Diabetes

KrissyMaddie

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Glenn was just diagnosed with diabetes :( It's only been a week, and his follow up is tomorrow to see how he's been doing with insulin twice a day.

I wanted to know if anyone has any advise, tips, stories, etc. from their own experiences! I'm hoping we caught it early he will go into remission. My fiancée and I work and travel a lot so this has sparked a change in our own schedules now. How have you dealt with the changes? How has your fur baby dealt with the change?
 

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Diabetes is never a great diagnosis but at least it is a manageable one. Much like humans, diet and lifestyle along with medication can make a huge difference.

1) What is his current diet? Specific brands, dry or wet, and feeding schedule.
2) How is his body condition? Basically, over wieght, ideal or underweight?
3) How old is he?
 

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Join the FelineDiabetes.com message board for help and tips from other experienced diabetic cat owners :)


Your cat will need a combo of both diet and insulin to start. Low carb canned food is best. Dry food keeps blood glucose levels too high, much like sugary foods for a Human diabetic. Prescription food, dry or canned, is not necessary at all despite what your vet may say. Here's a list of suitable Fancy Feast: Wheat gluten free, low carbohydrate Wet Food For other brands, use this chart: https://catinfo.org/docs/CatFoodProteinFatCarbPhosphorusChart.pdf Look at the column for carbs and feed whatever food has 10% or less. I recommend starting the diet change before you start insulin. Doing both diet change and starting insulin can be tricky because you risk hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels) especially since you won't have a handle of home blood glucose testing right away. Try to get the diet changed over within a week or so before starting insulin.

There are several different types of insulin that can be used in cats. There are pet specific ones such as Prozinc and there are Human ones like Lantus. The FDMB board has more info on all the types of insulin and pros and cons of each.

Daily blood glucose testing is a must, just like it is for Human diabetes. You need to know what your cat's blood glucose level is before giving insulin otherwise you risk hypoglycemia. Any blood glucose meter sold in a pharmacy works. There are pet specific meters but the downside is that none are sold in stores and the test strips are also not sold in stores. Plus they tend to be pricier than a Human meter. The FDMB will give you tons of info on how to test. Keep a log of the daily readings so you can see any trends. Discuss the readings with the vet. Many vets find a log helpful and use it to determine if a dose adjustment is needed.
 
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KrissyMaddie

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Diabetes is never a great diagnosis but at least it is a manageable one. Much like humans, diet and lifestyle along with medication can make a huge difference.

1) What is his current diet? Specific brands, dry or wet, and feeding schedule.
2) How is his body condition? Basically, over wieght, ideal or underweight?
3) How old is he?
He is 6.5 years and a bigger cat. Pur family jokes that he's fat, but he's 18lbs, and the vet said she wouldn't consider him onese or fat, but he's a "big guy"! (He's an American Short Hair). Currently he's on science diet c/d to prevent urinary crystals. But I blame myself now because we would go away so much, we'd pule the bowl and have friends or family check on him every other day. He definitely began binge eating this summer and we noticed the frequent drinking towards the end of summer, then just a few weeks ago, the soaked litterbox. I just ordered science diet w/d (multibenefit) which helps with glucose/weight and bladder health (plus GI tract) and for now I plan on keeping him on his c/d wet food (half a can in the am and pm) with dry food as a snack with dinner.
 

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Prescription food isn't necessary for the urinary issues. A canned food only diet helps. There's info here: Cat Urinary Tract Diseases: Cystitis, Urethral Obstruction, Urinary Tract Infection

It's ok to disagree with the vet about food :agree:

Both C/D and W/D canned aren't great for the diabetes either, as much as 28% carbs per can. I'm sure the FDMB board members can suggest a food that is suitable for both the diabetes and urinary issues. Here's a few old threads:


If you can avoid all dry food, that would be best. For the "snack", try freeze dried raw or air dried food instead. Both are healthier options. Or offer a few pieces of low carb freeze dried treats like PureBites. There's also the supposedly zero carb but really expensive Young Again dry food.
 
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KrissyMaddie

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Prescription food isn't necessary for the urinary issues. A canned food only diet helps. There's info here: Cat Urinary Tract Diseases: Cystitis, Urethral Obstruction, Urinary Tract Infection

It's ok to disagree with the vet about food :agree:

Both C/D and W/D canned aren't great for the diabetes either, as much as 28% carbs per can. I'm sure the FDMB board members can suggest a food that is suitable for both the diabetes and urinary issues. Here's a few old threads:

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If you can avoid all dry food, that would be best. For the "snack", try freeze dried raw or air dried food instead. Both are healthier options. Or offer a few pieces of low carb freeze dried treats like PureBites. There's also the supposedly zero carb and really expensive Young Again dry food.
Thank you for the links! My biggest concern is that he's done so well on the c/d. He's had 3 blockages and since he's been on the c/d since May 2015 and has been in stressful situations and has not blocked. He also has Trazadone too for stressful situations.
 

