The Tragedy Of Tommy Boy
My Tommy Boy has his angel wings... Tommy Boy Tommy Boy, my little macho tabby cat, was born in the palms of my hands to a stray mother cat, Maryann, whom I had taken off the street. Four litters of Maryann’s kittens had grown up feral in the street, and come to a variety of awful fates. A nice lady down the block was feeding them, but she was elderly and unable to TNR. The day I saw Mary pregnant for the fourth time in three years, I said, “OK lady, that’s enough. You’re coming with me.” I grabbed her, took her in over her great protests, and she had her babies, 7 of them, in my home with my husband and myself as midwives. Breaking the cycle, Tommy Boy and his siblings began life in safety and love, in a home instead of the street. Tommy Boy wasn’t a runt but he was the last born. I could always distinguish him from his brothers and sisters, who were all identical tabbies, by the white tip on the end of his tail. As Tommy Boy grew up, I also recognized him by his vanguard personality. He was the first to do everything; the first to open his eyes, the first to walk, the first to climb out of his baby bed at only two weeks old. He was the first to seek out human company, and the first to try to climb the virtual Everest (to him at 4” long) of our bed. At approximately three weeks old, Tommy Boy started coming clear across the apartment to sit on my foot as I worked. That pretty much cemented his status as a member of our family, and when all the other kittens got adopted to new families, Tommy Boy stayed. Tommy Boy had a long, mostly happy life. But the point of my article is not to write Tommy Boy’s life story, only the end of it, which broke my heart and was entirely unnecessary, so that other guardians of diabetic pets can learn from my mistake. Tommy Continue reading >>
Question And Answer – Diabetes
Dear Your own Vet, My cat was diagnosed with Diabetes mellitis yesterday. She now will not eat and is in a kind of a coma. What do I do? Please help? Kaitlyn King Dear Kaitlyn, WHAT IS DIABETES? HOW DOES DIABETES MAKE MY PET SICK? SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES IN PETS DIAGNOSIS OF DIABETES HOW IS DIABETES TREATED? WHICH PETS ARE AT RISK FOR BECOMING DIABETIC? HOW DO I GIVE INSULIN INJECTIONS TO MY PET? WHAT DO I DO IF MY PET ON INSULIN GOES INTO A COMA OR LOOKS WEAK AT HOME? GENERAL CARE OF THE DIABETIC PET Diabetes mellitis is a disease where the body cannot move sugar out of the blood into the cells where it is needed. Blood sugar sits normally between 3 and 5 mmol/l but can increase in stress situations (especially in cats) to up to 10 mmol/l and still be considered normal. Most diagnosed insulin dependent diabetics have blood sugar levels over 18 mmol/l and up to over 30 mmol/l when diagnosed. There are two forms of diabetes in animals: 1. Due to a lack or shortage of insulin.The pancreas ( a small organ lying behind the stomach) produces insulin. Disease of the pancreas such as pancreatitis can damage the pancreas. Sometimes the immune system attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas, which makes them stop working and in some cases we don’t know why the pancreas stops making insulin. Think of insulin as a taxi that drives sugar from home to work. Without insulin, sugar can’t get to work inside the cells and sits in the blood, getting higher and higher. 2. There is enough insulin but the body develops “insulin resistance.” The body no longer recognizes normal levels of insulin and thus won’t allow glucose to be moved into the cells. If the body can’t get access to the sugars it needs for energy, your pet will feel lethargic and hungry at the same time. Continue reading >>
Cat Diabetes – Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment
Like their human owners, cats can be diabetic. Luckily, just as humans are able to medically control their diabetes, it can be controlled in our pets, too. Amazingly, in some cases, after a while, a cat’s pancreas may even heal or regenerate and start producing insulin again. The vital thing is to get your cat to the vet the minute you notice any potential symptoms. Feline diabetes can be treated, but if your cat doesn’t get care quickly, the disease will kill him. Symptoms When cats aren’t feeling well, their instinct is to try to hide it, which means cat owners have to be vigilant. One of the major early signs of feline diabetes is drinking excessive amounts of water. Because it can no longer process glucose, your cat’s body just expels it, along with water – which leads to another sign of feline diabetes: excessive urination. Other early symptoms of feline diabetes are increasingly lethargic behavior, a dull coat, dandruff, extreme changes in appetite, and extreme changes in weight. Even if your cat is only experiencing one of these symptoms, take him to the vet. If feline diabetes is left untreated, you’ll start seeing more symptoms, including impaired movement of back legs, vomiting, and breath that smells fruity or like nail polish remover. Without treatment, a cat will fall into a diabetic coma, and soon die. How do cats get diabetes? There’s no definite answer to this question. We know that some cats are at higher risk than others: the disease tends to attack older, neutered male cats who live indoors and are overweight. Burmese cats also show a higher rate of diabetes. But diabetes can affect any cat, regardless of age, weight, gender, or breed. If you have the slightest suspicion that your cat is diabetic, don’t think it’s impossible just bec Continue reading >>
