Last Updated: 4/26/08
Tootsy on 1/18/97.
Bootsy and Tootsy on my bed on 12/21/95. Next to them is a clipping I took back then of two Maine Coons that reminded me of them.
Tootsy's Story in chronological order:
Tootsy who was born around 6/20/83 and neutered young. We got him from an animal shelter on 8/15/83. He was a longhaired silver tabby. He looked like a Maine Coon. Tootsy used to attack anyone who tried to brush or trim him so that he had huge knots on his rump (and later all over when he got sick with diabetes in 1998). When the knots fell off, we called them his "babies." He, like his older "sister" Bootsy, was declawed. Now, I do not believe in this. As a child though, my parents' word was gospel. Toad, as we sometimes called him, missed Bootsy after her death in 1996.
The morning of December 19, 1997, Tootsy failed to dive into his food. He just drank a lot of water and virtually passed out upstairs. I had my parents rush him to the vet since I had work. Well, he had diabetes. He was on insulin up until July, 1998, but a super low dosage of 1 unit each morning. I should have taken him to the vet sooner as his frequent drinking and urinating indicated diabetes. He had also lost three pounds in the previous year which I did not notice since it was gradual. The best web site for feline diabetes is felinediabetes.com.
He put on a lot of weight, ate well, and slept, drank, and urinated less than before by spring. By July 1998, the vet said Tootsy was no longer diabetic! We were much happier without the daily shots, and he was doing well! I had never heard of spontaneous remission of diabetes. That is because it came back. By early September the urination increased drastically. He would not eat on the morning of 9/28/98 so he went to the vet. His blood sugar was over 300 when it should be 100-150. He also had sugar and ketones in his urine. Blood was sent off to the lab to rule out additional problems such as hyperthyroidism and kidney failure which he did not have. It was back to daily shots. He got five units of Humulin N every morning and evening. He used to get one unit of Humulin L every morning. For a week, he got one pill of Baytril (an antibiotic) in the morning too due to a urinary tract infection from the sugar in his urinary tract. It took a few months to get his dose right. During that time, he developed another serious urinary infection which was treated.
Well, of course, this dose of insulin did not last for long. On Saturday 12/12/98, he wailed and collapsed at my feet after I cleaned the fish tanks. I gave him some dark Karo syrup, and he survived. This cat who has never liked me somehow knew to come to me for help to save his life. Two days later (the vets are all closed on weekends since pets cannot get sick then) he went to the vet, and his blood sugar was "drastically low." He was off insulin for about a week. Then, he went on 2 units just in the morning.
He had a crisis (hyperglycemic shock) on 1/1/99 and was taken to an emergency clinic for 48 hours. For more than $500, they treated him for ketosis (high ketones in the blood and urine) and dehydration. They also removed some of his mats around his neck. He was matted to the skin over 90% of his body. He was put on 3 units twice a day. He went back to the regular vet on 1/7/99 for a 24 hour glucose curve again and was put on 4 units twice a day. Another curve on 1/19/99, and he is back on 5 units a day which almost killed him before. The vet finally took a good amount of his knots off his back. I could feel his hot, pink skin! Back for another curve on 1/29/99, and they put him back on 4 units a day.
Well, on 3/3/99, Tootsy ate, threw up, ate, threw up, and ate again. I had already given him his 4.3 units so at 6:30 am so he went into hypoglycemic shock after I left. At 11 am or so, my mother called my work to inform me that he was shaking and walking drunk. I told her to take him to the vet where they found his glucose level only to be 30 (they do not give me units since they do not think I would understand; I told them I am a Master's degreed chemist but they do not care). The vet put him on 2 units twice a day. This vet did not want me to do home glucose testing. Basically, Tootsy bounced from too much to too little insulin and back again since the vet only checked him every few weeks. Each incident costs us $200 to $500.
Tootsy's glucose result was 189 mg/dL in mid-March 1999 (we had to call back to beg for the result; my mother took him in) about 8.5 hours after his morning injection of 2 units. On 3/25/99, his reading was only 50 mg/dL glucose, about 2.5 hours after his morning 2 units. By 4/1/99, he was on only 1 unit twice a day. Tootsy threw up daily and had only diarrhea. On 4/26/99, his reading was 116 mg/dL glucose about 6 hours after his 1 unit of insulin. He was not eating well and continued to have problems with diarrhea even though he was on the drug Flagel as well.
Tootsy went to the vet on 8/19/99 for an x-ray. His blood glucose was normal. The x-ray showed his intestines to be in knots and irritated as expected. The only other unusual aspect of the x-ray was an enlarged heart which may be indicative of heart problems or hyperthyroidism which he tested for negative both months before that and on that day. For more information on possible heart problems, an ultrasound would be needed at an expensive specialist. So, the conclusion on this visit was that he either has intestinal lymphoma (cancer) or irritable bowel syndrome. Only a biopsy would tell these apart. I do not find subjecting Tootsy to anesthesia and cutting him open just to find out for sure warranted. Since prednisone is a treatment for both of these conditions, he began taking it on 8/21/99 with a single daily dose of 5 mg.
