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.
I haven’t been a great blogger, but we are planning some vlogs to come your way soon. Part of the reason we haven’t been blogging much is the battle Beignet has faced with severe chemosis these last few months. It’s really been just plain awful to look at her with massively swollen eyes. For those of you who panic over steroids in diabetic dogs – Beignet had 3 shots of short-acting Decadron during a 6 week time span. No it’s not ideal but if it’s necessary, your dog can probably handle it too. Beignet didn’t even have much of an increase in her blood sugar ironically. We saw a local vet dermatologist at the beginning of January who said Beignet had Staph Blepharitis which basically means her immune system is reacting to Staph bacteria. The treatment was a shot of steroid followed by 3-4 weeks of antibiotics. I really didn’t want to do this treatment – a 3rd steroid dose and prolonged antibiotics when we have her IBD and pancreatitis so well controlled… Sounded like it could fix 1 problem and then cause another. But then I felt there was no choice. However, unfortunately, it did cause another problem and did nothing to help the chemosis either. Ugh! We’ve started Vis Biome Vet probiotics and started with a new Eastern Med Vet to adjust her Chinese herbal therapy since that helped with her appetite and GI symptoms so much in the past. We just started her new herbals Thursday night.
We’ve been counting down the days to do a combo specialist visit next week. She will see Dr. Crow, a veterinarian dermatologist along with her regular vet ophtho, Dr Warren. Dr. Crow comes to the Plano location of Veterinary Eye Institute to do visits with Dr. Warren on Wednesdays. Dr. Warren said their success rate working together on cases like Beignet’s has been unbelievable! I feel confident they will help fix our Bennie!! I literally can’t wait for the appointment!
We’ve got some new equipment and will soon get back to our passion, which is educating on diabetic dog care! I’ll be able to start videoing some of the basics that we do each day. Unfortunately our primary glucometer broke suddenly yesterday and I am so ready for the replacement to arrive tomorrow! Hopefully we can help some other diabetic dog owners and even encourage others to adopt or foster diabetic pets. There’s not much a diabetic dog can’t do! Yesterday, our Bennie had a blast participating in a real life version of the game Clue put on by CluedUpp games. She even tied for Best K9 Detective!
I had a theory Bennie might be allergic to benzalkonium chloride. I removed all eye products containing this additive on Friday, 1/31/2020. Initially I thought I was for sure right because after no days free of swelling, her eyes were almost back to normal by the next Thursday. Came home the following evening after work and she looked great. She went outside for a little bit and next thing I know she can’t open her eyes and was acting very lethargic. This was different than her previous episodes. I flushed them well. My vet said to do her steroid eye drops immediately and then do Flonase in each nostril. At the 30 minute mark I headed to the ER and of course by the time we got there she perked up and her swelling was improved. She’s never had swelling resolve that fast so this seemed much more like an immediate allergic reaction than what we usually deal with. I was so worried she needed more but then I was worried about her appointment in Dallas being effected. It was a waste of time and money. I know Beignet and this just wasn’t her normal reaction. I felt semi-vindicated when she started vomiting on the way home. I could have turned around and taken her back but at this point I can handle a vomiting diabetic like a pro. I cleaned up the car and came in and literally cried. I just want this to be over and us to have an answer. My stress level has been through the roof lately just not knowing what to do when it comes to the eyes. I get she’s complicated but it’s tough when no one knows what to do. People keep trying to tell me to go to their vet. It’s actually super annoying. My vet goes over and beyond for this dog. We’ve been to someone who’s supposedly the best of the best specialist wise and I think she jumped too quickly to a diagnosis personally. Although, I get that she’s typically a complete rock star who always figures out the tough cases. So just because maybe we didn’t get the right diagnosis – I totally think the majority do and we still recommend her. No ones perfect… For all I know our 2nd opinion will give us the same diagnosis and I will then accept that she does have it. So at this point because someone’s vet is super cheap and great or someone just plain loves their vet – that’s not going to make me think it would be worth my time and money to see them for a case that is super complex. There’s no one that understands my dog more than Dr. Brad. And I also don’t understand how when a dog has something very complicated and complex that hearing they can go to a super cheap vet makes anyone feel reassured? For me it’s not the cost, its the skill level of the vet. We are lucky to have Dr Brad, Dr Warren and maybe now even Dr Crow. Oh well – rant over. Like I said, stress level is through the roof! If we weren’t going Wednesday and I had to wait another week, I might completely loose my mind!
So that’s our update! We will let y’all know what we find out Wednesday!
It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. First I wanted to wait and give updates on this treatment or that. Then I’d be too frustrated to blog. Here I am getting my first pedicure in 6 months (and yes I feel sorry for this guy too) on a Monday night and thought maybe it’s time…
So our positive is that we started also seeing an Eastern Medicine specialist in early October. Herbals have been a total game changer for us as far as eating goes. I mean my dog eats twice a day most every day now. What??? Even breakfast! Yep it’s still completely shocking to me! Diabetes is as well controlled as it can be on Humalin N. On our last curve 2 weeks ago she ran between 119-228!
Our eyes are a disaster. Bennie’s right eye area continues to swell up huge. She’s having to wear this flower petal cone of shame most days. It’s the only cone that she can easily drink water while wearing. Can’t restrict a diabetic from their water! To make matters worse, she was diagnosed with lipid keratopathy from her steroid eye drops in November. She was changed to an anti inflammatory drop that doesn’t seem to help much with all this inflammation. She’s had to continue the steroid drops along with Benadryl frequently over the last couple of months. It’s extremely frustrating. We are now being sent to a Dermatologist. Apparently Vet Derms also specialize in allergies and immunology. We have an appointment 1/4/20. So hoping for answers that don’t involve much expense. I’m feeling tapped out. Knowing how little I’ve done for myself the last 2 years, I’m starting to resent that no matter how hard I work or how much I spend – it never seems to be enough. Don’t get me wrong, I love that dog (and her sister and brother) more than life itself, but I just so much want to have a stable normal. She actually had to get a steroid shot 2 weeks ago because of the extreme inflammation in her body which caused a ulcerated sore by her eye – I mean I’m not exaggerating, her eye area is a hot mess!
We’ve also had 2 UTI’s in the last 3 months – naturally both after hours requiring trips to the local ER Vet. I definitely recommend keeping pet urinalysis strips at home that make it easy to know when to take your diabetic in for a UTI (or even DKA if ketones are present). Not sure what’s up with the UTI’s since she’s been UTI free for the rest of her time as a diabetic. But we all know Bennie does what it takes to go see her vet friends🤦🏼♀️
So pray for no eye swelling, inflammation, good diabetes control, continues good appetite, no more UTI’s and as cheap of a vet derm appt as is possible in 2020. We’re hoping for a lottery win over here!
We hope all of you have the Happiest of Holidays! We are so thankful for everyone in Team Beignet! We’d be lost without you!
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.