Nugget, newly diagnosed.

Discussion in 'Welcome to the Group - Post an Introduction Here' started by Kathryn & Nugget, Mar 4, 2018.

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  1. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    Mar 4, 2018
    Hi all, my approx. 10 year old DSH was diagnosed with diabetes a few days ago. The vet started her on Lantus, 2 units twice a day. We completely stopped feeding dry food and now Nugget only eats grain free wet food.

    I am overwhelmed by all of this.. especially because my SO has a severe needle phobia and can’t give the injections. Due to my work schedule, I have to give the insulin between 6 and 6:15 am.. which means I am up at 5:45 even on the weekends to feed and give the shot. This is taking a toll on me for sure.

    Nugget has always been healthy. When we adopted her she was a fat cat- almost 13 pounds. We got her down to 10 pounds over the course of a few years. She was 9 lbs 13.5oz at the vet.

    I took Nugget to two vets (which of course cost a fortune) and when I took her to the second vet her sugar was 421. We go back on Thursday to check how she’s doing after a week of the insulin.

    I have so many questions and so many worries. I don’t know if I’m feeding her enough, I am afraid that by previously feeding a diet that was primarily dry food I contributed to the development of the diabetes... I worry about when I have to work late (parent teacher conferences, and I teach an hour away from where I live) what I will do... I can’t bring Nugget to my classroom all day, the only family I have around is my mom (also a teacher)... we canceled our vacation because we were not going to a pet friendly place.

    Very stressed. I appreciate any advice or suggestions anyone has for managing and dealing with this. I am hoping someday we get to no insulin.. or even one dose a day if that’s possible.

    Thanks for listening.
    -Kathryn
     
  2. Sean & Rufus

    Sean & Rufus Well-Known Member

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    Jan 10, 2018
    Welcome! It is very hard and stressful at first, but it does get easier and it will just be another part of your daily routine. I'm fairly new too and I'm single so I have to do all of this by myself.
     
  3. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

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    Jun 8, 2016
    Welcome, Kathryn... the diagnosis is definitely overwhelming and scary in the beginning. I want to reasure you that it gets easier, and it is NOT a death sentence. Many cats even have periods of remission. (crossing fingers for you).

    I give my cat insulin at 5:30 am and so have to do so on the weekend as well.... although I'm always up at 5 am anyway. Even if I wanted to sleep in, my 5 year old would see to it that that does not happen. hahahahaha I'm a teacher as well, as is my partner, so I totally understand your hectic schedule. She's out the door at 6am to start a 45 min commute to her school... I have until 7:30, but have to get my son ready and then drive 35 min to my school. You will make it work.... it will be Ok. Over time I hope you will be able to get more help from your SO in the cat care department, but in the meantime he/she can help in other ways. So while you are testing and getting the shot ready, your SO can get the food ready.

    Diabetic cats tend to need to eat more because they can't utilize the nutrients properly, so just feed her as much as she wants. Just no food 2 hours prior to the preshot test. If you aren't testing at home yet, we can help you learn to do that. I have a video in my signature showing how I test my cat at home.

    Which insulin is your cat on? Some insulins are more flexible with timing than others.
     
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  4. Sharon14

    Sharon14 Well-Known Member

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    Welcome! On thing I notice is that your vet started you out on a fairly high dose and you’ve changed to a low carb wet food. I strongly recommend you start home testing if you haven’t already. The food switch could mean she needs less insulin.
     
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  5. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    Mar 4, 2018
    Hi Sean and Rufus, thanks for the welcome. Any tips to manage on my own? I find my SO fighting me on what I think is best... he is in denial about the whole thing.
     
  6. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    Hi Sharon, Nugget's sugar was 421 which I understand to be ridiculously high. The diet is something I am super concerned about. I don't know if she is getting enough calories now. The vet said 6 oz of wet food a day is good, but I looked at the ingredients and the calorie count and she is definitely not getting as many calories as before. We go back to the vet on Thursday for a check up. When I asked last week about home testing, she said she didn't recommend it because it is traumatic for the owner and the cat. Nugget tolerates her shots very well, in fact sometimes she sits down for me without me pushing on her butt to sit. What would I need to test at home? A glucometer? If so... do human ones work, or would I need a special kind?
     
