Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Symptoms of Feline Diabetes--and how I missed them all

My little Calico cat, Hestia Twilight, has just been diagnosed with diabetes. My vet called early this morning with the results of the tests and we have an appointment scheduled for early Monday to get started on her lifelong insulin injections and monitoring. After doing some Google research this morning, I see how all her behaviour changes of the past few months were diabetes symptoms. If I had known then, what I know now, I could have caught this sooner and avoided my trip to the emergency vet the other night with what turned out to be a bladder infection (a result of the diabetes).
The first thing that changed for my extremely finicky eater was that her appetite increased and she was eating nearly double her usual amount. But instead of finally gaining weight, she started to drop weight, although it took me a while to notice the drop as she has always been a thin & bony cat ever since I got her 1 1/3 year ago. The next thing that happened was that she started to play in the water dish. She would scoop her paw into it and lap off her paw and then stand in the water while lapping directly from it. Was she drinking more? That was hard to say as she was making such a mess of it. She certainly was hanging out there more and that also is a symptom. Then, she started to pee in front of the litter boxes on a sporadic basis. I really could not tell if she was urinating more often, but she was making more clean-up for me. And finally, she stopped playing with her ribbon toy.
And all that list are symptoms of diabetes. Who knew?
What finally got us to the vet was her behaviour when I came home that night. She was pacing all over and stopping to squat every few feet but no pee was forthcoming. This is an absolute sign of lower urinary tract distress, usually an infection of the bladder. Since it was after hours, I had to take her to Temecula to the emergency vet clinic. She received an injection of a new antibiotic, Convenia, that lasts for nearly 2 weeks, thus eliminating the need for forcing a pill down a cat. She also had sub-q liquids as she was dehydrated and some electrolytes also. Their in-house blood work showed all was normal except for high blood sugar. The follow-up visit to my regular vet and further blood test and urine sample showed high blood sugar (although not horribly high) but very high sugar and ketones in the urine.
Now we will began the adventure of diabetes care.
Oh yeah, and the irony of it all? My two Maine Coon guys, who came from the shelter horribly overweight and still need constant diet monitoring, are diabetes free.

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