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Discussion in 'Welcome to the Group - Post an Introduction Here' started by Roxanne J, May 8, 2016.

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  1. Roxanne J

    Roxanne J New Member

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    May 8, 2016
    Hello, I'm glad I found this site. I am Roxanne, proud mom of two cats and one dog.

    After doing much research, I am sure my 11 year old female long haired calico "Callie" has diabetes. All of the signs are there. I will be taking her to the vet tomorrow. I don't have a ton of money but can't stand the thought of losing her or of her suffering in any way.

    Any advice as we enter this unknown territory would be appreciated. Today, I went and bought her some canned food as I read that dry food is not good for her (true)? She has been eating the same dry food all these years and I have a feeling she won't like the "wet" food. I bought a separate litter box for her along with her own drinking station (I will have to separate the two for monitoring and feeding purposes).

    I don't want to fall into any "money traps", I just want to get right to it and give her the best care that I can.

    Thanks,
    Roxanne
     
  2. scoobydoox

    scoobydoox Member

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    Mar 21, 2016
    Hello and welcome. A ton of advice starting with your vet visit. Do you know if the vet has any experience in feline diabetes?Do not buy the prescription foods they try to sell you. Also don't buy the pet meter they will may try to sell you. Human meters are a lot cheaper. You can also get the syringes cheaper at pharmacys. They may try to sell you vetsulin and tell you its what you should use but tell them you want a prescription for lantus pens. you can buy them from here cheaper than anywhere else https://rxcanada4less.com/index.html
    if you have time read through this http://jfm.sagepub.com/content/17/3/235.full.pdf html
    a cbc and glucose test should be able to tell if diabetic and if infection is going on.
    if you have walmart a meter and supplies and food and syringes can all be bought there cheaply.
    i wasted 90.00 on vetsulin and syringes only to have to switch to lantus and buy different syringes etc.
    What canned food did you buy?
     
  3. Sarah Smith

    Sarah Smith Member

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    Apr 20, 2016
    Welcome to you and Callie! I do hope the vet visit doesnt show diabetes, what signs is she showing? Weight loss and increased thirst could also be a thyroid issue, which can be much easier to manage. The post above is pretty much what I would have started with, let us know how it goes tomorrow!
     
  4. Roxanne J

    Roxanne J New Member

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    May 8, 2016
    Thank you! Good information to have. Thank goodness, I do have a Walmart close by.
     
  5. Roxanne J

    Roxanne J New Member

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    May 8, 2016
    Hi Sarah and thanks for the welcome. I noticed something was "off" about 3 weeks ago and my kids noticed too...weak in the back legs, not jumping on the furniture like usual. She's always been independent and low maintenance so we were slow in really noticing. Then, she was always hungry, motioning me to the food dish and drinking LOTS of water. The litter box became over-run with urine and I didn't understand as I've had these two cats for 11 years. She's lost a lot of weight as well and again...missed it as she is long haired and it wasn't until I picked her up that I could feel how bony she's become. No vomiting, no pain that I can tell as we felt all over her for lumps and sort of moved her legs and paws around, she didn't object or pull away or make any sounds. The last couple of days she's been isolating and that's when I started really researching. After reading about all of the possible things that could be going on, diabetes fits the closest. I hate the thought but it's better than cancer, which was what I was fearing. Do you know if a blood test can determine if it's diabetes versus thyroid? Thanks again! Very much!
     
  6. Sarah Smith

    Sarah Smith Member

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    Apr 20, 2016
    A blood test will definately tell you :) If they run a complete blood count they will see if her glucose (diabetes) or her thyroid levels are up. The weakness could be neuropathy from diabetes though, or arthritis. Either way, both are very treatable, I have one girl with hyperthyroid, she was diagnoses a few years ago. Shes 15 now and you wouldnt know it most days :) Cooter was just diagnosed with diabetes 3 weeks ago, thanks to the wonderful folks here we are getting him feeling better! Hoping for a good vet visit tomorrow
     
  7. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    Oct 6, 2010
    Drinking a lot, urinating a lot, and ravenous hunger strongly support the diabetes diagnosis; blood tests - glucose and fructosamine - will both come back somewhat high, although glucose may rise 100-200 mg/dL due to vet stress.
    One thing you can start right now is checking to see if what you are feeding is low carb. If it is dry food, it is most likely high carb, as there are extremely limited options for low carb dry food - Evo Cat and Kitten Turkey and Chicken (at specialty pet stores) and Young Again 0 (online only).
    Options for low carb canned are much more numerous and can be done cost effectively - Friskies pates, for example, are mostly low carb (I feed the Turkey and Giblet pate), as are Fancy Feast Classic pates. Pop over to www.CatInfo.org for more info on feline nutrition from a vet who specializes in it.
     
