1. Jennifer Ryerse-Jones

    Jennifer Ryerse-Jones New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2021
    I'm in Ontario, Canada. My sister has a newly diagnosed diabetic cat, Hugh, who was adopted as a stray, 9 years ago. He is an outdoor only cat, around 10 or 11 years old, orange and white short hair. My sister isn't on line, by the way. I do Hugh's insulin, 2units, currently, when my sister is on early shift. Hugh has been to the vet 3x in the last four days. First was with what turned out to be hypoglycemia (emerg vet) Second was follow up with regular vet and he was hyperglycemic third was hyperglycemic and not eating. Because there is another outdoor cat and 3 indoor/outdoor cats that dine with him, food and water are always available, which is also a problem, now with Hugh's diabetic dietary requirements. When my parents and sister moved to this location, a insulated, heated, lighted, windowed, cozy, shed was purpose built for the cats. My mother is elderly and can't go out to check Hugh and I live in the next village. That's a bit of background. My sister's vet would like her to buy a rather expensive glucometer through them. I've been reading the forums here and it seems a human gluc. would be just as effective. I'm hoping some Canadian members could give some advice on this and suggestions for the best, most available machine. These highs and lows certainly aren't doing Hugh any good and we're trying to figure things out in a way that is best for him and takes in to consideration our limited finances. Thank you!
     
  2. Nan & Amber (GA)

    Nan & Amber (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2016
    Hello and welcome!

    Getting Hugh regulated is certainly going to be a challenge with him being outside and sharing a feed station with other cats, thank you for trying to help your sister out with all of this!

    What kind of insulin are you using? 2U is on the large side for a starting dose (most insulins, we suggest something more like 0.5-1.0U). Did the vet reduce the dose after the hypo?

    Is he eating currently? If not, that's the top priority right now. Hopefully he's feeling a bit better after vet visit #3 and starting to get his feet under him.

    For your specific question: I am a little rusty on what's available in Canada, but we do have lots of Canadian members so hopefully some of them will be along soon with some specific advice about human glucometers. I think the biggest expense for you guys is test strips, but there might be some deals you could take advantage of if you use a human glucometer (ShopKo senior discounts/days, maybe?).
     
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  3. Bron and Sheba (GA)

    Bron and Sheba (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2015
    Hi and welcome
    @Red & Rover (GA) is from Canada and may be able to help

    Here is a copy of what @Wendy&Neko said in another post about Canadian meters
    Yes, start home testing - we are strong believers in that and see way too many people here having to learn to test when there is a low numbers crisis, so better learn the basics now. Most of us use human meters here - much, much cheaper in Canada! You want a meter that has as small a blood drop requirement as possible to make it easier for you. The Freestyle is one such meter. I've heard some people in Ontario buy at Shoppers and get points they use on test strips, plus shop (or get a friend to shop) on seniors days. Shoppers is too high priced here. I found Safeway pharmacy (Sobeys) cheaper - go figure. Do shop around. Costco also has decent prices for testing supplies. Cheapest of all is buying on line, though less convenient if you need something right away. The Bravo meter is the best price there. Or get another meter you like and get the test strips on eBay. We have a couple members, who are testaholics, that buy strips on a subscription service. If you get so you find you are testing a lot, we can get you details on that.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Red & Rover (GA)

    Red & Rover (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2016
    Welcome. Waving from the Kawarthas.

    A lot of people use the FreeStyle Lite meter (strips $80/100 - and you are going to go through more strips than you think). The advantage of the Freestyle Lite is that it takes the smallest amount of blood (0.3).
    And yes, you save up and use PC points to buy them.

    There is a coupon for a free meter here. Just don't tell them that the meter is for a cat.
    https://www.freestyle.abbott/ca/en/order/lite.html

    One online option is the Bravo meter. The strips are half the price but it requires a 0.6 drop of blood and you need to order strips online.
    This means that if you have a hypo situation, you cannot rush out to the store and buy some more. If you go with this meter, please have at least 300 strips on hand (100 in your hypo kit) at all times.


    There is also a subscription strip service for the Contour meter called OneDrop.
    @AmandaE uses it.
     
  5. Red & Rover (GA)

    Red & Rover (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2016
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  6. Jennifer Ryerse-Jones

    Jennifer Ryerse-Jones New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2021
    Thank you! Hugh is on Lantus. He started off on 1u, then 2, following an in-clinic curve, then 4, following another curve. He's a big cat and, I think, 11 or 12lbs. The vet said except for the diabetes, he's healthy from head to tail. We've been giving him mitrazapine and he acts like he'll eat, but doesn't. As you say, it's difficult to know if he's eating when we're not around. He's always been an aloof cat, so I'm thinking all this attention lately is weirding him out!
     
  7. Jennifer Ryerse-Jones

    Jennifer Ryerse-Jones New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2021
    Greetings from Scotland/Oakland area! My sister said she could rent a meter from the vet for a day, but, from my nursing days, that doesn't make any sense to me. We tested prior to each injection, then gave insulin according to scale. However, that was humans, not cats. Thank you for the link for the FreeStyle. Today is her day off, so I'm going to talk to her about this.
     
