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Whisky: Newly Adopted and Diagnosed

Discussion in 'Welcome to the Group - Post an Introduction Here' started by whiskysmom, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Oct 21, 2019
    Hi there,

    My name is Stephanie and almost a year ago my husband and I adopted 2 lovely adult male cats, Whisky and Brutus. Whisky is an orange tabby, about 9 years old, and was about 16 pounds (7.5kg) before he became ill (he's quite long and tall). He had his annual check up and vaccines updated mid-September and all seemed stable, but 2 weeks later we noticed Whisky started to seem a bit tired and lethargic and quickly went downhill within a couple of days. I took him to the vet and he nearly didn't make it. He was severely dehydrated, had lost almost 2.5 pounds (1.1kg) since his check up 2 weeks prior, had a seriously high fever, and had keytones in his urine and a blood glucose of 25. I was in shock as it all happened so fast.

    Turns out he had Pancreatitis. Our vet was incredible and stabilized him and we took him home and continued him on a treatment plan of antibiotics, 1.5 units of Prozinc insulin twice daily, and switched to Purina DM wet food on a schedule. He has recovered very well thankfully and his infection resolved, but he's needs to continue the treatment for diabetes now. We've had some follow ups with our vet for tests since we aren't yet doing home testing, other than carefully monitoring behaviours/food/water/litterbox and taking notes. I'm home a lot so am able to watch him pretty closely and stay on schedule.

    This is a bit scary and a definitely change of routine for us, but I think we're doing pretty well so far. I'm very lucky that Whisky is a really good cat - he doesn't bite or scratch, he eats well, and he lays down nicely for me while I do his shots. And our vet is really close and is happy for me to call with questions if it's something he can answer over the phone.

    The only adjustment we're having a bit of a hard time with is the feeding schedule. He's used to grazing, so he gets hungry between meals. For now the vet said we can give him a little wet food between meals if needed, but that if we have trouble regulating him we may have to be more strict with the routine.

    So glad this group is here! Seems like a wonderful resource.

  2. Idjit's mom

    Idjit's mom Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2018
    Hi Stephanie, Whisky, Brutus and the kitty dad too! So glad you are researching and happened to find FDMB. Lots of information and support for you here as you learn the sugar dance.

    I am so sorry Whisky had the urgent and serious health event. Pancreatitis is NO FUN, very painful and I'm very glad you have a good vet that was able to treat Whisky successfully. Didn't do your emotional health any good either did it? Hopefully Whisky will never have to suffer that badly again and you will never have to walk down that road again either.

    ******Edited to add: Stephanie, I just went back and read your post again. If Whisky had an infection and ketones in his urine, this sounds more like DKA: diabetic ketone acidosis which is a very serious condition and you will need to be very careful with his recovery. Get some ketone strips and test his urine for ketones, so you know if there is even a trace amount. We have info on DKA here too.

    We have information here on the board about pancreatitis, so you you could be more prepared for warning signs and be able to avert the more severe symptoms.

    Now,the diabetes...yes, it's a challenge to get a handle on this disease. Particularly when the patient can't verbalize just how he/she is feeling at any given time. And cats are so notorious about hiding discomfort and pain.

    We can help with information about effective diabetic care, the three basic components of insulin therapy, proper diet, and home testing the blood sugar to avert any hypo situations and see how the insulin is working for the cat.

    So, first, please create a signature for Whisky that will display with each of your posts:
    Setting up your signature (light grey text under a post). Here's how:
    click on your name in the upper right corner of this page
    click on "signature" in the menu that drops down
    type the following in the box that opens: kitty's name/age/date of diabetes diagnosis/insulin you're using/glucose meter you're using/what (s)he eats/any other meds or health issues (s)he has. You can add your name, and a geographic location (sometimes the country/time zone matters) Be sure to SAVE when you are finished.

    You can edit the signature at any time to reflect any changes or additions to the info.

    We do use a spreadsheet here to record the insulin dose as well as the blood sugar (blood glucose=BG) levels so we all can see how that dosage is working. We do recommend testing at home to be sure it's safe to give that injection every time, as well as mid-cycle tests to see the insulin effect on the BG.

