Recent diagnosis

Discussion in 'Welcome to the Group - Post an Introduction Here' started by Rebecca222, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. Rebecca222

    Rebecca222 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2016
    Hello!

    My 13 year old cat was diagnosed with diabetes two days ago and I feel quite overwhelmed. She spent the night in an animal hospital where she was treated for low potassium levels and very high blood sugar levels. The next day her potassium levels were higher, and the blood sugar level went from 31 to 28 (this is still extremely high, isn't it?). My cat is staying at home for a week to see if she responds to a diabetic diet before we're returning to the vet to measure her potassium and blood sugar levels again. If her blood sugar level is still high, we have to consider to either start giving her insulin or letting her go. It's too optimistic to hope that her blood sugar level will go from 28 to under 8 just because of a diet, right?

    I'm currently 22 years old, a student and a part-time worker at a grocery store. My economy isn't very great but at the same time I don't have a mortgage, car or a child to support. Because I have a job, there is a possibility that I'm capable of managing the expenses that follow this illness. On the other side, I live in one of the most expensive countries in the world (Norway), and I paid approximately 800 dollars for the diagnose (several blood samples and a urine sample), overnight treatment and diabetic food for 1 week. I've read a lot about the diagnosis in the past couple of days and from what I understand, it's possible to treat this disease mainly on my own with only a few visits to the vet a year. I would be really happy if any of you shared your experience with home treatment, how many times you visit the vet in a year, monthly expenses etc.

    The economic aspect isn't really what worries me the most, it's the time aspect. As a student, I'm able to study at home for most of the time (except from when I have to go to lectures). Apart from that I am working late two times a week (from 3 PM to 11:30 PM), and so does my cohabitant. This is probably possible to change. We can work opposite days so he can take care of her when I'm at work and vice versa. At the same time, I'm worried he won't do it properly and just go out and have fun instead of staying in and treat the cat. I can't quit my job, since my student loan only cover my rent, phone bill, electricity and travel expenses.

    The thing i'm worried about is that this diagnosis is going to limit my spare time a lot. I'm very young and like to travel 2-3 times a year (to visit my parents in law who lives across the country) and be spontaneous. I don't really have anyone who is willing to help me doing the insulin injections and blood sugar measurements when I'm gone, and taking the cat with me is not an option, since she would be extremely stressed and I don't want her to experience that. From what I understand, this diagnosis is going to require a lot of planning and life changes for both her and myself. I'm wondering how a normal day looks like for a owner of a cat with diabetes? How often do you have to feed your cat, give insulin injections and measure the blood sugar levels? Is this very time consuming? Have you been able to travel since your cat got the diagnosis?

    I really don't know what to do.. Both my mom and my boyfriend want me to end her life since she's already quite old but it's extremely hard to let your best friend go when she's suffering from a condition that is treatable. Both choices are hard to make, since one of them will satisfy the people in my life and is what i feel society "expects" me to do, and the other will lead to me having more time with my beloved friend. What would you do if you were in my situation?

    In advance, thank you for reading this and hopefully responding :) I'm really glad there is a place where people who are in the same situation can discuss and share experiences. I hope everyone understand what I've written, even though english is not my mother tongue.
     

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  2. Ferndoc

    Ferndoc Member

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    Dec 20, 2015
    Hi Rebecca,

    I understand your concerns about time and I will say diabetes effects how I schedule things more than it actually taking time. Most insulin treatments are 2 times a day and the corresponding blood glucose test to make sure your kitten should get one, the good news is you decide what time they are going to be. Many of us also test Blood glucose sometime in the middle of the 12 hour period to see how the insulin is working but again it depends on our schedules. For me I choose to treat on the 6s 6:00AM and 6:00pm (1800hrs). At least one person here does so at 1:00am and 1:00Pm because it fits her schedule. Testing and treatment take me about 20 minutes, I test, give food and then give an insulin shot. I leave the food out all the time (wet food only). I have 3 cats and I think one of them actually prefers when the wet food dries out a bit. As for additional testing. During the week I sometimes test about 2-4 hours after I treat, this corresponds with just before I go work or go to sleep. On the weekends when I have more time I will test closer to the midpoint.

