Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Seizure Strikes Again.......

December 13, 2009
We have had Hamlet on a new insulin for him, (Lantus), for about two weeks now. It was rather an exciting experience as our vet was away, and we were just handed a prescription to take to the drug store. Needless to say, the insert in the Lantus was for human use!   I had to do a lot of scrambling online to figure out what was needed for our boy and was once again thankful to Jacquie Rand and her associate Rhett Marshall for devoting so much of their time to researching and writing on this subject
Today is the day I get to check Hamlet's nadir period in an attempt to be able to increase his insulin to the point of at least getting him out of the black numbers in his chart.

Hamlet hasn't had another seizure, and the veterinarian is hypothesizing that there is a possibility his pancreas may somehow have triggered the seizure when it once again failed.  We had started him on 7.5mg phenobarbitol bid, and as he showed no signs of repeating the seizure we again backed off his daytime dosage to half the 7.5mg tablet, or 3.75mg, when we can keep an eye on him.  The poor fellow does have such a time of it when trying to navigate around the house under the influence of the drugs, and it is harder to ensure he is still getting exercise.
November 29, 2009
We don't yet know whether Hamlet needs to go back to using insulin.  He had a seizure at his strange hour of the night when he has been known to forget to keep regular habits of eating and drinking.  It may possibly be that he was dehydrated as that was how he felt when I checked him.  I gave him fluids when he had recovered from the seizure, (lasted about 10 minutes), which he tolerated for about 50ml and then declared "that's enough" and refused to stay put.  His glucose reading, which we were previously assuming was low at that point in the night time due to lack of eating, was 28.8, (Canadian number), so this is why we are now waiting patiently to get to the vet to check his fructosamine levels.  He is still perky, purrs like no other cat I have experienced, and is doing his little walks indoors to make up for the fact that we can't walk him outdoors in the rain and cold.

Hamlet has also been showing a slight limp with the stairs and now that he is back on the phenobarbital, that is exagerated a bit, so he may have arthritic issues in his right rear leg.  At the ripe old age of 18 or so, I guess that is allowed.

At this point I am making it a daily routine to check Hamlet for hydration.  Since the other night there has been no indication of a repeat performance, so hydration may be the issue rather than glucose concerns.

As Hamlet is starting fresh on insulin and we had previously discussed the possibility of trying Lantus with the vet's encouragement, I am now being taken on a new adventure by Hamlet, which is being recorded on a spreadsheet at the attached URL.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hamlet kicks the habit again!

Feline diabetes is once again a non issue in our house, after a nightmarish struggle when Hamlet spun out of control, as you may be able to see from postings below. He is now 18 years of age, at least, according to our knowledge of his history. He can't be too much older than that as he is in great shape for an old guy!

Hamlet has been off insulin again, now, for nearly two months. His fructosamines are improving with the amount of time he is in remission, so we are at the point of once again dispensing with his insulin to someone who might benefit more than we would. We have also managed to very slowly reduce his phenobarbital now that night time hypos are not a danger, and from the 45mgs of phenobarbital he was using when the insulin was causing night time hypos without it, we are down to 7.5 per day, and will be dropping to half that this coming week. Three weeks beyond that we hope to stop safely with no ill effects to his body.

Hamlet has also lost about 1/2 a pound since his last yearly checkup, done again recently, and his Geri-panel numbers are improved in spite of the fact that he had been on the phenobarbital for months -- I will be so glad to be safely off that as he basically only has one kidney to care for his body.

Our progress was greatly helped by the dry summer we have had, as I am always aware of the need for physical exercise being a component of defeating feline diabetes. Our boys are all basically indoor cats with a run they use to bask in the sun. Cats don't voluntarily exercise, especially as they age. As Hamlet is not an active enough fellow to escape our supervision, we were able to walk him daily in the yard, ensuring at least 200' of flat/vertical surface was covered. We obviously weren't overdoing his routine as in the more recent days he has bounded up the front stairs to the door at the end of our 'quality' time.

Of course each daily walk has finished with Hamlet being brushed with his favorite wire brush, and you can't stop until he is ready -- or at least 15 minutes have passed. It is wonderful to be seeing our boy back again, and such a happy cat!

On our walks we also included Harley as lookout because Big Burrtha with two new cubs has been checking our corn for ripeness on a daily basis. Needless to say, shovelling 'scat' off the lawn also became a pre-excursion exercise for us on a number of occasions. Now that the rainy season is upon us I will have to conform more to what other owners have available for indoor cat exercise..........I wonder if cats can use treadmills? I will let you know.

One other note is that the ultrasound done in February of this year showed up what we believe to be the scar tissue on Hamlet's pancreas that led the original rescuing veterinarian to predict that he would develop diabetes. One or two of the veterinarians have commented that our difficulty in stabilizing Hamlet when he is on insulin may partly be to do with this in that the lump may become inflamed if Hamlet is showing symptoms of diabetes. There are rumblings out there in new study results suggesting inflammation may be a part of diabetes in general, and studies are showing cats to be very much the same as humans when it comes to the characteristics of this disease.