Newly diagnosed diabetic cat

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by Chris & Mally, Dec 31, 2009.

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  1. Chris & Mally

    Chris & Mally Member

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    Dec 31, 2009
    Hello everyone! This looks like a great place to find information about cat nutrition and about treating one of my cats that was just diagnosed with diabetes.

    I have five cats in the house. Four of them are indoor cats and the other is an indoor/outdoor cat. Two of the indoor cats, Sabrina and Mal, are 13 1/2 years old and the other two, Piper and Prue, are 6 1/2 years old. Willow, the indoor/outdoor cat is 5. Willow stays downstairs in the finished basement and uses the dog door to come and go as she pleases. She doesn't like the other cats and prefers to have her own domain. She rarely ever comes upstairs.

    I took Mal to the vet yesterday because she has been losing weight. The vet took a large tube of blood and did a battery of tests. He called me this morning to inform me that Mal has diabetes. He told me to immediately remove all dry food and start feeding her Fancy Feast canned food. I told him I typically feed the cats dry food during the day and Fancy Feast in the evenings. He said to cut out the dry food altogether. After doing some reading, I find that it will be beneficial to all the cats to cut out the dry food and feed them strictly wet food. This is not a problem because the cats love canned food. They used to get half a can of Fancy Feast each in the evening so I'm going to put out four bowls with a full can in each bowl twice a day. Having done this already, I see that they haven't completely finished off the bowls of food so this means that there will be food in the bowls should Mal need to eat more later.

    The vet wants to put Mal on insulin pills. I haven't gone to pick up the pills yet and I'm thinking about putting it off until she's been on a total canned food diet for a while. Then I want to have her tested again and see if her condition has improved. It may turn out that she will still need insulin, but I want to give her body a chance to adjust to the new diet before starting the medication. What do you think? Should I hold off on the insulin until she's been on the new diet for a while?

    Also, the cats love cat treats. Since I'm taking them off dry food what about treats? Any suggestions?

    Thanks for any advice you can give. It is greatly appreciated!

    Chris
     
  2. Sue and Oliver (GA)

    Sue and Oliver (GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Welcome!

    Hi Chris,

    I love that your vet wants Mal on a total wet food diet. We also urge feeding wet lo carb food - under 10% carbs. One of our members has already done the math for us and researched most wet food. Here's the link: http://www.felinediabetes.com/diabetic-cat-diets.htm Janet and Binky’s chart Lots of us feed Fancy Feast - just stay away from the gravy ones.

    But we have seen very little success with the oral medication. It doesn't let the pancreas heal like insulin does, and the success rate is very low. Having said that, some people do wait on the insulin, trying diet first. It could hinge on how high Mal's numbers are. If she is not super high (in the 400- 500 range) you can try the diet for awhile. Sometimes it is all that is needed - especially if the diagnosis comes with past steroid use or infection. But, whether you start insulin or not, I do urge you to hometest. You can test to make sure her numbers aren't high (if you are going to do diet only first) or before each shot to make sure it is safe to give insulin and in what dose. Here is my favorite site for hometesting tips: http://www.sugarcats.net/sites/harry/bgtest.htm

    For treats, Oliver loved Kitty Kaviar. You can also just boil chicken and cut it up. Others used freeze dried fish or meats (available as treats at Pet food stores.)

    Glad you are here. Welcome. We love to pay it forward by helping new diabetic cat owners. Ask lots of questions and do lots of reading.
     
  3. squeem3

    squeem3 Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Welcome :)

    You have one smart vet :) Dry food should not be fed to diabetic cats, not even the so-called prescription foods. Read http://www.catinfo.org for reasons why canned foods are best for all cats.

    Fancy Feast is a popular brand to feed to diabetic cats. Be sure to feed only the low carb varieties. Here the low carb gluten free list of Fancy Feast http://www.felinediabetes.com/glutenfree.htm For the other varieties, and other brands, see the canned food charts http://binkyspage.tripod.com/canfood.html Fancy Feast is on the "old" list. The Elegant Medley ones are on the "new" list but most are too high in carbs to feed.

    Just look at the carb column on the food charts and choose foods that have a number 10 or less.

    The Fancy Feast in gravy (sliced or grilled varieties) are too high in carbs to bed fed to your diabetic cat but do keep a few cans around to use in case your cat becomes hypoglycemic while on insulin treatment. The high carbs from the gravy will raise blood glucose levels back up.