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The C/D probably contributed in part to the diabetes with all those carbs and calories. Definitely join the FDMB board and get suggestions on what else you can feed. I used to have a diabetic cat and found the FDMB board a hugely valuable resource:petcat:
 

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Any blood glucose meter sold in a pharmacy works. There are pet specific meters but the downside is that none are sold in stores and the test strips are also not sold in stores. Plus they tend to be pricier than a Human meter.
Speaking as a human diabetic, the best/cheapest meter I've found is the Onsync meter, available from Kroger. I bought my meter for ~$10 and it works extremely well. Doesn't require a huge drop of blood to register (the most common error I've gotten is too much blood), and the test strips are cheap as well - approximately $23 for 100 strips. This does depend, of course, on having a Kroger pharmacy nearby. Kroger Pharmacy Locations - GoodRX.

Also, the website I just linked to, GoodRX.com, is a company that offers a plan called GoodRX Gold. For $10 a month (for a family) you can get discounts on prescription medications, and you can include your pets in the plan.

Margret
 

jen

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I didnt read through everyone's answers but the bottom line is he needs a low carb canned diet. I weaned my ex's diabetic cat off insulin with Fancy Feast classic pate, weight loss, and close observation with the vet supervision or help if they can.

Best advice I have to start is never ever feed dry food again, just avoid it.
 
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KrissyMaddie

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He isn't a big fan of wet food though. He prefers to just lick it rather than est any of the chunks (which results in me throwing out the rest!) So I fear just switching to the wet will result in him not eating enough.
 

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He isn't a big fan of wet food though. He prefers to just lick it rather than est any of the chunks (which results in me throwing out the rest!) So I fear just switching to the wet will result in him not eating enough.
Paté style, perhaps?

Margret
 

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We also had a cat that had diabetes. His vet and us believed it was triggered by a steroid injection which does apparently happen sometimes.

You've received good tips and advice already so I'll just mention something else which wasn't already covered. Cats can go into remission from diabetes on their own sometimes. If I'm not mistaken, they are the only species where this is possible. It's more common in older cats though for some reason. Our boy, was diabetic for about 9 months. We found it easy to manage after getting over the initial freak out of learning about it. I became a pro at giving injections - I'd do it when he was just beginning to eat his food when he was so concentrated on the bowl he didn't even notice me slipping the needle in - it truly is a small one and it takes literally seconds to administer.

I digressed a bit there. Anyway, after months of this, one day he suddenly was what they call "crashing" - couldn't walk, seemed like he could not see, was clearly lethargic and out of it. This was at 10:00 pm, a few hours after his nightly insulin shot. We rushed him off to the ER which is very close by.

Well, come to find out, he'd gone into remission on his own so the insulin we'd given him that night (and obviously that morning) put him into a state of hypoglycemia. Being as we had NOT been doing monitoring at home, we had the vet doing it periodically due to his age and crankiness of this daily process, we had no idea that his body had been in the process of going into remission for a few weeks most likely and he'd probably already been in a moderate state of hypoglycemia for a while, but it took that one last dose to tip it to a crisis point.

I bring this up to let you and others know how important it is to monitor at home. We wanted to try to spare our cat any additional reasons not to associate us with all the poking and such but in retrospect, if I ever had another cat with diabetes, we learned a lesson from that and would surely home monitor next time no matter how cranky the cat is with the process. Seeing him go through such a serious event was frightening and I'd never want to put another cat (or us!) through that again.

Good luck with Glenn. Once you get into the routine it will get better and become second nature for you. And I will second all suggestions of finding a way to wean him off the kibble. And to feel free to disagree with the vet about food suggestions. At minimum if find a kibble with the highest protein/lowest carbs possible. Orijen is one you might look into - we don't use kibble much at all in our house. Currently we do because we have a kitten who needs to have food available all the time but the only other time it's used is on an emergency basis like if we know we'll be out of the house past the hour when the cats normally would get a planned meal. It's the best one I've been able to find yet.
 

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He isn't a big fan of wet food though. He prefers to just lick it rather than est any of the chunks (which results in me throwing out the rest!) So I fear just switching to the wet will result in him not eating enough.

