I noticed in March 2014 that Morgan had lost a lot of weight quickly so took him to the vet. He had lost four pounds since October! I asked for bloodwork to be done (he was going to be 12 in August) and it came back that his glucose level was high. A urinalysis showed that he had become diabetic. The normal blood glucose level for cats is 4.4 - 6.6 mmol/L ... his was 28!
Cats will generally show a gradual onset of the disease over a few weeks and it may escape notice for a while. The condition is unusual in cats younger than seven years old. The first obvious symptoms are a sudden weight loss (occasionally gain), accompanied by excessive drinking and urination; for example, cats can appear to develop an obsession with water and lurk around faucets or water bowls. Appetite is suddenly either ravenous (up to three-times normal) or absent. The back legs may become weak and the gait may become stilted or wobbly. Owners should watch for noticeable thinning of the skin and apparent fragility: these are also serious and indicate that the animal is metabolizing (breaking down) its own body fat and muscle to survive. Lethargy or limpness, and acetone-smelling breath are acute symptoms indicating likely ketoacidosis and/or dehydration and demand emergency care within hours.
Here's my boy in mid-April 2014 when we discovered he was diabetic doing what he does best.
We learned how to treat his diabetes. We had to give him insulin shots twice a day. Here's what's involved when you have a diabetic kitty:
|The used needles go into this container and |
we drop them off at the vet when it's full
Morgan has to eat before he gets his insulin. To ensure he's eaten, we switched him from always having a bowl of kibble out to feeding him an overweight management soft food twice a day. We also switched Crumpet over to a healthier diet of soft food (essential care) from the vet.
|Getting Morgan's 0.5ml insulin ready|
We were giving Morgan 0.5ml insulin twice a day. I noticed that his appetite had picked up, he gained weight back, he was peeing less and his glucose level stayed within the normal range.
Glucose levels are checked by testing blood from the vein in one of his ears.
Within a week or so (by the end of April 2014), though, his glucose level went down below that of a non-diabetic kitty, which could be fatal. I let our vet know right away and he said not to give Morgan any insulin 'til his glucose level is 15 or more ... it stayed within the range of a non-diabetic kitty. I monitored it twice a day for a month or so and then the vet said that once a month would be okay.
His glucose level stayed within the normal range for almost a year ... until this past February when it shot up to the mid-20s. I contacted our vet right away and he said to start giving Morgan 0.5ml of insulin again and monitor his glucose level. Nothing was shifting so I had to keep increasing the amount of insulin every day by 0.5ml until I saw his glucose level get into the normal range ... it took a couple weeks and it ended up that 7ml was needed.
I monitor Morgan's glucose level twice a day. If it's higher than 15, I give him 7ml of insulin. If it's lower, I don't (as per the vet). He's fallen into a pattern where every day and a half, he needs 0.7ml insulin. The vet says that that's his "normal".
|My happy sleepy boy last week|