PDlogo   Rusty's Story


Rusty Rusty was a stray orange tabby who found me in mid-April 1998. He was estimated to be about 1-1/2 years old and was neutered and vaccinated immediately after his arrival. Other than a slight heart murmur and being malnourished, he seemed to not have any other problems. He was drinking and eating excessively, but I attributed this to his malnutrition. He also was urinating outside of his litterbox, but it took me a week to find out it was him (I have four other cats). As soon as I realized he was the one having the accidents, which was two weeks after his arrival, I took him to the vet and requested a urinalysis, expecting a severe bladder infection. Instead, he was diagnosed with diabetes. The excessive eating, drinking, and urinating outside the box are classic symptoms of diabetes. Unfortunately, we do not know his history, but diabetes in a cat as young as him is uncommon.

My vet started Rusty on NPH insulin twice a day, but it's duration was poor. The second insulin was Humulin Ultralente. My vet was not pleased with BGs on this either, so we switched to locally compounded PZI. By the end of June, he was going through an entire bottle of PZI every 5 days, still having accidents, had excessive PU/PD (urinating and drinking), felt miserable, and not a single BG under 500 since diagnosis. The vet and I met and discussed a lot of things at this point. I brought up a lot of ideas I got from the diabetes lists and along with ideas of his, we came up with a complete new plan. Up to this point, we had been free-feeding Hill's W/D. He did not seem to get "satisfied" so I started feeding him 1/4 cup W/D with 1/2 jar of Gerber turkey or chicken baby food (never give a cat anything with onion or onion powder as it is toxic to them) twice a day along with his shots and free-feed dry available at all times. I am gone during the day at work, so I prefer to leave free-feed out for him in case his bg gets too low when I am not home. Along with this food, he started a powder enzyme supplement (to eliminate soft stools), a vitamin and a small amount of chromium. Within a few days, the stools improved and he stopped camping out at the water bowl and free-feed bowl.  He also had an infected place on his tail that would not heal for which the vet prescribed antirobe. All of these things happened at once and improvements were seen in Rusty's behavior almost immediately.

I also started home bg testing with a glucometer elite. There were several reasons for this: vet bills were getting costly, Rusty was becoming very stressed at spending so much time at the vets, and I was very fearful of a hypoglycemic episode because of the large doses he was getting. For the next two months, I would do a 12 hour curve on the weekend and write the numbers down along with any observations - bad or good - and would drop them off at my vet. He would advise me on how much to increase dosages and by the end of July, he was getting 18U, twice a day. Then, we started going back down on insulin because his bg was getting too low. Rusty has had lows as low as 19 without symptoms (thank goodness for the glucometer!).

We have never experienced Somogyi or ketoacidosis, although I check for that by doing home BG curves and occasional home urine glucose and ketone tests. Although his BG numbers could use improvement, we have not seen anything over 400 since July and rarely over 350. I test his BG at shot time (which is his peak time or lowest BG). If he is low, I either give a reduced dose or skip the shot, according to what my vet has instructed for a particular range of numbers. We are continuing with the current regimen since it has been so successful, but are discussing possibilities of what can be done to "fine-tune" the BGs. It is unfortunate not to know his history, but since he is so young, transient diabetes is still a possibility which makes me hesitant to change anything.

Now, in December, he is receiving between 4U - 6U twice a day, has gained weight, feels great all the time and his heart murmur appears to have gone away. He is a very healthy and happy cat, which proves that diabetes is a treatable disease in animals. Rusty's success can be attributed to a wonderful vet who is educated, yet open to new ideas, support from diabetes lists and education about the disease. Things that I thought were impossible 6 months ago are routine now. Please give your pet a chance for life - because diabetes is treatable!

Contributed by Barb.7 Years!

home  education  resources  techniques  site info  contents

Contributed December 1998
7 Years as a Diabetic - 2005
Copyright. All rights reserved.
This site is for information purposes only.  Please consult your veterinarian.