    For a multiple cat household, those tiny cans of Fancy Feast aren't very economical. You can try Wellness which is similar to Fancy Feast but only comes in pate/loaf style. Wellness does come in larger 5 and 12 ounce can sizes.

    Other brands of food are good. Feed whatever your cats like to eat.

    Don't use the pills (glipizide) They don't work and can even further damange the pancrease. Daily insulin injections will give your cat's pancrease a break and a chance to heal.

    Definitely get your diabetic cat only a low carb only diet before you start insulin treatment. If you change the diet after your cat starts insulin, it becomes tricky because removing dry food will have a big impact on blood glucose levels and insulin need. You must be testing your cat's blood glucose levels to catch any huge drops in blood glucose level during the diet change.

    Diet alone doesn't work for most cats. Once your cat is eating only low carb canned food, start insulin right away. Since your cats readily eat canned food, I'd give it a few days on the low carb canned only diet and then start insulin.

    Plenty :) See this recent post for suggestions viewtopic.php?f=3&t=445
     
  4. LynnLee + Mousie

    LynnLee + Mousie Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Hi Chris and welcome.

    first, you can try diet but don't go more than a few days as an untreated diabetic cannnnn develop serious deadly complications (ketones for instance) if their glucose stays too high for too long.

    second, the pills. they rarely rarely ever work and they hardly ever put a cat into remission. also, the longer they are on the pills, the less likely they will go into remission because their pancreas suffers.

    sooooooooo, try the diet at the most for a 2 or 3 days while you pick up a glucose tester so you can test levels at home, and if it's not down substantially in those couple days, get on insulin on monday. also, when going with insulin, you want to read up on prozinc, lantus, and levemir. there are a couple others but most cats don't like them
     
  5. Karen & Smokey(GA)

    Karen & Smokey(GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    I would not go for the pills. They don't work in most cats. I think the reason vets
    go to the pills is they believe most owners would rather give a pill than a shot of insulin.
    Actually, it's easier to give a shot of insulin than to pill most cats !!!

    Pills are not insulin...there is no such thing as oral insulin. What they do is
    stimulate an already over-worked and sick pancreas to produce more insulin.
    This can make the condition worse in the long run.

    If you want to change diet to LOW CARB all canned food, that would be a good start.
    But don't wait too long ...give it a week at most.

    During that week is the perfect time to learn to home-test !!! We will help you !!!!
    It's not easy at first, but will save you TONS of money, and give you the tools
    to help your kitty get better.

    Starting insulin, if needed, sooner rather than later gives you the best chance of
    getting a remission. This helps the pancreas to rest and perhaps recover...especially
    if the food is changed to Low Carb....so the pancreas can cope.

    Others will be along soon with more discussion.

    While waiting for more replies, please read our "Frequently Asked Questions", here:

    http://www.felinediabetes.com/fdmb-faq.htm
     
  6. Chris & Mally

    Chris & Mally Member

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    Dec 31, 2009
    I just spoke with the vet's office and told them I'm going put all the cats on a canned food diet and see if Mal's numbers improve. I also told the vet that once we see where Mal's numbers are after she has been on canned food only, I will go with the shots instead of the pills. They offer both but the tech did say that the shots are move effective.

    Mal did have a cortisone shot at the end of September. She had scratched her neck raw and the vet gave her an antibiotic shot and a cortisone shot. That was three months ago and I don't know if it has anything to do with her BG levels now.

    I'll order the home testing kit and keep an eye on her BG levels.

    On a positive note, the cats are thrilled that bowls of canned food have been put out for them. As I mentioned, they did get canned food every evening but to have it all the time will be a real treat for them!

    Thank you everyone for your replies and input!!!!
     
  7. LynnLee + Mousie

    LynnLee + Mousie Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    oh yeah, i forgot about the treats part of your question. anything 100% meat makes for a really good treat. most of us use various freeze dried treats. for instance, if you are in the States, Petsmart sells some freeze dried salmon, cod, and shrimp in the cat treat section. they are brand Beefeaters. others use Liv-a-Littles chicken. and some people actually make their own, either by boiling chicken breasts and chunking it or dehydrating their own meats like you do fruit
     
  8. Suzanne + Nemo (GA)

    Suzanne + Nemo (GA) Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Chris, sounds like you're on the right track. If and when you're ready for insulin, consider either Lantus or Levemir - both are good, long-acting insulins for cats.

