Archive | Info For Vets

Burmese Hypoklaemic Polymyopathy

Hypokalaemic Polymyopathy in Burmese cats – Retrospective analysis of cases, new clinical observations and a call for new cases for genomic studies 

Fran Musca, Steve Metcalf, Marcus Gunew, Rhett Marshall, Vic Menrath, Richard Malik and Leslie Lyons

 

Clinical signs referable to hypokalaemia can be seen in a variety of feline diseases, viz. (i) chronic renal disease, (ii) primary hyperaldosteronism and (iii) hypokalaemic polymyopathy. This study focuses on the latter disease, an inherited condition most commonly encountered in young Burmese cats (2-6 months-of-age) which present with signs of myopathic weakness, classically passive ventroflexion of the head and neck, and sometimes also dorsal protrusion of the scapulae, muscle tremor and head bobbing (Jones et al 1988; Lantinga et al 1998). The disease in many respects resembles the human disorder hypokalaemic periodic paralysis, which is characterised by episodic attacks of muscle weakness associated with a transient decrease in blood potassium levels.  Reported on for the first time by Eger et al (1983), the condition was shown by Mason et al (1988) to have an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. The disease has been reviewed by Gruffydd Jones (1997) and more recently by Jones (CVT 14).

In a feline-only practice in Brisbane (Australia), a recent cluster of cases of hypokalaemic polymyopathy in Burmese kittens prompted a review of the clinical manifestations of this condition in comparison of what has been reported in peer reviewed publications and in small animal texts. Additional anecdotal material from the period preceding computerised archiving of case material was provided by Drs Menrath, Metcalf and Malik.

Unlike textbook accounts, it has been our experience that (i) cats can develop genralised weakness without prominent cervical ventroflexion, but with alternative signs e.g. crouching hind limb gait, shifting lameness, stiff/stilted gait; these alternative signs may be present with or without classic signs such as cervical ventroflexion (ii) myalgia can be a prominent (iii) cats can present as adults (iv) the potassium concentration is not invariably low at the time the cat is weak, although serial potassium determinations will eventually detect moderate to severe hypokalaemia (v) marked elevations in creatine kinase activity can provide supportive evidence that hypokalaemia is the underlying problem if the potassium concentration is normal (vi) potassium chloride in large doses (1/2 to 1 Span K [7 mmol KCl] once or twice daily with food) is generally more convenient, less expensive and more effective than potassium gluconate for managing these cases (vii) some cats need on-going therapy, while in others KCl can be discontinued (viii) rarely, cases are refractory to KCl therapy and require low dose prednisolone or acetazolamide to control the clinical signs.

Recognition of this condition relies on a high index of suspicion, although consistent signs in a cat of the Burmese breed is strongly suggestive of this diagnosis.  The purpose of this communication is to highlight this condition to small animal clinicians, in an attempt to obtain blood for DNA retrieval from as many cases as possible, with a view to identifying the underlying genetic problem using a whole genome scan and the new feline single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) microarray, in collaboration with Leslie Lyons and colleagues at UC Davis.

  1. 1.        Eger et al., 1983 C. Eger, W. Robinson and C. Huxtable, Primary aldosteronism (Conn's syndrome) in a cat; a case report and review of comparative aspects, ... – if you read this, at the end they talk about the Burmese cats
  2. 2.        Mason K V (1988) Hereditary potassium depletion in Burmese cats.  Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 24, 481
  3. 3.        Gruffydd-Jones et al (1997) Proceedings of the 14th American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), San Antonio, Texas p 757
  4. 4.        Lantinga E et al (1998) Periodic muscle weakness and cervical ventroflexion caused by hypokalemia in a Burmese cat [Dutch], Tijdschrift voor Diergeneeskunde 123, 435-437
  5. 5.        Gashen F et al (2004) Congenital diseases of feline muscle and neuromuscular junction. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 6, 355 – 366.
  6. 6.        Jones BR, Swinney GW, Alley MR. 1988 Hypokalaemic myopathy in Burmese kittens. N Z Vet J. 36(3):150-1.
  7. 7.        Lantinga E, Kooistra HS, van Nes JJ. 1998 Periodic muscle weakness and cervical ventroflexion caused by hypokalemia in a Burmese cat. Tijdschr Diergeneeskd. 123(14-15):435-7.

 

Figure 1 Affected cat being supported against gravity. Note prominent ventroflexion of the head and neck.

Referral Overview

Referral Overview PDF

Overview

The Cat Clinic takes referral for a wide range of cases including

  • General medicine
  • Oncology – surgical, cryotherapy and chemotherapy
  • Diagnostic imaging including ultrasound, radiology, dental radiology and endoscopy
  • Radio-Iodine therapy for hyperthyroidism
  • Dentistry including dental radiography and root canal therapy
  • Soft tissue surgery and reconstruction
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Microsurgery including vascular and ocular surgery

Our clinic is well equipped with a modern ultrasound machine, video endoscopy, laparoscopy, thoracoscopy and full range of feline surgical equipment.

Perhaps most importantly we have a hospital full of staff that love cats and understand their sometime unusual needs. This leaves the clients very happy that you chose The Cat Clinic to refer to.

Referral document

Referral Document PDF

REFERRAL INFORMATION:

CLIENT INFORMATION: Date……………………………………………

Name:………………………………………………Address…………………………………………………………………

Home Phone:………………………..    Mobile: ……………..………… Email:………………………………………………

REFERRING VETERINARIAN:

Name …………………………………………………………….….Clinic……………………………………………………………

Phone…………………..…………….....Fax…………………..…………….....Email…………………….……………………………
(Please indicate preferred method of contact)

PATIENT INFORMATION:

Name:…………………………..…………….Breed:..……………….…….Colour……….……..Age:...........Sex………

HISTORY AND CLINICAL FINDINGS:

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Please attach any Radiographs, Laboratory Results and a Detailed History.

Ureteral Obstruction in Cats

Ureteral obstruction has been previously considered an uncommon occurrence in cats.   With wider availability of advanced imaging, particularly ultrasonography, the diagnosis of ureteral obstruction appears to be increasing in incidence (Kyles et al, 2005).

Ureteral obstruction occurs secondary to an intraluminal obstruction, a mural lesion, or extraluminal compression.  Mural lesions include neoplasia, fibrosis, congential and acquired stricture and polyps.  Extraluminal compression most often occurs secondary to neoplasia arising from the ureter, the bladder, or the retroperitoneal space however there is also a report of an occurrence secondary to retroperitoneal infarction and fibrosis (Ragni and Fews, 2008).  Examples of intraluminal obstruction include calculi, debris, and spasm of the ureter.  Intraluminal obstruction may occur unilaterally or bilaterally.  Ureteral obstruction regardless of the underlying cause leads to restriction of urine flow, and if left untreated, obliteration of the renal parenchyma secondary to pressure.  The physiology of ureteral obstruction has been studied in dogs and revealed that the prognosis for recovery of renal function is dependent on both the degree of obstruction and the time that obstruction is in place. After four days of obstruction the prognosis for return of renal function is excellent, after 14 days there will only be a recovery of approximately half of the normal glomerular filtration rate, and after 40 days there is little or no recovery if the obstruction is corrected (Kyles, 2006).  This highlights the need for prompt diagnosis and intervention.  Unilateral obstructions are difficult to diagnose as renal function remains normal due to the efforts of the contralateral kidney. Unfortunately if the first obstruction is unilateral the cat is often left undiagnosed until a second obstruction occurs in the contralateral kidney resulting in renal failure (Evans et al 2007).