  8. Jennifer Ryerse-Jones

    Jennifer Ryerse-Jones New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2021
  9. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Those dose increases are unsafe. 1 unit is a good starting dose, but it should be raised in increments no bigger than 0.25-0.5 units. If he went hypo, that dose should have been immediately reduced. If it were my cat I would

    1. go back to 1 unit twice a day
    2. buy a meter (human ones are fine to use)
    3. feed ALL the cats a low carb wet food such as fancy feast pates. That way it doesn't matter what food they eat. Just no food at least 2 hours prior to the preshot test once you start testing.

    I have a video in my signature showing how i tested my cat CC at home.
     
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  10. Red & Rover (GA)

    Red & Rover (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2016
    Oh, you must get lovely birds going through in the spring and fall.

    The vet will try to sell you a pet meter. Strips for a pet meter are crazy expensive. $2/strip. Tell your sister to tell the vet that they cannot afford it over the long haul. And believe me, that's true. The vet will then reply that a meter specific to pets is needed and that a human meter will not work. Granted there is no way to compare readings from human and pet meters (all we know is that the numbers get closer to each other when lower and a high reading is high no matter what meter). However …

    Before pet meters, vets used human meters. It was the glucometer company that saw a money maker and designed a pet meter. A human meter works just fine. Using our spreadsheet will help you keep track of the numbers and see patterns. It also allows the experienced people here to look at your spreadsheet and advise when asked.

    There is a wealth of information and experience here, and people have done the research.
     
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  11. Sienne and Gabby (GA)

    Sienne and Gabby (GA) Senior Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    @Red & Rover (GA) is absolutely correct! A human meter is just fine. In fact, the Tight Regulation Protocol for Lantus and Levemir was developed by a vet using a human meter. Most of the dosing methods here were developed using human meters since that's what was available when this site first started 25 years ago.

    If you don't have a printer, etc. you can bookmark the pages that Kel (Red) linked. Over time, you may want to organize your FDMB links. We tend to share a lot!!
     
  12. Jennifer Ryerse-Jones

    Jennifer Ryerse-Jones New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2021
    They do get Friskies wet food 3x a day, but have kibble available at all times. Hugh wasn't given any insulin 'til this past Mon., after he was discovered to be hypo last Sat., and is now on 2u, twice daily, whether he eats in front of us or not. I've suggested my sister get a human meter, rather than renting one from the vet for one day. It certainly makes more sense to me, to test him pre shot. Thank you for your insight, and I will watch your video and have my sister come watch it, too.
     
  13. Jennifer Ryerse-Jones

    Jennifer Ryerse-Jones New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2021
     
  14. JanetNJ

    JanetNJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    You want to always test before each shot to make sure it's high enough to shoot and then try to get at least one mid cycle reading to see how low it's going so you can adjust doses.

    Dry food typically is around 35-45% carb. There are a few lower carb dry foods (epigen 90, Dr elsley's clean protein, and young again zero carb). For the diabetic, who needs extra water, they shouldn't really have any dry.
     
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  15. Nan & Amber (GA)

    Nan & Amber (GA) Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2016
    With an outdoor-only cat who is not (yet) being tested, has already had a hypo, and is possibly on a high dose, I wouldn't remove the dry food from the equation at this time. There's far too much risk of another, more severe, hypo, and if Hugh started going low and reacted by hiding somewhere in the yard, you might not find him or even know there was something going on until it was too late. The dry food is definitely not ideal for a diabetic, but on the other hand, having it available could protect him from another hypo (a lot of cats will seek out food as their first reaction to going low).

    Let's try to get the testing going first, to give you a clearer idea of what's going on with him and how he's reacting to the insulin dose. Janet's video is fantastic for this, we also have lots of other tips for getting started once you have yourself set up. I like the idea of getting the advice of your local pharmacist on human meters, and also trying to steer yourself towards the more laid-back vet. You do what you gotta do... ;)
     
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  16. Jennifer Ryerse-Jones

    Jennifer Ryerse-Jones New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2021
     
  17. Jennifer Ryerse-Jones

    Jennifer Ryerse-Jones New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2021
    Yes, because my sister works full time, differing shifts, I can't be there all the time and the other cats in the equation, the kibble has to stay. I've also been corrected by my sister that Hugh is more likely 16-17 years old and weighs 14lbs. He doesn't look pudgy, he's big, solid cat. I so appreciate everyone's thoughts, advice and suggestions!
     
  18. Sienne and Gabby (GA)

    Sienne and Gabby (GA) Senior Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    I agree with Nan -- rapidly changing food would not be a good idea.

    If you're concerned about the multiple cats, they can all be eating the same food. Cats are obligate carnivores. They need a diet that's primarily protein since they can't process vegetables or fruit. (Take a look at the label on some of the cat foods that are out there! It's pretty depressing.) There are a handful of dry foods that are species appropriate -- Young Again Zero Carb and Dr. Elsey's Clean Protein. There are also freeze dried raw food that are low in carbs. You may want to look into those as options for your crew.
     
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  19. Jennifer Ryerse-Jones

    Jennifer Ryerse-Jones New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2021
    Thank you. By the way, I was reading the quote under your cats names. I just buried a beautiful, female cat that'd been hit and left at the side of the road for almost a week, while the neighbourhood near to where I found her, debated who she might belong to. I've done this before, but it never ceases to upset me for ages afterward. 'Pretty Girl' was buried where my Jack in the Pulpit, trilliums and other precious native plants bloom in the spring.
     

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