1. Jeanette/Wiskerz

    Jeanette/Wiskerz New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    My cat, Wiskerz, was diagnosed with diabetes a few months ago. I took him to the vet yesterday because he's lost more weight and is now down to 6 pounds 14 ounces. He is on 2 units of insulin a day. The vet is making it sound like it doesn't pay to spend money on an ultrasound to find out why he's losing weight because with diabetes the finances can be never ending. I don't want to lose another cat because of not having all the money in the world to spend on tests. His sister was put down 3 years ago for getting sick. I still don't know what it was because I didn't have the $3,000 for exploratory surgery.

    Anyway, I don't know what else to do. He's on Glycobalance and m/d. I can't feed him more than he's getting because then his sugar will spike but yet, how can he gain weight if I can't feed him more. It's a vicious cycle.
     
  2. Woodsywife

    Woodsywife Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2015
    Welcome. A cat will lose weight because diabetes is uncontrolled. Their body can't keep up with the nutritional requirements. This will change once kitty becomes regulated. Ultrasound won't help for diabetes unless your vet is looking for something else.

    You should home test, this will save you money. Getting insulin from Canada is much more affordable. Prescription diets are not necessary. The biggest expense over the long term is test strips.

    There are quite a few tips we can help with.
     
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  3. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    Welcome! We might be able to help you get to the bottom of this without you having to spend a ton of money on tests and surgery. Let's begin with the simplest explanation first - unregulated diabetes. I'll ask you to post on the main health forum with answers to these basic questions. It'll save you from having to answer the same questions repeatedly.
    1. What insulin are you using?
    2. What dose did you start at? I see you're at 2 units right now.
    3. Do you test your kitty's blood glucose at home? If so, what glucose meter do you use?
    4. Are the foods you're feeding in the form of dry kibble?
     
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  4. Jeanette/Wiskerz

    Jeanette/Wiskerz New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    The vet's words were "diabetes is not out of control, but is not optimally controlled". She wants to do other tests since he's losing weight. She thought it might be his thyroid but that came back normal so she's talking about further blood tests and an ultrasound.
     
  5. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    In the mean time we can get you started on helping your diabetic kitty on your own. We understand the leap of faith required to listen to the advice of a bunch of internet strangers rather than your vet. However the accumulated experience of all the people on here who live 24/7 with feline diabetes rivals that of almost every vet.

    If you're willing to give us the info I asked about in my previous post I have a feeling that some of the difficulty you're experiencing can be addressed right now.
     
  6. Jeanette/Wiskerz

    Jeanette/Wiskerz New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    Wiskerz is on Lantus. He started at 1 unit but when they did the bloodwork, it didn't seem to be enough so now he's on 2 units a day. The tech did show me how to test his blood sugar myself and I just got the AlphaTrak2 today. He was on dry but I just bought the m/d canned from the vet and he loves it so I may be sticking with that for now. We have three other cats so they're eating separate from Wiskerz and he would eat only some of his food because he wanted what they were eating but with the m/d, he's finishing it and not even wanting out of the room to get to their droppings which I now make sure I pick up as they're on a diet food to lose weight.

    I have to tell you that since I posted into this forum, my migraine is going away and I'm much less upset than I was before so I want to thank you all so very much.


    1. What insulin are you using? Lantus
    2. What dose did you start at? I see you're at 2 units right now.
    3. Do you test your kitty's blood glucose at home? If so, what glucose meter do you use?
    4. Are the foods you're feeding in the form of dry kibble?
     
  7. Dyana

    Dyana Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    :bighug: We can help you Jeanette.
     
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  8. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    I'm so glad we can be a glimmer of light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. :)

    Just to clarify:
    1. He started at 1 u of Lantus. How long was he at that dose and was the dose increased to 2 u in one jump?
    2. It sounds like you're just now getting around to testing BG at home. Am I correct?
    3. He's eating only canned m/d food right now, no dry. Do you know whether the m/d is a low carb high protein food?
    Here's where I'm coming from until I get more info. Others will chime in I'm sure and offer their take on it:
    • If he was on 1 u of Lantus for several weeks and stayed in high BG numbers he might have built up some insulin resistance because of the toxic effect that excessive glucose has on cells.
    • If his dose was increased by a whole unit from 1 u to 2 u you might have missed the good dose if it's somewhere in between. We generally recommend increasing in 0.25 u increments.
    • If his BG is still high at a 2 u dose it can mean that the dose is too low OR it can mean it's too high. If it's too high the cat's body reacts by overcompensating and dumping more glucose into the blood. We call it "bouncing'.
    • Testing BG at home is essential to track your kitty's progress. Otherwise, you're shooting insulin blind. The regimen we use here is to test AM and PM (no food at least 2 hours before hand) to see if the dose you're about to give is too high and test at least once between shots near the middle of the 12 hour interval to see how low the dose takes the BG. Extra testing can be done on days off.
    • We have a spreadsheet here that we recommend you use for your BG data. It's viewable by all members so they can see what's going on before offering advice.
    I'm glad you now have a pet meter. The AlphaTrak2 is a great meter but its strips are very expensive. For that reason most people use a human meter and the Lantus dosing "rules" are built on that foundation.
     