Clinical signs of cats presenting with ureteral obstruction may be vague.  Presenting complaints include lethargy, vomiting, inappetance, and weight loss.  The most common finding on physical examination is abdominal/spinal pain.  In cases where there has been previous undiagnosed obstruction one large kidney may be palpated and the contralateral kidney may be unable to be detected (“big kidney-little kidney” presentation).  In the author’s opinion, any cat that upon abdominal palpation one large kidney and one small kidney are palpated should have renal imaging performed.  Pyrexia and dehydration may also be clinical examination findings in cases where ureteral obstruction is occurring as a consequence of debris generated by pyelonephritis. In cats presenting with ureteral obstruction for the first time, physical examination findings may be very subtle and a high index of clinical suspicion needed for diagnosis.

Biochemical changes of ureteral obstruction can range from unremarkable through to severe azotemia (from acute renal failure). Bilateral obstructions usually have significant azotemia as neither kidney can function. Unilateral obstructions usually have unremarkable biochemical changes if the contralateral kidney is unaffected where as they will have severe azotemia if the contralateral kidney is non-functional. Clinical pathology may demonstrate severe renal dysfunction but cannot differentiate ureteral obstruction from other forms of acute renal failure. Common laboratory findings include severe azotemia, hyperphosphatemia, and hyperkalaemia.  Any cat presenting with these clinical pathology changes should be considered an emergency.  While there are many causes of acute renal failure it is the authors opinion that imaging of the urinary tract should be mandatory for any cat with acute renal failure. Urine specific gravity (USG) is often suboptimal in these cats (< 1.035).  Urine sediment should be examined for concurrent bacterial infection and urine should be sent for culture and sensitivity.

Definitive diagnosis of ureteral obstruction may be made via several different imaging modalities.  Ureteral calculi are often visible on plain abdominal radiographs.  A retrospective study revealed that sonography and survey radiography used in combination was able to diagnose 90% of ureteral calculi (Kyles et al, 2005).  Sonography will reveal dilation of the renal pelvis greater than 3mm.  Occasionally the cause of obstruction may be visualised sonographically, for example the visualization of a bladder mass or calculus within the proximal ureter.  In the absence of visualisation of the cause of suspected obstruction, an antegrade positive contrast pyelogram should be performed.  Intravenous urography does not usually provide suitable images.  A three-way tap is connected to: a 3ml syringe filled with suitable contrast material (eg Urograffin or Omnipaque) an empty 3ml syringe (for fluid collection) and a long 22 guage needle (2 ¼ inch).  Under ultrasound guidance the needle is inserted through the greater curvature of the kidney into the renal pelvis.  Urine is aspirated from the renal pelvis into the empty syringe and retained for sediment analysis and culture and sensitivity.  Once urine is collected, the 3-way tap is turned and contrast is injected into the renal pelvis.  Lateral and dorsoventral abdominal radiographs are then performed.  Where ureteral obstruction exists there will be abrupt termination of the contrast column.  In some cases, particularly those where obstruction is secondary to pyelonephritic debris the obstruction may be flushed under pressure into the bladder.  Other methods of diagnosis include advanced imaging such as CT, MRI and nuclear scintigraphy.

Treatment of ureteral obstruction varies depending on the underlying cause. The following notes discuss treatment of treatment of intraluminal obstruction secondary to calculi or debris only.

Intraluminal ureteral obstruction may be treated medically or surgically.  First and foremost pain relief is MANDATORY for cats with ureteral obstruction.  It is amazing how many angry aggressive cats seemingly change personality overnight with the administration of pain relief.  The most common analgesics used for ureteral obstruction at The Cat Clinic are the opiates methadone (used in intermittent bolus dosing) and fentanyl patches (Durogesic patch, 12.5microgram or 25 microgram depending upon the size of the cat).

The mainstay of medical therapy involves judicious use of intravenous fluids and agents to dilate the ureter to promote passage of the obstruction.  There are two distinct groups of cats that are medically treated.  The first group are those presenting with their first episode of obstruction, or those cats who have compromise of the contralateral kidney and are azotemic but not hyperkalaemic on presentation.  The second group of cats are those who present in acute renal failure with hyperkalaemia.  These cats have either bilateral obstruction or unilateral obstruction with little or no function of the contralateral kidney.

At The Cat Clinic non-hyperkalaemic cats are treated with intravenous fluids and ureteral dilating agents initially.  Cats that do have compromise of the contralateral kidney are at risk for oliguric or anuric renal failure.  As such body weight should be closely monitored (the author recommends every 4-6 hours).  Obviously another method of monitoring urine output is to place an indwelling urinary catheter and monitor urine output.  The authors do not routinely place urinary catheters in these cats for the following reasons; these cats are usually relatively bright and sedation/anaesthesia is often required for catheter placement, and the placement of a urinary catheter opens up a potential site of infection. Cats are maintained on intravenous fluids for a maximum of three days.  Agents used to stop ureteral spasm, dilate the ureter or increase urine flow include amlodipine, amyltriptaline, glucagon and diuretics.  Further study into the clinical efficacy of these drugs is needed.

Daily monitoring of packed cell volume (PCV), total protein (TP), creatinine and serum electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and chloride) should be performed.  It is vital to track changes in electrolytes in these cats.  The majority of cats are re-imaged via sonography on day three.  Our criteria for successful medical therapy are 1.  Reduction in creatinine to normal or previously determined baseline level and 2.  Reduction in size of renal pelvis.  If the patient has not responded to therapy within three days then surgical intervention should occur.  Cats that progress to hyperkalaemic acute renal failure within this three day period should be considered candidates for surgery post stabilisation.

Cats presenting with hyperkalemic acute renal failure are candidates for surgery following stabilisation.  Intravenous fluid therapy should be commenced with non-potassium containing fluids.  Close attention should be paid to the body weight and hydration status of the cat as it is very easy to fluid overload these cats.  Depending on the level of hyperkalaemia and the state of the patient, additional therapy for hyperkalaemia may need to be instituted.  Therapies include the administration of regular insulin and glucose intravenously and sodium bicarbonate.  Calcium gluconate may utilised for its cardioprotective qualities where appropriate.

