Cat Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Greetings!
I'm new here. My poor Goofy cat is sick, and nobody's sure what's actually involved. I need some feeback and ideas here, and I'm asking if anyone has seen something similar. Here's the tale.

My Goofy Cat is 14 years old. A neutered, all black male.

Around January he developed an infection on his lower jaw. It seemed to be an infection in the soft tissues, lip and jaw, rather than the bone. We took him to the Vet and he got a shot and was put on an anti-biotic. It was delivered in liquid form (he's not much for pills). It was white, and I can't remember the name. The drug had cortisone in it (which, due to its bad taste, can make the kitty foam at the mouth a bit). Not fun, but he was infected. He was on for 10 days.

The infection was beaten back, but resurfaced 2 weeks later, and he was put on anti-biotics again. Because of the nasty taste I asked for amoxillan, since we had used that before with good results. Again, it was delivered in liquid form and the brand was Pfizer's "amoxi-drop." However, this stuff had cortisone too, and it tasted bad, so I got the same stuff without cortisone. But during this time he started to act like he was getting run down. The switch was partly prompted for his acting run down, and wanting to use something less bad tasting until the regimine was completed.

Suddenly he started to appear more ragged and less groomed. His water consumption went through the roof (it was early April by this time). The jaw infection was beaten back, but the anti-biotics were discontinued after 8, rather than 10 days.

He was exibiting all the classic signs of diabetes. His water consumption was terrific and he urinated very frequently (no litter box use problems). He seemed "off" and "not himself," but he was still very affectionate and his appetite reamined good.

A blood test revealed slightly elevated blood sugar, and a good deal of fat in his blood. The vet said the elevated blood sugar was consistant to a reaction to the cortisone in the anti-biotics since it was known to elevate the blood sugar in some cats, but not high enough to consider it a problem. He mentioned that cortisone could actually create diabetes-like symptoms in a cat that could take several weeks to clear up. The fat could indicate liver failure, but there was really no way of knowing for sure.

It is now Almost July. His drinking is still very excessive. He looks a bit scruffy and doesn't seem to keep himself groomed and sleak like he did. But he does not smell, and doesn't have problems with matting or foreign objects being stuck to his hair ( he's a short hair). In other words, he is clean, but his hair doesn't have that sleak, glossy appearance that he used to have, and seems kind of frazzled. His appetite is very good, and he is affectionate and attentive. He even still hunts and has had some successes.

However, he has lost a startling amount of weight. He is gaunt and boney. He lacks the energy he once had, and has good days and bad days. He went from a 13 pound cat to one that feels closer to 5.

That seems to be all the classic symptoms of diabetes, but his breath does not have an acetone odor.

My vet is not sure what the problem is, and he said a detailed diagnosis would be extremely expensive and so stressful on the kitty that would likely do more harm than good.

OK, that's the information. Now the questions. I have asked my vet these questions, but he is not a cat specialist and we have none in this area.

1. Can diabetes start so suddenly? The symptoms appeared in less than a week. 1 week he was healthy, and the next week he had the symptoms.

2. Can anti-biotics trigger diabetes?

3. Can the cortisone in an antibiotic trigger diabetes?

4. Can liver failure show these same symptoms?

5. Could the anti-biotics have triggered the liver failure?

6. Is there some disease or condition out there that can create these symptoms (and hopefully is treatable)?

7. Is it possible, if the symptoms are induced by the anti-biotics, that this could slowly clear up?

8. What should I do?

Anything you've got to tell me I want to hear. Goofy is a wonderful cat, and is my wife's special buddy (the other two are my buddys, but Goofy pays attention to both of us), and it would break our hearts to lose him like this. He's only 14. He's obviously in distress, and if I have an idea of an approach to take maybe we can do something.

Mogadeet
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Ah, I see you have a black kitty (Cleo). All our kitties are black kitties, and they are unique.

Mogadeet
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
722 Posts
Did the vet check his thyroid? It could be that...Are there any safe treatments available for diabetes in cats that wont harm the medication cycle hes on now and wont cause any unwanted side effects, meaning could he take them even if he doesnt have diabetes as a precautionary until you find out what he does have?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I have no idea if he checked Goofy's thyroid. Thanks! I'm glad to have a direction to pursue.

We could put him on a regime of medication, he is taking absolutely nothing now. We stopped the antibiotics, and his jaw infection did not resurface (it is healed).

I believe the jaw infection was from a mouse bit or something. He is quite a mouser.

Mogaddet
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,131 Posts
You're right. It does sound like classic diabetes signs. It can come on that fast. I know my cat's did. The other questions you've asked are beyond my ability to answer.

