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Cat has Diabetes - Need Advice regarding Vets please

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Bubblychaz, Nov 8, 2019.


  1. Bubblychaz

    Bubblychaz PetForums Newbie

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    I have a cat who is around 10 years old and an indoor cat by her own choice.

    I took her to the Vets Monday 4th November 2019 after she had a few accidents around the house Monday morning.

    She had also started to lose weight and was drinking and asking for food more often. So after only just changing pet insurance last week from Morethan to petplan for the cat and dog. I weighed up do I wait as I can not claim for 2 weeks or do I just take her to the vets, thinking possibly she needs worming and maybe has a urine infection, as she had a urine infection a few years ago. Well I took her to the vets Monday. It was my own silly fault changing insurance and not allowing for time to make sure we was still covered by Morethan.

    (Petplan states “Cover for injury will start as soon as you take out a policy online or over the telephone. Cover for illness starts 14 days afterwards.”)

    So we went vets, Vet wanted blood tests, I paid £194 for Monday visit. Vet said there was high glucose in her blood and wanted to a urine test. She did say a urine infection and stress could give it high sugar levels. So I take her back Tuesday and she had to be there from 9am till 5pm, Mouse decided not to give them her urine and they had to take it by shaving her belly and from my understanding a needle into the bladder. This was then £165 on Tuesdays bill.

    We then have to wait for results.

    I get a call a Thursday 7th November. Mouse has:

    A urine infection - £30 for a antibiotic jab and £22 for consultation. – This is fine, and I am trying to get her into vets (Hopefully today 8th November to get this done, just need to call in morning to check for cancellations).

    She may be stressed – I need to buy a £25 pet remedy diffuser from them.

    She has diabetes – This shocked me at first, But then it makes sense. She has been sicky for 5 years, Her weight has jumped from 4.5kg to 3.5kg over the year every year. She’s always been fussy about water also. Fresh every 6 hours. She goes on and off food like a yoyo. We was told we had to get her Hypoallergenic or sensitive cat food around 5 years ago when she first started being sick after eating, we tried a lot of different foods. We currently feed Iams wet and Purina one sensitive (This really helped with sickness. She went from sick daily to once a week).

    Vet said she needs insulin – Prozinc £90 every two months. Syringes and sharps bin and Blood monitor kit.

    She also needs a Diabetic Diet. We have order Purina Diabetes Wet and royal canin Diabetic biscuits. (I think we are aiming to replace her current diet, and then slowly wean out either the wet or biscuits. I don’t want her to have a really big change in one big go. Shes always had biscuits throughout the day and wet at night and in morning).

    Vet has estimated for the next 4 weeks we will need to visit each week and each visit will be around £160. I think they called it a fructosamine test.

    After 4 weeks, we would look at fortnightly and each visit being £160

    Then it should go monthly and visits being £160.

    We have spoken this evening about this repeatedly looking at all options. I can not 1. Put her to sleep for diabetes. 2. I can not “Just do nothing”. 3. I can not “just do nothing” until February. I don’t see any other option than if she needs treatment, then she needs treatment. We wouldn’t not treat a child. We will pay what we need to pay for the cat's health

    However when speaking on a facebook chat group we found a lot of people saying these vets fees do not seem right and are awfully high, A few members suggested coming here and asking for advice and what others previous experiences were when their cats were diagnosed. Some suggested changing vet, but then we will need to pay for the test again?

    If anyone could advise that would be great
     
  2. Psygon

    Psygon Yoshi Tonks! :-)

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    Sorry to hear your cat has been diagnosed with diabetes.

    It's a number of years since we had a diabetic cat, but those numbers you've quote sound high to me.

    A few things you can consider are, getting a prescription from your vet to buy the insulin on line which should reduce the £90 cost. Most vets charge for the prescription, so you'd have to find out that cost and then look to see what the cost of buying the insulin is but I think it should work out cheaper.

    When our cat was diagnosed we were sold diabetic food by our vet, but that was quite expensive. We did a lot of research and gradually transitioned her on to a low carb and high protein diet (basically she was mostly on a dry food diet and we moved her to a wet diet). We didn't buy the vet food and just bought food online. I'm trying to think what food we ended up giving, but it's a few years ago now and I'm not 100% sure.

    Other people with diabetic cats might be able to give more up to date advice on the costs of all the tests. @chillminx perhaps can help

    Oh and one thing I will say about changing vets, if you approve the transfer of files sometimes they don't need to do extra tests if your current vet notes are well written. At least that's my experience anyway!
     
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  3. Bubblychaz

    Bubblychaz PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you!

    You have given me a lot of hope on the financial side!

    I have been looking at a site called animed and I have also now sent an email to all our local vet practices so hopefully a cheaper vet is also a possibility!

