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Maggie was just diagnosed with diabetes

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Maggie is my neighbor's 11 year old cat. My neighbor has two main concerns right now:

1) Food - the vet told my neighbor the ONLY food Maggie could have was Purina One and it was only available from him (the vet, that is). He also said she needs a low sugar, low protein food. BTW, Maggie had been on Science Diet Hairball formula for quite awhile - apparently, it's high in sugar.

2) Medical supplies - can anyone recommend a company for obtaining syringes and insulin? Maggie needs shots twice per day.

Any other advice/suggestions from members who have experience with this condition is much appreciated!
post #2 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by KTLynn
Maggie is my neighbor's 11 year old cat. My neighbor has two main concerns right now:

1) Food - the vet told my neighbor the ONLY food Maggie could have was Purina One and it was only available from him (the vet, that is). He also said she needs a low sugar, low protein food. BTW, Maggie had been on Science Diet Hairball formula for quite awhile - apparently, it's high in sugar.

2) Medical supplies - can anyone recommend a company for obtaining syringes and insulin? Maggie needs shots twice per day.

Any other advice/suggestions from members who have experience with this condition is much appreciated!
The vet is probably trying to get some extra cash by saying she can ONLY get Purina One from him. It's sold in most big chain stores (i.e. Wal-Mart, K-Mart, etc.) as well as grocery stores.

I would suggest asking another vet what he/she recommends for Maggie's diet. I'm sure there are other brands that have low sugar, low protein.
post #3 of 20
I don't know why a vet would recommend Purina One as a first choice for a diabetic cat (or be selling it for that matter; the only food you should need to buy from a vet is a prescription diet). There are many veterinary diets specifically for diabetic cats: Hill's M/D, Purina Diabetes management, and Walthams/Royal Canin Diabetic formula are the ones I am familiar with. Hope this helps!
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
I was thinking the same thing about the Purina One - my neighbor is probably mistaken about that. The Purina Diabetes Management must have been the food the vet recommended. I agree, though, that there has to be another food available for this condition.

Thanks for the advice!
post #5 of 20
Sorry I don't have any advice for you but best of luck to Maggie!
post #6 of 20
I went through this with my cat recently. We started feeding him Purina DM (prescription - high protein diet/low carb) I was fortunate that we were able to get his sugar count down to normal levels within a three week period - no pills, no insulin.
post #7 of 20
I'm no expert nor am I in any way associated with veterinary medicine but I'm wondering if it might be a good idea to see if your kitty's sugar level will come down just with the diet change, before jumping right in and starting the insulin.

I hope all goes well.

Karen
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Good idea, Karen - it worked for Chris's cat! I'm going to suggest this to my neighbor - wouldn't it be great if Maggie didn't need insulin shots after all!

Thank you!
post #9 of 20
I concur on the Purina DM formula ... it essentially worked miracles for my (now at the Brdige from unrelated issues) diabetic cat. My girl ate it for the last year of her life and it decreased her Insulin requirements by 4 units per day.

With regard to companies who sell diabetic supplies ... what I did was to purchase a case of syringes at a time, usually at Wal-Mart. Since I also got the Insulin there, it seemed a natural choice. I found the prices there to be the best in my area. A case has 100 syringes, which lasted me 50 days unless I mucked up a shot, which I learned quickly how not to do and cost around $28. I also learned not to try to do this "on the cheap". I tried the cheaper syringes and found they broke, they caused my cat more pain upon injection and were much more difficult to manipulate with one hand than the higher-priced brand names. I liked the BD Ultrafine II Short needle 3/10 cc ones the best. The graduations on the barrell were much easier to read, the needle seemed more comfortable for my cat, and the plunger was easier to draw back one-handed. Your milage may vary, but for my money, the higher-cost syringes were well worth the extra cost in what I saved in pain (to my cat), frustration (to me and my cat) and effort (to me). A lot of people will try to tell you that you can rinse and re-use the syringes. And I have only one word of advice in the way of suggestion for you on this: Don't. The coating on the needle that makes it less painful is removed with use and will cause spurs to come up on the needles. It makes it hurt more AND let us not even mention the sanitary issues involved. You cannot properly clean a syringe of this sort, even if you boil it. They are designed to be discarded after ONE use. Do that.

Also - and this is a biggie - IF this cat has been prescribed one of the Humulin insulins, it MUST be kept refridgerated and it MUST be discarded at around 28 days. Do NOT fall into what you vet or others may tell you about using it until it is gone. It loses efficiacy at 4 weeks, as per the Lily site and the insert in the box. I also noticed a serious decrease in it's effectiveness with my own cat when I performed an informal study on it here at home.

