PDlogo   Tom's Story - Transient Diabetes


Tom was the toughest of the street gang. Tom - a transient diabetic As he patrolled his territory, his brown tabby stripes reminded all who dared that he was of the highest rank. And, the four-inch scar on his neck shone as a medal of courage. A few times a week he would visit my porch for dinner. I had never been afraid of a cat before, but his confrontational style caused me to keep my distance. Instead of darting off when startled by me like other cats, Tom would sometimes dart AT me, hissing and growling, as if to attack me. Ha, ha, cute Tom. I can laugh about it now. here

In January of 1998 I trapped him because he was injured and needed medical attention. First glucose, FIV, and FeLV tests were all normal. We got him neutered and determined that he was about 8 years old. In March 1998, after a few months of staying indoors with lots of food to eat, Tom obviously put on a few pounds. He began drinking 2 huge bowls of water daily and eating ravenously. His cat box looked like freshly poured cement! I had no clue as to what was wrong! A blood chemistry profile proved that his blood glucose was about 600 mg/dl and that he had FIV. Double the devastation.

We started insulin therapy, and got up to 11 units of insulin twice daily with no effect, so we switched to another insulin, which didnít work either. Finally we tried Humulin Ultralente. We got him stabilized at 8 units twice daily. We kept him on Science Diet Light. I watched his diabetes by testing his urine glucose twice a day, accomplishing this by having him use a box with aquarium gravel in it. Then I would tilt the box so that the urine would puddle in the corner for easy testing. It was such a pain, as I had to clean the gravel after each use. Ugh. I also kept a logbook of exactly how much water he drank every day. We would go to the vet for blood checks once a week or so.

By the time we got him regulated he had lost a lot of weight despite his huge appetite. He was down to 12 pounds, pretty skinny for this cat. Slowly his need for insulin began to decrease. If in the morning his glucose was around 100 or so, we would try dropping his insulin dose a unit.

Eventually we got down to giving no insulin. He went completely off insulin for maybe four months. Then one day, the symptoms came back, with his blood sugar levels over 500 mg/dl. He slowly went back to 8 units a day. This cycle continued for 1-1/2 years.

We didnít understand what was going on at the time. Why would he suddenly not need insulin anymore? My vet had thought that a medication that Tom had been taking for diarrhea at the time had something to do with it. It wasnít until the summer of 1999 that I realized that his diabetes was DIRECTLY related to his weight. Whenever he gets around 15 pounds his diabetes comes back and in full force. As long as I keep his weight under 15 pounds, he does not need insulin. He has been off insulin for 6 months, as of January 2000. He has been diagnosed with transient diabetes. I have recently switched to home blood monitoring (oh so much easier!). Once a week or so I still check him, and it is always under 100. We also occasionally still do blood glucose curves and fructosamine tests. We now understand Tomís diabetes and are able to control it by strictly watching his weight. I give him about 3/4 cup of Science Diet Light daily, divided between two meals.

Tom is a very lucky cat. I am confident that his diabetes will not pose a serious problem in the future as long as his weight is controlled. He is deeply loved and spoiled by everyone. And, no one at the vet hospital can believe that such a sweetheart of a kitty could have ever terrorized anyone.

-- Contributed by Hannah


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Contributed November 1999
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