  9. Noah & me (GA)

    Noah & me (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Jeanette, I may have missed this but re the weight loss, what was he before? I know under 7 seems low but did he drop from 10lb or 15lb? Percentages matter. Woodyswife is correct about the ultrasound (expensive), ask your vet what he suspects? And exploratory surgery in a weakened state? Never let a vet talk down to you, ask him what he thinks he might find. Now it's the weekend and you'll get gouged at an Emergency Clinic. Kris & Teasel asked for a leap of faith, take it. We're here 24/7 A quick PS for your migraines, Imitex (In Canada) 20mg inhalers. Don't settle for the 5 mg. They have to taken at the first sign of a migraine, not a narcotic, no known side effects unless you've recently had a stent put in or a heart valve changed. A miracle drug that will you think this through more clearly.
     
  10. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    About the food... While canned MD food is low carb it is also really expensive. The ate grocery store options that all your cats can eat so you don't have to seperate them. Most on the message boards get fancy feast classic or Friskies pate. Nothing with gravy. If you and to leave dry out to graze on there are two choices under 10% carb.... Evo cat and kitten in the purple bag and Young Again Zero carb food (only found online) which is my personal favorite as it doesn't cause any bg spikes. You can buy that at Youngagainpetfood.com. 5 out of 7 of my cats love it. (Well 6 really but Julie can't eat pork.). They will send you a free sample of the Young Again Zero if you ask.

    If your cat is losing weight and hungry, feed him as much as he wants of the wet food! Just no food two hours prior to shoot time so you can get a test that is not food influenced.

    I love my alphatrak meter... It is pricy for the strips though. The cheapest price for the strips I have found is adw.com. They always have a $5 discount code making them about $48


    If you need someone to walk you through home testing just ask.
     
  11. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Hi Jeannette, and a hearty welcome to you and your beautiful boy, Wiskerz.

    We can all relate so well to how worried you are right now but you've now found a great place to get help. I'm glad you're feeling a little better since joining. :bighug:

    Now that you've got your meter you'll be able to start building a much better picture of what's happening with your dear boy's blood glucose (BG) levels and that will help you to work towards getting him to an effective and safe dose of insulin to help his body start using his food properly again. It will be a way for Wiskerz to 'speak' to you about what he needs.

    As a follow-on from your testing tutorial with the vet tech, here are some forum stickies with additional practical tips:

    Home testing links and tips

    Testing and injecting tips (this has a very helpful diagram of the testing 'sweet spot' on the ear)

    We can also help you with additional tips should you need them; just post on the Feline Health board if you get stuck. :)

    As you may notice many members have links to spreadsheets in the signatures at the bottom of their posts. We use these to record BG test results as we go along. Using a spreadsheet will help you to learn Wiskerz' 'pattern' of response to his insulin and, because they'll also be able to see how he's doing, members replying to your posts will be able to make better suggestions to help you to help Wiskerz. To save you having to wander around the board to find them, here are links to the spreadsheet setup instructions and a sticky explaining what all the headings mean:

    FDMB spreadsheet setup instructions

    Understanding the spreadsheet grid

    If you'd like a bit of assistance to get going with the spreadsheet, just give a shout and one of the members here will be able to help.

    Diabetes is do-able; we'll do all we can to help you both.

    :bighug:


    Mogs
    .
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
    Barbara & Uncle likes this.
  12. Woodsywife

    Woodsywife Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2015
    Beautiful cat. Big and fluffy. Hope your migraine went away. If you have any other questions or concerns ask away.

    The 3 symptoms for diabetes are excessive thirst, weight loss, and large urine output. Once treatment gets going and the right dose of insulin is achieved these symptoms improve.
     