    For food like I said wet food only, look for ones that are low in carbohydrate. Pretty much all dry food even the prescription one from a vet is too high. (as far as ingredients look for ones that have no rice, soy, wheat or potatoes in it.) Most of us feed regular commercial food that is low in carbohydrates.
     
  3. Rebecca222

    Rebecca222 New Member

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    Jan 29, 2016
    Thank you so much for your reply! My cat loves wet food, so the food won't be a problem at all. She's currently getting prescription diet wet food from the vet and wants to eat more than what I am giving her. It's nice to hear that one can give the injections at a time that fits one's schedule, that will make the whole process easier. I have to give the injection at the same time every day once i've started, right? Again, thank you :cat:
     
  4. Ferndoc

    Ferndoc Member

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    Dec 20, 2015
    At basically the same time yes. In general, I try to make sure I'm within 30 minutes of 6 so between 5:30 and 6:30.
     
  5. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

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    Feb 18, 2015
    Welcome to FDMB Rebecca. I'm so sorry your cat has been diagnosed with diabetes but so happy you found us. We can help you find ways to integrate treating your beloved cat into your schedule while still "having a life". Treating a diabetic cat does take some planning and organization and a little time each day, it is not nearly as difficult as you think. Many folks on this board work full time and still manage to keep their cats tightly regulated. Some regularly travel for work and a lot of us get away for vacations too. The amount of experience and hands on experience on this board is amazing so I am confident we can help you find ways to make this work.

    On an average day, I estimate I spend at most 30 minutes a day specifically testing/treating my diabetic cat. In the beginning it may take a bit more time, as you and your kitty get into a routine, but like anything else, once you have a routine, things get easier and faster.
    You can definitely keep costs down by home testing your cat instead of making trips to the vet for curves. Not only is this more economical but cats often have stress hyperglycemia and their glucose readings are often 5-6 mmol. higher or more at the vet than they are at home. We strongly advocate home testing here and most of our members use a human glucometer. All the reference numbers in the documentation on this board are based on human meter readings unless specifically indicated otherwise.

    I'm guessing that your vet may have prescribed food for your cat. Prescription foods are not only expensive but also not usually the best options you might have better results with a retail brand. I'm not sure what foods are available in Norway but in the US and Canada, many feed their cats Fancy Feast Classics (pates) or Friskies pates with excellent results. There is information on suitable European food options available here.

    If you'd like to tell us what diet you currently have your cat on, her name (we like to get to know the kitties too!) and what insulin the vet may have discussed with you, we can help you out with more specific information.

    By the way, Rebecca, your mastery of English is exemplary and better than some folks whose first language is English!
     
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  6. Squeaks & Nemo

    Squeaks & Nemo Member

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    Jan 28, 2016
    Hi, Rebecca! I'm new too. I'm still in information overload, but that's because this site is so well maintained and everyone here is ready and willing to help! Even though I don't have a whole lot of experience with a diabetic cat, I have had more experience with end-of-life choices than I would like. I have always been a firm believer of quality of life over quantity of life. However, I also firmly believe in trying all you can to maintain that quality before letting go. I had conversations with all of the babies I released to the Bridge and we both understood that we would fight until they were tired and there was no fight left. And don't worry, you will know. Your baby will tell you. Until then, I encourage you not to give up hope too soon.
     
  7. Mogmom and Goofus

    Mogmom and Goofus Well-Known Member

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    Dec 9, 2014
    Hello Rebecca, I'm so glad you found this site! I'm so sorry about your kitty's diagnosis. I too was so very overwhelmed at first, but it really does get easier. I felt like I'd never be able to leave my house and wondered how would I afford it all, but I've been on vacation twice and the money hasn't been so bad. You can save lots of money by not buying the prescription food, it's not at all neccesary. As long as the food is below 10% carbs, but less would better.

