Our journey with dog diabetes as well as chronic pancreatitis, IBD, & dry eye
Author: Devoted Doxie Mom
I'm a wiener dog obsessed mom of Beignet (long haired dark red brindle) and Andouille Sausage (short hair red brindle) as well as Boudin the cat. When I'm not spending my time caring for my dachshund divas and crazy cat, I'm also a general pediatrician. My background is therefore in the care of little humans and not animals. I am not a veterinarian so am therefore not an expert on animal medical care. This blog is intended to chronicle Beignet's battle mainly with diabetes, but also chronic pancreatitis and suspected jejunal inflammatory bowel disease. We hope to help others, but you should always speak with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's care. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
It’s been a wild few weeks. If you follow our Diary of a Diabetic Dachshund Facebook page, you may have seen some posts about my older doxie, Andouille Sausage (aka Annie for those of you who don’t speak Cajun). Hopefully we will get more answers on Miss. Andouille after we see vet ophtho later this week.
Beignet on the other hand is currently doing really well (despite the fact that I somehow forgot to give her yesterday AM insulin dose after she decided to wake me up at 5am on my first Saturday off in a few weeks🤦🏼♀️ – I beat myself up pretty good over that). So here’s the great news! Beignet has been eating so much better after I found a way to show some tough love! I bought a foldable pet gate and made her a little doggy jail for meal time. Why it took me long to think of this, I’ll never know. So the beauty of the pet gate is that I can now leave the room during meal times. Normally I have to referee ensuring Annie doesn’t eat Bennie’s food and that Bennie doesn’t just leave the room and find somewhere in the house to go back to sleep. Those are definitely pluses. But the best part is she’s eating much better in her new dog jail! She’s eaten dinner pretty much every night. For breakfast I forcefeed wet food if she doesn’t eat within 45 minutes. Sometimes I have to stuff a bite in and then she will start to eat on her own. She hasn’t willingly eaten wet dog food since February 2018. Now she’ll eat it on her own if I get her started which is a huge change. My vet says when she gets food in her tummy, it typically makes her feel better. Often it’s just getting a little food in for her to realize this. Diabetes feeding schedules are tough but add in chronic pancreatitis & inflammatory bowel disease and you have some idea of the nightmare feeding has been for us for the last 21 months. It’s such a huge weight off my shoulders to have had a few weeks of minimal meal time drama. Beignet immediately became very territorial over her feeding area. She often stays in and guards her area from Andouille. If she hasn’t finished every bite she’ll growl and go back and eat another bite or two while Annie watches her. For anyone with a dog that won’t eat this concept maybe worth a shot. I’m hoping our success continues!
I’m about a pound away from being the weight I was when Beignet became diabetic. How disgusting to think that I’ve had to spend the last 13-14 weeks erasing 40lbs of stress. 40lbs lost on a body that has at least 40 more pounds to get rid of. I can celebrate getting my life back, but now I can finally celebrate each pound lost starting from this point forward. I can celebrate being able to wear the wiener dog dress pictured that I once bought on a clearance sale & thought would never fit me – too bad its too hot to actually wear out in public.
The stress and emotional burden on caregivers should never be ignored. As someone who truly enjoys to work-out, I quit. I spent months barely eating but still managing to gain weight. I spent months eating whatever I wanted and definitely gaining weight. I spend most days at a job where I should be a role model and am constantly encouraging my patients to eat healthy and be physically active. However, I was doing none of these things myself. I then stressed over carrying this burden that I was letting not only myself down, but my patients as well. Due to the expense of having a pet with complex medical needs, I also stopped spending money on things that would potentially help me relieve stress – massages, pedicures, facials, etc.
Thankfully, I was able to realize I couldn’t continue on this path. The path that had me weighing more than I’d ever weighed in my entire life. I wasn’t sure where to turn. With my work schedule and my dog care schedule, I had to find something that I could handle without issue on even my most stressful days. My friend Amanda introduced me to the Optavia plan and her sister, Michelle, became my coach. I’ve now lost weight when Beignet had a pancreatitis/IBD flare. I’ve lost weight on days she hasn’t eaten. I’ve lost weight on extremely stressful work days. I’ve never once even had the slightest temptation to deviate from the plan. I don’t have to go anywhere to weigh in. I don’t have to have scheduled visits or phone calls. I only wish I’d found Optavia sooner. The program and the results are absolutely amazing. It’s the easiest “diet” I’ve ever done and for the first time, I know 100% this is something I can maintain forever.
