Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Evils of Fructose

Toward the end of May we became concerned about the fact that Hamlet was starting to slow down his elimination of feces to about twice a week.  Previously we had needed to take him to have his anal glands cleaned out as they were preventing him from elimination regularity, (oh the perils of old age!).  We started him on a regular dose of Lactulose and he did fine as long as he was receiving this aid, but nothing else would work so he was getting it on a daily basis.

At the beginning of June I suddenly wished I had looked into the ingredients in Lactulose more closely as Hamlet's numbers went through the roof as you can see in his chart.  We clearly put too much of a load on his pancreas.

There are a few theories floating around about why this happened, but personally my education in glucose control and experience with Hamlet tells me that the reaction to Lactulose must have been very similar to the reaction caused by corn syrup when we give it to cats to pull them out of a hypoglycemic episode.  Fructose works where other carbohydrates don't with cats because fructose is absorbed through the membranes of the mouth into the blood stream, just as happens with sublingual meds given to a number of species including humans.

Luckily we have found a working alternative to the Lactulose for Hamlet and I highly recommend it to anyone with a diabetic cat so that you don't overload the demand on the pancreas.  We use EVOO, (olive oil), and it is working fine.  We are, in fact, managing to back off its use a little at this point, which I like as I hate making Hamlet take meds he doesn't have to have at his age.

At this point, we have Hamlet stabilized again, but back on his insulin, unfortunately.  As it is summer we may get him back off it for a period of time, but only time will give us that information.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Our dear fellow is getting on.  The vet equates him with a human of about 100 years old.  We estimate, based upon the time we have known and experienced him, that he has to be 19 this year.  His formal birthday is July 31, which is the day we rescued him.  And, our prince is once again giving us a holiday from a tight schedule of insulin shots.  His glucose readings while on Lantus, and since, are recorded here.

Hamlet is still in need of a minor dose of phenobarbital to prevent a return of night time seizures that brought about the last regression back to insulin.  The previous time we stopped him completely after dropping his insulin but are taking this much more cautiously.  We don't want to lose our boy to anything other than very old age. (-;

We can feel Hamlet's spine quite prominently these days, which hurts as it reminds us he could be older than we think, and that our experience with him is not going to go on forever.  We still take him for daily walks.  Smaller walks happen indoors on rainy days, but those have not had to happen too frequently.  In spite of the consistent exercise Hamlet has developed arthritis, so is being given Sasha's Flexibites.  He has only been on them for a couple of weeks but I swear they are working as he is standing a little taller on his haunches and starting to venture out onto the deck on sunny days instead of staying in his bed.  He is also having constipation issues as his activity level reduces so we need to keep an eye on him and give him a boost of Lactulose once in a while to keep things moving.  We haven't found Metamucil to be of much use, although it was recommended to us.

Well, off I go to take Hamlet out to enjoy his garden with the birds, squirrels, and sundry wildlife he likes to sit and enjoy a bit before trudging back the 200 feet to his bed.

We wish all the geriatrics in our family were doing as well as our dear boy.

At right, when DH takes Hamlet for a walk they go way up the street.  Hamlet usually takes his walks with Harley, (dog), for safety as we have a healthy population of coyotes, large owls, bobcats, and bears.  Hamlet has been through enough lifetimes for two cats, so we don't need the added expenses of preditory attacks.

As the other cats are active enough not to need this extra exercise they stay in safety on the deck where they bellow at us,  or indoors with noses pressed to the windows.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Going into Remission so Soon?

Hamlet has only been on Lantus since the beginning of last December, and has already shown a very sharp decrease in his need for insulin.  We had to back off completely until consulting with our vet, and looking at his low point getting a little high.  Just one unit brought him back to being "within range", so we expect to have to keep a close eye on him for a while, to see if this trend continues.  Our experience with Lantus is outlined on his chart.  What we have been able to learn about Lantus and how it shoud be handled is now added to the Diabetic Cats Dietary Management FAQ called "tamingthecurve".