Diabetes In Cats
What Is Diabetes Mellitus? There are two forms of diabetes in cats: diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus. Diabetes insipidus is a very rare disorder that results in failure to regulate body water content. The more common type of diabetes is diabetes mellitus. This disease is seen by the doctors at the Animal Clinic at Thorndale on a fairly regular basis, usually in cats 5 years of age or older. We have even diagnosed this disease in a 2 year old, rather obese cat. While having a “chubby buddy” may seem cute, the overweight cat is at risk for many health problems, just as is the overweight human. That said, not all diabetic cats are obese. There is also an increased incidence in older cats. Diabetes mellitus can be difficult to regulate in our pets. Understanding the disease will help you learn how to help your cat. Simply put, diabetes mellitus a failure of the pancreas to regulate blood sugar.The pancreas is a small but vital organ that is located near the stomach. It has two significant populations of cells. One group of cells produces the enzymes necessary for proper digestion. The other group, called beta cells, produces the hormone called insulin. Types of Diabetes in Cats In cats, two types of diabetes mellitus have been discovered. Both types are similar in that there is a failure to regulate blood sugar, but the basic mechanisms of disease differ somewhat between the two groups. Type I, or Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus, results from total or near-complete destruction of the beta cells. This is the most common type of feline diabetes. As the name implies, cats with this type of diabetes require insulin injections to stabilize blood sugar. Type II, or Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus, is different because some insulin-producing cells remain. H Continue reading >>
Stupid Vet Tricks
Does Your Vet Know What He/She is Talking About? What follows are documented examples of bad advice from vets on the care of diabetic cats. WARNING: If your vet ever suggests anything close to something you read here, RUN, don't walk, to a new vet. The statements seen below are WRONG, and are the products of ignorance and/or greed. Remember there are ignorant people in all walks of life, just as there are bright, well-meaning people. On Diabetes: "I can't prescribe PZI insulin — it's illegal to use on cats." This vet only uses Humulin U, and nothing else, regardless of whether or not it's working. A member of his staff admitted they don't know what PZI is, which explains why he won't consider any alternatives. I'd be surprised if the vet hadn't at least HEARD of PZI, and doubt that he really thinks PZI is illegal (it most definitely is NOT), what's more likely is that he's sticking with what he knows, and is counting on his clients just believing his "wisdom" and never checking into the validity of his ridiculous statements. Then again, maybe the pharmacist where he orders his Humulin U has some compromising photos of him. If your vet won't consider an alternative insulin or tries to strong-arm you into using one particular insulin over another, especially if your cat is not responding well to the one it's on, get yourself a new vet. The vet in this situation claims to have 300 other cats all on Humulin U — and I'd bet a lot of money that most of those cats are NOT regulated, given his dosing technique of too much, too fast (the person reporting this Vet Trick is using 7 units per shot and their cat is not yet regulated). "Home testing is illegal. It's illegal for you to prick your cat's ears at home." Yes, the same knucklehead said this, too. He wants the $90 to do Continue reading >>
Diabetes (Mellitus) in Dogs and Cats Diabetes mellitus is a disease that commonly occurs in dogs, as well as cats. Diabetes mellitus occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient amounts of insulin, a hormone that converts glucose to glycogen for storage. Without insulin, the body's cells cannot absorb the glucose and the cells are in an energy deprived state. Meanwhile, excessive amounts of glucose remain in the bloodstream. Types of Diabetes Mellitus In humans, diabetes is divided into two categories. Type I is characterized by an inability of the pancreas to produce any insulin. Type II, also called adult onset diabetes, occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, often secondary to other diseases including obesity. In animals, diabetes is not typically broken down into these types. While cats can develop insulin-dependent or non-insulin dependent forms, non-insulin dependent diabetes in dogs is