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 Post subject: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:08 pm 
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I did a search and saw some threads that referenced feline diabetes, but couldn't find a more informative dedicated thread.

My cat, Pippi, who is 14, has been having some issues. I noticed a few days ago that she is drinking SO MUCH water, and peeing like crazy. Every day I have to empty her whole littler box because it has so much pee in it. I have two cats, but they generally use separate littler boxes, so I don't think the excess pee is because both cats are using it. I, of course, googled it and got so freaked out about kidney failure and took her to the vet today.

We are doing blood work and I will get the results tomorrow. Nothing is for sure until that comes back, but my vet seemed to be leaning more towards feline diabetes than kidney failure– which I am okay with because diabetes seems so much easier to treat.

I'd love to hear stories from others who have dealt with feline diabetes (but only POSITIVE ones right now; my cat-mama heart can't take sad/tragic ones). How did you cat react to the insulin injections? My vet and I will talk more about a long-term diet once the blood work comes back, but I'd like to hear what has worked for you. I will totally buy prescription food if that's the best option, but honestly I'd rather use something that is more easily accessible for me (like PetGuard or Wellness) if possible, since my vet isn't easily accessible to me. Thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:35 am 
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My 10 year old cat, Miles, was diagnosed about 8 months ago with feline diabetes and is doing SO much better now. It was really scary at first, and looking back I don't know how I didn't see the signs sooner, the constant drinking of water, the bad dandruff, the constant litter box trips, the lethargy. Sometimes seeing him everyday blinds you to small signs that he is slowly get worse. His blood sugar levels were in the 500's then! I immediately switched him to a grain-free wet food (wellness core) and my vet started him on Lantus insulin. He was on dry food previously, and the vet suggested a prescription food, but after some research I decided that the wet grain-free food was better and they supported me fully. There was a noticeable difference to his glucose levels after switching him over to the grain-free food, but he still needed insulin. I bought a home blood glucose meter to monitor his levels myself. It is really scary at first and I didn't think that I would be able to give him (twice) daily shots or prick his ear for a drop of blood to read his levels, but I got used to it really quickly. Sometimes I need help from another person to keep him still, but I really have not had a problem administering the insulin or checking his levels. It took a number of months to get his levels back down to normal, as this is a slow process, but he is all good now. We are working on reducing the insulin now (again, slowly), so that hopefully we can get him into remission where he doesn't have to have insulin anymore!

It'll be okay! Looking back, it seemed like such a hard thing to deal with at first, but cats are really adaptable! His shots are only a minor annoyance for a second for him, and he barely notices when I'm pricking his ear for a drop of blood. One tip, I was using the long needles for a long time, because that is just what the pharmacist gave me, but they gave me short needles the last time I filled the prescription and they are so much easier. Miles barely feels his shots now. Just be prepared for this to be a really slow process of making small adjustments to see how she reacts.

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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:06 pm 
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Thanks, My Zoetrope! I appreciate your story. I just got the call back from my vet, and Pip does indeed have diabetes. It feels weird to say, but it's actually a relief. Diabetes feels so much more manageable than the other things it could have been (kidney failure, etc.). I do have a little bit of experience with insulin injections, as I lived with a diabetic cat for a bit. I wasn't his main caretaker, though, and only gave him the injections a few times when his mom was out of town. I'm going in tonight to get a refresher on injections and to talk more about the diet change.

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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:20 am 
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So sorry to hear about your kitty Takecare. Diabetes in cats really is pretty manageable and even moreso that you have experience doing injections.

My cat Sassy was diagnosed probably 4 years ago, so she was 8 or 9 years old. I found the FDMB (Feline Diabetes Message Board - http://felinediabetes.com/FDMB/) to be unbelievably helpful. They not only gave great advice, but gave me a lot of hope because the diagnosis was freaking me out. The vet started on a once a day injection of Lantus, which did nothing until I asked if we could try twice a day shots. We switched Sassy to low-carb wet food. She stopped eating the prescription food so we started giving her the low-carb flavors of Fancy Feast, which she still eats to this day. This page http://binkyspage.tripod.com/canfood.html is really good for finding carb amounts in a ton of cat foods.

The vet wanted her to stay all day at one point so they could do a blood sugar 'curve', but Sassy gets so freaked out at the vet that we knew her levels would be horrible (stress can increase glucose levels), so we opted to learn to test her at home and it was so worth it.

The hardest part was when she had neuropathy in her hind legs, which made walking too hard for her for a couple weeks. By giving her a B-12 supplement, though, that cleared it up.

Once we got used to giving her the shots and checking her glucose regularly (very important!), it was pretty easy. After about two months, we tested her glucose one day before injecting her and she had gone into remission. It's never been above normal since. Not sure how typical that is, but I think the low-carb food made a huge difference.

Good luck to you and Pip! Diabetes can be kind of a pain, but you are right that it is manageable. Sassy has been happy and healthy ever since and we still monitor her glucose every few months to be safe.