After the initial period of stabilisation the decision must be made whether the patient is stable enough for a long surgical period, or if peritoneal dialysis or percutaneous nephrostomy tube placement should be attempted. This decision is based upon individual patient factors.
There are several different surgical techniques for relief of ureterliths.  The choice of technique is dependent upon the location of the obstruction.  In humans there are three specific sites where ureteroliths tend to lodge.  As yet it is not yet determined if such sites exist in cats (Kyles, 2006).  Obstructions in the proximal ureter are usually removed via uretotomy.  Given the size of the feline ureter magnification is essential during surgery.  At The Cat Clinic, an operating microscope is routinely used for this surgery.  Ureteroliths in the distal ureter may be treated via uretotomy or ureteroneocystostomy (transection and then reimplantation of the ureter into the bladder).  The most common post operative complications seen at The Cat Clinic is uroabdomen (Evans et al, 2007).  This is also the most common surgical complication seen at the University of California, Davis (Kyles et al, 2005).  Other reported complications include pulmonary oedema, septic peritonitis, and persistant ureteral obstruction.  Nephrostomy tubes divert urine away from ureterotomy site and allow for rapid reduction in azotemia. At The Cat Clinic, experience with uroabdomen has led us to routinely place nephrostomy tubes however surgeons at UC Davis feel this is not necessary with improved surgical technique. Nephrostomy tubes are associated with complications including obstruction of the tube, dislodgment of the tube, urine leakage, and infection.

Other therapies for resolution of ureteral obstruction include the use of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy.  The University of California, Davis had been using this treatment method with informed consent of the owner of the patient.  However it is associated with high rates of complications including sudden death, pancreatitis, diarrhea, and cardiac arrythmias.  The researchers also found that feline ureteroliths were generally “harder to fracture” than canine ureteroliths and thus this treatment methodology is not favoured (Hardie and Kyles, 2004).  There has also been a case report of endoscopic retrieval of a ureteral calculus (Kuntz, 2005).

Kyles et al 2005 reported twelve month survival rates of 66% for those cats treated medically, and 91% for those cats treated surgically. This study also reported that of 35 cats monitored post obstruction 14 had a recurrence of ureterolithiasis.  This occurred a median of 12 months post first obstructive episode.  At The Cat Clinic approximately 1 in 3 cats treated for an episode of ureteral obstruction will have a recurrence of clinical signs.  Data is not yet available with regard to long term survival.

Ureteral obstructions can be treated medically and surgically with good outcomes.  However recurrence is very common (Kyles et al, 2005, Evans et al, 2007).  With non specific clinical signs a high index of suspicion may be needed for diagnosis. Prompt diagnosis and intervention minimizes long term damage to the affected kidney.  Diagnosis is aided by imaging techniques such as radiography and sonography.  It is important that any cat with signs of an acute abdomen be imaged.

References:

Evans, N.A. Gunew, M. Marshall, R.  Ureteral obstructions can be treated medically and surgically with good outcomes.  Proceedings of the Australian College of Veterinary Scienctists 2007.

Hardie, E.M. and Kyles, A.E.  2004.  Management of ureteral obstruction
Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 34(4):989-1010.

Kuntz, C.A.  2005.  Retrieval of ureteral calculus using a new method of endoscopic assistance in a cat.  Aust Vet J.  83(8):480-2.

Kyles, A.E., Hardie, E.M., Wooden B.G., Adin C.A., Stone E.A., Gregory C.R., Mathews K.G., Cowgill L.D., Vaden S., Nyland T.G., Ling, G.V.  2005.  Clinical, clinicopathologic, radiographic, and ultrasonographic abnormalities in cats with ureteral calculi: 163 cases (1984-2002).  J Am Vet Med Assoc. 226(6):932-6.

Kyles, A.E., Hardie, K.M., Wooden, B.G., ., Adin C.A., Stone E.A., Gregory C.R., Mathews K.G., Cowgill L.D., Vaden S., Nyland T.G., Ling, G.V.  2005.  Management and outcome of cats with ureteral calculi: 153 cases (1984-2002).  J Am Vet Med Assoc. 226(6):937-44.

Kyles, A. E.  2006.  Renal and Ureteral Obstruction.  Proceedings if the British Small Animal Veterinary Congress 2006.

Ragni, R.A., Fews, D. 2008.   Ureteral obstruction and hydronephrosis in a cat associated with retroperitoneal infarction.  J Feline Med Surg. In press.

Outpatient Information

RADIOACTIVE IODINE-131 FOR TREATMENT OF HYPERTHYROIDISM OUTPATIENT DISCHARGE INFORMATION

INTRODUCTION

The thyroid glands are located in the neck of the cat are responsible for producing thyroid hormone. An excess of thyroid hormone production causes hyperthyroidism. The thyroid glands trap Iodine from the blood stream and concentrate it within the gland. When a cat is given radioactive iodine-131 the dose is concentrated in the thyroid gland. The radiation then destroys the overactive thyroid gland but doesn't cause damage to other parts of the body.

Cats receive a single dose of radioactive iodine by either subcutaneous injection or by a capsule given by mouth. This single treatment will cure 95-98% of cats. It will take about a month for thyroid levels to return to normal in most cats. A small number of cats will remain hyperthyroid after treatment, if this is the case your cat will need to have either a second treatment or to use other medical or surgical methods of treatment. A small number of cats will have very low levels of thyroid function after treatment (hypothyroidism) that may require lifelong supplementation with thyroid hormone.

Side effects from radioactive iodine therapy are very rare, 1.5% cats will have temporary difficulty in swallowing or a change in voice.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS TO PEOPLE?
Compared to people cats receive quite a low dose of radioactive iodine-131 for the treatment of hyperthyroidism. This is because they are much smaller than people and have smaller thyroid glands. Even though your cat will be radioactive when it goes home, following our guide will ensure that any radiation exposure at home is well within the safe levels determined by the government.

The risk of radiation exposure comes both from your cat directly and also from any bodily fluids or wastes such as urine, saliva, faeces and vomit.

To help protect yourself and other in the house from radiation exposure you should follow some simple rules for the first 3 weeks

  1. Limit the time spent with your cat
  2. Maximise the distance between yourself and your cat - radiation levels drop very quickly as distance increases (by the inverse square law)

Children and unborn babies are more sensitive to radiation so children and pregnant women should not be responsible for caring for a treated cat for at least 21 days after treatment.

WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO AT HOME? For the First 7 days After Treatment

  • Your cat must be housed in a room by itself for the first 7 days after treatment. This room must not be entered other than for brief periods to care for your cat. This room must be at least 2 metres from any area of the house that is frequently used, i.e. bedrooms, lounge room, kitchen. Think about any rooms that may be above or below the location in which the cat is housed.
  • " Your cat must use a litter tray with clumping flushable litter for the first 7 days.
  • " You must use disposable gloves when handling the litter tray. The litter tray must be carried to the toilet and the clumps of urine and faeces must be removed from the litter tray using a scoop and flushed down the toilet. This needs to be done twice daily for the first 7 days. The disposable gloves should be removed, placed in a plastic bag and discarded into the rubbish.
  • " The maximum amount of time that any individual person is to spend in close contact with the cat is 15 minutes per day. This time must include feeding, changing water and cleaning the litter tray. During this time you may stroke your cat but you may not pick it up or allow it to sit on you.
  • " Wash your hands after contact with your cat.