I'd seek a second opinion. Your cat weighs only 5 pounds down from 13? I'd seek it quickly. Explain the whole story to the new vet and ask for a fructosamine test. They're not terribly expensive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
The appointment's been made (10:00 AM tomorrow).

Is a Fructosamine Test another word for a Blood Sugar Test? Or is it a different test altogether?

I'm glad to know the symptoms of diabetes can come on this fast. The speed of the symptoms is one of the things that alarmed me, since in humans diabetic symptoms develop very slowly.

Mogadeet
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,131 Posts
I'm not exactly sure what the difference is between a fructosamine test and a blood glucose test. I assume that they're similar because the root word is "fructos" which is a kind of sugar. I think a normal BG reading for a cat is 80-100. If your cat is stressed it can easily shoot up to 200. My cat's BG was at 503 when he was diagnosed. My vet usually charges me about $35 for the fructosamine plus the cost of the visit.

I hope he doesn't have diabetes and that whatever is wrong with him heals quickly. If he does have diabetes we can discuss what you can expect over the next few months.

Here are a couple of links for you so you can learn more about feline diabetes. http://www.felinediabetes.com and http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=library&act=show&item=felinediabetesbasics
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Greetings!
We did the battery of tests. It looks like everything is OK except that he has diabetes. He hasn't gotten Acetone breath yet because he hasn't progressed to that stage yet. I was told he would be off his feed and ready to go when that happened.
His glucose level was 455. I don't remember what the rest of the numbers were.
I talked to my regular vet by phone and he told me that Goofy could have had the symptoms for quite some time, and the cortisone effect is what pushed them into the limelight and hastened them. The other vet agreed. My regular vet had told me that cancer could create those symptoms in him but he didn't believe Goofy had cancer. The other vet agreed. The other vet didn't have the equipment for a Fructosamine test, but told me that with a glucose level of 455 it really wasn't necessary.
I was concerned about his "young" age (14), but had been told by my regular vet that when he first became a vet he would see most of his "old" cats at 12 and 13 years old. Now that age seems to appear at 16 to 18 so he says that cats are living longer just like people. The other vet said that 14 is a ripe old age for a cat, and the cats he sees that live longer than 16 are in the minority. He has seen a cat still alive at 24, but reminded me that there have been people living longer than 105 too, but how common were they?
They both told me that treating a cat that age would do more harm than good. My regular vet recommends against trying to treat diabetic cats older than 5, and cautions on older than 2. The other vet drew the line at 8, but said that anything over than 2 usually has a very poor success rate. Both vets said that you can't gauge insulin dosages well at all in cats. My regular vet calls it a "crap shoot." The other vet said "there's no reliable monitoring system." Both vets said that the removal of the dosing strips that used tears from the market was a huge setback. Neither thinks blood testing is reliable or good in cats.
My regular vet said to wait until he became uncomfortable before doing anything, pointing out that the kitty was not really suffering, but was only wasting away. He thought that Goofy had another month or two of happy life left in him, since he wasn't in pain.
The other vet said he could put him down now if I wanted, or would when I requested it, but otherwise didn't offer many suggestions.

This is a heartbreaker. Goofy was such a sweet and loving kitty. We'll make sure his last months are really good, and we'll spoil him rotten until the time comes.

Thanks

Mogadeet
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,131 Posts
Mogadeet...

I disagree completely and entirely with the advice of both of your veterinarians. Sabastion was diagnosed at the age of 12. The average lifespan of a cat after a diagnosis of diabetes is 2 years and he's still going on strong almost two years later and is healthier than he was just a year ago. I know my time with him is limited, just like with any other 14 year old cat, but if I can make that remaining time good for him, I'll do it!

I don't even know where to begin... so I guess the beginning...

Like I said, my vet wrote me a prescription for Humulin L (a type of insulin) that was filled at my local pharmacy. She then taught me how to administer injections. We started Sabby at 2 units. I brought Sabby in weekly for fructosamine tests. We raised the insulin unit by unit until his BG stabilized. After about six weeks, we moved to monthly visits until we were sure he was stabilized. Now we go twice a year. I keep Karo syrup on-hand in case he goes into hypoglycemic shock. You can also purchase home blood glucose monitors from your local pharmacy and test blood from your cat's ear if you can't afford to go to the vet weekly. I was lucky in that my vet only charged me for the tests during this time period. The visits were free.

I switched Sabby to a low-carb diet (canned Wellness is the perfect food for a diabetic cat since it has almost zero carbohydrates). Since his blood sguar wasn't spiking from dry food anymore I was able to lower the amount of insulin I gave him every day.

I took these steps and now Sabby is living with not dying from diabetes.

Treating or not treating this disease is entirely your decision. Neither I nor your vet can make it for you. And if you decide that euthanasia is the proper course, I won't try to dissuade you.

