Diabetic kitty questions...

saintpflaOctober 22, 2009

I would love to know if anyone out here has had a similar diabetes challenge? Also, any suggestions?

My beautiful 15 year old male Siamese has been diagnosed with diabetes about six months ago. He is one of four kitties in the household.

Even on insulin 2x per day and a diet change, he is still having once a day vomiting and heavy urinating. Frequently, he misses the box due to urgency/aim issues.

I take him to the vet often to have his BG checked. He's on PZI Insulin. The highest his BG was at first diagnosis was 550. Then, on 2 units of PZI 2x/day, it dropped too low to 70. He was off of injections for 2 months and is now back on 2x/day at 1 unit per day. I'll be taking him in next week for a re-check.

The daily vomiting has not changed. I try to make sure he gets plenty of canned food per day. He also has the special dry diabetic cat food. Eliminating dry food made zero difference in the vomiting. All the cats eat the same food.

My vet is great, but they don't know what is causing the vomiting either. They 'think' it is his pancreas and nothing that can be resolved - just an on-going side-effect of the diabetes.

So, every day, first thing in the morning, I clean up vomit and urine. Every day. Every single day...my poor kitty (and poor me on clean-up duty!). He seems to have vomiting attacks around 3am - 5am every single day.

Anyone else have this issue? If so, did it every improve/change? What did you do to fix it? Help...!

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Did they check his thyroid (T4) level? Diabetes can cause similar problems as hyperthyroidism in cats as far as increased thirst and urination, vomiting, weight loss. It wouldn't be uncommon for a 15 year old cat to be hyperthyroid. Also his diabetes may not be under control. Cats are really tricky with diabetes because their insulin requirements can change drastically and suddenly.

I hope you get answers soon. Poor kitty and poor you having to clean up.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 9:32PM
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Thanks for the response. Yeah, I had his thyroid treated a year ago with the radio-active iodine treatment. He was fine and doing great, then, bam!...the diabetes issue appeared.

I really want to get to the bottom of this...I'm worried about him. Plus, cleaning up vomit before I've even had a cup of coffee is getting old!... ;-)

Seriously, he's such a good boy that he often tries to throw up in his litter box, but many times doesn't make it.

I don't self-test his BG -- I don't know how, plus, he's very fussy. I can give shots just fine, but not sure how he'd do with giving me a blood sample.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 10:40PM
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I feel for you. My kitty is not diabetic, but she has hyper-t and kidney disease which apparently causes a lot of night time nausea- at least it does for her.

Her vomiting seems to come in spells that last a few weeks at a time. I joke (or I'd cry) that each morning we have the equivalent of an Easter egg hunt and play, "where's the vomit today?" I love her dearly, but get so sick of cleaning up vomit.

Our vet has given some ideas aimed at correcting the things that cause nausea in cats with her problems, but honestly, I don't think they've worked very well. I've been cleaning vomit on a regular basis for about 4 years now and am just resolved to doing it and accepting that it is par for her course. Fortunately when we bought our carpet, we chose the color with aging pets in mind, but still it gets so old!

One thing that comes to mind is to ask if he eats late at night? Our cat doesn't and that lack of contents in the stomach seems to aggravate that morning queasiness of hers.

Sorry you have to deal with this. Best of luck in finding something that works for your kitty.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 6:00PM
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Hi Quasifish,

I know exactly what you mean!!!! LOL...at your 'Easter Egg Hunt' reference! Funny! So far, I've managed to not step in it first thing in the morning...hope my luck holds!

I am sorry to hear about your kitty. My 18 yr. old kitty passed away from Hyper-T and kidney disease a year and a half ago. I still miss her. She also had the tummy issues. I don't know if you have tried Pepcid A/C tablets? Consult with your vet first of course, but they did help my kitty alot with the nausea. Are you doing Sub-Qs at this time or has it gotten that far yet? I found that sometimes a sporadic Sub-Q treatment helped her as well.

Unfortunately, for Diabetic Kitty...nothing seems to work. I am putting extra food out before I go to bed and I also make sure he has eaten something about an hour before I go to bed. He still does the vomiting. Plus, he's always hungry. He seems to be maintaining his weight but not gaining at all.

It's so hard to watch your pets age and become ill. I just wish I could do something to help him feel better.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 6:44PM
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Saintpfla, I can imagine that with diabetes, the metabolic issues make things different- particularly the constant hunger. As you probably know from experience, our issues are on the end of lack of appetite.

