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Malty

Diabetes

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Malty   

Hi Everyone.

I'm new to this forum and would dearly love to hear your thoughts and advice. My 5 year old Maltese - Rosie - has developed Diabetes following an attack of Pancreatitis. I'm finding it all rather daunting at the moment. She came home on Saturday afternoon, having spent 6 days in the vet's hospital. She has insulin twice a day. Any advice would be gratefully received. I just worry about her!

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perrin   

Hi Malty, I don't have a dog with diabetes but a cat and just want to reassure you that it's not as daunting as it seems.

It was a little tricky to start with but once all the details and dosages get ironed out you will find it's not so hard.

My cat has had diabetes for Just on 4 years now and you just get into a routine. Perrin knows when he is due a shot and stands like a pro and I got over my initial squeemishness pretty quickly.

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*kirty*   

Hi Malty, I have had a diabetic cat and now have a child with diabetes, so I understand your concerns.

My first suggestion would be to buy a blood glucose monitor from the chemist so you can check his BG levels at home. This will help you to get him stable and save money on vet visits.

Get him on a good quality diet and try to stick to a good routine with injections, etc.

See a diabetes specialist if you can. They will be up to date with the most recent treatment regimes, etc.

Be prepared for your dog to develop cataracts. Pretty much every dog with diabetes develops cataracts (not cats for some reason). Start saving if you think you would like to do surgery, and look into Ocuglo (a supplement that *may* slow the progression of cataracts.

Diabetes sucks but it can be managed very well. We see lots of diabetic dogs at work and many live long happy lives.

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Rappie   

I'm sure you'll get more support from other owners of diabetic pets, but I can certainly understand how you might feel like you've been thrown in the deep end. You will get the hang of it and it will become much easier. Make sure you have a good communication flow with your vet, don't be afraid to ask any questions and generally keep in touch. I think Kirty's advice of thinking about what you might want to do about cataracts if (when) they occur is a great one as often it's a decision that has to be made at a critical point and it is much more stressful.

I'm more than happy to field general questions if you gave them, either on the forum or via PM. Obviously I can't give specific advice related to your dog but if there is anything you've forgotten to ask or are curious about then shoot.

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*kirty*   

I should clarify that monitoring the BGL at home does not replace regular vet visits. It just means you will have a much clearer picture of what is happening with the levels, and mean you won't need to go to the vet every time you are worried/curious about her levels.

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Rappie   

I should clarify that monitoring the BGL at home does not replace regular vet visits. It just means you will have a much clearer picture of what is happening with the levels, and mean you won't need to go to the vet every time you are worried/curious about her levels.

We have some clients who regularly email us a curve and it's quite useful for us to monitor how things are going. You're right that it doesn't replace a visit but even just being able to measure a blood glucose reading at home means that if you're ever concerned you can check and identify periods of hypoglycaemia. It is important not to overdo it though, not only does it risk causing aversion but the general concepts of measuring and managing diabetic pets do differ slightly from humans and we tend to monitor trends and not adjust doses based on spot measurements (unless it is very low - in which case you need to discuss with your vet).

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raineth   

Like Kirty I'm a mum to a diabetic human child. Apart from the specific advice from your vet, I imagine getting into a strict routine regarding food (the same food, meal times, and the same quantity) and exercise (the same amount, at the same time a day) would be very beneficial to managing diabetes in a dog.

Best of luck to you :)

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Malty   

A BIG thank you to you all! You don't know how much I appreciated your input and I certainly will take you on on your kind offer to ask questions if I've forgotten to ask my vet. I take on board what you say about a monitor. Rosie is going back to my vet on Friday for a day of glucose level testing. Just hoping things are OK! Am witting everything down, ie: water intake, food, general demeanour etc. to take with me. Am wondering if pet insurance is the way to go with this one. Any thoughts ?! :o

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Daxilly   

Pet insurance will probably exclude pre existing conditions ie diabetes or any related conditions.

Just out of interest, what is the normal blood glucose range for dogs?

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Dogsfevr   

We board alot of diabetic dogs these days,its becoming more & more common sadly .

Besides all thats listed make sure to inform realiable people that your dog has this issue incase of emergencies .Make sure all family members are on the same page regarding her new life needs.

As mentioned given that sight can be affected make a point of setting her up for success for when the vision goes as it can be very sudden .

Set up mutli water bowls ,if she isn't use to a basket on the floor get one now & allow her to get use to it & encourage alot of independence,don't pamper her now she needs to be self confident .

With our dogs whose sight was starting to go we use runners so they new what there feet where feeling & that it took them to a location

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Along with everyone else, Show dog that's a great post - and the runners idea is a great one - I'm going to pinch the idea for the new house as Macs vision is slowing going - particularly at night - and he'll need to get to the doggy door in the laundry.

