I came back from a trip to Los Angeles to attend a wedding this past June. I am greeted by my brood, Armani being at the forefront, and I immediately notice my sweet 17-pounds worth of tuxedo walking wobbly on his back legs. He is walking on his hocks instead of his paw pads. He is sitting down -- hard -- after taking only a few steps.
I search the internet for "feline weak back legs" and get two diagnoses: kidney disease or diabetes.
I get him to the vet the very next day.
The blood tests show high levels in glucose. A visit to the vet can push glucose numbers as high as 300 since our pets are under so much stress. So, as to upset him less, I use At Home Vet headquartered in Lake Oswego.
Even so, his glucose levels are high (glucose: 264 when normal is 70-125; fructosamine just barely in the poor category: 470). His urine is high, too (4+). The vet calls it "pre" diabetes.
This is confusing to me as Armani does not have any of the other diabetic symptoms: excessive thirst, excessive hunger and/or urination. But, the tests seem to tell a different story.
My vet recommends insulin, but supports my decision to perform a trial and change his diet to see what happens instead.
But can I get Armani, who barely takes a few bites of wet food every night and just loves the small amount he eats of his dry food, to eat exclusively wet food -- and enough of it to stay sustained? Armani is not very food driven, for such a big boy; he eats very little but, again, does seem to be more interested in dry than in wet.
I feed the guys canned food 2-3 times a day. Sometimes Armani eats it all; sometimes he ignores it. His weight is not fluctuating or coming off too quickly and I make sure of keeping an eye on it with a new baby/pet scale.
Google helps me again and I find the Feline Diabetes Message Board (FDMB). It is incredibly helpful. I ask more questions than I am able to give info -- i.e. I will be trying to lower his glucose levels by feeding wet food, low carb, no grain.
I discover Zobaline (a B vitamin/folic acid derivative) and Young Again (a carb-free kibble). Zobaline, a pill, is supposed to help quell neuropathy; Young Again is to allow the kitty to eat dry food with no adverse carbohydrate effects.
The women at FDMB -- as does my vet -- strongly recommend home testing. This is when one pricks kitty's ear or paw, extracting a drop of blood and feeding that into a glucose meter to get an accurate blood glucose reading. Armani frantically moves his head or runs away after I prick him. One of the women on FDMB, who lives in SE, graciously invites me to her home so I can watch her test her kitty, Ozy.
It looks so easy! But whenever I try it I have an impossible whirling dervish on my hands. I continue to try.
FDMB is my savior once again.
"You do what you can. While you continue working on the blood testing, report on the secondary signs to let us know how he is doing."
The secondary signs are:
Water consumption: measure how much he drinks per day. There should be some reduction with this as he becomes more controlled.
Hunger: Is it a voracious, "here I come and no one can stop me?" Uncontrolled diabetes or hyperthyroidism can be detected with an increase in appetite.
The 5 Ps (aka "Whole Cat Report"): Does he Purr, Play, Preen/groom. How is his Pee -- patch size , characteristics (odor/color); and Poop: normal, diarrhea. constipation, color.
These measuring sticks work for now -- and I continue to share my findings on FDMB -- but I feel that I need to be able to prick Armani and get day to day readings. Armani still suffers from neuropathy.
Next: Adventures In Home Testing