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Living with Canine Diabetes

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I'm looking for input from anyone who has or does live with a diabetic dog. Lewie has been diagnosed with Diabetes after being hospitalized with Pancreatitis this week. He is home now and we've started Insulin injections working to regulate his glucose.

 

Currently my biggest concern is getting him to eat. He's always been a good eater, but right now he's not eating well. I've found that if I hand feed him (spoiled in the hospital, maybe :P ) he'll take food okay, but not as much as I would like. Typically, I've always said when a dog is hungry he'll eat, but I can't afford that philosophy any more. After his glucose is regulated, will he get his appetite back?

 

The vet said that once he's on track, it's critical to keep a very tight feeding/injection schedule with little or no deviation. That's not a problem right now since I'm an at-home, full-time online student but it won't always be that way.

 

I've done some research on the Internet about canine Diabetes, always trying to stay with credible sites, but there is conflicting information between the sites and what my vet says. I thought I'd have to test his glucose daily but Doc says that once Lewie's glucose is regulated that won't be necessary. It's so confusing!

 

Another question (that I've haven't had a chance to ask my vet about yet) is how does Lewie's Evan's Syndrome affect the landscape of the Diabetes, if it does at all? My sweet dog has had more health issues than all my previous dogs put together!

 

I'd sure appreciate any contributions from experienced owners and medical persons. I know I'm rambling, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around this. I just want to do what's best for him.

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So sorry to hear about this. :( We had a cat with diabetes many years ago, but I know next to nothing about the disease in dogs. Based on the diabetic cat and ill animals in general, I believe that once Lewis feels better he will have more of his old appetite. I do remember it was important to make sure the cat ate regularly in addition to getting the shots. I think, but cannot be sure, that we checked her urine daily with strips to monitor her sugar. This was back in the mid 80's, so my memory is hazy and care may be different these days.

 

Sending healing mojo to Lewis and hope he is feeling much better quickly. Let us know how he is doing.

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Your vet is telling you the least you can do instead of the most you can do. If your dog always ate exactly the same amount of exactly the same food, had exactly the same amount of treats at exactly the same times, and had exactly the same activity level at the same times of day, then there would be no need to monitor his glucose levels. I haven't met the Border Collie yet that you could count on all of that with.

 

Blood glucose being messed up and the effects of pancreatitis can both put a dog off of it's food, so hopefully that will get better. I don't know what you are feeding now, but less carbs might help to stabilize his blood glucose better.

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Vets will sometimes tell you the least you can do, to make it seem more manageable to do it (I assume). Obese dog 'just needs to lose a pound or two' instead of 10.

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If your dog always ate exactly the same amount of exactly the same food, had exactly the same amount of treats at exactly the same times, and had exactly the same activity level at the same times of day, then there would be no need to monitor his glucose levels.

 

And if your dog felt the same all the time every day.

 

I don't know much about canine diabetes, but I know that stress, pain and generally not feeling well can raise a human's blood sugar. I imagine it would be the same with other animals.

 

Poor Lewie's got a lot going on. If you're not happy with the information your vet's giving you, I'd ask for more. And if you're still not satisfied, I'd start looking for another vet who's more willing to consider you an informed part of your dog's health care team.

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My experience with canine diabetes is limited to a few months (and also, as we learned later, complicated by other, more serious health issues). But I found, as you did, a wide variety of approaches to managing the disease.

 

If I had it to do over, I would have bought a glucose meter right away and insisted my vets instruct me on alternate ways to get the blood necessary to use that meter so I could have done Mildred's curves at home. (She was difficult to get the samples from in her ears, even for the vets and techs.) In the long run, I think it would have been less stress for her than having occasionally to spend a day at the clinic for the curves--and I would have better been able to monitor her condition day to day. Knowing her glucose levels would have helped me rule in/out the diabetes when she was showing signs of health problems that confused me and saved us several vet trips, too.

 

I also found the diabetes pet Yahoo group a mixed bag: I usually really appreciate those groups and the advice they offer from the trenches. That particular group, though, did not provide the kind of support and guidance I was expecting, although its members certainly do have a lot of experience to draw from.

 

On a financial level, I learned that prices for Mildred's insulin varied widely in my area. So it was worth calling around and price-checking several pharmacies, and I eventually joined the prescription plan at Walgreen's for the best price.

 

I am sorry you are being hit with all this, Patty, and I'll watch this thread to see if there is anything else I can contribute.

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We seem to be finding our groove. Lewie is still not eating as well as I'd like but we're moving in the right direction. Last night, however, supper time proved to be less meal time and more a comedic skit, starring Lewie as the straight man and mom as the punch line. :lol:

 

He wouldn't touch the kibble I put in his bowl. I'm pretty sure it's not a taste issue, it's just that he really doesn't want to eat yet. So, I offered canned dog food...nope. Some canned chicken which would normally pique his interest...nope. I ran to the local Walgreen's for some Ensure (they used it at the vet's to get him to eat) and made a little gruel with it and the canned...nope. I tried dipping my finger in the chicken broth and running it over his lips and gums...not interested. Same with the gruel...bug off, lady. I swear, he had a doggy smorgasbord laid out in front of him but he would have none of it. I had to put the cats away to keep them out of all the yummies.

 

By now I was at my wit's end, watching the clock, desperate to get something in him so I could give him the insulin injection. I was about ready to find a hose and funnel and just pore it down his throat! My last option was to put some kibble in his Everlasting Treat Ball, which he adores. Oh my gosh!...Success!! I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. I added just a couple slivers of his normal treats (for the scent), which I'm sure are not good for him anymore. :(

 

The treat ball worked again this morning, but so far he'll only take about 1/3 cup (79 ml) which isn't enough for a dog his size. He's down from his normal 70 pounds (31.75kilos) to 60# (27.2 kilos). But, it's movement in the right direction. And speaking of movement, he's having nice little BMs which is a relief. Ever since he's developed Evan's, his digestive track is very fussy. But, so far, no pudding poop. Yeah!

 

I think he's still having a little occasional discomfort from the Pancreatitis, but at this time he's feeling a whole lot better that he was a week ago, and so am I!

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I think we may have turned a corner yesterday. Lewie started acting more like himself, watching the neighborhood out the window, watching me more.

 

We popped into the vet's office this morning for his glucose level check (happily my vet is very near). An hour after his insulin injection his glucose number was at 131. I thought that was good but Doc kept him for monitoring. She seemed concerned that it may have dropped too fast, and that maybe he is trying to regulate himself. Here's hoping that the Diabetes does end up being transient due to the Pancreatitis.

 

ps the cats like Lewie's new low-fat kibble :lol:

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As I was reading this thread I wondered if your vet had mentioned the possibilty that getting his pancreatitis under control might also resolve the diabetes. I hope that's the case.

 

J.

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Julie, yes, while Lewie was in the throes of the Pancreatitis last week, there was much discussion (hope) that the Diabetes was going to be transient. I guess it's much more common in cats than in dogs, but here's hoping Lewie is one of the lucky(?) dogs.

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