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Have been there with a diabetic dog, unfortunately I don't have her with me anymore. But her diabetes was quite easy to manage once I got used to the idea and got ourselves in to a routine. We kept doing our agility trials and everything we normally did. I did have to stop doing our pet therapy just because I couldn't coordinate our times to facilitate her insulin doses, but that was ok.

Things that I found important...

*write a list that is very clear about what medication and food is required and when (be exact), just in case someone else needs to know this at short notice.

*get other people used to administering insulin and feeding (this will help you in those times when you might want to go out to dinner or go away for a weekend).

*figure out the routine and stick to it. It is important to administer the insulin at as close to the same time 12 hourly. Playing with this can end you up back at the vet.

*make sure other people understand how important it is not to feed treats to your dog without first consulting you, again this can mess with blood sugar levels and end you up back at the vet

*I found it useful to use diastix and measure glucose in urine every 2nd day or so, just as a monitoring measure.

*get ready for cataracts. I wasn't and they took me by suprise.

*make up a little kit for just in case of a hypoglycaemic episode (powdered glucose, honey, easy to eat high energy food) - I had one of these at home and also one at my mum and dad's where Emma spent a lot of time.

*always carry food on you when you take your dog out in case blood sugar levels drop. I always had dog treats, but I also had a little sample sachet of honey that lived in my handbag (if they go hypoglycaemic you rub honey on their gums to try and increase sugar levels)

I think really importantly, try to relax and not stress too much. I know that feels impossible, but really diabetes is quite manageable. Be prepared for some changes to life as it does mean you live by a pretty strict routine as unlike with humans dogs have a standard insulin dose, need a standard amount of food, the same food every day, the same exercise and need their meds at the same time. Humans can use pumps or be taught to read their glucose levels and adjust their insulin accordingly - that is much harder with dogs. But it will be ok, and once you are in the routine you won't even notice it. Your dog is still your dog she just needs medication now. And yes if you can get her ready and start training in case she loses her vision your life will be lots easier if/when that does eventuate (which hopefully will be quite some time away for you).

Feel free to ask me anything you like as I"m happy to tell you about any and all of my diabetic dog experience, I know exactly where you are at, I was there about 5 years ago!

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Malty   

This forum is absolutely great! I feel sooooo much better now and not alone. A BIG THANK YOU to you all! I really appreciate all the tips and advise. My vet has been wonderful and so helpful, but it's talking with people like you that makes all the difference. You can't beat hands on experience can you?! :)

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Malty   

Have been there with a diabetic dog, unfortunately I don't have her with me anymore. But her diabetes was quite easy to manage once I got used to the idea and got ourselves in to a routine. We kept doing our agility trials and everything we normally did. I did have to stop doing our pet therapy just because I couldn't coordinate our times to facilitate her insulin doses, but that was ok.

Things that I found important...

*write a list that is very clear about what medication and food is required and when (be exact), just in case someone else needs to know this at short notice.

*get other people used to administering insulin and feeding (this will help you in those times when you might want to go out to dinner or go away for a weekend).

*figure out the routine and stick to it. It is important to administer the insulin at as close to the same time 12 hourly. Playing with this can end you up back at the vet.

*make sure other people understand how important it is not to feed treats to your dog without first consulting you, again this can mess with blood sugar levels and end you up back at the vet

*I found it useful to use diastix and measure glucose in urine every 2nd day or so, just as a monitoring measure.

*get ready for cataracts. I wasn't and they took me by suprise.

*make up a little kit for just in case of a hypoglycaemic episode (powdered glucose, honey, easy to eat high energy food) - I had one of these at home and also one at my mum and dad's where Emma spent a lot of time.

*always carry food on you when you take your dog out in case blood sugar levels drop. I always had dog treats, but I also had a little sample sachet of honey that lived in my handbag (if they go hypoglycaemic you rub honey on their gums to try and increase sugar levels)

I think really importantly, try to relax and not stress too much. I know that feels impossible, but really diabetes is quite manageable. Be prepared for some changes to life as it does mean you live by a pretty strict routine as unlike with humans dogs have a standard insulin dose, need a standard amount of food, the same food every day, the same exercise and need their meds at the same time. Humans can use pumps or be taught to read their glucose levels and adjust their insulin accordingly - that is much harder with dogs. But it will be ok, and once you are in the routine you won't even notice it. Your dog is still your dog she just needs medication now. And yes if you can get her ready and start training in case she loses her vision your life will be lots easier if/when that does eventuate (which hopefully will be quite some time away for you).