  8. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    Jun 16, 2014
    Hi Roxanne, and welcome to you and Callie. :)

    It might be worth asking the vet to run a SNAP fPL test in addition to the other tests just to make sure that pancreatitis isn't an issue. (In-house test and gives an immediate Yes/No answer.) Make sure that the tests you order covers potassium levels as low potassium can feed into the weakness you've been observing. (NOTE: too much and too little potassium are dangerous; you must blood tests done to check levels. Don't try supplementing 'blind' - it really is one for the vets to deal with.)

    If it is diabetes and neuropathy is the issue causing the leg weakness, that should improve as Callie becomes properly regulated again. You can also help reverse neuropathy by supplementing B12 methylcobalamin in Callie's diet. Zobaline is a diabetic-friendly methyl B12 supplement; here's a link in case you might need it.

    http://www.ilifelink.com/zobaline-for_diabetic_cats-3_mg_x_60_tablets.html



    Mogs
    .
     
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  9. scoobydoox

    scoobydoox Member

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    Mar 21, 2016
    If you want the snap test it will be around $180.00 additional
     
  10. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    Jun 16, 2014
    How much??? :eek:


    Mogs
    .
     
  11. Roxanne J

    Roxanne J New Member

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    May 8, 2016
    I will have test results tomorrow. He agreed that it is likely diabetes although he said he could feel her thyroid. She was so scared but did a great job. I asked his opinion regarding dry/vs/wet food and admitted that it depends on who you speak to although for diabetic kitties, wet is better and healthier. Changing her diet will be a real challenge...lol...but we will do whatever needs to be done. The bill today...$175.00. I guess it could have been worse? That's another issue altogether...

    Thank you all for your advice and input. You've helped me freak out a little less and I appreciate it! : )
     
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  12. Tuxedo Mom

    Tuxedo Mom Well-Known Member

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    Dec 2, 2014
    For the specific fPLI test which was done at IDEXX it was $53.90 Canadian as an add with other blood work at IDEXX. I had Geriatric Profile and specific fPLI done for $255 Canadian including shipping.

    The snap test should be MUCH cheaper than that.


    ETA I found another fPLI I had done as a standalone test at IDEXX. It was $144 Canadian including the shipping.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
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  13. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    Jun 16, 2014
    I certainly didn't pay anything close to the equivalent of USD 180.00; GBP 26.26 (including VAT) for LĂșnasa in February of this year. Even with the consult fee on top the maximum bill would have been less than GBP 60.00 (inc VAT).

    I'm sure there was a thread about pancreatitis test costs recently (not sure whether SNAP or Spec fPL) but I can't find it.


    Mogs
    .
     
  14. Roxanne J

    Roxanne J New Member

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    May 8, 2016
    Update. It is diabetes. Now I go to get a urine kit. They want her to have prescription food which is outrageously priced and I can't afford that long term. They are prescribing vetsulin which someone has said earlier not to get for her. Please advise on what type of insulin I should ask for? I will check my Walmart for meter and syringes and as well. I already feel overwhelmed!!!!
     
  15. scoobydoox

    scoobydoox Member

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    Mar 21, 2016

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  16. Erica & Carter

    Erica & Carter Well-Known Member

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    Apr 5, 2016
    Longer acting insulins like Lantus, Levemir or ProZinc depending on where you're located.

    Lantus is what a lot of people use here and you can order it for a fraction of the cost (if you're in the US) from Canada at Mark's Marine Pharmacy as it is fairly expensive here in the US. Your vet can fax them or a prescription or you can get a paper prescription and send it to them yourself.

    You don't definitely don't need a RX diet, you just need a low carb, canned food under 8% carbs. Most RX diets are too high in carbs, except Purina DM I believe which is $2.50ish a can.

    A lot of people use FF, Friskies, 9lives pate because of the low cost but some of more holistic brands also include Weruva, Wild Calling, BFF, Tiki Cat, Merrick and Wellness. These brands are a little pricier but still cheaper than any RX diet. Some flavours do have a little more carbs so it's best to use a carb calulator to double check or visit catinfo.org for a full list and breakdown of commercial brands with their carb content.