    We can help with testing information, what supplies, where to get them, how to use them and some procedures to get both you and kitty used to the process before you start testing. Echoing your comment " This is a bit scary and a definitely change of routine for us, but I think we're doing pretty well so far." Yes, it is scary at first, and I also think you are doing well so far, very well. But, the more you learn, the easier it gets and a whole lot LESS scary, believe me cause I went through it too. And Idjit was not even so cooperative as Whisky sounds.

    Going forward, please post in the Main Health forum HERE and we can provide more info on feeding your hungry puddy. :). He's very hungry right now because his blood sugar is not regulated and he actually isn't able to process what he eats very well. We recommend frequent small meals to allay that hunger, and help balance out the BG levels. We can talk about that more fully in the Main Health forum too.

    So, come on over, let more members meet you and Whisky and let us help you get that big wonderful boy feeling better.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  3. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Oct 21, 2019
    Thank you so much for your lovely and thorough message! It feels SO good to know that others know how I feel and have been through it and have tons of knowledge to share. Yay!! I'm so glad I joined this board :)

    I've updated my signature and will continue reading threads on the forum. So helpful!

    You're right also - the vet initially diagnosed Whisky with DKA, but they also ended up doing a test for pancreatitis and were hoping that once the pancreatitis resolved he may not be diabetic anymore. But follow up tests showed he is. He was a super sick kitty and was hospitalized for 2 days, but he's doing so well now (and is getting slightly better at car rides.....he gets super motion sick....oy!). We have our next follow up test in 3 weeks, pending any concerns or changes with Whisky in the meantime, and I'm keeping very good watch and detailed notes. He's probably so sick of me following him to the litter box to see which pees are his and which are Brutus's haha!

    I will definitely look at getting the keytone test strips to test urine at home and will talk to the vet about home testing at our next appointment. And I will post in the main forum going forward, thanks!

    Thank you for your wonderful welcome!
  4. Idjit's mom

    Idjit's mom Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2018
    Stephanie, I don't want to disturb you, and I am so glad that Whisky is recovering so well. But, perhaps you could consider blood sugar testing before you go back to the vet in 3 weeks? That's quite awhile, and you would be further safeguarding Whisky if you are testing at home. I just have read so many threads about kitties recovering from DKA and pancreatitis and know how important it is to do everything you can to support that recovery.

    Not all vets recommend or support home testing, and I don't know why. You don't actually need permission to home test your cat if you don't get a blessing. If a human is diagnosed diabetic they are told to test to safeguard themselves and to know how the insulin is working. And most humans can tell someone else how they are feeling, cats can't. Plus it saves vet bills, travel and vet stress that can actually physically raise the BG so that the tests there are stress influenced and sometimes that results in higher than ideal insulin dosing.

    It's the same principle, and it does not destroy or erode the relationship between cat and caretaker. Some cats have been known to jump to the testing spot when they hear the strip bottle rattling..they know they get a treat and they know the human isn't hurting them. I have even read a few times that the cat went to the testing station independently, and when tested the BG was low. That's amazing to me.

    It becomes just routine. It doesn't always go smoothly at first, but my take on it was that I was helping my much adored cat to better health. It was something proactive I could do.

    Testing allowed me to catch a low BG, intervene and bring it up to a "normal" level..the insulin was working and Idjit was actually on the way to remission, much to our surprise. Stephanie, we were still trying to figure out how to test well, how to find the syringes we needed (and failing miserably), it was a circus around here, two old folks trying to figure it all out, bumping into each other just like old time classic slap stick movies. Funny now, but not then.

    Please just take a look at some of these home testing videos and tips:

    By member JanetNJ How to test your cat's bg at home: Video I made showing how to test your cat's blood sugar


    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  5. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Oct 21, 2019
    Thanks so much for your suggestions and info, I will most definitely take a look at that and doing the blood glucose testing at home. Thank you!
  6. Bron and Sheba (GA)

    Bron and Sheba (GA) Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2015
    Hi Stephanie and Whisky and welcome!
    You have been through a lot. @Idjit's mom has given you lots of really good advice.
    She mentioned getting some Ketostix to test for ketones in the urime.
    With a history of ketones and DKA I would really recommmed you buy some of the Ketostix when you buy the blood testing kit.
    It is really important that ketones are monitored following ketones and DKA.