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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:21 pm 
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It's definitely manageable, and most cats adjust very well to getting their insulin shots and having their blood checked. We actually have two diabetic cats at the shelter right now. One who was just started on insulin, the other has been on it for a while and is now regulated and doing great.


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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:53 pm 
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How is your kitty doing, takecare??

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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:05 pm 
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My cat did fine for years with Diabetes I got my vet to work with me to control it with diet so we never went the insulin route. This is easier these days with so many grain free foods. Here's a great site to refer to for information:

http://binkyspage.tripod.com/

Either way it's a very manageable disease. My only other advise is to be sure to consistent check your cat's kidney values for any changes so if he gets kidney disease (diabetes can do that) you can treat that early. This is also managable I have also have cat with renal insufficiency and she has lived well for years.

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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:21 pm 
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Ooh thanks for the reminder! I have forgotten to send an update! She has been on insulin for almost two weeks now, 2 units twice per day. I also have tiny tabs that get dispersed in her litter, that change different colors depending on hoe much sugar she has in her urine. When the tabs were colorless for two whole days, I was to drop the dosage to 1 unit twice per day– the drop just happened today. We are expecting the tabs to start changing color again (though she has peed twice today, and neither time showed any tab colors, but perhaps the change in dose hasn't had time to affect her sugar yet?). When the tabs are clear for two more days I will drop down to 1 unit just once per day. Then when they are clear for two days after that I will stop giving her insulin at all. She has been doing SO GREAT, and we have every reason to believe she will go into remission within 2-3 weeks. Along with the insulin, we have also completely changed her diet, and now she only eats grain-free wet food. She is not allowed any wet food at all. Right now she is quarantined in the bedroom for the most part, with full-home roams a few times a day. This is mostly so I can keep track of her urine (I live with a kitten too, and I don't want them using each other's litterboxes right now). The kitten eats mainly dry food, so I will need to find a good way to keep her away from the dry food. I guess I will just feed the kitten at the same time as Pip, instead of leaving a regular bowl out where she can eat whenever she wants.

BIG CHANGES. It's a bit overwhelming, but she is making a lot of progress, and she definitely seems healthier and has more energy. One challenge I am having is that I have been feeding her twice a day– 12 hours apart, because the insulin injections need to happen 12 hours apart, and she needs to eat before she gets one.... but that seems too long for her. She is so hungry and ravenous way before dinner time. I'd really love to not have to feed her 3x a day, since it's sometimes hard for me to be home mid-day, but I don't see much of a choice right now, since she can't have dry food to munch on. Any ideas?

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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:17 am 
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Are you using the tabs to check her glucose levels? If so, you really need to get a meter and start testing her levels that way. Tabs that change colors depending on urine sugar levels really aren't that accurate. You need her actual numbers before an injection, since that is what should determine how much insulin she gets. Two units twice daily sounds really high, especially if she is on all wet, grain free food. Weird thing about diabetes, but if she's getting too much insulin, it could actually keep her numbers higher, as her body is trying to keep her from going hypoglycemic. For comparison, when Molly was first diagnosed and eating the dry prescription crepe, she was only getting one unit twice a day, and that was keeping her numbers fairly low. Since your cat is on wet, two units sounds really high.

I highly recommend you go to the Feline Diabetes Message Board linked above. Everyone there is amazing and they helped me get Molly off insulin two years ago. They can give tons you tons of advice and support to help you try to get your kitty off insulin.

Oh, and the needing to feed before giving insulin is old school advice. For most vets, the standard treatment for for Feline Diabetes is still dry prescription food, blindly shooting insulin, and doing insulin curves every couple of months. So the feeding before meals is to up the blood glucose before the insulin to prevent hypo. I really, really suggest getting a glucose meter to check her insulin levels before injections, and once you're doing that don't worry so much about feeding before you give the insulin. But until then, keep feeding before.

Oh, and what some people on the FD message board use to suggest for feeding during the day was freezing wet food in ice cube trays, and leaving a couple of cubes out for them. That way they can snack on it as it melts, and the food won't get icky quickly. Maybe try that?

Sorry for writing a novel! I hope your kitty continues to do well and gets off the insulin soon :)


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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:38 pm 
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I 100% trust my vet; he's amazing. The insulin weaning happened really fast once the insulin started really working and as she acclimated to the wet food diet and her sugar levels started dropping. Yesterday was her first day with no insulin at all, and her levels seem great. It's so amazing to me that she seems to be in remission after less than 3 weeks. Healthy kitty!

