replied 2 years ago.
Hello, and welcome!
My name is ***** ***** it will be my pleasure to be of help to you and Pepper today. I'm sorry you're worried about him (you used both 'him' and 'her' in your description of the problem, so I'll stick with 'him') and his glucose reading.
If he has already been 'regulated' on his insulin dose by the vet, and has done well on the Lantus 2 units each morning, that's great! If he's still in the stage where he's getting stabilized on the insulin dose, 77 may be considered a low reading for him, but it is within the normal range of blood glucose for non-diabetic cats. There are different guidelines, depending where you read them, for normal readings of blood glucose in diabetic cats. The following site says it's between 100 to 300.
Pepper should be eating a canned cat food (or dry) that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. There are different manufacturers of diabetic foods for cats made by Science Diet, Purina, and many more. If he was refusing to eat any food, baby food chicken or turkey is good as a temporary measure (make sure it contains NO onion or garlic), but does not have the necessary nutrients and vitamins essential to a cat's needs. Your vet was correct, that it's important for him to eat whatever he will, even if it's not specifically a 'diabetic' cat food. I fed my diabetic cat Wellness CORE and EVO, because they are high in protein and low in carbs.
I understand your frustration in doing daily readings at home, because it is NOT easy and it takes a lot of practice for both you and your Pepper, to get it right and get into a routine. Here are some helpful videos (I know, it makes it seem so easy! : )) with good pointers from http://www.felinediabetes.com/bg-test.htm:
Note: Your cat may not initially behave as these cats do, but it will certainly give you something to look forward to. Many cats end up this calm after only a week or two of testing. Frustration is normal, but you *can* do this!
Tips and Tricks
Please read the walk-throughs and instructional sites for more in depth help.
When you get a test reading of over 300 on a human meter, you will probably see KETONES? flash on the screen. This is a warning to human diabetics and does not indicate your cat has ketones. Most meters cannot test for ketones. One meter CAN test for ketones.. the Abbott Precision Xtra meter (known outside of the USA as brand name Precision/Optimum/Xceed).
Rice socks are commonly used to warm the ear. Rolled oats may also be used. Put a few tablespoons of rice or oats in a sock, knot it, and microwave it 20-30 seconds. Test on your wrist before applying to your cat's ear. After a minute or two of the warm sock, the ear should be warm enough to prick.
Other methods of warming the ear include: warm wet washcloth in a ziploc bag; vigorous massage/rubbing; wrapping the ear around a pill bottle with warm water in it.
To hold or not to hold? Some cats prefer not to be held. You can use the "knee catch" where you back the cat between your knees while kneeling. You can place the cat between you and the sofa arm. You can wrap the kitty in a towel, like a kitty "burrito". You can test the cat wherever you find her. You can have a testing table or counter, where you place kitty for every test. Or you can do what I do - Sit on the floor with kitty in your lap. All of my cats are tested this way, but it doesn't mean it's the only way. Try everything you can think of, request advice if you need it, and give treats and praise for every single behavior you want to reinforce. The more positive the experience, the more likely it is to be accepted.
Bribery is the best reward for testing. Most cats stop being annoyed with the tests in a very short amount of time if they are properly bribed. Some use cuddling and scritches as a reward, others use treats. Whatever you use, make sure kitty gets a reward for every test, even if it was a dismal failure.
Your mental state will be key to both successful tests and successful shots. Your cat can sense when you are nervous or upset and will respond accordingly, frequently trying to flee the scene. Feel positive that you will "get this thing done", and that approach will go a long way towards soothing a stressed pet. Human frustration is easily sensed and disparaged by cats, so if you feel it coming on, take a break.
A dab of vasoline or neosporin with pain relief can help the blood pool rather than soaking into the fur, and helps to heal the ear after the prick.
Using a tissue, always apply pressure to both sides of the ear for 20-30 seconds or so to stop the bleeding (or blood under the skin) and prevent bruising.
A personal note: I have been testing cats now for a long time, both diabetic and non-diabetic. You will hear people, and maybe even your own vet, say cats hate it, or they will scar for life, or that this is a painful procedure. This is simply not true. None of us have terrorized cats with scarred ears - what we have are thriving cats with perfect ears who are alive because we hometest.
Watch these videos and see for yourself how quickly cats not only adapt, but thrive, with home testing. These cats are not rare, or "the mellow kind". They are normal cats, just like the one you own. Most cats come to look forward to testing time and the associated love, treats and healing. They are as smart as you think they are, and they will almost immediately associate that testing is part of why they feel better."
I'm glad Pepper does not seem lethargic at this time, and is acting normally, but these are signs of hypoglycemia to watch for, if his bg goes too low:
I'm sure you were told to always give the insulin with or right after a meal.
At this time, it would be advisable to put a call in to your vet to report Pepper's last glucose reading and ask if he should be given his next injection, as scheduled. Your vet is the only one who can tell you this, having seen Pepper in person and knowing his medical history, plus his stabilization level on the current Lantus dosage.
Getting too much insulin can be fatal; having a higher bg reading than usual, definitely needs vet attention, but is not as dangerous as skipping a dose and not giving insulin, if you're not sure.
If Pepper should show any unusual symptoms before you can reach his vet, definitely have him seen at an ER vet center, immediately.
As a diabetic cat parent, always have Karo corn syrup, honey and/or pancake syrup in the house, in case of an emergency with hypoglycemia.
I hope all will be well with your sweet Pepper!
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