I'm curious if your kitty does pretty well during the day otherwise? It is so tough to end up on one of these roller coaster rides.

For our kitty we have been doing sub-q's regularly for 3.5 years and have tried various acid reducers as recommended by the vet. Sometimes increasing sub-q frequency helps with the vomiting, sometimes not; we haven't had particular luck with the acid reducers decreasing the vomiting. They have helped settle her stomach to eat at times though.

What made her a good eater for a while in her illness was that she would eat competitively with her litter-mate. If she thought the food was out for him, she would gobble it down! He passed away from cancer in January, and her weight has dropped by a couple of pounds since then (from 9 to 7, I think)- greif and no one to compete against. Our vet encouraged us to consider getting another cat to get her to eat a little better, and we had an opportunity to take a kitten of a stray that my mother took in recently. We just got him on Wednesday (he's already been checked and is very healthy and safe for her), so we are hoping this might help her more than anything. I'm surprised at how quickly she's already taken to him after just a couple of days. She is eating better already too.

Just a thought if you are interested, but there is a book (I had a copy for years) titled The New Natural Cat. She has some ideas about diabetes in there, particularly in regard to homemade meals that are better for the pancreas. I don't know enough about diabetes to give you much other information, but wonder if your cat would benefit from something like that? I'd bet there are recipes along the same lines on the internet- that is how I found the initial homemade kidney diet our cat ate for a while.

FWIW, I've found that the premium carpet and upholstery cleaner that you can buy at Home Depot is great for cleaning up cat puke and is very economical. I mix it in an old carpet cleaner spray bottle (22oz?) and it takes just under 2 ounces of that concentrate to mix up a full bottle. A gallon goes a long way that way. Earlier on we were going broke buying bottles of ready mixed carpet cleaner.

Best of luck and thanks for the ideas on our old girl.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 9:03PM
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You can buy a glucometer for less than $100 and test BG on your cat at home. The problem with getting a BG from a cat at the vet is that even non-diabetic cats can easily get stressed enough to increase their BG to over 300 at the hospital. The better test, IMHO, is fructosamine, which is a one-time blood draw and measures how well regulated the patient has been over the last 3 weeks or so. I do this test about 3 weeks after starting a patient on insulin or changing their dose. It is MUCH less stressful for the patient, and gives more accurate results.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 6:35PM
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A glucose reading of 70 is NOT too low! How I would've loved to see 70 in the 7 years of treating my diabetic cat. 40 or 35 or lower can be too low and very dangerous. But 70 isn't.

I strongly advise you to buy a glucometer and test prior to each meal and each shot. Think of human diabetics; that's what they do. Do not leave it up to the vet checking now and then. Cats get stressed at the vet, the appointments will be at different times of day, all things can lead to a bad reading.

Now is your opportunity to do your cat a favor and agressively own this disease; it's not a death sentence. But you have to be on top of it and test, test, test. Visit the Feline Diabetes Message Forum and read all you can. Your cat will be much healthier for it.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 8:09PM
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Suzieque: Thanks for the suggestions - especially as someone who has been treating a diabetic kitty. My cat is extremely difficult to medicate, pill, clip his nails - basically anything other than patting him. Surprisingly, I can inject him with no major drama.

I have not tried the home BG testing as I did not feel I'd have any success because he is so difficult. I will check out the forum that you have recommended.

How long did it take for you to learn and to be successful at testing your cat's BG?

Meghane: thanks for the suggestions as well. I'll ask about the fructosamine.

Quasifish: I do remember the lack of eating problem so very well - and, my desperation at trying to find something - ANY food - that she would eat. Jars of turkey baby food seemed to work more consistently for my thyroid/kidney. It's a constant vigillance though. I'm glad your kitty is perking up a little due to the new kitty being present. That is good news.

Thanks for the book suggestion. I'll check it out! Thanks for the carpet cleaner suggestion. I'm lucky that my house is hard-wood floor and tile. I do have throw rugs that I toss out once I can no longer get them clean! ;-)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 8:47PM
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If anyone is in the Seattle Everett area, we have a case of Purina DM with 23 cans left that I would love to sell for half price to someone who has a Diabetic cat.
Our kitty had insulin resistant diabetes and acromegaly. We kept him happy and comfortable for 18 months after diagnosis but he passed a few weeks ago.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 5:39PM
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