Friday, November 24, 2006

Hamlet, Prince of Strays

This photo, (right showing stitches in his side), was taken after Hamlet's two surgeries, shortly after his rescue in the summer of 1998. He was previously known as "Furball" as are all scruffy strays, however, the veterinarian who saved him also told us that he was a definite biker cat, which is why, although he is the smallest in our home, he rules the roost by regularly flossing his teeth when the others pass too closely at the wrong time. When we took him in, everyone assumed he had been declawed because his nails were warn down to nothing. When his food is not good, his nails split, so we assume they were very weak at the time, and as he spent his days and nights continually walking around the complex, they had no chance to grow. Note the big 'jowls' as we had just had him neutered, and physical changes had not taken effect.

Hamlet, (left), back when he was on insulin, battling feline diabetes for the first time after being diagnosed a month after we lost Snuffles. We had assumed, at first, that he was in mourning as he missed her company. He has since conquered the need for insulin, twice, and is the inspiration for a group on Yahoo that works to help put others into remission, and hopefully, like he has managed, to eventually become resolved when the pancreas has time to heal. In Volume II of the Iams Symposium papers, they do report that cats can spontaneously return to a need for insulin with no explainable reason behind this, so anyone who has this happen does not need to feel they have failed in some way.

Since the original posting, here, the stress of a move and the new addition of rosemary extract to the dry grazing food he eats, possibly caused Hamlet to return to a diabetic state the first time he regressed. Rosemary extract inhibits insulin uptake in diabetics:....."Essential oils of rosemary have demonstrated antimicrobial, hyperglycemic, and insulin-inhibiting properties. 98,99" We had been warned of this by the owner of CATWELL on Yahoo, but did not expect the effects to be so immediate, (within three months of dietary change). Other than the change in diabetic status, Hamlet has remained a healthy cuddly fellow, although he is starting to show symptoms in his regular checkups that he has a leaning toward kidney weakness, which is not unexpected with his 'wild' background.

March 23,2006: Recently we started providing a supplement that is meant to improve insulin uptake, called "Diabetex", in Canada. After observing Hamlet having difficulties that are sometimes attached to hypoglycemic episodes, we shoved some food under his face, which he inhaled voraciously, and then we took him to the vet to have proper observed testing done to decide course of action. This was actually the second occasion we encountered this, and reduced his insulin by about a third a month ago. Now we are reducing it even further and expecting to eventually eliminate the need for insulin again, according to the results of the fructosamine test we had done, as the lab is concerned and thinks he should not be on insulin. The only factor that has changed has been the Diabetex, so we are assuming that with time it heals the body and reduces the need for insulin, in spite of the rosemary extract found in all feline diabetic formulas.
November, 2006: Hamlet seems to be bouncing back and forth between a need for insulin, and not needing it, so we have to watch him carefully at this point in time. We are remarking on his changed physique that suggests he is much older than our first estimates, when adopted.
For those who are interested, Hamlet has always used Caninsulin and U40 syringes. We also give him Moducare, Renal Essentials, and ascorbic acid, along with the Diabetex mentioned above.

Hamlet is determined to own Mom's chair, or anything else he wishes to own, no matter who tries to push him out of #1 position. He is an expert at 'slashing' with both feet as a victim passes below his chair, or floss his teeth when the occasion presents itself. He has been lucky enough to accumulate quite a family in the time that he has been ruling our household. Here he is seen with Max, and quite often they are found back to back, providing protection for each other, as both had stories to tell about survival when they came to stay with us.

Many of our diabetic felines were treated with a steroid prior to developing diabetes, and steroids are listed as a known trigger for diabetes to occur. Steroids are strictly a bandaid approach to illness. They are not cures, and human doctors are developing enough sense not to use them unless the situation is urgent enough. Hopefully, veterinarians will start to use more discretion when prescribing steroids, too. The following is copied from our cancer patient's site as it is as much a concern here under the subject of diabetes.