For Days 8-21 After Treatment

  • Your cat is allowed inside and outside and does not need to be continuously confined.
  • Your cat must not sleep in the same room as you for this period. Your cat should be a minimum of 1 metre from a bed, remember that radiation can travel through walls.
  • You must limit close contact with your cat to 30 minutes per day for each person.
  • The cats litter tray should be cleaned once daily using a scoop and wearing disposable gloves. Litter and gloves may be discarded with the household waste.
  • Wash your hands after contact with your cat.

From 22 days after treatment you may treat your cat as normal as the levels of radiation will have fallen to very low levels.

WHAT DO I DO IF?

  • My cat escapes in the first 7 days Catch your cat and place it back in its room as soon as possible. Hold your cat at arms length if possible while moving it back to its room.
  • My circumstances have changed and I cant follow the guidelines any more Contact the Radiation Safety Officer at Creek Road Cat Clinic and we will develop a suitable plan. It may be necessary to admit your cat to hospital.
  • My cat is unwell and needs to see a vet within 21 days of treatment If possible see a vet at the Creek Road Cat Clinic, the clinic has a 24 hour emergency service. If this is not possible advise your vet that your cat has been treated with radioactive iodine-131, the dose and the date the treatment was given. Advise your vet to contact the Radiation Safety Officer at Creek Road Cat Clinic if they require advice on the safe handling of your cat.
  • My cat urinates, defecates or vomits outside its litter tray Use disposable gloves and paper towels to clean up the mess. Be very careful not to step in the mess. Flush any paper towels down the toilet and place the disposable gloves in a bag and place in the outside rubbish bin. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running warm water for at least 5 minutes. Contact the Radiation Safety Officer at Creek Road Cat Clinic.
  • My cat scratches or bites me Clean the wound under running water for at least 5 minutes. If the wound is bad seek medical attention and advise the medical staff that you have been bitten or scratched by a cat that has had radioactive iodine-131 treatment. While there will be some radioactivity transferred in saliva from a bite it will be a very small amount. Please contact the Radiation Safety Officer at Creek Road Cat Clinic
  • I spill urine, faeces or vomit on my skin or clothes You should remove any items of clothing that are contaminated and place them in a plastic bag. Wash any areas of skin that have been contaminated with soap under running warm water for at least 5 minutes. Clothes should be washed promptly. Contact the Radiation Safety Officer at Creek Road Cat Clinic for further instructions.

FOLLOW UP

  • Please arrange an appointment with your regular vet for a physical examination, weight check and blood test for thyroid and kidney function 4-6 weeks after treatment.

Please do not hesitate to call the clinic if you have any questions or concerns

Inpatient Information

RADIOACTIVE IODINE-131 FOR TREATMENT OF HYPERTHYROIDISM
INPATIENT DISCHARGE INFORMATION

INTRODUCTION
The thyroid glands are located in the neck of the cat are responsible for producing thyroid hormone. An excess of thyroid hormone production causes hyperthyroidism. The thyroid glands trap Iodine from the blood stream and concentrate it within the gland. When a cat is given radioactive iodine-131 the dose is concentrated in the thyroid gland. The radiation then destroys the overactive thyroid gland but doesn’t cause damage to other parts of the body.

Cats receive a single dose of radioactive iodine by either subcutaneous injection or by a capsule given by mouth. This single treatment will cure 95-98% of cats. It will take about a month for thyroid levels to return to normal in most cats. A small number of cats will remain hyperthyroid after treatment, if this is the case your cat will need to have either a second treatment or to use other medical or surgical methods of treatment. A small number of cats will have very low levels of thyroid function after treatment (hypothyroidism) that may require lifelong supplementation with thyroid hormone.

Side effects from radioactive iodine therapy are very rare, 1.5% cats will have temporary difficulty in swallowing or a change in voice.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS TO PEOPLE?
Compared to people cats receive quite a low dose of radioactive iodine-131 for the treatment of hyperthyroidism. This is because they are much smaller than people and have smaller thyroid glands. Even though your cat will still be mildly radioactive when it goes home, following our guide will ensure that any radiation exposure at home is well within the safe levels determined by the government.

The risk of radiation exposure comes both from the cat directly and also from any bodily fluids or wastes such as urine, saliva, faeces and vomit.

To help protect yourself and other in the house from radiation exposure you should follow some simple rules for the first 2 weeks

  • Limit the time spent with your cat
  • Maximise the distance between yourself and your cat – radiation levels drop very quickly as distance increases (by the inverse square law)

Children and unborn babies are more sensitive to radiation so children and pregnant women should not be responsible for caring for a treated cat for at least 21 days after the date of treatment; this is usually 14 days after your cat goes home.

WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO AT HOME?

For Days 8-21 After Treatment

  • Your cat is allowed inside and outside and does not need to be continuously confined.
  • Your cat must not sleep in the same room as you for this period. Your cat should be a minimum of 1 metre from a bed, remember that radiation can travel through walls.
  • You must limit close contact with your cat to 30 minutes per day for each person.
  • The cat litter tray should be cleaned with a scoop once daily using disposable gloves. Litter may be discarded with the household waste.
  • Wash your hands after contact with your cat.

From 22 days after treatment you may treat your cat as normal as the levels of radiation will have fallen to very low levels.

WHAT DO I DO IF?

  • My circumstances have changed and I cant follow the guidelines any more

Contact the Radiation Safety Officer at Creek Road Cat Clinic and we will develop a suitable plan. It may be necessary to admit your cat to hospital.

  • My cat is unwell and needs to see a vet within 21 days of treatment

If possible see a vet at the Creek Road Cat Clinic, the clinic has a 24 hour emergency service. If this is not possible advise your vet that your cat has been treated with radioactive iodine-131, the dose and the date the treatment was given. Advise your vet to contact the Radiation Safety Officer at Creek Road Cat Clinic if they require advice on the safe handling of your cat.

  • My cat urinates, defecates or vomits outside its litter tray

Use disposable gloves and paper towels to clean up the mess. Be very careful not to step in the mess. Flush any paper towels down the toilet and place the disposable gloves in a bag and place in the outside rubbish bin. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm running water for at least 5 minutes. Contact the Radiation Safety Officer at Creek Road Cat Clinic.

  • My cat scratches or bites me

Clean the wound under running water for at least 5 minutes. If the wound is bad seek medical attention and advise the medical staff that you have been bitten or scratched by a cat that has had radioactive Iodine-131 treatment. While there will be some radioactivity transferred in saliva from a bite it will be a very small amount. Please contact the Radiation Safety Officer at Creek Road Cat Clinic

  • I spill urine, faeces or vomit on my skin or clothes

You should remove any items of clothing that are contaminated and place them in a plastic bag. Wash any areas of skin that have been contaminated with soap and warm running water for at least 5 minutes. Clothes should be washed promptly. Contact the Radiation Safety Officer at Creek Road Cat Clinic for further instructions.