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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:24 am 
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Hey,
As sort of a follow up, here is a link to a story I wrote about our experience with feline diabetes: http://www.pettailsmagazine.com/2013/de ... /sugar-cat

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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:11 pm 
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my kitty avery was just diagnosed with diabetes. he is 14 and in otherwise good health, and at a healthy weight. he has been "borderline" with kidney stuff for years, but that has remained under control and his bloodwork has stayed steady for the past year or two, which is great. his current kidney values (and everything else, except this sugar stuff) are fine. we are currently feeding him (and our other kitty, finley) a mixture of purina NF (Rx kidney food) and wellness indoor. it's been working really well for them.

of course, now that we know avery is diabetic, we need to change his diet to something with higher protein, and it will be a delicate balance because obviously we don't want to "set off" any of the kidney problems. our vet is hopeful that his case is mild/early enough that we might be able to get it under control with diet alone and no insulin, so that's what we're trying first (and we'll re-check in a week or two to make sure his kidneys are tolerating the higher-protein diet).

sooo, any thoughts on "good" foods for this particular situation? they have purina DM (Rx diabetes food) at our vet, and she suggested we try him on canned-only to start. she also said "i know you have a lot of foods you prefer to use, and i'm open to you trying something else as long as we hit the target values," so i guess i'm wondering if we just suck it up and start with the purina DM, or find something different/better/i don't know...?

also... avery is crepe at eating canned food. both of our cats think canned food is just weird, although avery is getting a *little* better at it. his issues are: reluctance to start eating it; licking it instead of just, you know, *eating* it; taking forever to eat a relatively small amount (see previous item); us needing to re-offer it frequently and/or wet it down and/or nuke it all day long to keep it interesting or keep it from drying out before he gets to it. needless to say it's an all-day job. i am worried that he might not do a good job at this if we try switching him to all-canned, and so i'm being basically a paranoid worrywart already.

so... like the original poster, i'd love to hear happy positive shiny snuggly stories, because i can totally make up all the scary horror stories myself, and my three-day stomachache (while waiting for the blood panel results over the weekend) is proof. thanks in advance! <3

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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:04 pm 
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The point of special food for diabetes is that it's high-protein and low-carb, and pretty much all wet food is much higher in protein and lower in carbs than dry food. So switching to a wet food, preferably a grain-free one, is probably the best choice whether it's the prescription one or not. If I were you I would try a bunch of grain-free wet foods and see if there is one that Avery actually likes. For a long time my cat Agnes refused most wet food but I got her to start eating it with Tiki Cat, which is apparently super delicious, and now she'll pretty much eat whatever I give her. I don't have a diabetic cat, I just read a lot about cat health and food. Good luck with Avery!

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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:53 pm 
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Changing his diet helped a lot when my cat was diagnosed with diabetes. I switched him over to Wellness Core Grain-free wet food. He wasn't really into wet-food before, but I tried a few flavors and found some that he liked. I rotated them so that he wouldn't grow bored with them too. I still had to put him on insulin though.

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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:05 pm 
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thanks very much, guys! we got him both varieties of the (Rx) DM food to start, and he seems to like them both okay... the "pate" kind is harder for him to eat, but we started on the "savory selects" kind today (more like chunks in a gravy) and he seems to have a better time with that. we got a few others we can look into, as well, from the regular store... weruva, i guess, makes some that are not only high protein/low carb but also low phosphorous, which is good for kidney stuff.

i've been looking at the binky's page information, but my husband also found this cat food chart that is more up to date (fall 2012 instead of 2008), thought i'd post it here in case it's helpful:

http://www.catinfo.org/docs/FoodChartPublic9-22-12.pdf

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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:24 pm 
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Thanks for the updated chart! I had been using the old one.

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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:59 pm 
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Joining club diabetes here. My 14 year old cat was just diagnosed. His first glucose level was 350, we redid the bloodwork a week later (since he'd been boarded and I guess stress can contribute) and he was still in the diabetic range.

I have a meeting with the vet on Wednesday for blood draw demos and nutritional chat. He's already eating the grain-free Blue Buffalo food most of the time and various wet food packets 1x a day with his glucosamine powder, so I don't know how much lower carb it can get. The vet also wanted to look at his cardiology report first since he has mild heart disease and the sodium levels can be an issue with that.

Anyway, I am just trying to do the best for him but it just all seems like so much. And we're moving overseas in a couple months! It definitely is not great having yet another thing to worry about with all that. Sigh.


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 Post subject: Re: Feline Diabetes
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:27 pm 
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A few months ago, after a year of remission and good health, Pippi had a relapse. Somehow she switched from a Type II diabetic to a Type I diabetic. This means that her body is no longer producing its own insulin and she'll be insulin-dependent for the rest of her life. These past couple of months have been a huge struggle. We haven't been able to get the insulin dosage right, so she's feeling crappy, she has lost a bunch of weight, she's always hungry no matter how much she eats, she drinks SO MUCH WATER, then pees so much that I literally have to fill it with all new litter every day instead of just scooping.

It's really hard, emotionally, watching this happen to her and not being able to do anything to help. It's like caring for my child and my 105-year old grandmother all at the same time.

It's hard financially too. I feel like a real jerk even admitting that, because I'd pay a million trillion dollars to make her happy and healthy if I could. But, I live paycheck to paycheck, so the constant vet bills, her expensive diet, medications, and the massive amount of litter I am buying has put such a strain on me.

I've been so tied up in trying to figure out when it's appropriate to just let go. She's 17 years old, she hasn't felt "well" in months, she's confined to my bedroom because I need to monitor her food intake and litter box habits. Her quality of life is just not optimal. At the same time, she's not suffering.

This elderly-pet thing is so hard!!

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