extremely rare. Canine diabetes is nearly always insulin-dependent. Canine Diabetes Mellitus Symptoms Dogs can show a variety of signs that indicate diabetes mellitus. Unfortunately, these symptoms can also be present with other illnesses, so be sure to consult your vet if you notice these signs. The most common symptoms of diabetes include the following: 1. Increased thirst 3. Increased appetite 5. Vision loss (due to formation of cataracts) 6. Poor coat Diagnosing Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs Providing an accurate, thorough history to your veterinarian can be the key to discovering diabetes in your dog. The next steps will involve blood sampling; usually a comprehensive profile and a fructosamine sample will be taken. Fructosamine is a protein-sugar compound formed when glucose levels have been elevated for an excessive period. Occasionally other tests Continue reading >>
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Annabessacook Veterinary Clinic
Annabessacook Veterinary Clinic 417 Route 135 Monmouth, Maine 04259 (207)933-2165 _____________________________________________________________________________ Diabetes Mellitus in Cats There are two forms of diabetes in cats: diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus. Diabetes insipidus is a very rare disorder that results in failure to regulate body water content. Your cat has the more common type of diabetes, diabetes mellitus. This disease is seen on a fairly regular basis, usually in cats 5 years of age or older. Simply put, diabetes mellitus is a failure of the pancreas to regulate blood sugar. The pancreas is a small but vital organ that is located near the stomach. It has two significant populations of cells. One group of cells produces the enzymes necessary for proper digestion. The other group, called beta cells, produces the hormone called insulin. Types of Diabetes In cats, two types of diabetes mellitus have been discovered. Both types are similar in that there is a failure to regulate blood sugar, but the basic mechanisms of disease differ somewhat between the two groups. 1. Type I, or Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus, results from total or near-complete destruction of the beta cells. This is the most common type of feline diabetes. As the name implies, cats with this type of diabetes require insulin injections to stabilize blood sugar. 2. Type II, or Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM), is different because some insulin-producing cells remain. However, the amount produced is insufficient, there is a delayed response in secreting it, and the tissues of the cat’s body are relatively resistant to it. These cats may be treated with an oral drug that stimulates the remaining functional cells to produce or release insulin in an adequate amount t Continue reading >>
Successfully treating diabetes while avoiding hypoglycemia is the goal of every living creature suffering from the disease. Though Drs. Fleeman and Rand wrote the article focusing on diabetic dogs, much of the advice applies to all pets with diabetes. When in doubt, DON'T! If there's ever any confusion about whether or not insulin was administered, the injection should be omitted . Missing one shot will not harm your pet , while hypoglycemia can kill. If a dosage looks wrong to you, DON'T BE AFRAID to ask someone for help--your vet, an animal emergency clinic, or a canine  diabetes message board--BEFORE you give an injection of a questionable dose. Delaying a shot if you're not sure is much safer than the alternative. From the DVM 360 2007 article by Dr. Audrey Cook:  "Hypoglycemia is deadly; hyperglycemia is not. Owners must clearly understand that too much insulin can kill, and that they should call a veterinarian or halve the dose if they have any concerns about a pet's well-being or appetite. Tell owners to offer food immediately if the pet is weak or is behaving strangely." If you have only administered a portion of the insulin injection, do not try giving more. You are not certain actually how much insulin really went where it was meant to. Trying to draw more to make up for the error may result in a total of too much insulin being given--the result being hypoglycemia.  The effect could be something like hypoglycemia caused by insulin stacking (see section below). Even if every last drop from the syringe went into the fur and not under the skin, the safest thing to do is to leave it at that, not giving any insulin until the next scheduled dose is due. Missing one shot will not result in permanent damage nor will it mean that your regulated Continue reading >>
Handling A Diabetes Emergency