    Ive heared a lot about caninsulin but apparently cats have a better chance of remission with prozinc..

    I think right now I am possibly best of waiting to hear back from others and their experiences and hopefully other vets

    Thank you
     
  4. ebonycat

    ebonycat PetForums VIP

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    I have a diabetic dog & I buy her insulin online at Animeddirect.co.uk. I buy a prescription from my vet costing £10, make sure it states repeat six times. I then buy it online for a lot lot cheaper.
    I use a vetpen which I also buy the needles from the same site. The needles are also a lot cheaper.
    You can buy syringes online cheaper as well. Check out on the above site & also on VioVet.co.uk
    I use both of these sites every month for a lot of my dogs meds etc & other animal products. You would probably get diabetic food cheaper online as well.
    VioVet also sells blood glucose monitors & testing strips, again a lot cheaper than vets.
    You might also have to buy urine testing strips, diabetics are prone to urine infections so it’s cheaper if you test it at home yourself, these can be brought cheaper online as well. If I remember rightly Amazon was cheaper for these. If you then discover you cat has a urine infection you can ask your vet for antibiotics or again ask them for a written prescription & buy from either Animed or VioVet.

    @chillminx is lovely & so helpful with everything to do with cats, she also has a diabetic cat herself. I’m sure she will be more than happy to help you.
     
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  5. ebonycat

    ebonycat PetForums VIP

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    I’ve just had a look on zooplus.co.uk. And they sell Purina diabetic wet food & Royal Canin diabetic wet food, also Royal Canin diabetic dry.
    But they also sell a lot of better wet foods, low carbs, high protein foods.
    Many of us on here buy from Zooplus for our cat foods, litter etc as it’s really reasonable & better foods available.

    My vet never tried to sell me diabetic food for my dog, I feed her a better food. She’s very sensitive to certain meats, grain etc. But I feed her a better food & she’s doing well on it.

    Once you find the correct insulin dose for your cat you won’t have to go back monthly I don’t think.
    My dog has yearly check ups. Every year/ eighteen months she goes in for the day for what’s called a glucose curve. It’s where they test their blood every two hours to monitor the effectiveness of their insulin. I think that costs around £100/ £150, can’t remember but that’s yearly/ eighteen months.
     
    #5 ebonycat, Nov 8, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
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  6. Bubblychaz

    Bubblychaz PetForums Newbie

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    Hi

    Thank you for your response. Animeddirect.co.uk Seems to sell everything I need?

    Im thinking ordering from one place and then Im not paying Postage to lots of places.

    Our cat has always been spoilt with food, so food cost is the one thing that doesnt bother me, its the £160 every week that shocks me.

    I am doing as much reading as possible on this. I really do not want to get it wrong.

    anyone have experience with caninsulin vet pen?
     
  7. ebonycat

    ebonycat PetForums VIP

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    That’s the VetPen I use on my dog.
    On Animed.co.uk you can buy a box of 100 vetpen needle tops for £32.28. So that 100 days. I buy my needle tops & insulin from Animed.
    I was told by my dogs diabetic nurse that I could use each needle top twice, so once in the morning & night, then I change the top after I’ve done her evening insulin dose.
    A sharpie box last ages as you just throw the top in it.

    You then buy the insulin cartridge, a box of 10 for £65.
    Make sure on your written prescription your vet writes 10 for amount.
    You used to be able to buy single cartridges but now they have to sell them in packs of 10.
    For my dog I use 5 per month (she’s on 9units twice a day), so a box of 10 lasts me two months. So works out £32.50 a month. Which is a lot lot cheaper than vets will charge.
     
  8. MilleD

    MilleD PetForums VIP

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    Did you transition from one insurance straight to another without a break? I've been looking at insurance recently and the 14 day wait period was mention unless we had previously had insurance up to the date of the new policy starting.

    It's obviously to stop people just taking out insurance when something crops up, but if you were insured beforehand, that wouldn't be an issue.
     
  9. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Bubblychaz - I am so sorry to hear about your cat's recent diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus. My 9 yr old cat was also diagnosed with DM this year, and it was a shock to me. I have had a diabetic cat before, but she was a senior cat.

    With regard to food, the main thing is to wean your cat off dry food. Dry food is all very high in carbs, even the prescription food, and you need your cat's diet to be low carb.

    Re: the diabetic prescription wet food, my vet would prefer my cat to eat that, but my cat refuses it. So I am feeding my boy a diet of low carb foods I buy from Zooplus and a high street pet store.

    These foods from Zooplus:

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/canned_cat_food_pouches/miamor/pate/542550

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/canned_cat_food_pouches/thrive_complete/283334

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/canned_cat_food_pouches/leonardo/wet_food/478464

    From pet stores:

    https://www.canagan.co.uk/cat-food/wet-cat-food.html

    (He likes the Chicken & Duck, and the Chicken & Turkey)

    He also has some home cooked chicken, turkey, and a fried lamb kidney a couple of times a week, (all good protein for him and no carbs).