    Dyana likes this.
  13. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    Your kitty is very handsome, Jeanette! I hope you feel a bit better here after "meeting" some of us. :)
     
    Dyana likes this.
  14. Jeanette/Wiskerz

    Jeanette/Wiskerz New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
     
  15. Jeanette/Wiskerz

    Jeanette/Wiskerz New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    Wiskerz likes FF but you know how small those cans are and he never finishes them so he's not eating that much of it; however, with m/d, I give him a 1/2 can and he completely scoffs it up so it's worth the cost. Wiskerz had giardia when he was a kitten and ever since then, I have to be careful on what he eats because so many foods make him vomit. The only foods he's actually been able to eat are FF, Iams, Science Hills, and Natural Balance; however, nothing that says "hairball", "indoor formula", or anything like that so I never know when he starts a new food if he's going to be able to handle it.

    When you say "Just no food two hours prior to shoot time", then I should give him the whole can, give him his insulin, and then the BG test, is that correct? I was warned to be sure to give him his insulin after he eats and never on an empty stomach so as soon as he's done eating, that's when he gets his insulin. The vet wants me to feed him 2x a day since that's when he gets his insulin, but he's 11 years old and has always been fed 3x and now with him losing weight, I can't imagine dropping down to 2x. His middle meal consists of about 10 morsels of dry food mainly because he's meowing constantly about that time for food so it's just to hold him over until his evening meal. The vet said it's okay to give him very, very little midday. I feel like I'm starving him.

    He used to be my "Butterball" because he was a little chubby kitty. I knew he was losing weight which was fine because it wasn't drastic and he needed to lose it but then he started drinking a lot so I knew it was probably diabetes. He was diagnosed in August weighing 7.9 and the other day he's at 6.11.
     
  16. Jeanette/Wiskerz

    Jeanette/Wiskerz New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    I love your spreadsheet. Someone posted a link for the spreadsheet on this site but I just keep getting an error when I click on it. Is this your own spreadsheet or from the site?
     
  17. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    If he likes the MD food best and he "scoffs" it... feed him as much of it as he wants.

    The order is Test, Feed, Shoot. You don't want to test after he eats to base your shot on because the numbers will be higher after he eats. You want to know his true number. So if his shot time is say, 7am... you would test at 6:30-6:45, then feed (you want to make sure he's eating ok and feeling good before the shot), then at 7 shoot.
     
  18. Jeanette/Wiskerz

    Jeanette/Wiskerz New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    His shot is around 10 tonight but right now (3:49) he's meowing for food so I should give him the other 1/2 of the canned m/d but since he's not getting his shot until tonight, do I test him before giving him this midday food and then again tonight before he eats as he will be getting his shot after that?

    The other question is, do I test him again a couple of hours after his shot to see how much the insulin is working?

    Thanks so much for all this help. I really appreciate it and I know Wiskerz will too.
     
  19. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    My typical testing routine is AM and PM before feeding and injection - no food for at least 2 hours prior to those tests. I then do one other test somewhere in the middle part of the cycle (12 hour interval between injection) and, occasionally one in the late evening. I'll do more tests if I'm concerned he might drop too low, including setting an alarm to test in the middle of the night. Those are rare though.
     
  20. Jeanette/Wiskerz

    Jeanette/Wiskerz New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    Okay, I'm going to take his BG with the AlphaTrak for the very first time ever and I have to admit, I'm kind of nervous about it. I'm not sure which number I should put the lancing device on nor what a normal reading should be?
    I tried to take his BG but ended up feeding him without it because he would not stay still. He was not having any part of it. He became a Scottish Fold after the first time hearing the click. I had my son help but that didn't work either. I'm think the tech said we can take it from the pads as well. Do you know anything about that?
     
  21. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    I don't use the trigger mechanism of the lancet holder. I put a lancet in it because I like the barrel of the holder as something to hold onto. I then freehand the poke in the ear. This way I'm not startling my guy with the sound of the spring mechanism, I can see where the needle goes in and I can control the depth. Some people wrap their finger in tissue, a piece of paper towel or a cosmetic pad. Roll kitty's ear tautly over that covered finger and hold it tight with your thumb. Warming the ear beforehand helps a lot. Many of us use what we call a "rice sock" - an old sock with about 1/2 cup of dry rice in the toe, tied off and warmed in the microwave until it's quite hot but tolerable on your skin.

    Your testing technique will improve a lot with time and kitty's ears will become easier to bleed. It's wise to make the whole process be part of an attention ritual - petting, cuddling, giving treats before and after. Freeze dried meat treats are great for this - very low carb and most kitties love them.
     
