Saturday, December 21, 2013

The continuing saga of Ivan and diabetes

Some cat owners dedicate themselves to creating a web page about the ailment their pet suffered through. I'm sure there are human family members who do this for the illness their child, spouse, or parent is dealing with. Some of these sites are not much more than personal journals, but a few are amazingly well-researched. They are written to help others in the same situation, because the author recalls their own frustration and despair at just not knowing what to do, and searching vainly for information.

Ivan has not been doing well recently on ProZinc insulin. The dosage has been going up and up, and after a brief (a week or so) return to good levels after each increase, his blood glucose levels would rise again. So my veterinarian recently prescribed a switch to Lantus. After a brief bout of sticker shock ($224 Rite-Aid, $221 Walmart) I found that the Cornell University pharmacy had it for around $175. So over $200 poorer (I needed U-100 syringes instead of the U-40s I'd been using with ProZinc so that upped the cost) I settled in to wait until Ivan's last ProZinc day was up to start the change to Lantus.

I knew the first day wasn't going to be very informative for me. However when his glucose levels briefly started downward after four hours, but then began climbing again after eight hours, I allowed myself a bit of despair and decided to distract myself by hunting around on the web to find out how other people had gotten through the first few days of a switch of insulin types. And believe it or not, I found a page specifically dedicated to Lantus (glargine)and switching to it.

Tilly's Diabetes Homepage (In German and English)

Here is the protocol published by the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

I would never change my veterinarian's protocol based on a web page, and happily, from reading this page, I won't be tempted (for all I know, she used that very journal article to set up Ivan's protocol). However it was somewhat reassuring to find a well-written and researched overview by a cat caretaker who had been through this all, and had done more than write a blog blurb---like I'm doing now.

This morning Ivan received his second Lantus injection, and I was relieved to see before I fed him breakfast and gave him the Lantus, his blood glucose level had actually fallen somewhat the last four hours. His breakfast shot will "overlap" with the effects of his dinner shot from last night, so I'm hoping we'll begin to see some improvement today and throughout the weekend, so I have some decent news when I report in to my veterinarian on Monday.

In the meantime Ivan is restless and wandering, which is how he usually is when his glucose level is too high. He finds different places to lay (like the uncomfortable antique rocking chair in the photo above), instead of his usual favorite spots. Perhaps he hopes he'll feel better in different places. Nonetheless he is amiable and affectionate, greeting the other cats and myself with head-butts, and giving me the silent meow when he feels he's not getting enough to eat (sorry, buddy!). I have enough old cats to know when they are no longer happy, and Ivan refused to become unhappy. So he's my little feline money pit, and seems content to remain in that role. Just like a cat.

Do you know of other excellent web pages that a pet guardian maintains on a specific health issues they experienced with their pet? Please feel free to post it in comments!

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