So my advice for anyone out there that’s going through something: Do NOT let it get the best of you! Your health is too important. Your family needs you. Your children and your pets (if you have either) especially need you. You can do it!!! Take it from someone who’s turned it around. It’s possible, but not until you take the first step! And if you need some motivation, I’m here for you! Also message me if you have questions about Optavia and I will get you in touch with Michelle!
Cheers to our health and happiness,
~Devoted Doxie Mom
UPDATE: I am now a Certified Optavia Health Coach and am happy to help anyone else get their life back on track!
As a diabetic dog owner of a picky eater, meal times are NEVER fun. I’m always shocked (and extremely thankful) when I see an empty bowl. Starting out a Monday morning with your dog staring up at you with those innocent eyes while she refuses to eat… Well those are the days I absolutely dread!! Most days I can tell the difference between Beignet being a diva and being sick. This morning, I really couldn’t.
So instead of heading to work, I headed to Southern Hills Animal Hospital to leave Miss. B with her favorites. She was literally crying and moaning at the locked door when we arrived. While we waited, Andouille (who I had to bring since our plans changed unexpectedly) decided to escape her collar and make me chase her through the parking lot in this 100 degree heat🥵. Thankfully she did not make a mad dash onto Bert Kouns which is a very busy highway and eventually let me grab her.
I managed to make it to work a little after 9. Just called to check at the start of our lunch break, and discover she’s still not eating😭. I mentioned to Dr. Brad this morning, I was worried about her kidneys with the recent eye swelling since that wasn’t checked and today was our first time to see him since before all that drama. He agreed she should get an electrolyte panel. He was also doing a screen for kidney function that picks up renal disease earlier than just an abnormal creatinine. I can’t even imagine if I have to add another diagnosis to her list😳. Prayers the labs are all normal!
Dr. Brad said some research is being done on autoimmune conditions such as hers. He thinks her eye is a part of the autoimmune process. There’s even work being done on special diets. It’s difficult to have a dog like Beignet. She’s so full of life and love but her system is completely messed up. I know at some point all of this will get the best of her, but until then I will do my best to keep her healthy. Part of the reason for the blog is to share our story as well as to help educate those with pets with special healthcare needs. The other part is that this blog can help raise funds to help with Beignet’s care without having to spend any money. Please subscribe to our page by entering your email address. Also LIKE our Facebook page. And the most important thing you can do is remember that pets are family. They deserve our very best!
So as most of you know, we stuck around Dallas yesterday to be able to see a doggy dentist. Beignet’s veterinary opthalmologist, Dr. Warren, highly recommended, Dr. Sunny Ruth at Victory Bark veterinary clinic in Dallas, Texas. We were so thankful Dr. Ruth was able to fit us in for a 5pm appointment while we were already in the Dallas area. Dr. Ruth confirmed what Dr. Brad’s told us since Beignet was diagnosed with diabetes – she has 2 fractured molars. The right side is worse with a little bit of root exposed. Despite Beignet having severe eye swelling of only her right eye, it is not related to to the fractured tooth. If that tooth were to be absessed, it would end up causing the eye on that side as well as the cheek to swell and occasionally cause a drainage tract of pus from around the eye. Yuck!
Beignet’s tooth is definitely at higher risk to absess. Dachshunds have notoriously bad dentition. Dr. Ruth said it is really impressive for a dachshund of Bennie’s age that her teeth (besides the fractures) look so great! She told me to keep up our at home regimen. I’ll post the products we use at the end of the post for anyone who’s interested. I do personally scale Bennie’s teeth every few months since anesthesia for a dental is so risky for her. Although with an uncooperative dog, scaling could be dangerous and this certainly isn’t advised to be done at home for every dog.
So what’s the plan for the fractures? Dr. Ruth said if it was her own dog with Beignet’s history, she would not do any repairs or extractions. So she agrees we should just do watchful waiting. She will be happy to help if anything changes. I avoided going into detail on all my anesthesia concerns and let her come up with her own plan. I always appreciate a vet who does whats right for the dog and not whats best for their bank account. We already have that with our personal vet, but its nice to see a specialist with that seem mentality. Hopefully since this tooth hasn’t caused issues for the last 20 months – we will keep that tract record.
As far as what’s causing the severe swelling – the consensus is its likely an unknown allergen. My hope is it never happens again in which case I will be fine not knowing what caused it. Allergy testing isn’t overly accurate in dogs and it would likely end up with us on a wild goose chase trying to find an answer that we might not ever be able to confirm. The best news of all is that she doesn’t have a tumor in her orbital area based off of her physical exam findings with Dr. Warren yesterday.