FOLLOW UP

  • Please arrange an appointment with your regular vet for a physical examination, weight check and blood test for thyroid and kidney function 4-6 weeks after treatment.

Please do not hesitate to call the clinic if you have any questions or concerns.

Laparoscopy and Thoroscopy

Minimally Invasive Surgery In Cats

Rhett Marshall BVSc MACVSc
The Cat Clinic
189 Creek Road,
Mt Gravatt, 4122.

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is a collective term for surgical techniques designed to minimise the extent of an anatomic approach while maintaining precision and efficiency. MIS is a new and rapidly advancing field in veterinary medicine, with new techniques and applications being published in nearly every monthly veterinary journal. The benefits of MIS in decreasing peri-operative pain and decreasing morbidity has well been accepted in human medicine and now also confirmed in animals. Reducing or minimising pain in animals has been a priority for modern veterinary clients and has fueled the pursuit of these veterinary laparoscopic and thoracoscopic techniques that cause minimal invasion.
Laparoscopy
Viewing the internal structures of the abdominal cavity via laparoscopy involves "insufflation’ of the abdominal cavity with carbon dioxide gas. This gas is used because it in non-flammable (when cautery is used), non toxic and inexpensive. Modern CO2 insufflating devices have a pressure limit (12-15mm Hg) that cannot be exceeded so that overdistention of the abdomen is prevented. Insufflation allows displacement of the abdominal wall from the underlying viscera so that instruments may be manipulated without trauma to the abdominal organs. A cannula is placed in the abdominal wall and a rigid telescope (laparoscope) inserted through and into the peritoneal cavity. Once the telescope is in place, biopsy forceps or surgical instruments can be introduced into the abdomen through adjacent cannulas to perform various diagnostic or surgical procedures.
Structures that can be visualized include the liver, gallbladder, kidneys, bladder, stomach, pancreas, spleen, small intestine, cecum, colon, uterus, ovaries, vas deferens, adrenal glands and diaphragm.
The advantages of laparoscopy compared with conventional open surgical exploratory laparotomy include improved patient recovery because of smaller surgical sites and lower postoperative morbidity with a lower infection rate and less postoperative pain. The complication rate of laparoscopy is low. A review of 360 consecutive cases of diagnostic laparoscopy performed by Eric Monnet at Colorado State University found a complication rate of less than 2%. Serious complications include anesthetic- or cardiovascular-related death, bleeding, or air embolism .

Few contraindications exist due to the minimal invasiveness of laparoscopy. Ascites, abnormal clotting times, poor patient condition or obesity are the only relative contraindications. Absolute contraindications to laparoscopy include septic peritonitis or conditions where obvious conventional surgical intervention is indicated. Patients who are a poor anesthetic or surgical risk are not suitable candidates and are even less suitable for conventional surgery.

The basic equipment required for diagnostic laparoscopy include

  1. telescope (0 or 30°)
  2. videocamera and monitor
  3. 2 cannulae (access into abdomen)
  4. veress needle (for initial safe insufflation)
  5. light source
  6. light guide cable
  7. carbon dioxide insufflator (to continuously inflate the abdomen)
  8. palpation probe
  9. oval biopsy forceps
  10. punch biopsy forceps
  11. grasping forceps
  12. scissors
  13. device for photographic documentation (optional)

Most major video endoscopy equipment required for laparoscopy, thoracoscopy, and arthroscopy may be used interchangeably. Things such as the light source, light guide, monitor, telescope (arthroscope), camera and printer may be interchanged and significantly reduce set up costs if you already have these large ticket items. Purchased new, this basic equipment could cost more than $60,000. Good quality second hand units are readily available from endoscopic suppliers such as Austvet or on e-bay and may cost as little as $10,000.

All types of modern MIS systems involve a video camera, light source and monitor. The video camera will be the most important determinant of your image quality on the monitor and often represents the largest investment. Camera image quality and is determined by how many chips they have. The more chips, the better the image and unfortunately the more expensive. The least expensive single chip cameras are adequate for routine procedures while modern 3 chip cameras provide increased image quality. Xenon fiber optic light sources are most commonly used for MIS as they are brighter and are necessary to provide adequate lighting in body cavities. A single chip camera with a Xenon light source would serve most practitioners well as it can be used for both soft tissue or arthroscopic procedures. The light guide cable connects the telescope to the light source so must also be compatible at both ends.

Telescopes and other minimally invasive surgical instruments (needle holders, curettes, forceps, etc) are more specifically designed for laparoscopy, thoracoscopy or arthroscopy. Telescopes are classified by their diameter and their length; the larger the diameter of the telescope, the more light and the better the image. Telescopes also come in zero-degree (looking straight ahead) to thirty-degree field of view. Angled scopes allow the operator an increased field of view, but can be confusing to beginners. Telescopes cost about $4000-6000 new and $1800-2500 second hand . The diameter of the telescope and instruments must correspond with the trocar-cannula units.

The procedure
The animal is clipped, prepared and draped for abdominal surgery. A Veress needle is used to safely penetrate the abdominal wall, then attached to insufflation tubing which connects to the automatic carbon dioxide insufflator. Carbon dioxide is considered to be the gas of choice for insufflation because of safety in preventing air emboli and spark ignition during cauterisation. After insufflation of the abdominal cavity, the trocar-cannula unit is placed through the abdominal wall and the trocar removed. Most cannulae contain an internal one-way valve that prevents loss of insufflated gas once the trocar is removed after abdominal entry. The cannula remains in place traversing the abdominal wall and creates a portal for the introduction of the telescope or instruments into the abdominal cavity.

The telescope and instruments can then be moved between cannulas as required. When finished, the telescope and instruments are removed, the insufflation tube detached so abdomen decompresses, cannulas removed and sutures placed in the muscle and skin as required.

Whats different in cats?
Their abdominal wall is very thin making it difficult and somewhat dangerous to normally insert a trocar-cannula. The thin muscle wall provides little grip to the cannulas making them easy to accidentally pull out while working. Cats require less intra-abdominal pressure to maintain a good surgical field (4-6mmHg compared to 8-15mmHg in the dog) and more readily develop complications such as reduced cardiac output from pneumo-peritoneum. Maximal insufflation allowed is hence lower for cats (10mHg for cat vs 15mmHg for dogs). The small dimensions of a cats abdomen and thorax requires telescopes and instruments with shorter working lengths (14-18cm compared to 20-30cm for dogs)

To optimise results, we use

  1. 3.5mm Endotip cannulas – the cannula screws through abdominal wall rather than blindly stabbing a sharp trocar to gain access. These threaded cannulas also resist falling out of muscle wall during use and are simply unscrewed after use leaving undamaged muscle fibres.
  2. 2.7mm telescope with 14cm working length
  3. 3mm instruments with uni-polar coagulation
  4. maximal insufflation of 6mmHg

Is there a place for laparoscopy in cats?
Client acceptance is excellent, the biopsy specimens are high quality and cats clearly benefit from reduced trauma. While the applications of laparoscopic surgical procedures continues to grow, it is likely that the main application of laparoscopy in cats will be diagnostic sampling. Initial set up costs is the major deterrent in veterinary medicine and this can be reduced by purchasing second hand equipment.

Thoracoscopy

Visualisation of lungs, pericardium, heart and major blood vessels, thoracic duct, mediastinum, lymph nodes and the pleural and peritoneal surfaces of the thoracic cavity can be performed with minimal invasiveness by placing a cannula in the chest wall and inserting a rigid telescope.
Thoracoscopy has been used in diagnosing spontaneous pneumothorax, pericardial effusions, pulmonary disease, pleural diseases, neoplasia (including determining margins and respectability), and determining the etiology of refractory pleural effusions. The most common minimally invasive thoracic surgical procedure currently being performed in small animals is creation of a pericardial window. Other thoracic procedures being performed include partial and total lung lobectomies, thoracic duct occlusion, PRAA transection, ligation of PDA, mediastinal mass removal and debridement for pyothorax.

The thorax can be entered trans-diaphragmatically (under xyphoid) or intercostally using a screw in Endo-tip cannula. The trans-diaphragmatic approach allows a long axis view of the thoracic cavity and is best for exploration and biopsy. Once a cannula is introduced, a pneumothorax developes causing the lungs to partially collapse and allows visualisation. Mechanical ventilation is therefore required. Additional cannulas are inserted under thoracoscopic visualisation and instruments inserted as required. Once the telescope is in place, biopsy forceps or surgical instruments can be introduced through adjacent cannulas to perform various diagnostic or surgical procedures within the thorax. Once examination and operative procedures have been completed the instruments and cannulas are removed, air removed from the pleural space and the lungs re-expanded.

Thoracoscopy offers many significant advantages over a conventional open thoracotomy.  As such, it will likely become the gold standard for both diagnostic investigations and many surgical procedures performed in the thoracic cavity.

Summary
Minimally invasive thoracic and abdominal surgery is far less invasive than open surgical procedures and has much lower morbidity and mortality yet allows greater visual exploration of the chest and abdomen than can be done with a laparotomy or thoracotomy. General anesthesia is required for performing minimally invasive surgery but the duration and depth of anesthesia can be much less than for open surgery. An owners reluctance for surgery may play an important role in the decision to select a minimally invasive technique.

Using glargine for diabetic ketoacidosis

Using glargine intravenously for diabetic ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis results from prolonged inadequate insulin activity. The main aims of therapy are to supply exogenous insulin, restore hydration status and manage electrolyte disturbances. Ketoacidotic cats usually present severely dehydrated and as such, have reduced absorption from subcutaneous tissue (from reduced blood flow). Until hydration is restored, insulin must be administered either intravenously or intramuscularly.

For many years, the insulin of choice for treating ketoacidosis has been regular insulin due to its rapid onset, potent glucose lowering effect and predictably short duration of action. Glargine has almost identical properties to that of regular insulin when used intravenously (Scholtz et al, 2003). Its actions are so similar that glargine can simply be substituted for regular insulin (for all your current protocols just draw glargine up instead of regular insulin). There are no reported clinical trials in the human literature assessing glargine administered intravenously as it was accepted to have no benefit over regular insulin. Regular insulin is used solely to treat diabetic ketoacidosis and many veterinary clinics chose not to stock it (or use it well after the expiry date) as the disease is seen so infrequently and most of the vials are wasted. Glargine on the other hand, can be used in DKA as well as maintenance therapy and most clinics have it on hand for diabetic cats. We mix glargine with normal saline, hartmann’s or 2.5% glucose solution. It is uncertain how long it will stay active in these solutions so suggest a new solution is made every 24hrs.

Glargine can be administered to ketoacidotic cats by:

  • infusing intravenously at a rate of 0.05-0.1 U/kg/hr and rate adjusted to maintain blood glucose between 10-14mmol/L or
  • injected s/c at the normal dose rate (0.25-0.5U/kg) as well as 0.5-1U of glargine injected IM or IV

As soon as I have a diagnosis of DKA, I immediately administer 0.5U/kg subcutaneously as well as 1U into the quadriceps muscles. I often administer glargine before I have discussed the diagnosis and treatment plan with owners. If they decide not to treat the cat,  little has been lost as the syringes and insulin probably cost the clinic less than $1. I have found most cats require 1U of glargine given IM every 2-4hrs based on glucose concentration. The dosing of glargine IM or IV is continued until hydration is restored and appetite returns, which usually occurs in 1-3 days. Glargine is then injected s/c and dosed as for an uncomplicated cat (see Table 1).

Please note When injected s/c, glargine reacts with the tissue and forms micro-precipitates which are slowly absorbed and is responsible for its long duration of action. Mixing or diluting glargine with any solution inhibits micro-precipitates forming and significantly reduces the duration of action. It is only when using intravenously for treating DKA that it can be mixed with other solutions as a long duration of action is not required.

Using Glargine In Diabetic Cats

Rhett Marshall BVSc, MANCVSc, PhD
The Cat Clinic
189 Creek Road,
Mt Gravatt, 4122

Basic information

Glargine (Lantus) is readily available from most pharmacies with a script, is not licensed for use in cats.

Glargine must not be diluted or mixed with anything because the prolonged action is dependent on its pH.

Insulin glargine should be kept refrigerated to prolong its life.

Insulin glargine has a shelf-life of 4 weeks once opened and kept at room temperature. We have found that opened vials stored in the refrigerator can be used for up to 6 months.

Discard vial immediately if there is any discoloration. Bacterial contamination and precipitation associated with pH change can cause cloudiness.

If using an insulin pen, the manufacturer recommends that the pen and cartridge be kept at room temperature and not refrigerated. This is to reduce the changes in volume of insulin dispensed associated with changes in temperature.

When performing a blood glucose curve, samples probably only need to be taken every 4hrs over 12 hr in many cats (ie. 0h [before morning insulin], 4h, 8h and 12h after morning insulin).

Dose changes should be made based on pre-insulin glucose concentration, nadir (lowest) glucose concentration, daily water drunk, and urine glucose concentration.

Better glycaemic control is achieved with twice daily dosing rather than once daily.

Some cats that have been treated with other insulin will go into remission, usually within 1-4 months after instituting glargine. Remission in cats that have been treated for more than 2 years is extremely rare.

More accurate dosing may be achieved using 0.3ml U-100 insulin syringes.

Remission is likely to occur if the nadir glucose is in the normal range and pre-insulin blood glucose is less than 12 mmol/l. However, for some cats to achieve remission, the dose needs to be very gradually reduced, tapering off to ½ U SID before being withdrawn. Too rapid withdrawal often requires restabilising at a higher dose for some weeks.