Well, Tootsy was well into hyperglycemic shock on 9/11/99. The prednisone had reduced his vomiting from 3 to 4 huge piles a day to one small one overnight, and his diarrhea went from soap consistency to pudding. Since his body then began actually getting food, his blood sugar went way up. He ate well until the second week of September. On the morning of 9/11/99, he could barely move, certainly did not want to eat, and had wasted away to just skin and bones (about 6 pounds). To the vet he went. His blood sugar was off the charts, above 600 which was way above anything he had ever had before. In addition, he was dehydrated, and the vet thought he may have had a mild infection and maybe kidney failure. While they got his blood sugar down into the 400's later Saturday and into the 300's in the middle of Sunday and Monday, each morning his blood sugar was again off the scales. He was no longer regulateable due to his failing health. Despite the high sugar, he ate food that I left there. He was at the vet for five days, and it cost almost $700.
On bringing him home, he was put on 4 units of insulin twice a day, one Baytril (antiobiotic) pill a day, and 100-200 mL (or cc for doctors) of IV fluids a day into his back (not in a vein). A few days later, his blood sugar was checked about 11 hours after his morning injection and found to be about 380 mg/dL. So, his insulin went up to 5 units twice a day. With the Baytril and fluids, Tootsy's vomiting and diarrhea went from a daily event to about once a week. I became used to shoving a cow needle into his back to give him subcutaneous fluids!
He went back to the vet on 9/28/99 and was found to need more insulin and went to 5.5 units. He also still needed daily fluids although one of his kidney enzymes (CRETE?) was acceptable. On 10/4/99, he went back to the vet again for tests. His blood sugar was only 77 mg/dL five hours after his morning injection of 5.5 units so his insulin was dropped back down to 4 units twice a day. They said that it meant that the prednisone is wearing off even though he went off of it over a month before! His BUN (a kidney enzyme) was still elevated but lower. He was also no longer critically dehydrated. I only had to give him 100 mL of lactose ringer (a saline solution) every other day. Tootsy had gained 6/10 of a pound in one week (up to almost 7 pounds; he was 12 pounds before the diabetes)! He went back to the vet around 10/18/99 for more tests.
Tootsy began to do very well and put on weight. He made only a very few small vomits since his previous crisis and his diarrhea was not as bad as it was. Tootsy actually seemed to be happy. He even purred for me when I fed him which is something that he NEVER did before he was diagnosed with diabetes.
On 10/18/99, he went to the vet. His blood glucose was in the mid 100's so his insulin dose was okay. He gained a pound in the previous two weeks. His BUN was still high so that he still got fluids every other day.
Tootsy went to the vet on 1/18/00 with the following test results: blood glucose 85.5 mg/dL (a little low), BUN 54.9 mg/dL (high but no worse), and 8.3 pounds (up from 7.8 a few months ago). So, the vet said he is doing well for now.
Tootsy had his yearly checkup on 3/23/00. He was doing well considering his diabetes and kidney failure. He put on half a pound, up to 8.8 pounds. His blood blucose was 163 mg/dL, nine hours after his morning injection. This should have indicated about how high his glucose got so this was a good value. His BUN was 61.4 so it is worse but not too much. A BUN under 25 is normal.
Tootsy took a turn for the worse on 5/18/00 when he stopped eating. He could barely move, and I thought he would only live a few days. At the vet on 5/19/00, they said his blood sugar was a little high (280 I think; I had given him Karo syrup after his insulin since he was not eating, and I did not want his sugar to crash while I was at work) but not too bad. His kidney enzymes however were very high. He also had lost more than two pounds since his checkup on 3/23/00. I went from giving him 150 mL of lactated ringers every other day to 300 mL every single day. By Sunday, he was eating on his own again. Amazingly, he came back from the brink of death again.
As of 7/10/00, Tootsy was amazingly still going. He ate like a pig. He peed and pooped a ton. He no longer groomed himself. He became filthy and all knotted up and spent most of his time on the bare cold floor (he had soft, warm beds from which to choose.). Yet, he lived on. Tootsy was the living dead.
Tootsy continued to slowly deteriorate. Only his fur, bones, and will held him together. He did not lose the ability to walk, eat, and use the litter pan until his last day. He died in the early dark hours of 9/25/00 at the age of 17 years, 3 months. He will be buried next to Bootsy and hopefully they will meet again. Three years of life revolving around emergency vet visits, routine injections, and fluid infusions ended. I am not sure if I know how to live life any other way. I reflect back on all his nicknames in 17.25 years: Tootsy, Toobisi, Toad, Stooley, Mr. Pinky (when he was shaved), Toobisi D'amour, Stoole, Wheaty (that is an old one!). I love Mr. Pinky! I will always love you my son!
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