    If you can, give your fur baby a chance before making a decision that you may later on regret. If it simply won't work for you, well, you have to do what you have to do. Maybe you could even try re-homing her? I know that not a lot of people would take in a kitty with health problems, but I would. Unfortunately I already have one diabetic cat and one with asthma, congestive heart failure and larangeal polyps so I have my hands full.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
  8. Rebecca222

    Rebecca222 New Member

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    Jan 29, 2016
    Thank you so much for the time, effort and support! I am really glad i found this site as well, since there's almost no information about this condition and experiences with it in norwegian. I really appreciate the information you're all giving me and I'm taking in all of your words. I would also prefer home testing, because it really don't want my baby to experience the stress that follows a visit to the vet.

    Yes, I have prescribed food for my cat at the moment. She is using Hills diet m/d canned food at the moment, and I am feeding her every second hour. She is only going to eat this food for a week to see if it has any effect on her glucose levels. Because of her low potassium levels, she can't start the insulin treatment right away, they have to get higher first. The type of foods that are available in Norway is very limited, but I am going to do more research on that topic to see if I can find anything that is cheaper than what I've bought at the vet. Her name is Beatrice, and the vet and I haven't really discussed any types of insulin just yet - I think she just expects that I want to end her life. I am sure I will get more information from the vet next week when we meet again.

    Again, thank you so much! :)
     
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  9. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

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    Feb 18, 2015
    Beatrice is a beautiful girl! Love the pic!:)

    I just checked the Hill's website and it indicates the carbs in the M/D canned food is 15.7%. A carb level of under 10% is recommended for diabetic cats so if you can find something with less carbs, you might have better luck bringing Beatrice's numbers down.

    Please let us know how things go at the vet next week. We'll keep our fingers and paws crossed for you and Beatrice!
     
  10. Ferndoc

    Ferndoc Member

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    Dec 20, 2015
  11. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    Jun 16, 2014
    Hi Rebecca, and welcome to you and Beatrice.

    Zooplus do a wide range of diabetic-friendly, high quality foods at reasonable prices. Below is a link to the UK food chart recently set up by one of our members (gives the carbohydrate values - you need foods with less than 10% calories from carbs. If you look for Zooplus in the Where to Buy column it will give you an idea of the selection. (Granatapet are great quality and although they sound pricier cats don't tend to eat as much as they would of poorer quality foods.)

    Eliz's UK Food Chart

    If there are foods easier for you to source locally, the following online calculator will help you to work out if the carb values are OK for your little one.

    Scheyderweb Cat Food Calculator

    And yes, your command of English is excellent (and much better than that of many native speakers as Linda has already observed). :)

    So glad you found us! We'll do all we can to help you and your kitty.


    Mogs
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  12. Rebecca222

    Rebecca222 New Member

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    Jan 29, 2016
    Wow, thank you so much for your info! That's really helpful! Is it safe to change the diet she's on without talking to the vet first? The problem is that the food availability here is REALLY limited. The food they sell in the grocery store is just junk food for cats, and the canned food they sell in the pet store is basically just Royal Canin and Hill's. I'm going to visit the pet store after work tomorrow to check if they have any foods with lower carbs :) Is it safe to give her food for kittens? I saw that a Royal Canin canned food for baby kittens had 8% carbs.
     
  13. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    Jun 16, 2014
    If Beatrice is not on insulin then it should be OK to change foods. To minimise risk of digestive upset, you should gradually change from Beatrice's current food to the new one. Start with 10% new to 90% existing food and change the percentages by 10% each day. To minimise food waste, you can add a little water to the the remainders of opened cans and freeze them. It's handy to do small quantities so that you only need to thaw out what you'll use each day. Some people put the food into ice cube trays to freeze it and subsequently thaw out enough cubes to last them the day.

    If Beatrice is on insulin, you need to be home testing before starting a food changeover because the reduction in dietary carbohydrates can drop blood glucose levels quite significantly and the insulin dose may need to be reduced as the food changeover progresses.