Texture food in gravy / sauce / etc are generally too high carb for diabetics. They're good to raise blood glucose levels in the event of a mild hypoglycemia episode though. Most of the low carb canned foods are pate style.

The FDMB board has had many members over the years with dry food addict cats who won't eat canned food, at least not right away. They have tons of tips on how to get your cat to transition to canned food. For those really stubborn cats who refuse to eat anything but dry food, there are brands of dry food that are fairly low carb. Dry food won't help the urinary issues, though. Keep in mind that with feeding any dry food, your cat will need more insulin to counteract those carbs. Remission is possible but not as easy as it is with a low carb canned food.
 

PushPurrCatPaws

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My fiancée and I work and travel a lot so this has sparked a change in our own schedules now. ...
...
for now I plan on keeping him on his c/d wet food (half a can in the am and pm) with dry food as a snack with dinner.
I know you said you work a lot and/or travel, so that might mean you may not be home to do this -- but one thing I learned which worked well for my last cat (she had feline diabetes) was to spread out 4-5 smaller meals throughout the day & night instead of giving just two larger meals a day. Her meals were about 1-2 ounces per meal. This seemed to really help even out her blood glucose a bit more for each 24-hour time period. I offer this tidbit of advice just on the off-chance your work schedules do change in the future and might allow you to feed your kitty in this way. (I also recommend avoiding dry kibble. Sometimes it can take a cat 1+ months to wean off of the dry kibble, but wet food is really a lot better for diabetic cats!)
 

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I bring this up to let you and others know how important it is to monitor at home. We wanted to try to spare our cat any additional reasons not to associate us with all the poking and such but in retrospect, if I ever had another cat with diabetes, we learned a lesson from that and would surely home monitor next time no matter how cranky the cat is with the process. Seeing him go through such a serious event was frightening and I'd never want to put another cat (or us!) through that again.
:yeah::yeah::yeah::yeah::yeah:

Sorry to get carried away with the emojis, but I cannot tell you how guilty I feel about being too chicken to home test Max. He was diagnosed about three or four years before he died at age 20, and I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t start home testing until several weeks before he died when I accidentally stumbled on the feline diabetes site and had the support of others with extensive hands on experience with managing their cats’ diabetes. And I discovered how EASY it was to home test.

We went through several frightening episodes of Max being hypoglycemic because I was shooting blind with no idea of his blood glucose levels. (Keep some Karo light corn syrup on hand.) So my poor guy spent several years feeling worse, in general, than he needed to and experienced some truly scary hypoglycemic events because I was an idiot.

He was really good about the little prick to his ear to get the small drop of blood I needed. I could never get the spring-loaded plunger to work so I just started to free hand the jab.

So low carbs, low carbs, low carbs (wet food) and home test, home test, home test using a human glucose meter! And spend time at the feline diabetes site reading and asking questions.

Oh, one more thing. I was using Lantus and found that the best price by far was at Costco.
 

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Oh, one more thing. I was using Lantus and found that the best price by far was at Costco.
Definitely shop around for the best Human insulin price :agree: The FDMB board has tips on how to keep insulin cost down, such as buying the insulin pens (if that is an option with the particular insulin the cat is on) instead of the bottle / vial. Pet specific insulin such as ProZinc probably costs about the same whether you buy from the vet or online pet pharmacy :think: Some Human pharmacies sell pet specific prescription medicines but the selection may be limited. Check with your pharmacy.


Walmart lists these prescription diabetic medicines for cats: Buy Cat Diabetes Medications | Insulin Injections And Supplements For Cats

I do not recommend Glipizide and FDMB members will also say the same. Glipizide is a pill that simply does not work very well to manage blood glucose levels. Insulin injections are best. It's not scary at all to do and does not harm the cat in any way. A quick poke with a very fine needle and done. Some insulins work better than others for cats and it may take trying more than one to find the right one that works well for your cat.
 

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He isn't a big fan of wet food though. He prefers to just lick it rather than est any of the chunks (which results in me throwing out the rest!) So I fear just switching to the wet will result in him not eating enough.
If your cat is diabetic he should only be getting the canned pate food. Any food with chunks or pieces has gravy on it which is high in carbs. We have one cat that has stones to the point he needed a pku. Our vet of course put him on the dry food for urinary issues and ALL of our boys loved it. Well our pku cat would still get stones while on it. So after reading this board and talking to others I switched him to wet pate food and he has not had a problem since. My daughter had the same thing with her cat with stones.canned food kept them from having stones.
Then I had another cat who developed DM and that’s when they were all switched to canned food and pate low carb only. For awhile we were able to get him in remission. Eventually he needed insulin but blood sugars are much better controlled with canned low carb food. One of our other cats prefers dry but I just ignore him and sooner or later he eats. For my DM cats treats we buy unprocessed chicken or turkey and just give him some cut up pieces of that for a treat.
 