 

Indications for using glargine

All newly diagnosed diabetic cats (to increase chance of remission)

Poorly controlled or unstable diabetic cats (glargine's long duration of action is likely to benefit these cats)

When SID dosing is desired or demanded (It is important to note that better glycaemic control and higher remission rates will be obtained with BID dosing. SID dosing only provides similar control and remission rates to lente BID)

Ketoacidosis - combined with regular insulin IM or IV

When corticosteroid administration is required in cats in remission. Similarly in cats at high risk of developing clinical signs of diabetes with corticosteroid administration.

 

Starting a cat on glargine insulin

If BG > 20mmol/L begin glargine at an initial dose of 0.5U/kg ideal body weight q12hrs (BID)

If BG < 20mmol/L begin at 0.25U/kg ideal body weight q12hrs (BID)

Perform a 12hr glucose curve with samples taken every 4hrs. Insulin can be increased daily until normoglycaemia is achieved but careful monitoring is necessary to avoid hypoglycaemia

Decrease dose if biochemical or clinical hypoglycaemia occurs

It is suggested that cats stay in hospital for 3 days to check the initial response to insulin, or home glucose curves are obtained for the first 3 days. Continuous blood glucose monitoring systems are an excellent way of obtaining initial response to therapy and we have great success using the Abbott FreeStyle Libre monitors. These can also be left in place for 2 weeks and allows owners to obtain BG readings without needing to sample blood.

Home glucose monitoring is considered best practice but for owners unable to complete at home then cats should be rechecked at 1, 2, 3 and 4 weeks and then as required.

Ketoacidotic cats may be treated with glargine s/c at the above dose rates in combination with regular insulin IM or IV (we have found 1U regular insulin IM every 2-4hrs based on glucose conc works best). This regime is continued until hydration restored and appetite returns, which usually occurs in 1-3 days.

 

Monitoring cats receiving glargine insulin

When performing a blood glucose curve, samples probably only need to be taken every 4hrs over 12 hr in many cats (i.e. 0h [before morning insulin], 4h, 8h and 12h after morning insulin).

With the long duration of action of glargine, there should be minimal periods when blood glucose is >14mmol/L for cats treated for more than 2 to 3 weeks, and hence well controlled cats should almost always be 0 or 1+ for urine glucose. A value 2+ or greater likely indicates that an increase in dose is required.

Dose changes should be made based on pre-insulin glucose concentration, nadir (lowest) glucose concentration, daily water drunk, and urine glucose concentration.

 

Adjusting glargine insulin dose

Once a cat has been stabilised on glargine insulin (i.e. after a week of therapy), the dose may need to be increased or decreased.

  1. Indications for increasing the dose of glargine insulin
  2. If pre-insulin glucose conc. is > 12mmol/L, then increase dose by 0.25-1.0U/injection

AND/OR

  1. If nadir glucose conc. is > 10mmol/L then increase dose by 0.5-1.0U/injection
  2. For well controlled cats after several weeks of therapy, an immediate "pre-insulin" glucose measurement > 12 mmol/L suggests that the dose should be increased.
  3. Indications for maintaining the same dose of glargine insulin
  4. If pre-insulin glucose conc. >10 - <12mmol/L)

AND/OR

  1. If nadir glucose conc. 5-9mol/L
  2. For well controlled cats after several weeks of therapy, aim for a nadir of 4-7 mmol/L
  3. Indications for decreasing the dose of glargine insulin
  4. If pre-insulin glucose conc <10 mmol/l decrease 0.5-1.0U
  5. If nadir glucose conc <3 mmol/l decrease 0.5-1U
  6. If clinical signs of hypoglycaemia develop, then rub honey or golden syrup onto the gums and contact a veterinary clinic immediately.
  7. If biochemical hypoglycaemia develops, it can often be managed by feeding the cat, preferably a higher carbohydrate containing food, such as supermarket wet food with gravy.
  8. For cats with unexpected biochemical hypoglycaemia (not clinical signs), some owners find that they can manage the hypoglycaemia by delaying the insulin injection until blood glucose increases to 10 mmol/L and then give the same dose (the following dose of insulin may need to be reduced), while others find it best to reduce the dose once glucose is above 10 mmol/L, although this may result in subsequent hyperglycaemia. In some cases, there is a "grey zone" of peak 11 - 14 mmol/L and nadir 3 - 4 mmol/l glucose concentrations. In these cases, the glargine insulin dose may be maintained or decreased depending on the water intake, urine glucose, clinical signs and length of time the cat has been treated with insulin.
  9. Insulin dose may be maintained, increased or decreased depending on the water intake, urine glucose, clinical signs and length of time the cat has been treated with insulin.
  10. If pre-insulin glucose conc. 11 - 14 mmol/L, or if nadir 3 - 4 mmol/l, clinical parameters are essential for adjustment of insulin dose.

 

Determining if the cat is in remission

  1. Insulin dose should be gradually reduced by 0.25-1 U/cat/injection if nadir blood glucose is in the normal range of 4-7 mmol/L or pre-insulin glucose concentration is < 10 mmol/L. Withdraw insulin SLOWLY until dose is 0.25 - 1 U once daily (SID). Some cats require only small doses of insulin (<1 U/cat BID) and only go into remission if the dose is reduced VERY SLOWLY giving few remaining beta cells a chance to recover.
  2. After a minimum of 2 weeks of insulin therapy, if the pre-insulin blood glucose is <10mmol/L and insulin dose is 0.25-1 U SID, insulin should be withheld and a 12hr glucose curve performed. If at the next due dosing time the blood glucose is >12mmol/L, then insulin can be re-administered at 1U BID and then gradually reduced as indicated. If blood glucose is <12mmol/L then continue to withhold insulin and discharge with a follow-up visit in 1 week. Water intake and urine glucose should be closely monitored and insulin reinstituted if glycosuria returns or water intake increases.
  3. Some cats may have a pre-insulin glucose concentration <10mmol/L within 2 weeks, but insulin therapy should be maintained for a MINUMUM of 2 weeks to give beta cells a better chance to recover from glucose toxicity. Use 0.5-1U BID or once daily until insulin is withdrawn.
  4. Some cats that have been treated with other insulin will go into remission, usually within 1-4 months after instituting glargine. Remission in cats that have been treated for more than 2 years is extremely rare. Remission is MORE likely to occur if the nadir glucose is in the normal range and pre-insulin blood glucose is less than 12 mmol/L. However, for some cats to achieve remission, the dose needs to be very gradually reduced, tapering off to ½ U SID before being withdrawn. Too rapid withdrawal often requires restabilising at a higher dose for some weeks.

 

Urine Glucose

With the long duration of action of glargine, there should be minimal periods when blood glucose is >14mmol/L for cats treated for more than 2 to 3 weeks, and hence well controlled cats should almost always be 0 or 1+ for urine glucose. A value 2+ or greater likely indicates that an increase in dose is required. This should be confirmed with blood glucose evaluation.

Fructosamine or Glycated Haemoglobin

Urine and blood glucose and water intake (i.e., clinical signs) are usually the easiest way to monitor therapy with glargine insulin. Since many cats go into remission after a few weeks, long-term measures of glycaemic control, such as fructosamine or glycated Hb, are of less value in monitoring patients.