    Mogs
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  14. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

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    Feb 18, 2015
    I don't see any reason why the kitten food would not be an option although it's usually high in calories so if weight is an issue, you'd have to watch the amount she is fed. Something a little lower carb would be even better (try to find something under 5%) but it's certainly a better choice than the 15% M/D. As for the grocery store brands, check the labels because there may be some options there that are actually more "real" food than the m/d. The Fancy Feast many feed here, has an ingredient list that is pretty good and doesn't look like a bad chemistry experiment like the prescription foods and many of the so called high end foods sold in specialty stores! Many people in North America assume Fancy Feast is just junk food simply because it's sold in the grocery stores rather than high end pet stores. It'll take a bit of intense label checking but I'm sure you will be able to find something ideal that Beatrice likes.
     
  15. Rebecca222

    Rebecca222 New Member

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    Jan 29, 2016
    Thank you! The reason why I assumed it was junk food right away is because most of the food sold in the grocery store is cuts in gravy and not pat├Ęs. Most of them also contains either too much calcium or too little taurine, which can lead to blindness from what i've heard. I'll do some more research and keep you posted!
     
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  16. Julia & Bandit

    Julia & Bandit Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    The Royal Canin Babycat would be fine to feed--it's not super high in calories, compared to some other premium brands. Unfortunately, there is no Hills food out there that is appropriate for a diabetic cat. You can also usually determine if a food is low carb by reading the ingredients, even if it's not on the list. If it's a pate style food, and it doesn't contain any rice, wheat, corn, soy, then it should be ok. Other sources of carbs in foods can come from potatoes or other starches, so if they're not in the ingredients, you're probably fine. You can always post the ingredients here and get advice if you're unsure.

    When Bandit was diagnosed with diabetes in 2009, I was working two jobs and going to grad school, so I understand the concern about the time involved. Yes, it often takes a little creative scheduling to be home at the same shot time every day, but it's certainly doable. As for travel, there's a large vet school in my town so I used to barter with vet students to come take care of Bandit while I traveled (Because of one of my jobs, I always had free tickets to shows all over town), and I always had them come over and taught them how to test and inject Bandit before I left so that I felt confident they knew what they were doing. Now, I usually just ask my friends to help out, and trade cat-sitting and/or babysitting to repay the favor. It takes more planning ahead of time to travel, for sure, but it's not impossible.

    Getting a friend or family member that's willing to pitch in and help out on occasion goes a very long way in working out those scheduling issues that can't be avoided. If there's someone you think can help you, I would not hesitate to bring them on board once you're confident in teaching someone else what you've learned.
     
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  17. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    Jun 16, 2014
    BTW, I gave Saoirse Smilla Kitten Food with Chicken. It's available from Zooplus, is very reasonably priced and, while not quite in the league of the likes of Granatapet, it's quite a good quality food. Saoirse did really well on it and it helped her toward achieving diabetic remission - it's very, very low in carbs. (I'm limited in the foods that Saoirse can eat because she has chronic pancreatitis. She could manage the Smilla but sadly Granatapet has salmon oil in it and it upsets her digestive system so I can't feed that to her.) Her meals were small but because it's a high protein food the small meals were very satisfying for her and I had no bother managing her weight.

    Smilla has a very good level of taurine. If you look at the product details for the foods you're interested in on the Zooplus website it will sometimes give you the amount of supplementation (under the Ingredients info) as well as the typical nutritional analysis info.


    Mogs
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  18. Woodsywife

    Woodsywife Well-Known Member

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    Sep 6, 2015
    Hello Rebecca, I do hope you give it a try. It will take some time to find a routine that works for you. There are aides that can help like automatic feeders if you can get them. You can freeze portions of wet food to leave out if you can't be home.

    I do use Purina prescription DM wet food which is low carb but I have been mixing half with regular store food to try to get him off it and it makes it last longer. But he seems to like it.

    Please keep us updated.
     
  19. Rebecca222

    Rebecca222 New Member

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    Jan 29, 2016
    Big thanks to you all, you've been very helpful! After my cat started eating canned food her stomach has been making a lot of noises and has air bubbles in it. Is this just an adjustmemt problem? Have you experienced the same with your cats? :oops:
     
  20. Woodsywife

    Woodsywife Well-Known Member

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    Sep 6, 2015
    Yes. Did you transition by mixing old food with new food? What kind of wet food are you using?
     