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We also had a cat that had diabetes. His vet and us believed it was triggered by a steroid injection which does apparently happen sometimes.

You've received good tips and advice already so I'll just mention something else which wasn't already covered. Cats can go into remission from diabetes on their own sometimes. If I'm not mistaken, they are the only species where this is possible. It's more common in older cats though for some reason. Our boy, was diabetic for about 9 months. We found it easy to manage after getting over the initial freak out of learning about it. I became a pro at giving injections - I'd do it when he was just beginning to eat his food when he was so concentrated on the bowl he didn't even notice me slipping the needle in - it truly is a small one and it takes literally seconds to administer.

I digressed a bit there. Anyway, after months of this, one day he suddenly was what they call "crashing" - couldn't walk, seemed like he could not see, was clearly lethargic and out of it. This was at 10:00 pm, a few hours after his nightly insulin shot. We rushed him off to the ER which is very close by.

Well, come to find out, he'd gone into remission on his own so the insulin we'd given him that night (and obviously that morning) put him into a state of hypoglycemia. Being as we had NOT been doing monitoring at home, we had the vet doing it periodically due to his age and crankiness of this daily process, we had no idea that his body had been in the process of going into remission for a few weeks most likely and he'd probably already been in a moderate state of hypoglycemia for a while, but it took that one last dose to tip it to a crisis point.

I bring this up to let you and others know how important it is to monitor at home. We wanted to try to spare our cat any additional reasons not to associate us with all the poking and such but in retrospect, if I ever had another cat with diabetes, we learned a lesson from that and would surely home monitor next time no matter how cranky the cat is with the process. Seeing him go through such a serious event was frightening and I'd never want to put another cat (or us!) through that again.

Good luck with Glenn. Once you get into the routine it will get better and become second nature for you. And I will second all suggestions of finding a way to wean him off the kibble. And to feel free to disagree with the vet about food suggestions. At minimum if find a kibble with the highest protein/lowest carbs possible. Orijen is one you might look into - we don't use kibble much at all in our house. Currently we do because we have a kitten who needs to have food available all the time but the only other time it's used is on an emergency basis like if we know we'll be out of the house past the hour when the cats normally would get a planned meal. It's the best one I've been able to find yet.
You have received many excellent recommendations here, but I will add my personal experience.

Years ago, I had a cat who developed Diabetes. One day, hours after I had given her insulin injection, I saw her staggering, walking like a drunk; thankfully it was a Saturday when I was home from work!
I called the vet and was told to bring her right in. Her glucose had fallen to 10, as unknowing to me,she had gone into remission. She was immediately put on an IV drip and remained there the entire day. Thankfully, she pulled through and remained "in remission" for several years.

Then years later, diabetes returned with a vengenance and she developed Pancreatitis. This necessitated a trip to the ER where she was on an IV drip for several days. We almost lost her, but she pulled through.
She remained a diabetic the rest of her life, but was well controlled with diet and Lantus insulin.

My experience has taught me the value of careful blood glucose monitoring, all wet food low carb diet and always keep a bottle of Karo light corn syrup handy to rub on their gums until you can rush to the vet, should they suddenly go into remission. Just remember: "once a Diabetic, always a Diabetic".
 

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Glenn was just diagnosed with diabetes :( It's only been a week, and his follow up is tomorrow to see how he's been doing with insulin twice a day.

I wanted to know if anyone has any advise, tips, stories, etc. from their own experiences! I'm hoping we caught it early he will go into remission. My fiancée and I work and travel a lot so this has sparked a change in our own schedules now. How have you dealt with the changes? How has your fur baby dealt with the change?
I would do a home cooked diet with no carbs except a bit of pumpkin added in. You can get supplements to add in from alnutrin. Then you add in a percentage of liver as well if there is no bone. He has a good chance of going into remission as cats can. I met someone a while back whose Burmese kitten had type 1 diabetes, something I wasn’t aware of in cats. His kitten went into dka and was on a dexcom for a while. He had to be on insulin right away obviously but he planned to start a raw diet hoping to get him off insulin eventually. I guess in cats it can work but definitely not in human type 1, so it is not true type 1. Cats are not meant to eat carbs, grains, starches.

Also honey is good for rubbing on their gums if they go low. I had tested my cats bg on the vein on their ears at some point, quite hard to do. I hope there is a better spot.


 
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