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Cat just diagnosed with diabetes
Old 01-04-2018, 09:30 PM   #1
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Cat just diagnosed with diabetes

My second oldest feline,at age 17.5, has just this week been diagnosed with diabetes. Her symptoms seemed to me to mimic those of my dog who died in Sept 2016 from the complications of dementia (put down), but the vet says that to date cats have not been known to get dementia. Of course, she qualified that with they are living longer now too, so perhaps it will become an accepted diagnosis someday. In any event, the blood test does definitely indicate diabetes. Even with insulin, she still shows some "sun-downing" affects like what both humans and canines do who have dementia. The daytime confusion and anxiety is much reduced however. Anyone have experience with treating and living with diabetes in a cat, especially a geriatric one?

FYI, she is an excellent certified therapy cat, and I do hope to continue that volunteering with her, on a reduced basis. At the very least i hope she stabilizes well enough in the short term to have a farewell visit to each of the facilities where she is so much appreciated.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:45 PM   #2
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We gave our diabetic cat about 2 more years with insulin shots but she was much younger (12 years) than yours. She, however, could not beat kidney failure ;-(
Best of luck for making the last months good for yours.
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:50 PM   #3
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Thanks, sorry about your cat. I usually lose them much younger (5 to 14) as my rescues often come to me with health issues from abuse or neglect, but have an exceptional crew for once now, which keeps me hopping.

Actually she already has kidney disease, for 3 yrs now, but we are managing that quite well with IV fluids, famotidine (for stomach acid), norvasc (for the high blood pressure that often comes with kidney disease) and calcitriol (to slow the progression). It will kill her inevitably of course, as you well know.
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Old 01-05-2018, 02:51 AM   #4
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We gave two insulin shots daily to our 8 year old diabetic cat until he had to be put down at 18 1/2. For the most part he had a very normal life once we got him stabilized. I always thought he was a bit demented from the day we adopted him at about 8 weeks! He was the most fun, mischievous, smart, crazy cat we ever had. Miss him some 20 years later. Hope all goes well.
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Old 01-05-2018, 07:23 AM   #5
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I understand that cats once stabilized are easy to maintain. We had a 10 yo dog that even after 5 years of twice a day insulin and monthly glucose curves that I was able to do, never really got him to were he glucose was good. We rescued him and he had heartworm, moved to Arizona and he caught Valley Fever. He passed at 15, so and had a good life.
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Old 01-05-2018, 08:58 AM   #6
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What does the vet recommend diet wise?
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Old 01-05-2018, 09:14 AM   #7
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My geriatric cat became diabetic at age 15; I administered twice/day insulin shots until he passed at 18. It is expensive, but other than that it went well. He never balked at them at all, and he did as well as possible for an old can with many health issues. At a certain point I stopped bringing him into the vet every month or so (as my vet wanted) as it was just too hard and costly. I regulated the amount of insulin myself based on his urine output, drinking, etc. I'm sure I did not do it perfectly, but again he did well.
Poor guy: he was a real trooper. At age 5 he got thyroid disease and had radiation three times until it finally was cured. He had all sorts of immune system issues. It is a wonder he lived until 18.
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Old 01-05-2018, 05:04 PM   #8
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She takes it all quite well, even the IV fluids, which means she lays there with a needle dripping fluid into her for about 4 min each time every 48 hrs.

No change to diet which already consists of a combo of mainly prescription foods, wet and dry, for her kidneys and for her gastrointestinal health( k/d, r/s, a/d, and gastrointestinal high calorie from royal canin, and some fancy feast (they all only like chopped grill pate) and an trader Joe's dry and wholehearted dry from petco)
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Old 01-05-2018, 05:07 PM   #9
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thanks for all the replies Sounds like one can possibly maintain a cat on insulin for yrs. She has a spot glucose check next Thursday. Glucose curve was mentioned too. Guess I'll learn more about that then. It was stated that I could do that at home.
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Is it possible that cats, true carnivores, do not do well on commerciak catfood?
Old 01-05-2018, 06:04 PM   #10
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Is it possible that cats, true carnivores, do not do well on commerciak catfood?

When my former wife had cats, we reasoned that a full on carnivorous diet was likely best for them. They moused, and I stopped by a country slaughter house and bought frozen liver and heart. If they didn't eat this, they got a bit hungrier and then they ate it. None got diabetes, but a few fell off the roof trying to grab birds, and didn't survive these falls. IMO, a more honorable death for a carnivore.

