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Tough choice and need opinions

This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.

  
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Ophelia

Don't touch me!
 
 
Purred: Mon Aug 27, '12 6:25am PST 
Previously (several months ago) I took Ophelia to the vet and she was dx with a UTI and diabetes. She was given a shot for the UTI and we put her on a diet for the diabetes because the insulin meds were just too expensive.

After struggling through her still peeing all over the place, I took her back to the vet last week. She has lost 2.5 pounds, which I was excited about because she needed to lose the weight.

Unfortunately, that was the only good news. She has a UTI again, and apparently it's very severe. She'll need a pill for the next couple of weeks. Her sugar levels, which were extremely high before, were higher. Which means the special diet did nothing for her. She also has cataracts now.

So I am left with two solutions. One, is to give her two shots of insulin for the rest of her life. The second is to have her euthanized.

Neither choice is a good choice. It has been a couple of days since the vet visit and I need to make a decision. But I don't know what the decision should be. My husband says that he's behind whatever decision I make, but that I have to make it, because really, she's my kitty. I'm the one home with her all the time. I raised her.

So, after days of crying, I have to try and figure out what to do. And I need some help and opinions.

Insulin was going to be around $150-$200/month from the last time I spoke to the vet about it. Is that something we can afford? Sort of. We can pay for it, but it could put a strain on things. Not terribly, but I know it will affect us. Insulin will not help her cataracts or the weakness she has in her back legs now. It will help get her sugar under control. It will stop the UTIs from happening (hopefully). It may stop her peeing and pooping in all the places that are not the litter box.

But what kind of quality of life will she have? She already spends most of the time sleeping under our bed. She comes out to keep, pee, and sit on the enclosed porch when I open the door. I will need to corner her twice a day to give her a shot. And I know that's going to be a struggle for us both. She's extremely strong and fights me when I give her bath or try to brush her.

And then I have option 2. Which feels like I shouldn't even be thinking about it, because it makes me a terrible person. But I have to consider it, because it may be what's best for her in the long run. Do I let her go now, or do we go through the shots? Because I know the first shot I give her will be the easiest. And then she'll run from me every time after. And I don't want to extend her life just to have her running in fear of me.

So, both choices suck. I don't want to choose either of them. And I'm too emotionally attached to think rationally. So I would really appreciate any and all thoughts about this. I've never had to do major medication to a pet before, and I've never had to euthanize a pet either. My Babydoll died at home with me, as she was kind enough to make the choice for me.
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Gumpy Sweet- Boy

Love wrapped in- fur
 
 
Purred: Mon Aug 27, '12 7:51am PST 
Hi, my strong opinion is to treat her diabetes. Gump had diabetes and went into remission after a period of time (he's 18 now). It seems a little overwhelming at first, but the shots become routine. Ophelia will get used to the shots and it only takes a couple minutes or so. You can also get thinner needles which can help with any small amount of pain. Her quality of life will improve and she'll feel better, in addition to stopping the peeing everywhere. Also the back leg weakness will improve and with some methylcobalamin (a form of vitamin B12) it should be resolved. I'm not sure if the cataracts are related to the high glucose.

What insulin is that for $200 a month? I used PZI-Vet and a vial was about $80 - $100 dollars and lasted a couple months depending on the dose, and I ended up using the last vial for over six months. PZI-Vet is no longer available, but Prozinc is comparable. I don't know what the current price is, but I don't think it's that pricey. If your vet is referring to Lantus, you can buy another form of it that which is cheaper (the pens instead of the vial). There is a cat here, Merlin, who knows the prices for Lantus and other insulins.

I know this is all overwhelming right now, but it's very doable. And actually many cats end up going off insulin and into remission with low carb wet food and insulin to bring down the glucose levels to help the pancreas recover. But she needs insulin, and the sooner the better.

Many people also test their kitties glucose levels at home. This also seems overhwhelming but it's also doable and helps with treatment.

I can help and there are others here with experience with diabetes, but I would also recommended getting help from the feline diabetes message board.

hug
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Gumpy Sweet- Boy

Love wrapped in- fur
 
 
Purred: Mon Aug 27, '12 8:02am PST 
I read your post quickly and didn't focus as much on her being a difficult kitty. All I can say is there there are hundreds - actually thousands - of kitties on the FDMB, and I've seen a number of people who gave daily shots to "fractious" kitties and they also tested their BG levels at home. There are some tricks and tips that can help and people there who can help you with treating a kitty who is more difficult.
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Gumpy Sweet- Boy

Love wrapped in- fur
 
 
Purred: Mon Aug 27, '12 8:24am PST 
Hi again,

Here's some info about diabetic neuropathy (back leg weakness) and how to treat it.
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Maggie and- Thomas - ILM

Gone, but never- forgotten
 
 
Purred: Mon Aug 27, '12 8:53am PST 
You are facing the most difficult decision any pet owner can - do you end your pet's life, or try to prolong it. I had to do this with a cat I owned named Creme Puff. She was 19, and was having trouble standing up, going to the litter box and had lost her appetite. It all came down to....WHAT IS HER QUALITY OF LIFE? She was obviously in pain, and I decided it was time I let her go.

A human who is in severe pain, and without any chance of getting better can make a rational decision as to cointiue treatment - our pets cannot. And therefore we must make the decision for them. After reading your post, I must say it is time to let your cat go, I KNOW how it hurts, but it is best for her. You gave her love and care, and now at the end of her life you can give her another gift.....freedom from pain. Please let us know your decision....

