Monitoring your cat's health becomes especially important with diabetes. Diabetes can make a cat more susceptible to disease. Also, once you are giving insulin shots, it is important to know if you are giving the correct amount of insulin. How do you know if your cat is getting enough or too much insulin? Monitor at home! Periodic tests at your veterinarian's office are also recommended.
- Let your vet do all the monitoring.
This can be very expensive, inconvenient and time-consuming. It is also impractical as a diabetic cat needs at least minimal daily monitoring.
- Observation of clinical symptoms.
Everyone should use this method. It is important to observe your cat for signs of illness as complications can occur with diabetes. Also, some people chose to monitor the amount of water their pet drinks and the amount of urine produced as an indication of regulation.
- Urine testing.
Testing the cat's urine with dip sticks can indicate glucose or ketones in the urine. This is a relatively low cost and easy test to do and many feline diabetes experts recommend using this method for monitoring your cat. Once your cat stabilizes, this may be an ideal method but it is difficult to adjust insulin doses using this method alone.
- Home blood glucose testing.
Testing your cat's BG (blood glucose, or blood sugar) levels at home with an inexpensive glucometer can be intimidating at first but can usually be done easily after a few tries. Many owners and veterinarians believe home blood glucose testing is an important part of regulating your cat. dvantages
of home testing include less stress to your cat, considerably decreased
costs and time of monitoring compared to vet visits, closer control
of your cat's blood glucose level by more frequent monitoring, and
possible avoidance of deadly hypoglycemic episodes.
- Periodic tests of long term glucose control.
These tests are performed by your veterinarian 1-4 times per year and indicate the average blood glucose control over a period of time. The most helpful of these tests in the feline is the fructosamine.
Which Method to Use
Every caretaker of a diabetic cat should monitor clinical signs at home and take their cat in for periodic veterinary examinations. Beyond that, you will have to make the choice. Educate yourself, including discussion with your vet, and learn to monitor. Your vet may not support your choice as home monitoring is a controversial issue among the veterinary profession. We encourage you to get support from other feline diabetes caretakers, too. The best place to do this is the message board on this site, the FDMB.
We reiterate, the method you use is your choice. You will find a great deal of passion on the subject of monitoring but there is no absolute.
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Last updated October 2006