Feel free to ask me anything you like as I"m happy to tell you about any and all of my diabetic dog experience, I know exactly where you are at, I was there about 5 years ago!

Can I ask you what "Treats" you gave your dog please. I thought they could have anything between meals. :(

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Malty   

I'm sure you'll get more support from other owners of diabetic pets, but I can certainly understand how you might feel like you've been thrown in the deep end. You will get the hang of it and it will become much easier. Make sure you have a good communication flow with your vet, don't be afraid to ask any questions and generally keep in touch. I think Kirty's advice of thinking about what you might want to do about cataracts if (when) they occur is a great one as often it's a decision that has to be made at a critical point and it is much more stressful.

I'm more than happy to field general questions if you gave them, either on the forum or via PM. Obviously I can't give specific advice related to your dog but if there is anything you've forgotten to ask or are curious about then shoot.

Thank you Rappie. I may just do that! :)

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Have been there with a diabetic dog, unfortunately I don't have her with me anymore. But her diabetes was quite easy to manage once I got used to the idea and got ourselves in to a routine. We kept doing our agility trials and everything we normally did. I did have to stop doing our pet therapy just because I couldn't coordinate our times to facilitate her insulin doses, but that was ok.

Things that I found important...

*write a list that is very clear about what medication and food is required and when (be exact), just in case someone else needs to know this at short notice.

*get other people used to administering insulin and feeding (this will help you in those times when you might want to go out to dinner or go away for a weekend).

*figure out the routine and stick to it. It is important to administer the insulin at as close to the same time 12 hourly. Playing with this can end you up back at the vet.

*make sure other people understand how important it is not to feed treats to your dog without first consulting you, again this can mess with blood sugar levels and end you up back at the vet

*I found it useful to use diastix and measure glucose in urine every 2nd day or so, just as a monitoring measure.

*get ready for cataracts. I wasn't and they took me by suprise.

*make up a little kit for just in case of a hypoglycaemic episode (powdered glucose, honey, easy to eat high energy food) - I had one of these at home and also one at my mum and dad's where Emma spent a lot of time.

*always carry food on you when you take your dog out in case blood sugar levels drop. I always had dog treats, but I also had a little sample sachet of honey that lived in my handbag (if they go hypoglycaemic you rub honey on their gums to try and increase sugar levels)

I think really importantly, try to relax and not stress too much. I know that feels impossible, but really diabetes is quite manageable. Be prepared for some changes to life as it does mean you live by a pretty strict routine as unlike with humans dogs have a standard insulin dose, need a standard amount of food, the same food every day, the same exercise and need their meds at the same time. Humans can use pumps or be taught to read their glucose levels and adjust their insulin accordingly - that is much harder with dogs. But it will be ok, and once you are in the routine you won't even notice it. Your dog is still your dog she just needs medication now. And yes if you can get her ready and start training in case she loses her vision your life will be lots easier if/when that does eventuate (which hopefully will be quite some time away for you).

Feel free to ask me anything you like as I"m happy to tell you about any and all of my diabetic dog experience, I know exactly where you are at, I was there about 5 years ago!

Can I ask you what "Treats" you gave your dog please. I thought they could have anything between meals. :(

I tried to avoid food between meals unless it was necessary (for whatever reason). But treats that I would carry on my would just be things like the Natures Gift strips, or for high value I would use boiled chicken, and sometimes it would just be dry food. But it's important to note that the quantity given of these was tiny. If I wanted to give her a treat just because I loved her then she would get something chewy like bits of beef jerky, tendon, etc or chicken necks; but these were usually given to her close to her normal eating time and she had a slightly reduced meal to account for it. I still wanted her to enjoy the things she loved!! Also if you look at low calorie treats like the Educ that I think royal canin produce they may be appropriate if you want/need something.

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Tassie   

Hopefully I never need to know all this, but I just wanted to say what a great thread this is - comprehensive information. Wonder if this could be pinned?

Malty, I do hope you and your little one will adjust to the new situation quite quickly, and it looks like lots of happy years ahead.

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Malty   

I'm sure you'll get more support from other owners of diabetic pets, but I can certainly understand how you might feel like you've been thrown in the deep end. You will get the hang of it and it will become much easier. Make sure you have a good communication flow with your vet, don't be afraid to ask any questions and generally keep in touch. I think Kirty's advice of thinking about what you might want to do about cataracts if (when) they occur is a great one as often it's a decision that has to be made at a critical point and it is much more stressful.

I'm more than happy to field general questions if you gave them, either on the forum or via PM. Obviously I can't give specific advice related to your dog but if there is anything you've forgotten to ask or are curious about then shoot.

Thank you Rappie. I may just do that! :)

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