Tag Archives: diabetes

Rosalie’s kitty, April, has diabetes. Does your companion animal have this “tricky” disease? Know the symptoms!

CAM00065-1April, a few days ago … .
Rosalie figured April might have diabetes when she saw April’s cat litter boxed SOAKED with urine.
Rose took April to the veterinarian’s; the vet did a”senior panel” on the 13 1/2 year old cat (blood work) and determined that April’s glucose level was high. Now on insulin 2x daily, April is her old self! Affectionate, strong willed …
Thank goodness for Wal-Mart – the syringes and insulin (for humans – cats can metabolize their food with human insulin) they sell at their pharmacy is so INEXPENSIVE! A third of what you’d pay at the vet’s! If your pet has the disease and money’s an issue, ask your vet for a prescription and head to the Wal-Mart pharmacy! It’s right in the store! Fast and easy! The pharmacists are helpful and empathetic!         -R.T.

Could Your Cat or Dog Have Diabetes?

Written by Danny Prater | June 18, 2015

I have been living with type 1 diabetes since I was 13 years old. The last time I visited my home state, Ohio (GO BUCKS), I had a chance to meet the only other member of

Just like humans, dogs and cats can also have diabetes. From personal experience, I know that it can be a tough disease, sometimes tricky to manage. This really got me to thinking about what it must be like for a cat or dog living with diabetes. Without any way to tell us directly how they are feeling, companion animals rely on their human guardians to notice when something is off.

But what does diabetes “look” like? While it’s true that you can’t see it, you can certainly see the symptoms if you pay attention to your cat or dog.

Change in Appetite

Baxter the Chihuahua Dog Eating a Treat

Is your dog suddenly eating much more than before? Is your cat leaving a lot of food untouched? An increased or decreased appetite may be a sign of not feeling well.

Weight Loss

When the body is deprived of insulin, which is needed to carry blood sugar to the cells for energy, it will begin burning fat. If your four-legged friend begins rapidly losing weight, especially if coupled with other symptoms on this list, you should schedule a vet appointment ASAP.

Here’s an easy way to tell that something may be amiss: Your animal is eating more than before but still losing weight.

Frequent Urination

For cats, this may take the form of urinating outside the litterbox or frequent urinary tract infections; for dogs, you may notice a sudden jump in requests to go outside. This is because some of the toxins that build up when blood sugar levels go unmanaged are expelled through the urine. Your animal’s body is saying something here—make sure you listen!

Excessive Thirst

This one is actually how I first realized that something was wrong with me. Because of the increase in urination, your dog or cat will be excessively thirsty, attempting to replace those lost fluids. These two symptoms, excessive thirst and urination, will likely go together, so pay attention.

Note: When cats and dogs continue this cycle of frequent urination and excessive thirst, they can become dehydrated. How do you know if a thirsty animal is dehydrated? One quick way to check is by gently pinching up some of the skin and fur on the back and then letting it fall back into place. A well-hydrated animal’s skin will quickly snap back, while a dehydrated animal’s skin will slowly collapse back down.

Sweet-Smelling Breath

When a body deprived of insulin begins burning its own fat stores to supply energy, compounds called ketones are released into the blood stream. Acetone, a type of ketone, is typically expelled from the body through the breath, which will smell unusually fruity or sweet (in stark contrast to most dog and cat foods), so this is an easy way to tell if something is wrong the next time you’re snuggling.


Amsterdam the Dog sleepy© Sean Noronha

When too many ketones enter the bloodstream, the body itself can become acidic. Trust me when I tell you, this feels awful. If your animal companion can’t keep his or her head up for more than a few minutes or has experienced a sudden decrease in energy levels, be sure to get to your vet as soon as possible!


Just like with the toxins pushed out through the breath and urine, this is one of the body’s ways of telling you that it wants something that is currently inside it OUT.

Unkempt Coat/Chronic Skin Infections

Is your cat’s coat losing its shine? You may even notice flakes of dried skin. Has your dog been diagnosed with multiple skin infections? These are signs that your kitty or pooch may be suffering from untreated diabetes.

Cataract Formation/Change in Vision

Extended periods of elevated blood glucose levels can lead to the development of cataracts and, just like in humans, blindness. It’s important to get your animal checked out before symptoms progress too far.

I’m not a doctor, for humans or for animals. If you suspect something is off with your best (non-human) friend after reading this, consult a professional! Always keep an eye—and a hand—on your companion animals. They rely on you to know when something is wrong, so you have to be sure that you know what “normal” looks and feels like for them. Because animals typically consume significantly fewer sugars and carbs than humans do, the signs of untreated diabetes may build up slowly over time. Your veterinarian can perform necessary blood tests to find out what’s going on and get you all set up to take proper care of your cat or dog if diabetes turns out to be an issue.

Peeps! It’s Easter! … and an April update …


April – March 29, 2015.

But first, an update ….

Meow, meow, insulin, meow! WOW!

