Feline Diabetes

I mentioned in my introductory post for our cats that our oldest kitty Bright-Eyes has feline diabetes. She was diagnosed just over 3 years ago. It hit her hard and fast. She went from being a pudgy but slowly losing her excess fat kitty to so skinny you could feel her bones protruding under her skin and we thought she would die in less then 3 weeks. I got so desperate I called a local vet office and told them I was bringing her in, I didn’t ask I told.

The vet office saw her and took her into the back where we couldn’t follow. From what I gather they ran several blood tests and a swath of various other tests. It took around an hour. The doctor finally came out and brought our poor kitty who’d had patches along her shoulders and sides shaved off for the tests. She was PISSED. They told us they were nearly 100% sure of the diagnosis of diabetes but had to wait for extended results to be sure and then if it was she would need to be dropped off for a day so they could monitor her blood sugar level to decide how much insulin she’d need.

All I can say is pet insurance works. By the time we’d finished with the testing and getting Broght-Eyes set up with the first bottle of insulin and box of needles we’d easily spent over $500. I know that’s no small amount, but the year before she’d been ill and afterwards we decided upon getting insurance. After the initial deductable annually all of her medical expenses are covered including blood work and needles and insulin. It’s more then paid for itself. We share a plan with my mom and last year her cat was diagnosed with cancer. She spent $2700 altogether just on the surgery and testing amd meds for that in 3 months. ALL of it was covered. They give us more money back annually then we spent on our monthly premiums.

When we first stared giving Bright-Eyes her insulin it was every 12 hours and 7 units at each dose; 14 units a day. We give her her needle at food time which is also twice a day and only wet food. This always happens at 5:30. Yes even on weekend one of us, usually me, gets up and feeds, waters and gives her a needle. I’m not gonna lie and say it’s easy; it took several months before I could do it without flinching and now it’s just a part of our morning routine, but it’s worth it since she’s ours and family.

In the 3 years she’s been diabetic we’ve gone from 14 units a day of insulin to 2 a day as of yesterday. We’re hopeful to send her into full on remission within a year or so meaning that hopefully she’ll get to spend her last few years not being constantly pricked and poked. Cats are unique in the diabetic world this way. It’s most likely if it’s caught early and properly treated.

We’ve also gotten her weight firmly under control. When we adopted her she weighed in at 22 lbs. Yeah 22. She was 11 when she was dropped off at the Humane Society and came out a year later double that. Before she got sick we’d gotten her to about 18, pudgy but a lot better and able to move around and climb on the furniture. When she got sick she went from 18 to 11 in 3 weeks. It was so quick and drastic the doctors thought she would have permanent muscle damage and loss in her hind legs. When she walked it looked like she was wearing giant clown shoes the way her lower legs flopped as she moved. It was scary and so very sad. Now I’m so happy to be able to say there has been some slight loss in muscle but she walks normal and is almost fully back up to par in her leg strength. She is now 16 lbs 8 oz and has been for a year.

We never imagined anything like that would or could happen to a cat we owned and now that it has we’re just very greatful we caught it in time and that we’ve been lucky enough to keep it manageable. Of course there are some sacrifices, like going away requires a lot more planning but it’s now to the point we can at least be a few hours later in giving her a needle and are even able to give her dry treats sometimes. The vet’s are very impressed with how well she’s doing and said to keep doing whatever it was. They even asked which foods we’re using assuming it was one of the special(expensive) vet brands, nope, we use Friskie’s indoor wet food brand. We get all the flavours to mix it up for her but it’s working and we’re very happy about it. I highly recommend it to anyone with a diabetic kitty.

If anyone else out there has a beloved pet with diabetes or another daily illness I feel for you and hope everything is doing well.

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