    Also, it's probable that your cat's diabetes was caused by the steroid shot. Which is potentially good news, as steroid-induced diabetics often have a good remission rate (going off insulin). Who knows, maybe the diet change alone will do it!
     
  9. Spacey & Ella

    Spacey & Ella Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Hi and welcome here.

    Eum... so you have 5 little witches in the house. :lol:

    The others already mentioned everything that's of importance.
    I just wanted to congratulate you on your vet! Wish everyone had one like yours.
    Bravo
     
  10. Karen & Pearl

    Karen & Pearl Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Just have to mention what a good vet! SOunds like a keeper. Good on you for learning to test! Now is a great time, while you are not on insulin and don't have that pressure.
     
  11. Jen & Squeak

    Jen & Squeak Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Chris, are you from Calgary?
     
  12. Chris & Mally

    Chris & Mally Member

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    Dec 31, 2009
    My vet really loves the animals - cats especially.

    Jen, I live in the Poconos in Pennsylvania.
     
  13. Jen & Squeak

    Jen & Squeak Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    lol! my family is from Pennsylvania :)

    I asked because I have a new acquaintance here in Calgary whose name is similar, whose cat is a similar age and is newly diagnosed!
     
  14. Amy and Six

    Amy and Six Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Chris - Welcome!

    You are off to a great start!
     
  15. HollyandSpader(GA)

    HollyandSpader(GA) Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Welcome!

    You have gotten some great advice from your vet and the folks here!

    You are off to a wonderful start!
     
  16. Carolyn and Spot

    Carolyn and Spot Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Hi Chris,
    Great job doing all this research and I think it's an excellent idea to hold off on the shots for a few days.. you've done well and it seems that you have a terrific partnership with your vet.

    That cortisone shot may have been what "tipped the scales" for you.. we don't always know this for sure, but steroids have been suspect in many cases, including my first diabetic. Many of us even wonder if our cats might have been diabetic for a much longer time than we saw symptoms since they are so good at hiding illness. We will look forward to hearing how the food test goes, and we'll be here for any questions you may have :)

    re: treats, I saw Cindy post that there is freeze-dried treats in the cat section at Petsmart and I have found that Petsmart has recently begun carrying freeze dried chicken in the dog section.. the only ingredient in it is chicken, so it's perfectly fine for cats (do not buy the liver ones). They have also sneakily priced it at a much lower price-point than their cat treats. This is common in the dog vs cat world LOL Anyway, I buy Prime Bites Freeze Dried Chicken (6.2oz) for 12.99 when I buy them from Petsmart. When I am smart enough to get my order in on time, I purchase PURE Bites from here: http://www.kingwholesale.com/Shopping/itemlist.cfm?id=7280 The names are similar but these are two different companies. I get the 11.6oz for $21.49 or buy in bulk to save even more. Hope this helps! :)
     
  17. Chris & Mally

    Chris & Mally Member

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    Dec 31, 2009
    Thank you, Carolyn, for the info on the treats. I've been going through the threads here collecting information on treats and have a nice list going. I ordered some of the Liv-A-Littles and I'll check at Petsmart and other pet places in the area for some of the other treats on my list.

    Right now Fancy Feast seems to be the food the cats prefer the most. They always got Fancy Feast in the evenings prior to the switch to all wet food and that's what they want now. I tried some Friskies wet food and while Mal, the diabetic cat, will eat anything, the other cats want their Fancy Feast.

    Now that the cats no longer have dry food sitting out all the time, they are establishing a new routine. They come in my room in the morning and one of the cats will get up on the bed and tap me with her paw until I wake up to feed them.

    Another thing I've noticed in just the few days since the switch to all wet food is that Mal no longer begs for people food when we're eating. Prior to her being diagnosed, she would constantly beg for food and have her nose right in whatever we were eating. Now that she's only eating wet food, she's not hungry all the time and she's not begging from us. The poor girl was hungry all the time and we didn't even know it.

    I'm still researching glucose meters and plan to go out today and buy one. Mal is an easy-going cat and it should be easy to test her.
     
  18. karen and splash (ga)

    karen and splash (ga) Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Sounds just like my house. :lol:
     
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