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Pet Diabetes Month

Thank you to Embrace Pet Insurance Blog for the reminder that November is Pet Diabetes Month.  Many people don’t realize that diabetes doesn’t just affect humans.

Woody, A Ragdoll

Woody when I brought him home.

Woody is an 8 1/2 year old Ragdoll cat who came into the vet clinic I worked at 3 years ago.  He had lost over half his weight (from 23lbs to just under 11lbs) and several months of excessive drinking & urinating (new word of the day- polydipsia and polyuria).  While these can be symptoms of several different diseases, diabetes was our first guess.  Through the exam and as we were pulling blood to help make the diagnosis, it became apparent that if we were correct with our diagnosis, Woody would be put to sleep.  As a newly single mom, his owner didn’t have the funds to handle what would be needed to manage his disease.  It was Saturday and we wouldn’t find out the results until Monday.  I don’t think there was ever more of a time when we hoped Monday took it’s time coming.

Woody honestly made no impression on me as I helped the vet during his appointment.  He had been shaved down 3 months earlier and due to the diabetes, his hair had only grown back in sporadic tuffs over his body.  He sat quietly through the appointment, not even struggling when we pulled blood.  Even though Woody didn’t make an impression, the appointment affectly me deeply.  I had worked in vet clinics for 9 years, had seen a lot of things that other people couldn’t handle and the thought of having to put down this 5 1/2 year old cat was the only thing that ever made me feel sick to my stomach.  I knew there was no way I could be there Monday when she brought him back to be put to sleep.  It would break me. So I made a decision.  Being a nerd I spent the whole weekend reading up on diabetes and the different treatment options.  I had decided that I would offer to take Woody and foster him until his diabetes was controlled and then find him a great home.

Monday afternoon when I went into work, Woody bloodwork results were on the counter- he was diabetic.  Big surprise. The vet hadn’t called the owner yet, I’m sure he was putting it off as long as he could knowing the result.  So I went looking for him and told him my plan.  I think he felt relieved and he went right away and called Woody’s owner to tell her the results and explain the treatment again.  When she said she was not able to do it, he told her about my offer.  I’d like to say that she jumped at the idea, but it did take a little talking on my part to convince her this was a good option.  ( I want to say I don’t think she was a bad owner.  I think she really loved Woody, but was very overwhelmed with the changes in her life.)  She did finally agree.

The plan to foster Woody and then find him a home, didn’t quite work out the way I planned.  Even though he made no impression on me during the appointment, he made a huge impression on me once he was home.  He fit in with my mix of dogs, cats and ferrets with no problem and put up absolutely no fuss at the several times a day blood glucose checks and insulin injections.  He is seriously the biggest cat I have ever seen, even at under 11 lbs he was huge!  He has a purr that matches his size, you can hear it across the room.  Woody didn’t need to be fostered, Woody had found his home.

Woody how he looks today

This is Woody today.

Taking care of a diabetic cat does require some commitment.  Insulin is given twice a day so I can’t just go away and have the neighbor pop in to take care of my cats.  There is costs- insulin, syringes and special food may be needed to help regulate blood glucose.  So some adjustments will need to be made, but diabetes is not a death sentence, it’s managable.  And it’s worth making that difference.

To learn more about feline diabetes, visit Feline Diabetes.

To help or adopt a diabetic cat in need, please visit Diabetes Cats In Need

This post is part of the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop. Join us!

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