I took poor diabetic Jasper to the vet this morning to have his blood sugar levels checked. I had intended to do this part of his care myself, but after a few times of failing to do a blood glucose curve (testing his sugar every two hours for twelve hours using a meter just like people do) or even get one accurate reading on him at home, I decided it was better to pay someone else to poke him in his ears (apparently the "easiest" way to get a drop of blood for the meter), lest he decide that he didn't trust me enough to tolerate his insulin injections. A fine idea, except for the part where he would have to spend all day at the vet's office. Yeah, he was SO not doing that. When I took him in for a curve day, they actually called me mid-morning and asked me to come pick him up because he was too upset--panting with his mouth hanging open, shaking, glazed-over eyes so wide open they were bulging out of his head... right, not good. So that wasn't going to work, either.
The veterinarians and I finally decided the best thing to do was a fructosamine test. I'm not entirely sure how it differs from a regular blood glucose test, but it only requires one blood draw (much more than the drop they'd need for the meter, but it's done in a matter of seconds). That means we can pop into the vet's office in the morning, be out of there in twenty minutes, and get on with our days with only minimal anxiety for Jasper. In the picture, his foot is wrapped (for the second time in 2008) because he got rug burn or something that left the paw pads on that foot a scabby mess. Luckily, this was not as serious as the first time he was a peg leg kitty. No surgery this time! I have no idea how he managed to rug burn himself--I didn't notice anything was wrong until I found blood on the carpet. It was just a matter of checking three sets of paws to find the culprit.
You might remember my cat costs spreadsheet. Now that 2008 is over, I can report the damage: $4,346.17. If you thought cats were cheap, think again. Granted, we had an unexpected surgery (Jasper's broken claw) and a surprise chronic illness (Jasper's diabetes) that weren't covered by the kitty insurance (and that in itself required a hefty premium)--the surgery wasn't covered because it was before we got the insurance, and they won't cover costs related to Jasper's diabetes because they said it was a pre-existing condition due to a comment in the veterinarian's notes that his blood sugar was elevated, even though it wasn't a diagnosis. Tricky bastards. I've already set up my 2009 spreadsheet, and I intend to keep even better track of every penny we spend on cat stuff this year.
It'll take a couple of days to get the lab results back, so no word from the vet yet on if we'll have to bump up Jasper's insulin dosage. I'm hoping we won't have to. A tiny bottle of insulin is $65, so the longer we can make it last, the better. But we'll do what we need to do to have a healthy kitty.