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Anyone with a diabetic cat?

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  • Anyone with a diabetic cat?

    So, my old guy was just diagnosed with diabetes. Does anyone else have a diabetic kitty?

    So far, I've gotten the diabetic prescription diet for him and hoping he will eat it! He's generally not picky, though, so I don't see a problem; he'll get his first feeding of it tonight.

    And what kinds of insulin do you use? My vet says there's only one kind that is currently recommended for cats, but it costs $110 for a 10 ML vial. I can't afford that. I'm basically unemployed, and my freelancing isn't paying the bills right now. As it is, the RX food was half my grocery budget for this week and it's only a 5 lb bag. Don't get me wrong, I can eat Ramen and mac and cheese and that's fine, better than my cats or my horse going without, but I'm really hoping there's another type of insulin out there that I can afford to get him; I know the possibility of the food alone working to help him is slim to none.

    Is there anything else you have tried and found to be helpful, especially while we work to get him regulated and happy? He has a great appetite and is very active, acting totally normal; he's just so skinny from the diabetes. I'm glad we know what it is now, but not sure where to go next.

  • #2
    We just talked about some of this right here

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks for the link. Maybe it's because I'm tired and stressed out right now, but I don't understand most of the studies etc. in the other thread. Anyone care to put it in plain English?

      Or anyone have any experiences to share? How long did it take to get your cats regulated? How often do you have to test their sugar levels once they are stabilized? Any info that anyone can provide would be so appreciated.

      I feel so low right now. I let my baby down and I don't even feel like I deserve to live.

      Comment


      • #4
        There is absolutley different types of insulins. You wont find insulin expensive...one bottle will last a cat pretty much forever. Usually, our vets prefer Humulin N for most cats (they are internal medicine specialists). However, we often get cats in that are referred, and they are already on something like caninsulin, lantus etc. I dont know what insulin your guy is on. But typically diabetes is one of the financially friendliest diseases a cat can get $110 bottle of insulin may last you until the bottle expires!

        As far as regulation - well,to be honest that can be very quick, or take a while. You MUST have a good vet that is confident with diabetic patients. Most of the time after one or two fructosamine tests and glucose curves you will get a fairly regulated cat that you can monitor at home (urine glucose strips). Because I work at a referral hospital, we usually see theones that arent well regulated to get them regulated. This requires a 24 to 48 hour hourly glucose curve. This usually runs $200 or so, but generally only needs to be done once then a routinecheckup to get them regulated.

        You may be lucky enough to have a cat that can come off insulin. It can happen, but not always. Purina DM seems to work magic in getting cats off insulin. Hills MD and WD are often prescribed to the overweight diabetic patients. You will probably hear a lot about feeding grain free and raw diets - and if you want to go ahead, but let your vet know as different foods cause different spikes in sugar levels. This is something they really need to know about (as well as meal times)for accurate glucose curves.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          How long does a bottle typically last before it expires? One type (I think it was the Humulin) said in the ad that you can only keep it for 28 days once you use it. If that's true, that's a LOT of money every month, though the Humulin is cheaper than the other kinds online.

          I can't remember what kind she prescribed-I think it started with a C? or maybe a G? I didn't fill it yet because it cost so much. She said that the Humulin and one other kind aren't recommended for cats anymore and that since that's the case, she won't prescribe them, so I'm stuck with the one she prescribed, which, according to the pharmacist, is about the most expensive kind you can get.

          And then there are the insulin curve tests he has to have at $80 a pop for goodness knows how long. The vet said she will teach me how to do them myself, but they want to do the first few. And I worry about leaving my cat at the office that long. He had a stroke when he was young and has neuro symptoms when he's stressed.

          After reading the label on the RX food (Royal Canin, not SD), there are grain ingredients. Does anyone have experience using a grain-free food instead, like Blue Wilderness? Is that even an option?

          I just don't know what to do. I hate myself for not being able to afford much. God knows I don't want to put him to sleep, but I feel so overwhelmed with everything.

          Comment


          • #6
            If you want to grain free run down for diabetes management in plain english, this is really not a bad place to start. There are people who have successfully managed diabetic cats on the wheat free varieties of Fancy Feast, so it really doesn't have to cost a fortune.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by HenryisBlaisin' View Post

              I can't remember what kind she prescribed-I think it started with a C? or maybe a G? I didn't fill it yet because it cost so much. She said that the Humulin and one other kind aren't recommended for cats anymore and that since that's the case, she won't prescribe them, so I'm stuck with the one she prescribed, which, according to the pharmacist, is about the most expensive kind you can get.

              And then there are the insulin curve tests he has to have at $80 a pop for goodness knows how long.
              If it starts with a "G" it's probably insulin glargine, trade name is Lantus. I have a 17 year old diabetic cat that has been on 6 units 2x/day of Lantus for years. When we first found out he was diabetic I treated him with pork Lente which worked OK but it was discontinued in 2005 so we switched to PZI but the results were poor at best.

              Shortly after the PZI failure I read some anecdotal information about cats and lantus insulin, got the vet to prescribe it, and never looked back. Mr. Zorro may have been her first feline patient on Lantus.

              To be honest I never did any of the glucose tests. What I did do was purchase a bottle of urine dip sticks. I started him on 2 units twice a day and stuck the dipstick under his urine stream or into a fresh "pee bomb" in his box. I gradually increased the amount of insulin he got until he was consistently in the just above negative range (slightly green on the dipstick) at 6 units twice a day. He's been stable on this dose for at least 5 years now.

              A 10mL vial will last for at least 3 months in the fridge after opening. The stuff isn't like Cinderella's carriage, it doesn't go bad overnight. I never noticed any issues with efficacy and just use the bottles until they're empty. 10mLs lasts us about 3 months. Just don't let it freeze or get too hot.