At the very least, start feeding your cat canned Wellness. That most likely will help your cat's blood sugar. In some cases, it treats the diabetes all by itself.

My heart goes out to you. I'm so sorry that you have to go through this. :cry:

Edited to add: Also, you can purchase Ketostix from your pharmacy. They test urine for the presence of Ketones. This is very useful for diabetics. How can you collect urine from a cat? This just came out on the market: http://www.felinediabetes.com/pet-supplies/cat-litter-box.htm
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I'll check out that Wellness. If that makes him more comfortable then it will be greatly worth the price. Thank You!

Mogadeet
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,908 Posts
You probably don't want to hear this, but I would say...get yet ANOTHER vet!! A cat can be treated for diabetes at ANY age, and many cats with diabetes live very long, happy lives. Your cat is really not that old. I worked for a vet and i saw cats much older be diagnosed with diabetes and live many more years with treatment....I suggest a 3rd opinion 8O Keep us posted!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,014 Posts
Maybe you can call around the vet offices to find a vet in your area that will treat diabetic cats. I've never heard of a vet giving up on a cat just due to diabetes :evil: . If you can find a vet that treats diabetic cats, at least you would know what it would entail to get Goofy healthy again, and then you could make an educated decision.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,235 Posts
I agree with everyone else. Get a 3rd opinion and one who has treated diabetes before and willing to do treatment. It really seems like your cat can live a long, healthy life so its definitely worth it. Good luck and let us know what happens :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
The consensus wasn't that they wouldn't treat a diabetic cat. Their position was that it would cause a great deal of pain and suffering for the cat, and could go as far as materially damage the quality of the cat's life. Treatment was risky, dangerous, painful, and would wind up making the cat suffer for little additional gain.

Much like performing a code on a very sick 80 year old with severe osteoporosis.

If the treatment could be done without subjecting him to unnecessary suffering then I would go for it, and both vets would assist if that's what I wanted. They both knew of diabetic cats being treated. Their reaction was one of wincing at what the cat was going through. They considered it cruel, difficult, and more apt to come up with a dead cat than anything else.

I have a living will myself, so I'm covered for this dilemma if it's me.

Also, I have "Cat Owners Home Veterinary Handbook" by Carlson and Giffen, and they say "Daily injections of insulin may be required in some cats but the dosage level is very idfficult to adjust. The amount of insulin cannot be predicted on the basis of weight. It must be established for each individual. Small increases can produce coma or seizures. For success of initial therapy it is important that each cat be hospitalized to determine his daily insulin requirement." Both vets considered the meter method of determine blood sugar level to be an awful way to do it with cats (the method which used tears was far superior but you can't get that now), and even if they established the level once, there is no guarentee that that would hold true for any length of time.

If I could have him treated without impacting the quality of his life I would. But I have been clearly told by two vets at two separate places the same story. How likely is it that they would get it wrong exactly the same way?

Mogadeet
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,131 Posts
I guess I was just lucky. Regulating Sabby was time-consuming and expensive, but not difficult and he never went into hypoglycemic shock (those seizures your vets are talking about which is caused by too much insulin). I had my Karo syrup on hand just in case, though. Sabby seems to look forward to his two daily insulin injections. In fact, he will remind me to do it by sitting on my feet and staring at me when it's time.

However, Goofy is not Sabby and their treatments would be different. There's no telling how Goofy would react to treatment. He may take to it like Sabastion, but he may also go into hypoglycemic shock and pass away. We just don't know.

Treatment for feline diabetes is surprisingly similar to treatment for diabetes in humans. I think its the fact that cats are so small that makes it more difficult. The fact that Goofy weighs half as much as Sabby did when he was diagnosed makes it that much more difficult.

If he did take to treatment the way my cat did, his quality of life would skyrocket. He would feel the same way he did when he was a young adult. He'd gain weight, his fur would look pretty, and he'd begin to play heavily again.

Switching Goofy to a high-quality low-carbohydrate wet food like Wellness might make all the difference. In that case you won't deal with any of the side-effects your veterinarians are talking about. Those side-effects only occur when you begin injecting insulin.

Out of curiosity, do the two vets you have seen work at the same clinic?

Here's hoping for the very best for you and Goofy. Good luck. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,908 Posts
Anissa, maybe you were just lucky, but I can think of about 6 cats off the top of my head that have diabetes and were diagnosed between the ages of 9-13, and are all doing well after several years. I am not going to pretend that I know alot about feline diabetes, because I don't. I'm not a vet, and I have never personally had a cat with it; but from what I have heard it really can be a treatable disease. Mogadeet, I can't imagine what you are going through. It has to be incredibly difficult. No matter what happens, I am sure you will find lots of support here....my thoughts are with you.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top