Top 8 things required to optimize treatment of a diabetic cat

Below is my Top 8 list of things that will help you to regulate your diabetic cat.

1) A diabetic cat: really, otherwise, what's the point? (small joke)

2) A glucometer used to measure blood glucose: We use the AccuCheck Advantage. Many people do not test their cats at home and the cats do just fine. However, it can save a lot of money by not getting curves done at the vets as well as time and stress on the cat. As well, it's is a great tool if something doesn't seem right and you want to see if your cat is suffering from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

3) A low carb cat food. Feed your cat what he will eat. However, if you can switch to a high quality low carbohydrate cat food, that may reduce your cat's insulin needs. My diabetic cat does not like wet food much, so I am feeding him Science Diet MD, a lower carb dry food available by prescription from the vet. He likes it, so we are sticking with this for now.

4) A cooperative vet knowledgeable in feline diabetes: We are lucky, our vet is wonderful and lets us do all our testing at home and then report in to her, where we make dosing decisions. It would be a nightmare if we had to take Kitty to the vets for this!

5)Insulin: A long lasting insulin such as PZI, Lantus, Caninsulin/Vetsulin.

6) Syringes: We started with Caninsulin and the syringes that we purchased did not work well for us. Kitty would fight his shots. We ended up buying syringes from the pharmacy, BD Ultra Fine, 31 gauge, short needles and have not had a problem since. Note that insulin comes in different strengths, U100, U40, U50 (all of which indicate the number of units of insulin ber ml). Therefore, if your cat is getting Caninsulin, a U40 insulin and you wish to use the U100 thinner syringes, you would need to inject two and a half times as many units using the U100 syringe. If you were giving your cat 2 units of Caninsulin, using the U100 syringes, you would take the insulin to the 5U mark. Please make sure to double check with your veterinarian before changing syringes. Ideally, it is best to use the syringe designed for your insulin, but there are options if you run into trouble.

7) Ketostix: These are available at any pharmacy and are used by people to check for ketones in the urine. Ketones are formed when there is a) not enough food and/or b)not enough insulin. The body starts to metabolize body fat, and a by product is ketones. A serious complication of ketones is possible diabetic ketoacidosis (dka), which requires immediate veterinary attention. If you ever check your cats urine and see ketones, it is best to contact your vet immediately.

8) Patience: Regulation is not a race. Start with low doses and increase slowly. Cats can live with high blood sugar for a long time (it has been 5 months for us with little improvement) but extremely low blood sugar can kill very quickly.

Good luck treating your diabetic cat!