    If you're planning to buy a Blood Glucose home testing kit, then you can do a "curve" at home, once a month for one day. My vet prefers this, as it means the results are more likely to be meaningful when the readings are taken in the familiar surroundings of the cat's home. In the surgery cats get stressed (my cat gets very stressed by the vet testing him) and this increases the cortisol level which causes BG levels to rise.

    Prozinc is the best insulin on the market for cats, and statistically most likely to achieve a remission. If you do as ebonycat does and get a prescription from your vet for a year's supply (one 10 ml bottle + repeats) and buy at one of the on-line pet pharmacies you will save money. I buy Prozinc from the vet and it costs £58 a 10 ml bottle, more than enough for 2 mths supply, so your vet is adding quite a high mark up on the insulin.
     
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  10. Bubblychaz

    Bubblychaz PetForums Newbie

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    Hey

    Thanks for the replies.

    We feel we made a lot of progress today and the vets also reviewed the £160 visit price. Its more looking at £76 now.

    When speaking to other vets alot of vets have said they would need to see the cat and run their own tests so this would be more cost.
    Our vets will allow us prescriptions however would prefer us to buy first lot from them so its there and we can be shown how to administer it.

    So we need to buy a glucose test kit? Any ideas or advice on this please?

    Thank you for all the links I have book marked them all :)

    Feeling so much better now, finally stopped crying. :)
     
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  11. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    Diabetes really does not have to cost a huge fortune so please don’t despair!
    Lots of good advice above already so I’ll just add a few notes.....
    Skip the prescription foods and go for low carb wet food ( no dry at all) Bozita from zooplus is perfect if she will eat it.
    Insulin doesn’t go off after a month....use the bottle till it’s finished.
    Buy a basic human glucometer NOT a specific pet one. Choose one that takes the tiniest blood sample 0.3, I like the Freestyle monitor which uses ‘butterfly strips’ I think @chillminx bought one of those.
    If you home test then you do not need Fructosamine tests at the vet, they are expensive, stressful and not particularly useful.
     
  12. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Paddypaws - My vet, whose special interest is feline diabetes, is adamant the expiry of a 10 ml bottle of insulin is 60 days. Does she not know what she is talking about?:confused:

    Yes, I did initially buy a Freestyle glucose monitor but the advice of my vet was to obtain a meter that's been calibrated for use in pets, so I bought an AlphaTRAK2 from Animed and prefer it to the Freestyle meter.

    The AlphaTRAK gives an accurate reading from one tiny drop of blood which only needs to be placed on one edge of the butterfly strip.:)
     
    #12 chillminx, Nov 8, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  13. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Bubblychaz - I am pleased you are feeling a bit better. :) I sympathise, as I remember how shocked and tearful I was when my cat was diagnosed with DM. It took a few weeks and several visits to my kind, helpful vet, before I began to feel calmer and more accepting. x

    Re: Blood glucose monitors - I prefer the AlphaTRAK2. My vet also prefers it, as is calibrated for use in pets. But if you want to save money, the Freestyle should give an adequate performance.

    I agree, it's a good idea to get your first bottle of insulin from the vet, so she can show you how to administer it. It's not difficult, but if you're not used to sticking needles in anyone, or in yourself, then it is as well to be shown how to go about it. You also need to ensure you don't have an air bubble in the syringe as you draw the insulin from the bottle. Your vet will show you all that anyway. :)

    Regarding weaning your cat off dry food, it is best to do it slowly, so you avoid the risk of an insulin overdose and a hypo. The highly respected Dr Lisa Pierson has written an excellent guide to managing the diet of a diabetic cat. Well worth a read:

    https://catinfo.org/feline-diabetes/
     
    #13 chillminx, Nov 8, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  14. ebonycat

    ebonycat PetForums VIP

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    I also have the AlphaTRAK2, which I brought from Animeddirect.
    After using a couple of times you do get used to using it.

    Believe me I know it’s a scary time you’re going through, a bit daunting injecting your cat (dog in my case), scared you might do something wrong but once you’ve been shown how to do it & once you’ve done it a few times it does get easier & becomes second nature.

    I’m glad you’ve stopped crying, I remember I cried lots of tears over my dog & her condition & also thinking I can’t cope with it all but believe me the feelings do pass.
    Of course you’re forever worried about them but they cope really well once you & your vet finds the correct insulin dose & it starts working for them.

    Once your vet has shown you a few times how to use one I agree with @chillminx buying a monitor for home use would be much better for your cat. I know how my cats are at the vet, one of them just wouldn't cope with having to keep going to the vet.
     