Thanks so much to everyone who’s messaged me to check on Beignet! We will continue to share her story in hopes she can help other pets!
Beignet saw her favorite eye doctor, Dr. Warren at Veterinary Eye Institute in Plano. Her eyes are looking great today (unlike the 2 recent episodes in the last couple of weeks). No signs of orbital disease which was a big concern with the recurrence and made it necessary for us to come today instead of waiting for our scheduled appointment in a couple of weeks. So what caused these episodes? Either something dental or it’s due to an unknown allergy. Beignet cracked a molar day 1 of becoming diabetic so the dental one is a definite possibility. Due to all her illnesses, no one has wanted to touch her cracked tooth. Dr. Warren wants to get the opinion from a specialist in Dallas he 100% trusts. I called as soon as we got out of his appointment at 12:45 and Dr. Ruth is able to squeeze us in at 5:00pm today. Will post updates on that in the next few days.
Just remember if your diabetic (or even nondiabetic) dog has snotty eyes – insist on a dry eye test. If your dog does have dry eye, colored mucous means likely means dog’s eyes are reacting to being too dry. This is not “pink eye” and they do not need antibiotic eye drops. If you ever have any concerns about your pet’s eyes and are in this area of the country, definitely come see Dr. Warren and his staff at Veterinary Eye Institute! We’ve never had anything less than a wonderful experience. It’s been worth a 3 hour drive. They have also been incredibly responsive between appointments to every question and concern I’ve had. See Bennie getting dry eye tested below!
Fingers crossed her tooth is okay and if not, that it’s not going to cost me a small fortune. Also, Beignet is still defying the odds since she is still cataract free 20 months post diagnosis!!! The great majority of diabetic dogs get cataracts within 1 year of diabetes diagnosis. Ideally all diabetic pets should be followed by a veterinary ophthalmologist. Please like our Facebook page and subscribe to our page so we can help raise funds for when her day comes by helping us get ad revenue! We also earn money anytime someone purchases a product through links on our posts and if anyone uses our link to purchase the Embark Dog DNA test (which also gives the purchaser $25 off from using our code) – see our post on DNA of a Diabetic Dachshund for more details!
Devoted Doxie Mom in Dallas
Thankfully a family member had a hotel nearby so we are relaxing in style for the next little bit while we wait to see the dentist.
Beignet got super spoiled today by my absolutely amazing work team before she heads to Plano tomorrow! She was so excited and immediately curled up with her new stuffed animal! What would we do without Team Beignet or Team G??? Today’s treat was so absolutely unexpected!We are so blessed! ❤️ each of you!
Praying for a good visit tomorrow!!! Thanks again for all the thoughts and prayers! Don’t forget to like Diary of a Diabetic Dachshund on Facebook and/or subscribe to our blog!
The most important part of having a special needs pet or family member is staying organized. There are days where I can’t remember whether or not I’ve given Beignet her insulin. Our syringe organizer seen above is actually sold as a lip gloss organizer. Each Sunday I pre-fill Beignets 3x/day metoclopramide syringes and then put 2 insulin syringes per day as well as 2 empty syringes for her pentoxyfiline since those can’t be pre-filled. This way I never have to guess whether or not I gave a shot or med. The easier you make things for yourself, the less stressed you are! If only organizing Bennie’s eye meds was as easy!
Bennie switched from Novolin N to Humalin N about 2 weeks ago thanks to a generous donation of Humalin N from a diabetic patient! Although both are NPH insulin, I am seeing so much improvement on Humalin N so far.
The bad news is that on Saturday night Bennie had to go to the ER Vet after coming inside with her right eye super swollen again😭. We were so thankful that Dr. Saunders from PetStar where she often medical day boards was doing an ER shift. He saw her eye when she was with them during her episode a few weeks ago. Her eye doctor let us know today she can’t wait until her scheduled appointment 8/21/19 so looks like I’m going to have to take off work to take her this week. It’s crazy that it’s happened again. This poor girl can’t catch a break! We would gladly take any volunteers that want to come give her around the clock Benadryl! We can’t do the suspension at all but getting a chewable in her… Let’s just say it’s not fun!
That’s our update! Hope everyone has a great week! Keep sharing our site! The more people we can get to subscribe, the more opportunities we have for earning money to help pay all these vet bills!