  7. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

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    I suggest you repost your post above on the main health forum. Lots more eyes there and many of us handle all this alone. We can help. :)
     
  8. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    Hi Janet! Nugget gets two units twice a day of Lantus. I did some research and it seems it is a long lasting insulin. The vet did not recommend testing her at home, but I will ask again at our appointment on Thursday. I will definitely take a look at the video you have before I go to the vet so I can be prepared to ask the right questions.

    Speaking of that appointment, they said no food or insulin before the appointment- but I won't be taking her until after work- 5:30 PM. That means it will be 24 hours without food or insulin. I am afraid that is dangerous for her. She will also be a feisty cat because she does not like to be hungry. I was going to call the vet again tomorrow to double check on the not eating or giving the insulin on the day of the appointment. There is so much to learn!
     
  9. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    Hi Kris, will do. Thanks for the advice!
     
  10. Sean & Rufus

    Sean & Rufus Well-Known Member

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    All I can say is get in a routine and it will get easier. I know that doesn't help much, but it will get easier. And feel free to be frustrated. It's all part of it. Don't ever be ashamed for feeling guilty, or tired, or inadequate, or anything. It is an adjustment to life. Coming here and talking things out and getting things off your chest with people that understand what you are going through will get you through!

    Sorry to here he is in denial. What would his plan of attack be? What is he fighting you on?
     
  11. Sean & Rufus

    Sean & Rufus Well-Known Member

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    Jan 10, 2018
    How much does Nugget weigh? 6oz is probably good for a 10 pound cat. My vet recommends 20 cals per pound. Nugget might need more because she is in high numbers and unregulated.
     
  12. Sharon14

    Sharon14 Well-Known Member

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    Aug 16, 2015
    I disagree. Most cats tolerate testing quite well and us humans find that it gives us peace of mind knowing our cats are safe from hypoglycemia! The 421 reading done at the vet is high, but stress from the vet visit could have inflated the number. When she’s home and relaxed, the numbers may go down as much as 100 points, then you take away the high carb dry food and numbers may go down more. Without testing you don’t know. A human glucometer is fine. It will read lower than your vets, but it will tell you trends and if the dose is working. The vet meter (Alphatrac) is a great meter, but the test strips are expensive which is why most of us opt for the human meter.
     
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  13. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    Sharon, I just popped over to Amazon to look for the meter you suggested. I see a kit for about $50, and then the refill strips are 50 for $50. I see what you mean about expensive. Between the vet visits (to two different vets), 2 rounds of labs, all the other tests, the insulin ($70 for 2 mL bottle) and $30 for the syringes, and the more expensive organic wet food... things are adding up FAST. I would rather have the more accurate meter, so if that's what the test strips cost, that's what they cost. If I run into issues money wise I can always apply to work summer school and use those funds for Nugget. Is is worth it to look into pet insurance? I doubt I'd get decent coverage now that she has a pre-existing condition...
     
  14. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    Sean she is just shy of 10 pounds. I wasn't sure if I should just go by the weight of the food, or the calories in the food. She loves seafood- but her salmon food is nearly double the calories of her tuna food. I've been feeding the higher calorie food in the morning, and the lower calorie at night, since I am home at night and can monitor for hyperglycemia (hasn't happened yet, knock on wood).
     
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  15. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

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    calories don't effect blood glucose levels, carbs do. http://catinfo.org/docs/CatFoodProteinFatCarbPhosphorusChart.pdf

    just fyi... hyperglycemia is HIGH blood glucose. HYPOglycemia is low blood glucose.
     
  16. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

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    Re meter: have a look at some spreadsheets here to get an idea of how often we test. That can help you decide on the pet meter. The strips are very expensive. Teasel's spreadsheet link is in my signature. I don't test a lot, just enough to see what a dose is doing. Some people, especially on the Lantus forum, have spreadsheets in which practically every cell is filled - that's an extreme.

    I started with an AlphaTrak pet meter but switched to a human meter last year because the strip cost was prohibitive. Many US people buy a human meter from the Walmart ReliOn line up - the Micro and the Confirm are two popular ones because the strips take only a tiny blood drop to generate a reading. Another important consideration is strip availability. You'd have to order AT strips ahead of time and, believe me, you can go through a lot if kitty is running low and you're monitoring. It's easy to get Walmart strips almost 24/7.

