Archive for March 9, 2009

The Feline Condition

Posted in Columbo with tags , , , on March 9, 2009 by telescoper

It’s time for my regular update about Columbo, my famous diabetic cat.

I took said moggy to the vet today for a repeat fructosamine test. When I took him a couple of months ago his level was quite high (280), which surprised me because he’s actually been in fine fettle and there was no reason to think anything was going wrong on the health front. Nevertheless, the vet had suggested an increase in his regular insulin injection to 4 units (from three) and a repeat test a bit later. So I went back today.

The fructosamine test measures the level of blood sugar over a period of 1-3 weeks. Fructosamines are stable complexes of carbohydrates and proteins that are produced by an irreversible, nonenzymatic glycosylation of protein. Increased fructosamine values are due to higher quantities of glucose in the blood, resulting in increased glycosylation of proteins. This provides a more stable measurement of blood sugar concentration than a one-off glucose test because the latter can be heavily influenced by stress, such as is induced by visiting the vet….

Just as a check, they took a glucose reading today which came out at 18, much higher than the level he showed on his last visit to the vet (which was 7 on the same scale). I didn’t notice any real evidence that he was stressed out at all when they did this. In fact he was purring in the vet’s examination room. So the glucose result appears to be consistent with his previously high fructosamine test and probably indicates poorer control of his diabetes than we would have wished for.

So they took another, largerm blood sample from his neck (which he never enjoys) to find the fructosamine level. Today proved to be no exception to his displeasure at this procedure, and he’s been in a huff since we got home. They have to send the sample off to a lab for analysis so I’ll have to wait until Wednesday to find out the score and what to do about it.

His diabetes has been pretty stable for many years now, and I’m not sure why it the control doesn’t seem to be as good these days. It’s may be just because his metabolism is changing as he gets older. If the level of fructosamine remains high I’ll probably have to increase the dose again and have another test done to see if it succeeds in lowering his sugars.

Columbo will be 15 on March 31st, and he’s definitely showing signs of age and of his diabetes. He began to develop cataracts some time ago, giving his eyes a slightly cloudy appearance; these are apparently associated with diabetes, although they are a bit more common in dogs than in cats. He probably doesn’t see very well as a result of this but it doesn’t seem to bother him. He certainly still manages to play with moving toys alright so his close-up vision is good enough. The rest of his observable Universe isn’t so very large anyway, only consisting of my house and small garden.

He sleeps a lot, as most cats do, but he still has his playful moments and maintains a healthy interest in the little bits of wildlife that stray into my garden. While I’m a bit concerned about his condition, I’m not too worried while he still seems to be enjoying life.