April 15, 2006

A Tiger Too Sweet

Tiger, one of my two cats, has diabetes. This was comfirmed recently by our veteranarian, the excellent Dr. Emily.

I used to call Tiger "Tubby Tee", since he was kind of fat until the last year or two, when we noticed his trimness rivalling that if his brother "skinny Sylvester".

Apparently, diabetes is not uncommon in cats. Noticeable weight loss and increased need for food and water are symptoms, and Grace noticed them first and pegged them as indicators of diabetes. A blood test confirmed it, and a blood glucose test showed Tiger's blood sugar at 23. The vet said she wants to see him down between 9 and 13.

So, starting tomorrow, our beloved boy starts getting an insulin injection once a day. Oy - I'm going to have to do it, but it doesn't seem very difficult or complicated at all. I just have to pinch the loose skin at the back of his neck, and inject just one cc with a syringe - a tiny amount.

His blood sugar level must also be measured to see how the insulin is affecting him. Grace has diabetes too, and must test her blood everyday, using a little blood glucose meter that you can buy at any drugstore. It's the same process for Tiger, except that instead of using the little spring-loaded lancet widget to quickly pierce the skin and squeeze out a drop of blood, I must find a little vein in his ear, and prick it manually with a little needle. It looks quite easy to do, and Tiger seems not to notice it very much (thank god, said the atheist). The lttle insulin injections must be done daily, but the blood tests won't need to be done too often.

I gave Tee a practice poke at the vet's office and he didn't seem to even feel it (thank god, said the atheist again).

So, tomorrow, the daily insulin regime starts. Next Saturday, we must check Tiger's blood sugar level every two hours, and record it on a chart. At the end of each week, we must give the results to theVet, who'll decide to raise or lower the insulin dosage depending on trend in Tiger's blood sugar levels.

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