    At Walmart check out the Relion Confirm, Micro or Prime. Confirm and Micro only need a small blood sample, where as Prime requires a larger blood sample but the strips are cheaper. Just whatever you're most comfortable with.

    If you have more questions don't be afraid to head over to the Feline Health (Main) forum, as it gets a little more traffic than in here.

    It gets easier. :)
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
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  17. Roxanne J

    Roxanne J New Member

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    May 8, 2016
    Ok, off to the vet to get the urine kit...I'll ask for the test results and check back later. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
     
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  18. Erica & Carter

    Erica & Carter Well-Known Member

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    Apr 5, 2016
    Good luck!

    Another important thing to note: switching to a lower carb canned diet can drastically decrease a cat's blood gluocose numbers, and therefore their insulin requirement may change.

    So either you could:

    1. Switch diets before you start giving insulin
    OR
    2. Make sure you are able to home-test and monitor your cat's BG while starting insulin and adjusting to a new diet

    When I switched Carter to a canned diet he was already getting insulin, and the food change dropped him down to only needing 2 units twice a day, from 4 units twice a day, in just 48 hour period. Had I not been monitoring I could have unknowingly put him at risk for hypoglycemia based on his insulin requirement going down just from a food change alone.
     
  19. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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  20. Roxanne J

    Roxanne J New Member

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    May 8, 2016
    That is great advice! I got some canned food that was recommended and thought I would combine the wet with the dry she's always had and wean her off of the dry food. I was sure she would turn up her nose at it but she gobbled it up. Now I just need her to urinate in the funny little beads to get a sample. What do you think? A couple of days of that before starting the insulin? What do you think/know about Novalin? The pharmacist at Walmart was very helpful. She said a lot of people use the Novalin and it works fine. She also told me what monitor to get along with all the other items. Syringes there are $12.00 for 100 and the Novalin is $25.00.
     
  21. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    Oct 6, 2010
    Welcome to FDMB.

    Generally, swapping out the food about 20% different per day helps avoid GI upsets.

    Novalin NPH generally lasts only 6 - maybe 10 hours in the cat, leaving the glucose uncontrolled for up to 6 hours per shot. We suggest ProZinc, Lantus, BCP PZI, or Levemir.
     
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  22. Erica & Carter

    Erica & Carter Well-Known Member

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    Apr 5, 2016
    It really depends on if you're confident/ready to start to hometesting right away or not.

    I have no experience with Novalin but I'm sure some other more experienced users do. I'd advise you to make a thread over in the Feline Health Forum, and make a list of these questions as you will get your questions answered more quickly over there. :)
     
  23. Roxanne J

    Roxanne J New Member

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    May 8, 2016
    Thank you! :bighug:
     
  24. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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  25. Erica & Carter

    Erica & Carter Well-Known Member

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    Aw thanks Mogs!

    I want a picture of him more up-close to see his blue eyes but he is not about that most of the time.
     
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  26. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

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    :cool:

    .
     
  27. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    Oct 6, 2010
    Please take a look at ProZinc or BCP PZI, rather than NPH. Both of those last roughly 12 hours per shot, which NPH seldom does..
    They work similarly to NPH other than having a longer duration, so if your vet is not familiar with using Lantus or Levemir, there will be fewer issues with dosing.
     
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  28. Roxanne J

    Roxanne J New Member

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    May 8, 2016
    This is not going well. At all. Callie was diagnosed this week, the next day we are hit with a massive storm w/ massive damage. I couldn't take her urine sample in until Friday. Today I received a message from the vet that her urine was consistent w/ having diabetes. I switched her to canned food "Fancy Feast" 3 days ago and she is eating well. I tried to get a glucose sample today and that was an epic fail...I'm so frustrated. I've been reading and reading and the more I read, the more lost I feel. All the letters and numbers and I can't make sense of what is what. Did some research on Lantus today and there is just no way I can afford it. Several I've read say don't use Vetsulin, which is what the vet is recommending. I'm going to need a long lasting insulin as I work long hours. It will be a challenge trying to make sure that she gets them at the appropriate intervals. Our lives have changed a lot since we got her 11 years ago and I never factored in something like this. What is the least expensive insulin that I can get that isn't crap?????
     