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  22. Jeanette/Wiskerz

    Jeanette/Wiskerz New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    I downloaded the spreadsheet but the colums, AMPS, +1 through PMPS, and +1 on the right hand side are shaded a bridge green and I can't figure out how to clear that shading. If I go into borders and shading, it says there is no shading. Any ideas?
     
  23. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    you can feed him any time he's hungry, but if you are going to test at 9:30, then pick up the food at 7:30. At 9:30 test, feed again, then shot at 10.
     
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  24. Jeanette/Wiskerz

    Jeanette/Wiskerz New Member

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    Jan 6, 2017
    I'll try again tonight; I won't give up, that's for sure. I think I get nervous too because I'm afraid it's going to go through his ear and into my finger. I've gotten poked more than once when giving him his insulin. Didn't grab enough scruff so it went right through and got me.
     
  25. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    I've never tried from the pads. Do the sweet spot on the ear. IMG_3612.JPG I don't use the device, I just hold the Lancet in my hand. The first week I did but she didn't like the click. When I used it I set it to the deepest setting because I rarely got a successful test otherwise.
     
  26. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    I've poked myself more times than I can count, Jeanette. I've also poked right through Teasel's ear and it healed up in no time. Putting something as thick as a cosmetic pad over your finger should give enough of a barrier to avoid most finger sticks on yourself. I'm so used to poking my guy now that I put a bare finger under his ear.
     
  27. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2016
    Sorry, I can't help. I'll tag one of our SS gurus, @Marje and Gracie to see if she can help.
     
  28. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    It's OK to go all the way through.... But have a cotton ball or cotton round behind the ear to protect your finger. (I use the cosmetic rounds).
     
  29. Jeanette/Wiskerz

    Jeanette/Wiskerz New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    See, and that's not what I'm doing. The vet has me feeding him only 2x with very little if he's to eat midday. This makes no sense to me because people who are diabetic take insulin sometimes 1x a day and I know they don't only eat 1x a day; it shouldn't be any different for animals. That's my thinking anyway. This is probably why he's losing weight because once I backed up his feeding, he's gone down 2 pounds.
     
  30. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Yeah not necessary to keep him from eating. Most of us feed several small meals a day. I feed ff or Friskies pate wet in the morning and evening, then free fed a less than 1% carb food that I leave out all the time called Young Again. A lot of people on here that work will even set up automatic feeders for mid day and mid night feedings.
     
  31. Marje and Gracie

    Marje and Gracie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    It's best to figure out how many calories a day he needs to maintain his ideal weight and then split that up into several mini meals. That will work much better with the insulin than just feeding him twice a day. Cats need, at the very least, about 20 calories/pound. You will just have to figure out what is best for him.

    Having said that, unregulated cats are often starving and you don't want to feed him endlessly. Here is a great post discussing how much to feed a diabetic cat.

    If you check your inbox, upper right corner of this page, I'll send you a private message regarding the spreadsheet.

    Hang in there....we have a lot of knowledge on this board as well as very caring members.
     
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  32. Dyana

    Dyana Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Thanks.
    Marje will help you with the spreadsheet. I hope to see it soon.
     
  33. Jeanette/Wiskerz

    Jeanette/Wiskerz New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    Right now, he needs to gain weight. I just took his BG (what a battle it was) and it registered as 290. I'm not sure I trust that reading though considering what I went through to get any amount of blood from him. According to AlphaTrak instruction booklet, it will say Hi if BG is too high but it didn't.

    I keep seeing things about weight maintenance but he needs to gain and then maintain and that's what I'm struggling with.
     
  34. Jeanette/Wiskerz

    Jeanette/Wiskerz New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    Young Again should be good for all cats, right? My other cats really need to lose weight so I don't like to free feed them but right now I work at home but on the 23rd I will be starting a new job where I won't be home all day with them.
     
  35. Jeanette/Wiskerz

    Jeanette/Wiskerz New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    I waited a little more than 2 hours to take another test and it was 171. He's getting better about it already. He stayed while I poked him but jerked when I used the lancet. I'm glad this device beeps real fast because I was worried that I didn't get enough blood on it. I think the 171 is a good number but am still not sure of the range.
     
  36. Critter Mom

    Critter Mom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    For Alphatrak 2 pet meter: Normal reference range is c. 70 - 150.

    For human meter: Normal reference range is 50-120.


    Mogs
    .
     
  37. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Yes it's OK if they all eat it
     
  38. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    The Alphatrak will say high of its above I think 750.... But 290 is higher than normal cats.... Pretty typical number for a cat needing his shot. Haha. It takes a while to get regulated And find the perfect dose. Good job on your first home tests!!!
     

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