    Eating plenty of food and making sure you give the insulin is also important. Let him eat during the cycle as well as at shot time. Food is like a medicine for recovering DKA kitties.
    I would also recommend you consider home testing the blood glucose levels.
  7. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Oct 21, 2019
    Thanks so much for your kind message and advice!

    Most definitely I will look to pick up some ketostix to test urine at home and will look into testing BG at home as well.

    He's a good eater and we're being very consistent with food and shots and he's been gaining his lost weight back which is great! Great to know that it's ok to let him eat between meals. We have been feeding the larger portions at mealtimes twice/day with his shots a few minutes after, plus a small "snack" of the same food about halfway between meals, otherwise he was having too hard of a time waiting the 12 hours. That schedule seems to be working really well, and he's not bothering us nearly as much to eat at mealtimes so I think he's responding well to treatment.

    Thanks again!
  8. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Oct 21, 2019
    Wanted to update you @Idjit's mom and @Bron and Sheba (GA) - we are now home testing for BG! Thanks for your support and encouragement, as well as pointing me in the right direction.

    My husband and I paired up and did our first PMPS test Nov.6. I tried to test solo Nov.7 but wasn't able to get any blood. Nov.8 my husband and paired up again and had one failed mid-cycle attempt but a successful PMPS. Will try to get additional tests in over the weekend including AMPS and mid-cycle.

    Ketone urine tests are happening every few days, as it's super tough to catch him peeing! But all have been negative to date.

    Thanks again for your support!
  9. Bron and Sheba (GA)

    Bron and Sheba (GA) Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2015
    Stephanie, that is fantastic news!
    Well done to both of you.
    Also great news no ketones!
    I started off with my husband's help too but graduated to doing it solo.
    I get everything ready in front of me, including Sheba's treat while I tested. Then I knelt down and sat on my knees and put Sheba inbetween my knees, facing the same way as I was.
    I had easy access to her ears and she couldn't back away and I could control the front of her.
    I found I had about 2 minutes once I pushed the strip into the meter to get the blood so it wasn't a rush.
    It was trial and error at first but we got there.

    Lou, Idjits mom is unwell at the moment ...there's is a thread on the community and off topic page if you want to send her a message.

    Please keep us posted as to how you are going.
    whiskysmom likes this.
  10. Sienne and Gabby (GA)

    Sienne and Gabby (GA) Senior Member Moderator

    Dec 28, 2009
    I want to underscore all of the great information you've been getting. Especially because Whiskey had an infection at the time of diagnosis, home testing important. As antibiotics clear up an infection, blood glucose (BG) numbers can drop. The same is true of pancreatitis. The pain and inflammation from pancreatitis raise BG numbers. As your kitty recovers, numbers may drop. And then there's insulin, which, as your cat responds to treatment, numbers will drop. Home testing is the best means for. you to keep your kitty safe. If it's not obvious, we're big fans of home testing!!

    It's great to hear the ketone tests are negative. I went through a similar scenario as. you did with a very sick kitty at the time of diagnosis. I was also lucky that ketones were not an issue thereafter. It's important to test, though since some cats are more prone than other to develop ketones.

    A word on home testing... You want to get a test before every, single shot. It's the only way to know if it's safe to give a shot. Without the pre-shot test, you don't know what your cat's BG is -- it could be 400 or it could be 40. Giving a shot if numbers are low can be dangerous. We also recommend getting spot checks during the cycle so you know how low insulin is taking your cat's numbers. It's the way you know if the dose needs to be reduced or increased.

    I'd like to encourage you to migrate over to the Health forum. There is also an insulin support group (ISG) specifically for Prozinc users.
    whiskysmom likes this.
  11. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Oct 21, 2019
    Thanks so much for the tips, and also for letting me know about Lou being unwell. I'll definitely send a message.
  12. whiskysmom

    whiskysmom Member

    Oct 21, 2019
    Thanks so much Sienna for the info! I'll definitely head over to the health forum for future questions. Thanks!

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