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.