HCM+diabetes? how hard to manage?
- Hello all,
Bleach threw a blood clot in her front left paw last year. She was
diagnosed with HCM (very advanced stage) and was given 2 months. She
was also released from the emergency hospital within 24hours since
she was labled "untreatable patient" (she turns into a cornered feral
cat at the vet's office) and released to my care since it was bad to
her heart to be so upset. Since then, the vet and I have been
managing her remotely, as we both know bringing her to the clinic is
very bad for her.
now the news:
Bleach threw a major blood clot this morning (6am). This time, it's
the classic thromboembolism, as she lost mobility to her hind
quarters. Right now, she's in the oxygen tank, sedated (since she
gets too upset), and seems stable for the time being. They started
her on heparin and is hoping to get some blood circulation back (when
we brought her in, they couldn't get any pulse in her hind quarters,
and one of her front paw was also very cold.
I had taken her to the emergency hospital (different from the one I
went last time) prepared to put her to sleep (thank goodness this
happened while we were home!). But the attending doctor suggested
that we treat her for and see if she responds to treatment and not to
make hasty decisions (big difference from the first place). So we
left her with the hospital.
But in addition to all this, for the past week, she's been acting
funny, and drinking lots of fluids, so I knew something was up (CRF
was suspected). I had set up for getting urine sample to the vet
when she threw this clot. so I took this opportunity to have her
blood work checked.. and lo-and-behold, she's turned diabetic!
I guess the normal blood sugar level is like 140, hers was like, 600!
Another vet at the hospital just called and told me that provided
that she recovers from this clot episode, she will now have to be in
2xday insulin injection.
So my question is, how difficult is it to monitor and give insulin to
cats? Do people use house kits to monitor glucose level, or is this
something I have to have the vet do? I'm willing to deal with it as
long as it will not further tax Bleach (I just don't want her to
suffer just for the sake of me), and I'm not sure if I can draw her
I've been giving her dandelion root extract based in glucose for a
few weeks to get fluids out of her, and I'm now wondering if that
caused this diabetes.
Right now, Bleach is on Enacard and Diltiazem. the projected insulin
injection is 12hours apart. My husband and I both work, so this is
sort of do-able but not much supervision during the day.
Any insights to this situation is
- I have been treating a diabetic cat for 2 years (not my HCM cat).
Treating diabetes by itself is very easy. Home blood testing is a
snap once you get the hang of it. You use the same glucometers that
human diabetics use. And giving insulin shots is 100 times easier
than giving pills. (What I wouldn't give to be able to give Morris
injections of diltiazem and lasix instead of pilling him!) The whole
routine takes about 15 min in the morning and 15 min at night. And I
have a very hyeractive diabetic cat. If you have a lazy lapcat who
just wants cuddling and will stay in one place, it should take you
half as long.
As others have said, www.felinediabetes.com is a great place to go
for advice. They can provide you with info on giving shots, home
blood testing, ketone testing (I explain more about that below), and
how to save money doing all this.
In addition, if you want to email me privately, I'm at
foxfried@.... (FYI, I just adjusted my settings so I don't
automatically get all the posts on this board emailed to me, so it
would probably be a good idea to send me a private email rather than
wait for me to answer a post to the board.)
Some things you should know.
1. When treating diabetes plus another serous disease, you treat the
other disease first. Meaning that you would give food, medicine, etc.
appropriate for a cat with HCM, and adjust the insulin dose to deal
with these things. This is pretty easy to do if you are testing blood
glucose at home.
2. Stress, particularly the stress of going to the vet, can raise
blood glucose numbers a lot, so the glucose number the vet gave you
may not be accurate. This is why home testing is so important.
3. Illness can raise the blood glucose level. Since your cat is not
feeling well, that could be the reason for the high blood glucose
level. (FYI, the blood glucose level you mentioned is not that
uncommon for a newly diagnosed diabetic cat.)
4. The heart medication could be causing or aggravating the
diabetes. Changing or stopping any of the meds might change the
blood glucose level and the insulin requirement, which is why home
blood glucose testing is very important.
5. VERY IMPORTANT--Has your vet checked your cat for ketones? These
are substances that build up in the blood when the cat doesn't get
enough insulin, doesn't get enough food, or has an infection. Too
much ketones in the blood can lead to a fatal condition called
diabetic ketoacidosis. You should immediatley purchase a box
of "ketostix" or "ketodiastix" at the drugstore and start testing
urine for ketones. Ketones can build up very fast, and they are the
type of thing that are cheap and easy to treat in the beginning when
they are at a low level, very expensive and hard to treat when
they've built up to a high level.
Once again, feline diabetes is an easily managed disease. Most
diabetic cats die of old age or complications from other diseases.
Tigger, my diabetic, has been fine in the 2 years since diagnosis and
has not had any complications at all. I have a feeling the only
problems you will have will have to do with the HCM, which you are
alreay dealing with.
Marcia and Morris (HCM) and Tigger (diabetic)