Emergencies can happen at any time, so it's best to be prepared and know what to do if an emergency occurs. Talking with your veterinarian is a crucial part of being informed and prepared to handle emergencies. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) The most common side effect experienced with insulin therapy is hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can be caused by: Missing or delaying food. Change in food, diet, or amount fed. Infection or illness. Change in the body's need for insulin. Diseases of the adrenal, pituitary, or thyroid glands, or progression of liver or kidney disease. Interaction with other drugs (such as steroids). Change (increase) in exercise. Signs of hypoglycemia may occur suddenly and can include: Weakness Depression Behavioral changes Muscle twitching Anxiety Seizures Coma Death See below for a list of other side effects. What to do If your pet is conscious, rub a tablespoon of corn syrup on his or her gums. When your pet is able to swallow, feed him or her a usual meal and contact your veterinarian. If your pet is unconscious or having a seizure, this is a medical emergency. CONTACT YOUR VETERINARIAN. In the meantime, you should immediately treat your pet rather than delaying management. Pour a small amount of a sugar solution (eg, corn syrup) onto your finger and then rub the sugar solution onto your pet's gums. The sugar is absorbed very quickly and your pet should respond in 1 to 2 minutes. The sugar solution should never be poured directly into your pet's mouth since there is a risk that the solution will be inhaled into the lungs. Once your pet has responded to the sugar administration and is sitting up, it can be fed a small amount of its regular food. Once the pet has stabilized, it should be transported to your veterinarian for evaluation. Your pet's diet Continue reading >>
8 Deadly Cat Diseases
Pets are important members of our families, and they make our lives whole. Since they make us happy and healthy, it is especially heartbreaking when they are sick and in pain because we can feel helpless to make them feel better. Cats make up approximately thirty to thirty-seven percent of the pets in American households, and since more than thirty-five percent of cats are acquired as strays (with an estimated 70 million living as strays in the U.S.), it’s imperative we protect our domesticated cats from disease. Throughout my research, interviews, and heavy interrogation of my friends and family, I found these cat diseases to be the most prevalent and serious. And since cats can catch these eight diseases from other cats in your house, on the street, or in the shelter, it’s important to keep an eye on them and take them to the vet if they start exhibiting any odd symptoms or behavior. Kidney disease Symptoms: dry coat, weight loss, bad breath, drooling, increased urination and thirst Since kidneys play such a vital role in everyday bodily functions – they control blood pressure, produce hormones, and remove waste – it’s pretty scary when they don’t operate the way they’re supposed to. When kidneys break down, toxic waste forms in the bloodstream, affecting other organs and leading to renal failure. While kidney disease can affect all cats of age and breed, it is especially found in cats seven years of age and older and long-haired breeds like Persians and Angoras. Acute renal failure can also occur if your cat ingests a toxic substance like antifreeze, pesticides, or human medications like ibuprofen. "What heart disease is for humans, kidney disease is for felines – a leading cause of suffering and death," says Dr. Roberta Relford, chief medical officer Continue reading >>
Can Injecting A Huge Dose Of Insulin Kill A Healthy Person?
insulin is a crappy tool to try to use to kill yourself. Not surprisingly, studies of insulin suicides are somewhat scarce, but one looked at 160 insulin suicide attempts and found that 94.7% of the PWDs fully recovered, 2.7% developed “cerebral defects,” and 2.7% were successful in killing themselves. I was blown away by the fact that your odds of being permanently brain damaged from an insulin suicide attempt are exactly equal to your odds of success. Put another way, the overall odds are that nothing will come of your attempt, but if you do have any “luck” you have a 50% chance of dying and a 50% chance of living and being brain damaged. And if you end up brain damaged, you’ll probably want to kill yourself. Of course, if you couldn’t get it right with a full brain, I don’t think much of your odds with half a brain. Oh, and it’s not just insulin. For all the risks of prescription meds, they really aren’t particularly good suicide tools. The average fatality rate for all intentional medication overdoses is estimated at only 1.8%. By comparison, trains are apparently quite effective—with an overall 90% fatality rate—as are volcanoes. Still, I can see the temptation. While estimates vary widely, and can be controversial, we all know that too much insulin can kill you. It’s one of the night terrors we all live with. And I’ll bet there’s not one of us, when filling that syringe of fluid that keeps us alive, who hasn’t had a quick shadow pass over our minds: I wonder how much of this crap it would take to end it all, forever? After all, suicide tools and methods are cultural. For instance, in the USA less than 2% of suicides are jumps from high places, while jumping to one’s death accounts for more than half of suicides in Hong Kong. That be Continue reading >>
Suicide By Insulin?