By Rosalie Tirella

Rosalie’s April will be celebrating Easter – happy and cute – with Rose this spring! April, almost 14 years old, very much a senior kitty, was diagnosed with diabetes a month ago, and her future seemed uncertain. But Rose couldn’t let April go … she so loves April’s blatant adorableness! Her huge oven mitt double paws, the way she begs for a smidgen of butter at the breakfast table … the way she comes when she’s called and knows NO – two commands Jett, Rose’s husky mix, has yet to master. Plus, April was Rose’s late mom’s cat, and you all know how deeply Rose loved her late mom. Why, the late Mrs. Tirella is practically Rose’s muse!

Thank God for the always ugly and depressing Wal-Mart! Rose pushed for a good insulin deal with the veterinarian and gets April’s insulin cheapo at the Wal-Mart pharmacy. Plus a box-load of syringes! The squeamish Rose has donned her Florence Nightingale cap and learned how to give the subcutaneous shot to April, who’s oblivious to the prick of the needle if she’s busy eating a plate full of that horrible, messy canned cat food that she needs to eat now and that Rose always avoided because dry cat food is so muss-free and canned cat food is so icky …. Now Rose needs to buy Friskies canned mariners plate, salmon surprise, poultry platter, ocean surprise and all the other cans of doctored up cow puss pockets/ waste. For years!

It was funny. The day Rose was to give April her first insulin shot, she rang up InCity Times writer and Worcester City Councilor at Large candidate Ron O’Clair and asked him to come over for moral support.  She had never given anyone a needle! She was afraid she’d accidentally kill her cat!

Well, the always true blue pal Ron came down from Main South, with a new boarder from the rooming house he manages: a huge guy from Boston, built like a small tank. ROCKY.

“Hi! This is Rocky!” shouted Ron to Rose as he and Rocky barged into Rose’s home, all solicitous good cheer. It was only 11 p.m.

“Rocky?” Rose said.

“Rocky!” Ron said. “He used to be a body guard!  Whitey Bulger killed his brother! Then his other brother killed himself over the fact!”

Ron said this as if you would say: HAPPY SPRING! LET’S HAVE SOME LEMONADE!

Rose looked at the huge, quiet Rocky. She made note of his big, misshapen head, the large skull ring on his fat finger, his pug Irish sad face … and her heart broke.

“Rocky knows all about diabetes! ” Ron bellowed.

Rose looked upset…

Rocky reassured her. He said, sweetly, to Rose: “My grandmother was a diabetic. I used to give her her shots. … Here, let me …”

Rose had had a long day. She didn’t even think she could draw the insulin out of the little bottle. Her hand was shaking so as she held the syringe!

“Ok,” she said to Rocky, not knowing where to turn but turning to him. “Let me draw the insulin first.”

Rose gently rocked the little bottle of insulin, cold from being refrigerated, so as to not create air bubbles in the medicine. Just like the vet said. Then she put the needle in the little bottle, put it all upside down, and pulled the syringe’s little plunger down to the third little black line/calibration on the syringe. There!  Two units of insulin! Just what the doctor ordered!

She gave the needle to the hulking Rocky who, ever so gingerly, while Ron held April on the dining room table, lifted April’s skin between her shoulder blades and quick as lightening put the needle in her skin and depressed the plunger, giving April her maiden insulin shot!


Rose put April down in front of a big dish of canned cat food.

While April was eating, Rocky went over to her and gently massaged the spot he had pricked with the needle. “Massage it in … ” he said, giving April a nice little rub down with his massive, tattoo-covered fingers.

Rose smiled at Rocky’s gentleness. She looked at Rocky and thought: he’s had a hard run, his whole life, this street guy. In recovery now. His granny’s best boy! Rose wondered if Rocky could read. He seemed like a huge, big kid. Someone who might follow someone bad, if shown a little kindness. She wondered if maybe Rocky had boxed, like so many in the Winterhill gang or in its periphery, and had not liked it one bit. Who had he had to punch to protect his guy? It was his job, after all.

“THANK YOU, ROCKY!” Rose said, shaking herself out of her thoughts and smiling.  “Thank you!” And she gave Rocky a BIG HUG! She held on for awhile! And she gave Ronny a hug, too!

Then the big guys left her big inner city apartment and noisily made their way down the stairs into the cold night.

The next day Rose bought a chocolate Easter bunny, a colorful ceramic breakfast bowl, spoons and some instant oatmeal and put it all in a colorful gift bag for Rocky. An Easter thank-you gift for her new friend!

Rose will be giving April  her insulin shot 2 x a day – for the rest of April’s life. She thinks it is GREAT that April got her first shot under such extraordinarily special circumstances.

Happy Easter, April!



We can’t wait to hit our friend/family Easter feast (with plenty of vegan options, of course) this Sunday!

Need some ideas for your Easter spread? Here are some bread and dessert recipes from The New York Times – the greatest newspaper on the planet!

To see more recipes … CLICK HERE! – R. T.