    Re insurance: if you can even get coverage the premium would likely be $$$ and it wouldn't cover anything diabetes related.
     
  17. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    I would probably have to depend on Amazon for most of my supplies, unless I went to a human medical supply store. Walmart isn't allowed within NYC limits and the closest one to me is almost an hour away.

    That's what I was thinking about the insurance. So that's out. I will just have to budget and keep careful track of the spending. I will start doing my research to find the best fit for us!
     
  18. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

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    I use the Alphatrak and spend about $100 per month on strips. I'm a bit anal in that I like having the same meter and reading as my vet. If the cost became prohibitive I would use a human meter.
     
  19. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    I always mix them up! Gotta remember hypO = lOw

    I will look at that chart now and check it out. I was more worried about not giving her enough calorie wise and causing her weight to drop too quickly.
     
  20. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    It doesn't make you anal- I am the same way! If I have to spend it, I will. I can do without going out to eat once or twice a month to save that money to spend it on Nugget.
     
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  21. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

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    Oh! You're in NYC? Howdy neighbor.... I'm in nj... By the Meadowlands. Your closest Walmart is probably secaucus. You can use a different brand human meter just make sure it only takes a 0.3 size sample. Our order online. I have an alpha so always order online... I just try to always have at least one bottle of unopened strips on hand so I don't get caught without any.
     
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  22. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

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    Some people have purchased another type of human meter from a local pharmacy - eg. Free Style Lite, AccuCheck Aviva, CVS store brand, etc. Wouldn't hurt to have a backup. Your choice though ... :)
     
  23. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    Not too far away at all! I've only been out to your neighborhood once for a Jets game! I will probably go with something I can find on Amazon, Gotta love that Prime membership!
     
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  24. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    I just saw a review on Amazon where someone suggested that the Free Style Lite was just as good as the AlphaTrak. But I will keep researching!
     
  25. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

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    I use a Freestyle Lite meter. I like it and it gives a reading quickly and with a very tiny blood drop. It does read lower than an AT meter but I've learned the BG ranges for this meter.
     
  26. Sharon14

    Sharon14 Well-Known Member

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    Another money saving tip, since you’re using Lantus, you can order from Canada for a much lower price. Most of us use the pens rather than the vials. They are more cost effective.
    https://rxcanada4less.com/
     
  27. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    Sharon I was wondering about the pens! I wasn't really clear on how they worked- do you just twist on the needle? I know they are pre-filled. I will definitely look into ordering from Canada as the 50 day supply they gave me at the vet's office cost $70. I know that will be an amount that adds up so so so so quickly!
     
  28. Sharon14

    Sharon14 Well-Known Member

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    We use the pens as mini vials and draw the insulin out with a syringe. When you get syringes be sure to get the ones with half unit marks. THIS sticky from the Lantus forum shows how.
     
  29. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    Janet I just watched your video again and we practiced! I was shaking because I was nervous but you were right, she barely noticed. I can't believe I listened to the second vet who said it was not necessary to test... this will help so much in managing her health and my stress!

    I took your advice about not aiming for that vein- Nugget's veins are SUPER hard to see. I used the flashlight from my phone to find the vein. I used the lancet device from the kit but I think in the future I will eliminate that and just use the lancet like you did. Your cat is super adorable! I hope he is feeling good these days :)
     
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  30. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

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    Give yourself a HUGE pat on the back for getting this first test done!!! :D:D:D I freehand the pokes and find that I can see the target spot easier that way. One short, swift action is all you need. Sometimes you can feel a tiny "pop" as you go through the skin.
     
  31. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    Now I just need to learn what numbers are good for her, and which are not! I am creating my SS now, and reading the sticky about understanding the grid. Knowledge is power!
     
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  32. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

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    What glucose meter did you buy? If it's the AlphaTrak you'll need the version of the SS for a pet meter. It would also help us if you put the type of meter in your grey signature text. :)
     
  33. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    Mar 4, 2018
    Yes I bought the AT2. I better check that I downloaded the right SS! I am changing my signature now, just added the link to the SS and will add the meter now.
     
  34. Kathryn & Nugget

    Kathryn & Nugget Member

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    Kris good call- I downloaded the wrong sheet! Fixing it now.
     
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