The idea of withholding insulin to see if a diet change will help first is NOT a good one (Karen, I know you were only trying to help) because of the way diabetes works. It is a much better idea to begin the insulin, begin the new food and THEN decrease the insulin until no dose is required. It won't happen overnight. It might take as long as a month or even more to even notice a difference.

For now, please tell your neighbors that I share their pain upon what seems a truly frightening diagnosis - but time, education and patience will allow them to feel a lot better about it. The positive side (if there IS a positive side to such a horrible thing) is that they will bond with their kitty in a way they never dreamed. And they will become closer and more in tune with her behavior, her needs and her symptoms when they display - they will know almost at a glance when she isn't feeling well or is feeling great. It is a large committment, but the rewards - oh the rewards! If I can be of assistant, please do not hesitate to let me know. I have that lovely long distance where I do not pay a per-minute charge and am happy to call them if they prefer.

Best of luck, and please, if you can, keep us updated?

Gaye
post #10 of 20
Chris, out of curiousity, what was your cat's glucose reading number at diagnosis?

~gf~
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Gaye, thank you so much for the detailed information. I know this will be extremely helpful to my neighbors, as well as to Maggie!

Your point is well taken about continuing the insulin along with diet change, rather than diet change alone. I guess Chris was lucky that it worked for her cat...

I don't know anything about diabetes, but I'm getting a crash course, along with my neighbors.

Gaye, how would you know when it would be safe to start decreasing the amount of insulin or frequency of the shots?

On behalf of Maggie, thanks to everyone who has offered good wishes and advice!
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by KTLynn
Maggie is my neighbor's 11 year old cat. My neighbor has two main concerns right now:

1) Food - the vet told my neighbor the ONLY food Maggie could have was Purina One and it was only available from him (the vet, that is). He also said she needs a low sugar, low protein food. BTW, Maggie had been on Science Diet Hairball formula for quite awhile - apparently, it's high in sugar.

2) Medical supplies - can anyone recommend a company for obtaining syringes and insulin? Maggie needs shots twice per day.

Any other advice/suggestions from members who have experience with this condition is much appreciated!
Hi.

I know it can be frightening to face a disease like diabetes. I have diabetes, and one of my cats also developed diabetes and lived with it for 3 years. We both used the same brand of insulin and syringes:-).

I would concur that the BD Ultrafine II short needles 3/10 cc is the best choice - in fact, that is the same one I use for myself. The shot will be given into the scruff of the neck under the skin. Please reassure your neighbour that this will not be painful for their cat - it goes under the skin, not into the muscle or anythin like that.

The vet must decide what insulin and what dosage to provide. The insulin will probably be Humelin N or something similiar - which is a medium length acting insulin. Humelin is a manufactured human insulin using recombinant DNA technology. Insulin comes in several formulas that effect its rate of absorption from a very rapid analog insulin to a very long lasting insulin that can last up to 24 hours.

These can be purchased at any pharmacy. Pharmacists will also be very knowledgeable so have your neighbours talk to their pharmacist and I am sure they will find them very helpful.

Personally, I do use my insulin for more than the 28 days that is recommended and have not noticed a drop in its efficiency. If it is kept refrigerated you can use it for a longer time period, although the manufactueres do say it is only good for 28 days. If money is the cost, you can reuse syringes, although each use makes them more blunt, and more painful. There is virtually no difference, however, in the sensitivity of the needle if it is used twice - and I used to use the same syringe in the am and in the pm then disposed of it.

The diabetic diet is one of controlled carbohydrates and fats. Carbohydrates all break down into glucose by the body - and lack of insulin or effectiveness of insulin means that the glucose can't be absorbed into the cells for energy. Fat and protein do not break down into glucose and in fact slow down the metabolism of carbohydrates so a higher protein, lower carbohydrate diet is much better for controlling diabetes. High fibre is also useful as it too slows down the metabolism of digesting carbohydrates.

One suggestion - there are many 'free' instructional meetings offered by health units and diabetes societes across the country. Diabetes is the same disease in cats as it is in people and affects the body the same way. Your friend can get in touch with the local diabetes centre and ask them about any upcoming informational meetings on the basics of diabetes and then attend.

Kathryn
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Kathryn, thanks so much for your help. I wasn't aware that there were meetings given to learn about diabetes, and I'm sure my neighbor will be interested in this.

I see that both you and Gaye use the same brand of needles, but Gaye writes they are "3/100cc" and you mention "3/10cc". Would you clarify this?

Thank you!
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
A few more questions:

Is the Purina DM only available through vets, or is there a less expensive source? Does it come in both dry and canned varieties? (I would think that canned would be preferable.)

At some point, if Maggie no longer requires insulin, which brand of food would be a good choice to feed her? Conversely, if she needs to continue indefinitely with insulin, is there anything else she can eat besides the Purina DM?

