm running around everywhere trying to find the meter. I am getting frantic. Martha has had it, she's ready to bolt. Husband is getting nervous. So I let her up, and gave her a treat. As soon as she got off the table, I spotted the meter on the floor under the table!!! There it lay, pretty as can be, and the cat is outta her, and I'm shaking!
    Don't know about this......... :YMSIGH:
     
  16. Teresa and Poopy

    Teresa and Poopy Well-Known Member

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    Dec 17, 2011
    Honest, it will get better. :D
     
  17. Sue and Oliver (GA)

    Sue and Oliver (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Don't forget about that breathing thing. :mrgreen: You can consider you got step one down- supplies, kitty in the right place, treats. Next time, you can add the meter.
     
  18. ibdcat

    ibdcat New Member

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    Jan 26, 2012
    We tried again! This time I had the meter, cat in place, everything ready......I went to insert the testing strip, and it wouldn't work! I could not get it to go into the meter! Finally gave up.
    I got the book down and figured it out, checked my own blood just to be sure. On my meter, the strips come down automatically so I've never had to insert one.
    I do think I might be ready now---I am trying to work up the nerve to give it another go. Oh Lordy........does everyone go through this?
     
  19. Sue and Oliver (GA)

    Sue and Oliver (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Yes! We tried for an entire weekend to get a drop out of Oliver. What was important for us was to heat the ear long enough (sometimes up to a minute) and have a big enough lancet (26-28 gauge works better than the tiny 31 gauge)

    The good news is that you will get it and it will be second nature for you and your kitty.
     
  20. Teresa and Poopy

    Teresa and Poopy Well-Known Member

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    Dec 17, 2011
    Oh my goodness YES! That's why we can say over and over...It does get better. :lol:
     
  21. ibdcat

    ibdcat New Member

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    Jan 26, 2012
    We tried again today. I actually got to prick her ear---about 5-6 times---and no blood. She was a good girl, but after awhile she had had it! I want to stick the needle in without that holder, but not sure how. How deep? Is it okay if it comes out the other side of her ear? There was a little bit of blood but not enough. I see a fine little vein running the length of her ear and I try to get between that and the outside. There sure is not much room there.
     
  22. Robert and Echo

    Robert and Echo Administrator Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Lynda, make sure you don't get the rice sock too hot. Test it on your own wrist. Then let it sit for awhile on the ear, maybe massage the ear a bit. Don't forget those treats for your cat!

    Several suggestions that have worked for me:
    1) Don't try more than 2 or 3 times at once. The cat will get irritated. If that happens, just try again later.
    2) I actually aim for the vein. Have you located it with a flashlight or is it obvious? For some reason I seem to do better aiming straight for the vein.
    3) If it doesn't look like enough blood, massage around the ear a bit. And remember which way the blood flows through the vein!
    4) For me, it is to clumsy to hold the rice for stabilizing the ear. I just hold the ear with my fingers and this also lets some light come through and lets me see the vein better.
    5) I shave my dog's ear so I can see the vein better and the blood doesn't diffuse into the hair.

    Lots of people do not use the lancing device but prick by hand. You just need to break the surface but if you do go through the ear, get your blood but then put a little pressure on the vein to prevent or at least decrease bruising.

    Anyone else? Lynda needs some encouragement and tips!

    _Rebecca
     
  23. hmjohnston

    hmjohnston Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2011
    It took a few tries for me to get blood from the ear but after a few days of poking I managed to get it.
    Three tries is a good limit- that way you and the cat are not frustrated to the max at the end. And I sometimes do a little lower than the picture as I was testing frequently.

    It stops bleeding (for little pricks) I have a piece of cotton ball that I use to poke against (no lancing pen- couldn't use) and then wrap it front and back and hold firm for a few seconds. If you hit a vein- it takes a little longer for it to stop- 10-15 seconds.

    Getting something the first time was great :razz: having a meter that didn't work wasn't :-x . Now both work- it's been a two weeks and we are now old pros at it.
     
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