  21. Rebecca222

    Rebecca222 New Member

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    Jan 29, 2016
    No, I've had the cat for only a few months so I basically fed her the same food as the previous owner fed her which is royal canin dry frood. I was told to solely give her wet/canned food from now on so I can't mix the old and the new food.
     
  22. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    Jun 16, 2014
    I second Woodsywife's recommendation about automatic feeders; they're a godsend.

    I've tried several types of automatic feeder. By far the best I've used is the Petsafe 5. It's got a digital timer, it's burgle-proof, and it gives you great control over the feeding times. (NB: it will only cover feeding for a 24-hour period but that should be more than adequate for a diabetic kitty since there are only typically 12 hours between injections so you'd be able to refill the feeder.)


    Mogs
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  23. Rebecca222

    Rebecca222 New Member

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    Jan 29, 2016
    Thank you for the advice! I didn't even think about the fact that I can use a automatic feeder. That will make my life a lot easier on busy days!
     
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  24. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    Jun 16, 2014
    The timed feeders are great for night time feeds as well. :)

    As I said before, I'm very glad that you and Beatrice found FDMB, Rebecca. Vets may be able to advise on dosing and general aspects of diabetes treatment but you will get so many tips about how to manage the day-to-day, real world practicalities of meeting the needs of your diabetic cat alongside your own activities. I could not have done anything like as well for Saoirse without all that I've learned here. Diabetes is definitely do-able! :)


    Mogs
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    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016
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  25. Woodsywife

    Woodsywife Well-Known Member

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    Okay, you will have tummy upset until she adjusts. Wet food is best however, you could crush small amount of her previous dry and mix it in. Then slowly taper the dry out over 1-2 weeks. It would be better than her vomiting and having diarrhea and getting dehydrated.
     
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  26. Rebecca222

    Rebecca222 New Member

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    Jan 29, 2016
    UPDATE

    First of all I want to thank you all for sharing information and the support you have given me in this awful time! :)
    Beatrice and I went to the vet this morning. Her potassium levels were even lower than when I picked her up last week. Her glucose levels were also higher. It's not possible to treat diabetes with low potassium levels so she would have to spend about two weeks at the animal hospital before we could even consider treating her with insulin. The vet and I decided to let her go :rb_icon: I would have acted differently if she was a young cat, but I didn't want her last time on earth to be stressful - she's a very anxious cat. We've had almost 14 wonderful years together and I'm very grateful for the time we shared.
    Again, thank you all for everything cat_wings>ocat_wings>o
     
  27. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

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    Feb 18, 2015
    Oh Rebecca, I am so very sorry to hear that Beatrice has gone to the bridge. You were a good Mom to her and gave her a long happy life. Making the decision to let them go is most difficult but it is a very unselfish gift when their quality of life is suffering. You were her guardian angel and now she is yours. Rest in peace Beatrice! :bighug::bighug::bighug: for you Rebecca!
     
  28. Larry and Kitties

    Larry and Kitties Well-Known Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    So sad. Sending purrs and prayers at this difficult time
     
  29. Woodsywife

    Woodsywife Well-Known Member

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    Sep 6, 2015
    So sorry for your loss. Rest in peace Beatrice.
     
  30. Rebecca222

    Rebecca222 New Member

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    Jan 29, 2016
    Thank you so much! I've never felt worse but time and all of our good memories will heal the wounds eventually. I wish you all the best and hope that your diabetic cats will live long and good lives :cat:
     
  31. MrWorfMen's Mom

    MrWorfMen's Mom Well-Known Member

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    Feb 18, 2015
    Thank you Rebecca for your good wishes. It was nice to meet you and Beatrice. I only wish your time here hadn't been so short. Will be thinking about you at this difficult time.:bighug::bighug:
     
  32. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    Jun 16, 2014
    Oh, Rebecca, I am so sorry to hear the sad news about your beautiful Beatrice. I am glad for the years of love and friendship you shared, and that love will live on in your heart. She was a lucky girl to have you as her mom.

    :bighug:


    Mogs
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