              I usually give Zorro his shots at 6:30 a.m. when I leave for work and around 8:30 p.m. when I get home from the barn. I think his body has adjusted to the schedule and it works for him. He's getting pretty old but he still seems comfortable and happy, not bad for a 17 yr. old cat that has been diabetic for about 7 years. It's been so long now I can't even remember exactly when he was diagnosed.
              Last edited by mswillie; Nov. 20, 2011, 02:50 AM.
              "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple” – Barry Switzer

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                If you want to grain free run down for diabetes management in plain english, this is really not a bad place to start. There are people who have successfully managed diabetic cats on the wheat free varieties of Fancy Feast, so it really doesn't have to cost a fortune.
                Agree w/Simkie. I successfully managed my diabetic kitty simply by switching him over to the gluten-free varieties of Fancy Feast. No insulin was ever needed. My vet was amazed.

                Another source of info I found very helpful was this Yahoo group:
                http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/F...guid=295756454

                Good luck with your kitty. Diabetes can sneak up on any cat; it doesn't have to be fat or lazy. Mine was diagnosed when I noticed he was NQR and took him to the vet. He was a sleek, active "perpetual kitten" at 15 years of age when the diabetes hit.
                Equus Keepus Brokus

                Comment


                • #9
                  Grain free is fine, but let your vet know. A diet higher in protein/fat is going to change a glucose curve compared to a "diabetic management"food. Its not necessarily a bad thing (Im really a believer in feed whatever makes you feel good), just dont "hide" it. It may mean insulin needs to be given at a different time. Depending on the food, nothing may change.

                  Glargine/Lantus and Humulin N (NPH)are good insulin choices for most cats. We constantly have uncontrolled diabetics come into our hospital on caninsulin that we switch over to NPH. Lantus (Glargine) is more expensive, but cats can do well on this too.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I had a diabetic cat who lived a long happy life.

                    No special diet required - just his daily insulin shot. And both the insulin (type meant for humans) & the needles were uber cheap (I think the needles were a box of 100+ for around $10). Insulin lasted in the fridge until the bottle was empty. $110/bottle is way out of line & unnecessary. I'd get a 2nd opinion from a different vet if your current vet is insistent on this.

                    Only special instructions from my vet were to give kitty a meal right after his injection, so I stocked up on those little individual-serving cans of cat food & he got a special snack every day. A big perk to that was that it had him come running for his shot as soon as he saw me with a needle & the insulin bottle!

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      That makes me feel better- I can afford the $110 every three months if I'm careful, and the Humulin is more like $80; if it lasts longer than the 28 days the advertisement said, it's doable. Beyond that, the vet will just have to teach me to do the insulin curves myself and live with that. I'm going to do more research on the foods; the RX food has corn gluten in it, which it seems would be counterproductive. I've spent years avoiding those kinds of foods for my pets (only to have two of them on RX foods for various issues). I will look at the Fancy feast cans as well. I don't typically feed cans because this particular cat bolts canned food and often throws it up, which would be dangerous if he's getting insulin. Anyone know a cure for that?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Keep an eye on the litter box. If the pee spots get large, you may want to take the cat in to get tested. I managed my old cat's diabetes quite well for over 10 years (he died at age 22) without constantly taking him for testing. If his pee spots would get large, or I noticed him drinking more water, it was time to make an adjustment in the amount of daily insulin and off to the vet we'd go.

                        I gave two shots a day...some people only give one shot a day?
                        Surgeon General warns: "drinking every time Trump lies during the debate could result in acute alcohol poisoning."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yeah - luckily my cat was a once-a-day shot kitty.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Following the pee spots is definitely going to be an issue...I have three cats sharing the boxes and isolating one of them isn't really an option (he'd have to be shut in the bathroom all day, every day, cruel IMO).

                            I bought a glucometer thjat was recommended in the article linked above (thanks, Simkie, that was really helpful!) and am doing some tracking before his vet visit Wednesday. I have not started the insulin yet (the vet said a few more days wouldn't hurt) because I want to bring in the articles and discuss foods with her. She's pretty insistent on using the RX food, but I'm not sold on it with its corn, rice, and barley ingredients as well as corn gluten as a major protein source...after reading the label, I wouldn't feed it to a healthy cat, let alone a diabetic one! However, the insulin doasge could be different with a low-carb diet than with the RX and I don't want to A) overdose him if I go with the low-carb or B) make food changes while he's regulated.

                            My plan before his appointment is to test him before and after a couple of meals of the RX food and then before and after a couple with the low-carb grain-free food and take those results with me. I want to treat him in the best way possible from the start to give him the best chance at gaining back some weight and living a normal life.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by HenryisBlaisin' View Post
                              Following the pee spots is definitely going to be an issue...I have three cats sharing the boxes and isolating one of them isn't really an option (he'd have to be shut in the bathroom all day, every day, cruel IMO).
                              I had two cats at the time. Trust me, you'll notice, unless the other cat is diabetic, too.
                              Surgeon General warns: "drinking every time Trump lies during the debate could result in acute alcohol poisoning."

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Everything Bacardi1 says is the same for me. One shot a day whilst he wolfed down his canned food, and he got 6 more GOOD years till cancer.
                                Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Glad to hear some cats lived a long time after diagnosis and daily insulin shots. I've had two diabetic cats over the years, with both of them dying about two years after receiving daily insulin. My vet told me this was not unusual. A friend of mine also had a diabetic cat who lasted about two years. All of these cats were elderly at diagnosis, so that may have had something to do with it.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    My cat was a young adult of unknown specific age, & he lived into his teens after being diagnosed. My neighbor had a diabetic cat she raised from a kitten that lived into its early 20's!!! I guess it depends on the individual animal.

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