A few days ago I posted a blog warning that some dogs, like Happy, are susceptible to diabetes. Sadly my family and I had no clue that Happy’s breed and couple with his tendency towards getting pancreatitis, was putting him at a greater risk of developing diabetes. This is something that I wish we had known much earlier as we could have been looking for the symptoms, and might have sought help for him much earlier.
Unfortunately diabetes has not been kind to Happy. By the time we found out about it, his glucose was near 200. We immediately starting giving him insulin. Worried about Happy’s health, I did not think to check what kind of insulin they gave him. Unfortunately the doctor ordered a porcine insulin, which might have been okay for Happy, but is not a great choice if the one giving the shot is allergic to pork, especially if the dog hates getting shots and transforms from a limp dog into an angry wrestler.
So we went back to the vet and he ordered Prozinc. The great thing about prozinc is that it is a long lasting insulin so we only have to endure the wrestling match once a day. At least that was one win for our side.
But once or twice a day it does not matter. Happy is not a fan of us giving him insulin shots. And for a dog who was losing massive amounts of weight (his weight dropped from 28 down to 17.2 in a matter of 2 months), he was still all muscle. And boy could that little dog put up a fight. I liken given a shot to him as a mixture of trying to give a shot to a mixture of a prancing baby goat as it hopped on its favorite log, an agitated wrester, a mad horse rearing back on its hind legs and blindly swiping at anything with its front, and a nimble gymnast doing a back flip as he or she dismounts from the balance beam. Clearly giving insulin, while necessary, is not the favorite chore of the day.
And the worse part is that sometimes he would move about so much that you would give him his shot and then notice that the fur around where you gave the shot was a damp. You knew that he got some insulin because the insulin was not running down the side. The problem was that you were not certain how much insulin he had receive and if it would be enough to keep his sugar under control. The problem was that giving him too much insulin is far more dangerous than not enough as hypoglycemia can kill much faster than hyperglycemia.
We tried everything that we could to calm him down for the shots and ensure that he got all of his medicine. We massaged him, we sang to him, we moved the location of the shots, we even bribed him with food. But being the smart little pup that he is, nothing worked more than once. Fortunately one doctor recommended wrapping a blanket around Happy’s shoulders and legs to at least slow him down. And slow him down is about all we can hope for. Fortunately if we wrap him just right, it slows him down enough to give him the insulin and has reduced the battle from over and hour down to 5-15 minutes.
The hard part of it all is that diabetes has taken a quick and cruel toll on Happy. In the 3 months since he has been diagnosed, his liver and kidneys have begun to fail, he has lost nearly half of his body weight, and he has lost his sight. The one bright spot is that this morning, for the first time in two months, he actually put on 0.6 pounds. That is the first time in weeks that he has gained weight instead of loss. Now we have to wait and see if he can keep the weight on and hopefully gain a few more pounds. So right now, after weeks of emotional ups and downs we are in waiting game.
I wish that we had known that Happy was in such danger of developing diabetes and the early symptoms. Fortunately we knew enough to recognize that Happy’s incredible thirst was a strong indicator of diabetes and thus we did not wait any longer than we did. I can only imagine how close to death Happy might have been if we waited any longer to get him to the vet.
Truly knowledge is power and prevention is indeed the best form of medicine. So please learn from poor Happy’s suffering and do what you can to keep your dog from developing this miserable and potentially deadly disease.