 

General observations from preliminary use of glargine insulin

Starting doses may be high. Some cats initially require a dose of 5 or 6 U/cat BID to establish glycaemic control. This dose can usually be reduced as insulin sensitivity returns. Cats on these high doses need to be carefully monitored for hypoglycaemia.

Some cats require only small doses of insulin (<1 U/cat BID) and only go into remission if the dose is reduced very slowly giving the few remaining beta cells a chance to recover.

Nadirs can be variable. For many cats, the time at which the nadir (lowest) glucose concentration occurs is often not consistent from day to day, or between cats. Sometimes it occurs somewhere between the two doses, but sometimes the nadir occurs around the time of the next dose. Some cats consistently have their nadir glucose concentration in the evening just before the next insulin injection, and less commonly, it occurs around the time of their morning injection.

BID dosing to start. Better glycaemic control is achieved with twice daily dosing rather than once daily.

To increase the chance of remission, we suggest aiming for perfect control or possibly slightly overdosing during the first 2 months, provided the veterinarian and owner can carefully monitor the cat. There is the potential risk of hypoglycaemia, but we believe this is outweighed by the benefit of diabetic remission to the cat and owner.

Cats requiring intermittent or chronic corticosteroid administration that are either in remission or at risk of developing diabetes can usually safely be placed on 1U SID or BID.

It is a very common observation by owners that when long-term stable diabetic cats are changed over to glargine, usually they do better clinically, even if blood glucose results do not support the clinical improvement.

 

REFERENCES

 

Journal Articles

  1. Rand JS, Marshall, RD. Diabetes Mellitus in Cats. Vet Clin Small Anim., 2005;35[1]:211-224.
  2. Weaver KE, Rozanski EA, Mahony OM, Chan DL, Freeman LM. Use of glargine and lente insulins in cats with diabetes mellitus. J Vet Intern Med. 2006;20(2):234-8.

 

Proceedings

  1. Stenner,V.J., Fleeman,L.M. & Rand,J.S. Comparison of the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of subcutaneous glargine, protamine zinc and lente insulin preparations in healthy dogs. Proceedings ACVIM 2004.
  2. Marshall RD and Rand JS. Treatment with glargine results in higher remission rates than Lente or protamine zinc insulins in newly diagnosed diabetic cats. Proceedings ACVIM 2005.
  3. Marshall R, Rand J. Comparison of the Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Glargine, Protamine Zinc and Porcine Lente Insulin in Healthy Cats. Australian College of Veterinary Scientists Science Week, 2003.
  4. Marshall R, Rand J. Comparison Of The Pharmacokinetics And Pharmacodynamics Of Once Versus Twice Daily Administration Of Insulin Glargine In Normal Cats. Proceedings ACVIM 2002
  5. Marshall R, Rand J. Update on Insulin Glargine Use in Diabetic Cats. Proceedings ACVIM 2005
  6. Weaver KE, Rozanski EA, Mahony O, Chan DL, Freeman LM. Comparison of Glargine and Lente Insulins in Cats with Diabetes Mellitus. Proceedings ACVIM 2005

Managing the fractious diabetic cat

The best method of monitoring response to insulin therapy is measurement of blood glucose concentrations. The vast majority of cats will allow blood collection if they are handled in the right way. Things that help with collecting blood from fractious cats are

  • don’t make them wait
  • do the collection in a quiet place such as a consulting room
  • don’t let them see other cats or dogs
  • consider the medial saphenous vein
  • use the smallest amount of restraint possible
  • use staff that like cats and involve the owner if possible
  • if admitted for a blood glucose curve, try housing in a quiet separate location like a spare consult room or the office
  • home glucose sampling by staff or owner

Most fractious cats are much better behaved with just their owners present, in a consulting room. I like to sample blood from the jugular vein with the help of the owner. I get owners to stand behind the cat and speak gently to them while petting their head. I slowly but firmly grab hold their heads by placing my thumb under their chin and fingers on top of their head and rotate upwards until vertical. Most cats have a 10 second window of opportunity so without releasing this grip, I use the other hand to shave the skin, swab with alcohol and then direct the owners index finger over the top of the vein and then collect blood using an insulin syringe. Having owners involved like this can be extremely daunting for many veterinarians but with confidence and competence, most fractious cats can have their blood sampled.

Stress induced hyperglycaemia occurs commonly in fractious cats making blood glucose taken under duress or from a stressed cat meaningless so don’t even bother if you have to pin a cat down with force.

Unfortunately, there are times when blood glucose sampling is simply not possible due to the temperament of the cat. What are we to do in such circumstances? Daily water drunk is often overlooked, but is an important tool for monitoring diabetic cats. Blood glucose concentrations above the renal threshold (14 - 16mmol/L in cats) result in glycosuria, osmotic diuresis, and compensatory polydipsia. Measurement of water consumption at home is simpler, cheaper, and less stressful to measure for the owner, cat and practitioner, and correlates better with mean daily glucose concentration than does fructosamine concentration.

Get the owner to start therapy at a dose of 0.25 units/kg of glargine s/c twice daily. Owners then measure the 24hr water intake and record it. Despite seeming obvious, owners must be instructed on how to accurately measure water intake. A measuring cup should be used to pour a known amount of water into the drinking bowl at the start of the period and then to measure it again at the end of the period. Access to alternate drinking sites must be removed and it may be necessary to confine the cat in part of the house if it drinks significantly from a source that can’t be measured, like a pond or swimming pool. Confinement will also be required in multi-pet households so as to be sure of the patients water intake.

Insulin dosage changes are then based on the water intake of the cat with the aim of keeping water intake to around 40mls/kg/day or 200mls per day for an average diabetic cat (normal daily water intake is 20mls/kg if fed wet food only and 70mls/kg if fed dry food only). Insulin dose can be increased weekly by 0.5-1U until water intake is at the desired level.

It is desirable, but not essential, to get pre-insulin blood glucoses in as many of these patients as possible. For some cats that cannot be handled in the clinic a housecall may be worth a try. A pre-insulin glucose of less than 10 mmol/L (on insulin glargine) should trigger a dose reduction.

Another useful tool to help is to get the owners to measure urinary glucose with a dipstick a couple of times a week. Diabetic cats should have some degree of glycosuria. A persistent negative urinary glucose should trigger a dose reduction whereas persistent 4+ urine glucose requires a dose increase. Owners can place paper based litters in a syringe and squeeze urine onto the dipstick with little impact on accuracy.

Management by measuring water intake will not work if there are concurrent factors causing polyuria, eg renal disease, drug therapy with frusemide. Diabetic cats can live many years and many eventually develop renal disease which then makes using water intake invalid for monitoring insulin therapy.

It is imperative to educate owners that this is not the best way of managing the disease and that the risks are increased and the quality of control is likely not as good. However, it provides a method of managing the fractious feline diabetic patient that is stress free to all involved. It can also be useful for those clients that lack the financial resources to manage their diabetic cat more intensively.