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Owner's descriptions of the health & lifestyle of their diabetic pets. 

Shadow Shadow is a shorthaired brown tabby. She was diagnosed in June 1999 when she was 11 years old. I was a nervous wreck when Shadow was diagnosed with diabetes! On the one hand, I was glad she had something treatable, but I worried that she would be miserable, that I couldn't take care of her properly, and that she wouldn't allow the shots. She acted so sick and exhausted, and her blood glucose was over 600.

More than two years later, she is doing great! The shots are part of her routine now, and she usually doesn't even seem to notice them. Her diabetes care takes only 5 minutes per day, and the extra care has strengthened our bond. She is perky, bright-eyed, and playful. It took about 8 weeks to regulate her on insulin, which is a relatively short time. She improved every week during that time, too. She has never experienced any diabetes-related problems, and her life is quite normal and happy.

I'm so grateful that her diabetes turned out to be something so completely treatable, which has not affected our lives at all since we got used to the new routine. Yes, I still worry sometimes, and I do have to either be home at shot time, or make alternate arrangements. But that's a small price to pay for having my Shadow with me.

We received so much help and encouragement from the Petdiabetes mailing list and the Feline Diabetes Message Board  All these wonderful people helped me understand my options to help Shadow, and encouraged me with their success stories. We've been lucky not to face any additional problems, but I know these people would be there to help me if we needed it.

If your pet is newly diagnosed, please don't despair. With a little extra care, he or she can have a wonderful quality of life with you. Please feel free to e-mail me at ShadowsSJ@aol.com if you have questions about Shadow's story.
   -- Contributed by Susan; August 2001


On his 13th birthday, our Maine Coon type cat Ben had lost one pound so we took him to the vet for a check up. In the past, he had a hyperthyroid which was treated by radiation. He also had two episodes of feline urologic syndrome (FUS) where he must eat a prescription food from the vet. In April 2000, the vet found that Ben was a diabetic. 

It seemed overwhelming at first. Every two weeks, he would go to the vet for a curve and she would add one more unit of insulin. I didn't home bg test at that time. Then in the summer after two months and two visits to the Emergency Room where I was nervous about Ben, I decided to home test for his bg levels. It gave me an awareness of his levels and I was able to do curves at home. It lowered the cost of the disease and brought better diabetes control for Ben. I found that his insulin changes in the summer and winter - the weather changed his appetite and his metabolism. 

Also, finding the feline diabetes site helped me to discover everything else. There are some wonderful people on that site. This past summer, my daughter learned how to home test and give Ben his shots. I was also to travel and relax more. Ben does go to the vet sometimes to be boarded but his diabetes isn't so overwhelming now. He will live a full life. 

So many people and some members of my family can't believe that diabetes is manageable. Ben's only symptoms of the disease were drinking, peeing, and a loss of one pound. He is a home cat so I know everything about his habits. I put out his food for the day and know that he will be fine. Right now, his insulin is Humulin N and he gets about four units. This will change again with colder weather...I have learned to adjust and to take things easier. --Contributed by Bamberg September 2001


Max has always been my favorite. First I suspected he was urinating more frequently, but didn't pursue it because I had 3 other cats and didn't truly know which one it was. Then, one Saturday morning, I picked him up and he felt lighter to me. That was it - I called the vet immediately and brought him in later that same morning. My vet did a urine test and told me Max's blood sugar was 488. I remember my reaction was, "So? Is that bad?" Little did I know!! So began our journey. We started on Glipizide, but Max was too smart for me and used to wait until I walked away and then spit out the pills. Needless to say, he blood sugar was not reduced significantly, so we started the insulin injections. Back then, the vet put him on Iletin Lente, which is no longer available. He regulated pretty quickly, but two months later, I moved to Colorado from New Jersey. Max was terribly stressed and at one point, his sugar level was over 600! He also dropped from his normal weight of 20 pounds to 10 pounds. I was really panicking at that point, but was lucky enough to find the outstanding folks at Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, who literally saved his life. We've had a lot of ups and downs over the years, but Max has hung in there just fine and this past May, he celebrated his 15th birthday. I never thought we'd see this milestone. He has been insulin dependent for almost 8 years. I've never heard of another cat who has lived this long with diabetes. We are both incredibly lucky! Actually, I attribute it to love. Max has been completely and thoroughly loved his entire life and I think that gives him incentive to find all the colds, infections and just plain discomforts of diabetes and now, old age, tolerable. (Max was diagnosed in Feb. 1995 when he was 7-1/2 years old)


I was not shocked when my Mini Pincsher Zartantion (ZAR) was diagnosed. with diabetes.  I sort of knew with the bed wetting, constant thirst and acting like he never ate before. (I have a 40-year old diabetic daughter).  He was diagnosed in June 2002 at 5-1/2 years old. He was put on several different amounts of insulin and we have settled in at 7 units per shot twice a day. He eats Hills WD prescription canned food but wants something mixed with it or he just won't eat it. I mix in cooked chicken, egg, or sometimes meat juice. Now I noticed he can not see very well, bumps into things etc. so we are going to the vet this week and I already know he will be blind (my daughter is also blind) so I do not have a problem with that. I walk him and he goes in the fenced pen but I must make sure he doesn't bump into the fence and get hurt. I am thinking of another dog for a companion for him (we always had 2).  I guess he will do ok, as my daughter did. And I sure know how it works by now. -- Contributed by Kathy Nov. 2002

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Updated December 2002
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