Thanks!
post #15 of 20
My cat Mischa was diagnosed with diabetes begore Christmas. She was on 3ml twice daily of Caninsulin and I use 28G x 1/2" needle syringes. Her glucose levels were off the scale at 32 mmol/l (we are in the UK and I think the recording is slightly different) The vet upped the insulin to 4ml twice a day and recommended Hill m/d. She hates it. A couple of weeks ago I thought that was too high and downed it to 3ml twice a day. I keep the insulin in the fridge and yes at those units I use it until it is gone - not the 28/30 days as it says on the bottle. Just make sure it is mixed well - but not shaken. I would not reuse the needles as I know they go blunt after one use and am not that experienced. I think with experience this could be done. To be honest I would not worry too much about the diet as long as she eats. Get the insulin level stable and then worry about diet.
On a very positive note. Mischa had a blood curve done last week and low and behold her levels are too low! She now is okay! No more insulin. I dont have a problem with the diagnosis - high glucose level and wonky back legs. I think it was correct at that time and maybe we are just in the honeymoon period.
What I would say is WATCH YOUR CAT! Only your friend knows the cat well. Look for lethargy and act accordingly. If I had kept up with the insulin I would have one dead cat on my hands. She wasnt looking good which is why I stopped the insulin and took her back to the vet and at this point I would rather too high levels than too low. Look on good sites for cat diabetes. there are some good ones out there that helped me no end. I have learnt a lot. Dont get too scared or overwhelmed, take it a bit at a time. Ask questions of the vet - take up their time - its your money and your cat (well your neighbours cat)!
Good luck
post #16 of 20
I only know that DM is available through vets. It cost me $19 for a 4 lb bag. Of course George only eats 1/2 c per day so it lasts. I feed him dry because that's what he is used to. It does come in cans though... If she does get to a point where she can be off the insulin, I'm guess that a low carb/high protein diet will always be the preference given her history.

One thing my vet was going to try if the diet didn't work was glipizide (hope I spelled that correctly). It's a pill - Here is a site that Stephanie sent to me regarding the drug http://www.petdiabetes.org/oral_drugs.htm



Quote:
Originally Posted by KTLynn
A few more questions:

Is the Purina DM only available through vets, or is there a less expensive source? Does it come in both dry and canned varieties? (I would think that canned would be preferable.)

At some point, if Maggie no longer requires insulin, which brand of food would be a good choice to feed her? Conversely, if she needs to continue indefinitely with insulin, is there anything else she can eat besides the Purina DM?

Thanks!
post #17 of 20
A wonderful site that I love is Gorbzilla.com one of the wonderful links on this site is JPeerson's (?spelling) food lists, for quick comparison of foods re carb, fiber, protein content and more.

Well worth the time, and may have a list of medical supplier links as well.
post #18 of 20
Hi,
re: the syringes - I double checked the package and it is 3/10cc for 30 units or less of insulin with a 5/16" (8 mm) length needle, 31 gauge needle The Maker is Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) and their website is www.BDdiabetes.com.

Yes, it is possible for a cat to no longer need insulin, or to have its insulin requirement change quickly. That is what happened with my Silver. For 3 years he had been on the same amount of insulin. One day I gave him his am syringe, watched him eat his breakfast and then headed to work. When I came home for lunch he was in convulsions and then just barely breathing. I got him to the vets - his blood sugars had bottomed out and were dangerously low. They gave him IV glucose, but by that time the consulvions had caused brain damage. I had to make the painful decision to put him to sleep and I have always felt guilty that I wasn't home to prevent this. He gave no indications that his insulin requirements had changed, but if I had been home to notice the early symptoms of insulin shock I could have saved him. It doesn't happen often, fortunately, but it does happen.

Kathryn
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Alexis, Chris, Pat & Alix - thanks much for the additional information, and Alexis, I will tell my neighbor to keep a close watch on Maggie.

Kathryn, thank you for checking on the syringes, and also for sharing the very sad story about Silver. I'm so sorry that happened to him. What a terrible thing for you both.

You've all been wonderful to help Maggie - my neighbor will be getting tons of good advice thanks to each of you.
post #20 of 20
Our cat also eats Hills Prescription Diet and takes Glipizide 5mg twice a day to help control his diabetes. He visits his litter box often as he drinks a LOT of water, and he is loosing weight as he also has an enlarged thyriod and perhaps some form of cancer as well.

I agree that it sounds like your Vet is trying to make a buck on the cat food and most likey has a deal worked out with some vet supply company or person. In his defense, perhaps he really thinks its ok.. or just as good and since he sells it anyways, why not recommend it... and perhaps he was just stressing that ordinary name brand grocery store food wont cut it and that the cat needs some kind of special diet.

Best of luck with the neighboor and their cat, I wish you all the best.
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