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  15. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    some insulins are more stable than others, and some users are more careful with handling of that insulin than others...but no insulin is suddenly going to stop working bang on day 60. I’ve used second hand donated bottles that are a year out of date, and achieved excellent results....but then I test bg before and after every single shot so I always know exactly how the insulin is performing at any given time.


    I think both the Alphatrak2 and the Freestyle meter use exactly the same ‘butterfly’ strips, both requiring only 0.3 ml blood sample. Of course the Alpha track branded strips cost around £50 for a box whereas the Freestyle strips can be found for around £10 online.
    In fact both meters look uncannily similar, with price being the most obvious difference!
    Diabetes is a huge money spinner for a vet practice, and tragically the costs involved are sometimes just too high for owners to continue with, ending in the cat being surrendered to rescue or pts.
     
  16. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Paddypaws, the Patient Information Leaflet with the Prozinc does state clearly the "shelf life of the insulin once the bottle is opened is 60 days". I understand it is not going to suddenly cease to work on day 61! ;) The manufacturers mean they can't guarantee the quality of the insulin after day 60, but of course the quality is going to deteriorate slowly and may well be fine for another month. As you say this is less of an issue if one is testing BG before and after every shot, but not everyone is able to do that.

    I agree the Butterfly strips look the same for both Freestyle and AlphaTRAK2. I have a large box of the Freestyle strips and intend to try one in the AlphaTRAK2 before I run out of the A.T2 strips, so will see if they work as well.
     
  17. ebonycat

    ebonycat PetForums VIP

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    @Paddypaws The costs are a huge difference from buying from vets to buying online.
    I guess I was lucky with my vet as it was them who mentioned buying all my dogs meds, insulin, needles etc online.
    So the decision on whether of not to carry on with treatment or having to have her Pts was easier for me to answer.
    But the costs are just too much for some people & so they have no choice but to surrender or Pts.
    My vets have never even tried to sell me the prescription diabetic food.
    Having reading everything I found online about diabetes in dogs I discovered it’s better to feed a low carb, high protein diet.
     
    #17 ebonycat, Nov 9, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
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  18. Bubblychaz

    Bubblychaz PetForums Newbie

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    Hello,

    Sorry I did not respond, We had an emotional week.

    So I raised the money to pay for her treatments, We estimated our worst case scenario at £205 a check up (if they had to keep her in to get urine and bloods), That we would need £3,000 over the next 6 months.

    Shes now on Purina diabetic food.. and is also now asking for food all day long.. she seems hungry alot... But I am sure she will get use to this? I feed her am and pm (I am to do insulin when she eats).

    We got her on caninsulin, 2 units every 12 hours. Vet said not to give her it less than 12 hours, but we can if its 12+ hours. Its also ok if we need to miss one.

    Well. This is not going to work :-( last weeks scehdule looks like:

    Monday she had 3pm insulin at vets
    Tuesday 7am - (no evening one because Wednesday morning would have meant 11 hours)
    Wednesday 6am - 6pm
    Thursday 6am - 7pm
    Friday (no morning one had to leave the house at 5am) - 7pm
    Saturday 7am - 7pm
    Sunday (no morning one - called into work at 5:30am - 7:30pm)

    This weeks work schedule looks like (can change at any time though - these are times I leave for work - typically I work 8-12 hours, It can take 30 mins -2 hours to drive to work depending on traffic)
    Monday leave at 7:30am
    Tuesday 5:30am - Home in afternoon, back to work for 3pm (leave work again 5:30pm - home at 6:30-7pm)
    Wednesday 6:30am
    Thursday 7am Home in afternoon, back to work for 3pm (leave work again 5:30pm - home at 6:30-7pm)
    Friday 5:30am

    Monday, wednesday and Friday I may be able to do 2x 12 hour injections I think? But with Monday having a 7pm injection, I cant do 5:30am Tuesday morning.

    My week schedule is never the same.. She will be missing insulin all over the place :-( What can I do?
    Partner has a huge fear of needles and faints around them.

    I am now worried, is one injection one day and two another day going to do more harm?

    Just want to do whats right by her, She is depressed and stressed. But I cant see how we tackle her mental state and Diabetes at the same time.
     
  19. Bubblychaz

    Bubblychaz PetForums Newbie

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    We do not want her to suffer because we can't do her Insulin as instructed

    We do not want to put her to sleep either. She really is an amazing cat. So placid and non reactive to any other animal.

    We just don't know what to do. My partner and I have discussed rehoming her, but I would not even know where to start. Ideally I should look for someone who understands diabetes or already has a diabetic cat? I don't know.

    Just don't want her to suffer
     
  20. ebonycat

    ebonycat PetForums VIP

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    Sorry to hear things aren’t going smoothly. I will tag @chillminx & @Paddypaws and hope they can advise you x
     
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