  29. BJM

    BJM Well-Known Member

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    Oct 6, 2010
    Long-lasting insulins include:
    ProZinc
    Lantus or Levemir <- check their price ! (Get the pens; use a syringe to withdraw the insulin, not the pen needles)
    BCP PZI
     
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  30. Sharon14

    Sharon14 Well-Known Member

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    Aug 16, 2015
    Take a deep breath Roxanne, we've all been where you are and know your frustration. It's good you've switched food and that Callie's is eating well. As far as insulin, check the prices in Canada https://rxcanada4less.com/search.php also try the supply closet forum, and if you still can't work it, we'll help you with the Vetsulin too. Now let's tackle testing. What are you having problems with?
     
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  31. Roxanne J

    Roxanne J New Member

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    May 8, 2016
    Please understand..I'm not a cheap-o and I love my cat...I don't want to sound like I'm trying to "get out" of doing what I need for her. Financially, this couldn't have come at a worse time but that's not her fault. I bought the ReliOn monitor, I watched the video's of how to get the sample and followed the directions. It seemed like the needle wasn't coming out and I wasn't getting any blood. I took the lancet from the lancing device and just tried doing it with my hand. Her little ear is paper thin! I was able to get some blood but it wasn't enough to get a reading on the monitor. By then, I was shaking and just couldn't poke her again. We will try again in a bit. I'm guessing practice will be key?
     
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  32. Sharon14

    Sharon14 Well-Known Member

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    Aug 16, 2015
    Make sure her ear is nice and warm. I rub my cats ear -he likes that-others use a sock filled with rice and warmed in the microwave, then milk the ear by rubbing in the direction of the poke. You'll get the hang of it. No one thinks you don't love Callie. We all understand the financial difficulties involved and we will try to help you care for Callie the best way you can. Try the poke again in a bit, and let us know how it goes.
     
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  33. scoobydoox

    scoobydoox Member

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    Mar 21, 2016
    Have you watched the video on how to poke the ear? Lantus is affordable when ordering it from the link posted above. A box of 5 lantus pens kept in the fridge will last you about a year for $170.00(includes shipping) which is $34.00 a pen of insulin that lasts 3-4 months. You can also just buy one pen from them to start. Which relion meter did you buy and what size lancet did you get?There is also financial help links. http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/threads/financial-help-links.131190/
     
  34. Elle & Squeak

    Elle & Squeak Member

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    Jan 13, 2016
    Lantus is expensive in the U.S, but as others have said, purchasing it from Mark's Marine in Canada makes it much more affordable. I don't have any first hand experience with costs in the U.S. as I'm located in Canada, but I know this has been discussed recently on the forum. You can check out this thread:

    http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/threads/cost-of-lantus-insulin.157047/

    And specifically these two posts (from another thread):

    http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/threads/cat-diagnosed-with-diabetes.156982/#post-1667852
    http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/threads/cat-diagnosed-with-diabetes.156982/#post-1667986

    Your monthly costs will depend on how many units of insulin your kitty ends up needing, but hopefully the above will help some. It seems that Lantus might be more of an outlay initially, but could work out cheaper in the long run.

    Practicing definitely helps. I was an awkward mess the first few times I tested, but I quickly got the hang of it. Establishing a routine really helps as it sets the cat at ease - test in the same area of the house every time. An after-poke treat helps too - something low/no-carb like Pure Bites freeze dried treats or even plain, cooked chicken breast will work. Give a treat every time, even if you're not successful, and your cat will soon associate test time with treats. Squeak is a cat that really dislikes being poked and prodded, but within a week she was purring through her testing and now she couldn't care less.

    I found the lancet device didn't work for me - I now use it just to hold the lancet as it gives me a better grip - I leave the cap off and don't use the spring mechanism. It's also helpful to start out with larger lancets (lower gauge, around 26-28) - I believe I've seen other people say they might be labelled for "alternate site testing". I buy the Bayer Microlet lancets here in Canada, but you'll likely have other options available to you. I've found that many of the lancets branded for use with particular meters are finer gauge (around 30 or even finer) and usually just aren't big enough when first starting out. The good news is, as you keep testing, it will likely get easier as your cat's ears will form new capillaries and should start bleeding better. You might also find that one ear bleeds better than the other - I know that's the case with Squeak, and I've seen others mention the same thing.

    I know it's a lot to digest when first starting out. I was there only a few months ago, so I understand how you're feeling. Just keep asking questions - there are many wonderful people here who are willing to help! :bighug:
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2016
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