Ha
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Old 01-05-2018, 06:11 PM   #11
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There's a great message board called felinediabetes.com they helped me a lot when I had a diabetic cat. The collective wisdom over there is amazing. One of the members who lived near me actually came to my house and brought me a glucometer and showed me how to test my cat! Of course, this was in the years before youtube. Good luck!
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Old 01-05-2018, 06:37 PM   #12
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I was just thinking.... how do you check their blood? It is easy (even though it hurts) to check mine... I would think a cat would not like getting stuck with a needle all the time...
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Old 01-05-2018, 07:21 PM   #13
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Well, in cats you poke them in the ear. On cats there's a vein thet runs a few millimeter s from the edge of the outside of the ear. You want to poke between the vein and the edge of the ear. My cat was always really good. She knew when it was time to test and she would come sit between my legs and face away from me so I could do it. We would test before every meal, and once every couple of months I'd do a curve and test her every hour so I'd know how low she would go at her lowest.

In my case, I started looking for help because my vet was awful and prescribed too much insulin at the beginning and she was going hypoglycemic. I could have killed her, and the people on that forum took me under their wing and really helped me out. Cats tend to be type 2 diabetics, and sometimes with a diet change and insulin they can go into remission or diet controlled just like people with type 2.
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Old 01-05-2018, 07:38 PM   #14
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So far, my vet has been great at diagnosing each of my five geriatric cats. So, I trust her for now. She started my cat on 1 unit twice a day, which appears to be a tiny amount in a tiny needle. This is obviously my first cat with diabetes, hence the post. I do have bookmark from felinediabetes.com back when I was looking at the supplement slippery elm bark for gastrointestinal health. have not checked out the site otherwise. There are a few sites for cats with CKD which she also has. Most are too emotional for my tastes. One or two have good info.
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Old 01-05-2018, 08:08 PM   #15
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That's really great that your vet started you low like that. I will say, even a tiny amount like that can be dangerous in the right circumstances. That eneded up being my cat's regular dosage. One day I took her in for her vaccines and that night she ate, I gave her the shot and then she started throwing up and couldn't keep any food down. She ended up at the emergency vet on a glucose drip overnight. This was in the beginning when I didn't really know anythig yet. If I had jnown what to do I could have at least gotten some honey or karo syrup on in her mouth.

The people of that forum are very well versed in all kinds of health issues and how to work around them in relation to the diabetes. Anytime I need any help with any issue, I always go there first and use the search function because chances are my question has been asked and answered before.

I'm guessing I'm going to be in the situation of having another diabetic cat myself soon. I have a boy who has IBD and the treatment for that is steroids, which can cause diabetes with prolonged use. I'm not looking forward to going down that road again, that's for sure.
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Old 01-05-2018, 09:07 PM   #16
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Skyler, for ur kitty with IBD, be sure to explore fecal transplants. Our cat's disease got too advanced before I could get our vet to attempt. If I had to over, I would have gone to a vet who had the system down at first diagnosis and not let my vet attempt. The nearest fecal transplant vet was over a 1000 miles away and our vet thought she could do. Problem was she used a donor cat who had a fish based diet so transplant inflamed his already fragile colon.
Perhaps, there are posters here who advise further.
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Old 01-05-2018, 10:19 PM   #17
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My vet is a cat only clinic and they do seem to keep up on the latest treatments. For example, the use of calcitriol in cats to slow CKD is new as it was only recommended for dogs before. Two of my cats get it including this one and it really does work. I was told about the use of karo syrup honey and the like.


First i have heard of fecal transplants for IBD. Interesting My youngest (almost 16) has just been diagnosed with that based on her annual ultrasound that she gets because of a so far benign liver nodule. She has some pancreas inflammation last year so we expected more of that since she has recently developed some digestive issues. So far, vet is holding off on prednisolone for either condition and we are treating with famotidine once daily and buprenorphine once daily. So far it is working well.
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Old 01-06-2018, 05:56 AM   #18
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My cat is 14 1/2 years old and was diagnosed with diabetes 5 years ago. At first I gave her one shot of insulin a day but after she stabilized my vet had me try a dry diabetic cat food. Prescription Diet Glucose/Weight Management, m/d. This has worked well for her. She has some arthritis now and takes one Cosamine chewy a day. I'm very thankful she's as healthy as she is. I'm sure she would be happier if her pesky little 5 year old kitty companion would fade away
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:53 AM   #19
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While our cat is not diabetic, we do feed her small portions 4x day. This doesn't work to well if you are not home a lot, but if so, I suspect it would also help a diabetic cat.
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Old 01-06-2018, 06:09 PM   #20
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all five of my cats are over 15 yrs old, so they all have relatively sensitive digestive tracts. They eat frequently throughout the day, and to avoid any risk of dehydration, in addition to free feeding dry, they get wet food 6 to 8 times per day. Yes, I did in fact ER, in part, to care for them.

I also use cosequin (is that what you meant, Damcer373?) either chews or powder depending on which they tolerate better, for each cat for their joints. I would also recommend laser therapy directed at whatever joints may trouble them, as your cats age. many vets have this available now, not just alternative med vets. It has worked great at keeping my cats comfortable and active. It may take as many as twelve treatments the first time round, spread out over 6 weeks (it did with my now almost 19 yr old) to see a benefit. Then repeat perhaps every two or three yrs thereafter, but only six treatments.
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