We send purrs, soft paw pats and prayers at this time.

The New Orleans Kitties and Meowmy Fayecheercheercheerhug
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Gumpy Sweet- Boy

Love wrapped in- fur
 
 
Purred: Mon Aug 27, '12 9:24am PST 
I want to add that if you are not going to treat her diabetes, then yes, you should make the most compassionate decision to let her go because untreated diabetes does create a lot of suffering. But I will say that diabetes is a very treatable disease with a good possibility for remission. Gumpy was in serious shape when he was diagnosed back in 2006 and the vet even told me a number times that he may not make it. Now at 18 his pancreas continues to work and I still test his BG to make sure. Though, yes, being a fractious kitty makes it more difficult and is part of your decision. It's your decision and whatever you feel is best is what is best for her. I just wanted to offer some encouragement as to it being a treatable disease and that there is a lot of support and information available. For example learning that neuropathy is reversible.

I know this is a tough situation and decision. Hugs.... hug

Edited by author Mon Aug 27, '12 9:28am PST

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Delyte, Dark- Angel, at- Bridge

Me and my- person, together- against all
 
 
Purred: Mon Aug 27, '12 10:14am PST 
This is Delyte. Although I don't have diabetes, I do have cataracts. I can't see very well, but I still enjoy my life and act like a normal cat. I am an inside only cat, of course. I love going outside, but 7 years ago I ran off into the woods and stayed for six days, so they say they can't trust me to just sit on the deck like I used to.

We know some cats on Catster who inject for diabetes and they have a pretty good quality of life. It is one of the few things that you can do at home that make a big difference in a cat's life. We know how the money part hurts, and you should check around for the best deal you can. Giant purrs to you from all of us. hug
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Ophelia

Don't touch me!
 
 
Purred: Mon Aug 27, '12 10:22am PST 
The hard part is thinking about making that decision and then having her look at me with her cute little fur face.

Would it be cruel to maybe try the insulin path, and if things are still too difficult and things don't seem to be much better, follow the other path?

Did you notice a different demeanor in your cat after Gump began shots? I mean, did he seem to start feeling better - at least by looking at him?

I've got a note into the vet to get the precise details of the insulin, and I've asked how long a bottle will last - not based upon expiration date, but on dosage.
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Gumpy Sweet- Boy

Love wrapped in- fur
 
 
Purred: Mon Aug 27, '12 11:20am PST 
Yes, he did start feeling better. He had been peeing in huge clumps and drinking lots of water, both of which decreased. He also just looked better and put on some weight which he had lost. One mistake I made was trying diet change for too long. I kept reading about low carb wet food (it doesn't have to be prescription, either) and I thought that would be enough. But by the time symptoms of diabetes show up, it's usually too advanced for diet change alone to be enough...and insulin IS needed.

Even though I said it's very doable, I will say that at first it's not always easy. It's takes time to learn how to give shots and a little time for the kitty to get used to it (hopefully with Ophelia). It takes time to learn about this disease and the different aspects. But again, lots of info and support are available and it usually becomes routine for most people.

Note, if the vet is recommending using a vial of Lantus, that type has a limited usage and quick expiration (it's more fragile and produced differently), which I believe is one month. But the pens or cartridges ( I can't recall) of Lantus last longer and are more economical, and it is a very effective insulin. Prozinc, I believe, has a very long usage and expiration (two years I believe).

Sorry if this is info overload.

Edited by author Mon Aug 27, '12 11:29am PST

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Sasafrace- *Rest in- Peace*

Forever and- Always in my- heart
 
 
Purred: Mon Aug 27, '12 12:18pm PST 
I had this debate when Sassy was diagnosed with diabetes. He was 16 when diagnosed and I could help but thinking would he be happy if/when the diabetes was regulated. He was diagnosed in December and we started him on the insulin (he started with 2 units of insulin twice a day) shots, I have to say that Sassy who would not let me do anything except shave him was fine with the insulin shots so long as he was eating while I gave them. The needle is VERY small and it did not bother him at all. I would give him some wet food and after he started eating I would quickly give him the shot. I was willing to do anything to save him but by April he was up to 5 units of insulin twice a day (a VERY large dose for a cat) and was extremely underweight (weight loss is a symptom of diabetes). He would no longer purr and had separated himself from the rest of the family, I decided to have him put down. It was the hardest decision I have ever made, especially since Sassy had been with me since I was 4 years old, I cant even remember not having him in my life. I'm not saying that I don't love my other cats just as much but Sassy was my baby and he had always been with me..we got him right after my dad died so he was very special to me. I hated having to put him down but I knew in my heart that he was not happy and I could not see him being miserable just because I did not want to let him go, it would be selfish.

I would try the insulin and see how she reacts, try making it a positive experience like I did with Sassy, give your kitty wet food or a special treat that will keep her busy while you give the shot. If she responds well to the insulin then all is well and she may live for a long while. If, like Sassy, she does not respond well to the insulin then you know that you did everything that you could to save her.

The insulin for Sassy was not that expensive, it was $80 for a vial which lasted for 2 and a half months on Sassy's dosage...the vials although they look small last a very long time based on your cats dosage. Also for the needles, ask your vet what gauge insulin syringe they want you to use and you can get them a Walmart for cheap, I think its like 100 syringes for %10.
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