HealthDay Reporter typically saves the lives of those with diabetes, but it can also be a way for some people to kill themselves, a new review warns. People with the blood sugar disease tend to suffer higher rates of depression, the researchers explained. And suicide or suicide attempts using insulin or other diabetes medications that lower blood sugar levels may not always be an easy-to-spot attempt at self-harm, they added. "Some suicides with insulin are likely missed in people with diabetes, just as [suicide may be missed] in people without diabetes using other medications or after a car accident. Could a suicide using insulin be missed? Absolutely," said Alicia McAuliffe-Fogarty, vice president of lifestyle management at the American Diabetes Association. Insulin is a natural hormone produced by the body. Its job is to help usher the sugar from foods into the body's cells to provide fuel for those cells. But insulin is also a complex medication. People with type 1 diabetes no longer make enough insulin and must give themselves insulin to stay alive. People with type 2 diabetes don't use insulin efficiently -- this is called insulin resistance -- and eventually don't make enough insulin to keep up with the body's demands. At this point, people with type 2 diabetes also need to take insulin. Insulin can be given by multiple injections every day or via an insulin pump. Insulin pumps deliver insulin through a small tube that's inserted under the skin. The site of the insulin pump must be changed every few days. But once the tube is in, someone who uses an insulin pump only needs to push a few buttons to deliver a dose of insulin. However, getting the right amount of insulin is no easy task. Many factors affect the body's need for insulin. Exercise decreases the need. F Continue reading >>
Diabetes Mellitus In Cats
Overview Understanding Diabetes Types of Diabetes What Insulin Does for the Body Classical Signs of Diabetes Mellitus Diagnosing Diabetes What It Means for Your Cat to be Diabetic Treatment About Insulin Monitoring Hypoglycemia Spontaneous Remission Overview Treating a diabetic cat can often be a challenge. In some cats, it can be very difficult to maintain steady diabetic regulation. However, there are several important concepts that make this process much more likely to be successful. Consistency: Our goal is to find an appropriate dose of insulin that will last on a long-term basis. In order to do that, we must eliminate as many variables as possible. In other words, the more things that can stay the same from one day to the next, the easier it is to keep a diabetic regulated. Our goal is to give the same dose of insulin the same times each day, to feed the same food in the same quantities each day, to keep the activity level the same each day, and to keep your cat's stress level the same. Tight control is usually not necessary in cats. Human diabetics must maintain blood glucose values very close to normal at all times. If they don't, they will develop some disastrous complications of diabetes, such as loss of fingers, toes, feet, and hands, kidney failure, heart problems, and cataract formation. These complications are rare in diabetic cats. Therefore, as stated below, it is safer for a cat's blood glucose to be too high than too low. Hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) is almost always better than hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). As the dose of insulin goes up, the blood glucose goes down. Food intake causes the blood glucose to rise. Failure to eat may allow the blood glucose to fall below normal. The latter three above principles are applied as such: If you are Continue reading >>
Common Feline Health Concerns
BACK TO MENU We see a lot of cats that eliminate outside their box. It's a very stinky, frustrating problem. I'll walk you through the questions I consider in order to figure out why a cat urinates inappropriately and some of the steps we take to correct it. First question: Is this a medical problem or a behavioral problem? Medical problems like a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, an inflamed bladder or a bladder tumor can make a cat urinate outside his or her box. A metabolic disease, such as diabetes or kidney failure, which can make a cat drink and urinate a lot, can also make a cat urinate outside the box. Have your veterinarian examine your cat and perform the diagnostic tests deemed necessary. This will usually involve doing urine tests and blood tests. It may also involve either taking an X-ray or performing an ultrasound examination to look at your cat's bladder. If your cat is free of any medical problems, then there is a behavioral issue causing him or her to eliminate outside the box. Second question: If it's a behavioral problem, then is your cat marking his or her territory, or does he or she have a litter box aversion or an inappropriate site preference? Urine Marking - Cats that are marking their territory often urinate on vertical surfaces, like walls or the back of a chair. When a cat marks (sprays), he or she will stand and their tail quivers. Even when spayed and neutered, cats can still mark their territory. Cats may mark their territory when a stray cat is hanging around, when there is a new pet or family member, or if they are stressed about something like a diet change or not enough attention. Suggested treatment - First spay or neuter you cat. Second, try to identify why your cat is marking. Is there a stray cat coming around your house? D Continue reading >>
Doctor, You Aren’t Listening To Me... What If I Do Nothing?
A month ago my sister wanted to know if her Jack Russell Terrier could be sick because he was drinking and peeing all the time. I told her he needed to go to the vet; he could have a simple urinary tract infection or he could have more going on. Inside my head, I was screaming “diabetes” as polyuria/polydipsia (drinks a lot and pees a lot), or PU/PD as medical types call it, is a hallmark for diabetes mellitus in dogs, cats, and people. In dogs, diabetes mellitus rarely responds to dietary changes - unlike some people and some cats - and almost always requires twice daily insulin injections to control the disease. Having seen clients react to a diagnosis of diabetes, I wondered how my sister and her husband would react if they had to take care of this chronic condition that requires significant planning and scheduling. It’s not for every owner: while it’s not expensive, it requires insulin injections every 12 hours, 7 days a week for the rest of the pet’s life, with no time off for good behavior. It requires considerable commitment, which can be particularly difficult for people like my sister and her husband who work outside the home and can’t drop everything to give a pet medication at the appropriate times. I wondered what they would choose to do if their dog did have diabetes rather than a urinary tract infection. Receiving a diagnosis of a chronic disease can be difficult to wrap your mind around. During my years in practice, I noticed that there are some pretty universal questions most clients ask. “What are my options and what will happen if I do nothing?” When I hear this, I translate this into: a. How will the disease progress? Will this be a disease that progresses quickly or is it going to be something that is a nagging problem for years to co Continue reading >>