Diabetes can be hard to manage in humans and challenging in pet cats and dogs. But did you know that the same device used for people, the FreeStyle Libre, can help check a cat’s sugar levels, too? Using the technology means you can stay home and monitor a cat’s levels with a special Bluetooth reader or an app for your smartphone.
With cats, a small patch of fur is shaved over the shoulder blades. Then, a disc about the size of a half-dollar coin is glued to the skin. A tiny needle stays put in the center of the disc and tests glucose levels under the skin. Then, holding your smartphone over the sensor, you can download the acquired data to share with your vet.
Using the data is critical for knowing how much insulin to provide. Since there’s no need to use a needle prick, you are more likely to get an accurate picture because it isn’t as stressful. A cat’s blood sugar can become elevated due to the stress of attempting to draw blood, but not with the Libre device.
Shadow the Cat Goes into Diabetic Remission
The Vet Times in the UK shared the story of a black cat named Shadow. The 10-year-old cat went into remission from diabetes after tracking her glucose levels with a FreeStyle Libre. After veterinary specialists fitted her with the device, her human family monitored her glucose with the Bluetooth reader.
“When Shadow arrived, she was in considerable distress with free fluid in her chest and abdomen. Our vets quickly stabilised and diagnosed her with severe pancreatitis. Sadly, because of her pancreatitis, she also developed diabetes,” the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies shared on Facebook.
The veterinarians worked to treat her pancreatitis and change her insulin dosages using the data from the reader. In three months, the cat’s pancreatitis was better, and her diabetes went into remission.
It worked so well that she no longer needed to wear the Libre device or eat special food.
“We are delighted to report that as Shadow’s pancreatitis subsided, her diabetes disappeared as well! So not only is she in diabetic remission with no more insulin requirements, but her free fluid is gone, and she is no longer on diabetic diet. Her glucose monitor has now been removed, and she is back to living her best life!” they said.
Rescuers Help Leah the Cat with Diabetes
Meanwhile, in Richmond, Virginia, Ashley Dobbin Calkins shared the story of Leah, a pretty kitty with diabetes. Dobbin Calkins is president of the Richmond Animal Care & Control Foundation board. She’s also the author of a book about animals rescued in the Richmond area. (Rescues in Richmond).
Like Shadow, Leah wears a Libre device. But she’s a little different because she tries to scratch it off. The rescuers gave her a fashionable wardrobe of shirts to solve this problem.
“Leah was diagnosed with diabetes last fall and wears a Libre monitor that lets us check her glucose without pricking her ears. She kicks it off unless she’s wearing a t-shirt. So now she’s building her wardrobe. It’s purely for medical reasons, 😂” Dobbin Calkins shared on Instagram.
So while treating her diabetes, she is also a feline fashionista. How cute is that? We’ve seen amazing creativity when it comes to cat fashion designed to have fun while they heal.
More about how to recognize diabetes in cats in our previous article.
It looks like Leah has become a little prickly in the shirt below. We know she’s getting the best care and hope she makes a full recovery like Shadow.
More about the FreeStyle Libre for cats and dogs from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine: