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.
We’ve had an incredibly busy last week or so. Haven’t had a chance to update to let everyone know that Beignet is doing very well. Her eye turned out to be a severe, prolonged allergic reaction – so no tumor! It was so hard to hear that as an option right after I was told by the amazing vet, where she often medical boards while I’m at work, that things were worsening. So glad that is behind us. We definitely appreciate Dr. Torres from Southern Hills checking on her everyday while Dr. Brad was away on vacation. We’d be absolutely lost without our Southern Hills vet team as well as Dr. Turner, Dr. Saunders and crew at PetStar of Bossier where she medical boards. Beignet is one lucky dog that’s for sure to have so many people that love her! Anyways, she’s behaving at the moment and had a great glucose curve yesterday after switching from Novolin N to Humalin N a week ago. We will post again soon when things slow down. Think we’d all like to be spending our Monday morning like Beignet in the pic above! Have a great week – we plan on it!
Your dog gets a diabetes diagnosis and you’re immediately flooded with comments on your dog’s inevitable cataract diagnosis. So January 2018 my thoughts were on how I needed to have a perfectly controlled diabetic dog because I didn’t think I could justify paying $5000 for cataract surgery but also didn’t want a blind dog.
Fast forward to August 2018 when we discovered a diagnosis much much worse than cataracts – Dry Eye. I didn’t think we could upgrade an eye diagnosis from there – until today.
Yesterday Beignet’s eye doctor was out of the office and someone else viewed her pics. We heard back from her eye doctor this afternoon. He said there is only 2 things that can explain the amount of swelling she has – an allergic reaction or a tumor. A tumor??? He wants me to call Monday and let him know either way whether the swelling is still present. If it’s present he will want to see her so he can access and start the process of figuring things out. I was very hopeful the allergy diagnosis was the culprit when things seemed better this morning. Unfortunately her amazing crew at PetStar let me know around noon that the swelling had definitely increased from when she arrived that morning. They gave her a shot of antihistamine and she continued to swell but did have a decrease in swelling right before I was able to pick her up after 5. We are to keep her on antihistamines throughout the weekend as well as the increased frequency of her steroid eye drop. Of course I pick her up crying and she comes out giving me kisses like she needs to make me feel better…
We need some prayers that this is all just an allergic reaction. If not we definitely need to increase our followers to help cover upcoming expenses. PLEASE, PLEASE subscribe (add your email address – if you are going to our site from your phone please scroll all the way down to subscribe or look to the right on your desktop) AND also LIKE our Facebook page. Please spread the word and let people know how to subscribe even if it’s just liking our Facebook page. We get quite a bit of traffic but lots of comments on people not realizing how to subscribe. We appreciate everyone’s help! I’m also so appreciative of everyone who checked on us today. You know those who truly care about you because they care about your fur babies too! Hearing the word tumor and then having to smile and walk into patient rooms like nothing is wrong is not the easiest thing to do. I definitely could have used some hugs that’s for sure.
Hope everyone had a great weekend and keep sending us positive vibes and prayers!
Our day didn’t quite go as planned. No, Bennie didn’t have her first spa day… I actually was about to publish a blog earlier when the doorbell rang. Turned back around and noticed Beignet’s right inner lower lid was bulging/ballooning out. Her eyes had been just fine an hour before when I did midday drops. Pictures were sent to her eye doctor (I won’t post since I know not everyone will want to see). The wonderful, Dr. Tori Torres, was able to squeeze Bennie in since Dr. Brad was out at our regular vet. I was totally freaked out!
Say some prayers this was an allergic reaction and will respond to the antihistamines she got and some extra doses of her steroid eye drops for the next few days. Worst case scenario she has a cyst in her tear duct (which maybe common in dachshunds😬). That will be the suspicion if it doesn’t start to improve. Veterinary Eye Institute said she would need to see Dr. Warren early next week if it doesn’t go down. After a long weekend of call and another doctor already on vacation I really, really don’t want to have to take off work to take her to Dallas. Plus I’m a little nervous about all that would need to be done since she doesn’t tolerate sedation well at all. Wish us luck!
On a side note, only Beignet would actually enjoy wearing the recommended cold compresses! Ironically the cold pack pictured was the smallest I found at either CVS or Walgreens. They totally need child sized cold packs! So came up with a hack for all that Karo syrup diabetic dog parents have via a Google search! Apparently corn syrup freezes and is still very moldable. Our Karo packs seem to be freezing great and will be ready to use in no time!
Hope everyone has a night less eventful than ours!
-Devoted Doxie Mom
Just have to add this pic of Bennie searching for Dr. Brad. She always manages to get to his personal office to look for him when he’s out.
This is a post I started a few weeks ago. I was just about to hit the “publish” button when I looked over and noticed Beignet’s right eye was incredibly swollen for the first time. Needless to say, this has been sitting in the DRAFT section ever since… The information’s important for those with diabetic dogs, so wanted to go ahead and share:
Where would you rather spend your Sunday? At home or the ER vet? You can see my answer in the title to this week’s blog.
Yesterday morning I gave Beignet her insulin shot and about 20 minutes later she started vomiting. Thankfully because I home test my vet said I could give her Cerenia and watch her at home (but of course to bring her in if things didn’t improve). If I didn’t check her sugar at home we would have had to go and I’d probably be out several hundred dollars today.
Home testing seems like a daunting task, but in actuality, it’s INCREDIBLY easy. There are multiple locations to test from- see 1 of my first blog posts for more details on how to home test and even a video of how I check Bennie’s blood sugar!
The best way to help a diabetic pet is to Home Test. NEVER would a human diabetic inject insulin without knowing a blood sugar. Also, its been proven that home testing where a dog is in its regular home environment is the MOST ACCURATE way to determine your dog’s response to their insulin dose. Think of it this way, your dog goes to the vet for a blood sugar check. The sugar comes back “good” but what you don’t realize is that your dog’s sugar was very high or low and it either dropped or jumped up because your dog was extremely stressed at the time they checked (i.e., scared of the vet, scared of another animal at the vet, etc).
I know I’m always happy to help anyone wanting to learn to home test. Also the Canine Diabetes Support & Information (CDSI) page is actually where I learned to check Bennie. I check Bennie’s inner upper lip. It sure sounded gruesome to me when it was first suggested by another CDSI member, but once I got started I can’t imagine checking any other way. There are multiple other locations to check. If I can’t help you learn, the crew at CDSI definitely can! Never give up – your dog’s life depends on it.
Having a human medical background might not always be the best thing when caring for a special needs pet… My medical side is always wanting to know each and every detail on why Beignet is going through everything she’s been through. When she was so sick a month ago, I was on Chewy.com ordering some things for her when an ad for the Embark Dog DNA test came up. From what I read, it was created at a vet school and tests for over 170 different medical conditions. At the time before her pentoxyfilline had kicked in, I wasn’t sure she would survive. I’m also almost certain she could help the future of veterinary medicine in some way. The thought that she could get a genetic diagnosis that could either explain some of what we’ve been through and/or help treat her was too much to resist.
Her kit arrived and I swabbed her mouth and sent it back in several weeks ago. I was embarrassed to tell my vet that I did it. However, he was actually excited that I had done it! We received her results last week which I’m going to attach below. Testing can not only help you determine a genetic predisposition to many conditions, but also can help you discover exactly what breed your Rescue pup is! If you decide you want to test your dog, PLEASE PLEASE use Beignet’s referral code by clicking this link – https://www.talkable.com/x/3mHvwl. You will get $25 off!
First, Embark confirmed she is 100.0% DACHSHUND!!! I guess it might be embarrassing if she wasn’t being that our site is all about being a diabetic dachshund! The test shows that she has a low normal ALT (liver enzyme) so even increases within normal range could indicate liver damage… I, of course, have gone back through some of her labs to look at her previous ALT’s more closely. This gene in no way causes liver damage though. Essentially the rest of her test was unremarkable. Scientists from Embark have emailed me and will use her history to help with future dog DNA discoveries. All in all, I’m really glad I did it! I think knowing the ALT part alone was worth the cost of the test. It kind of made me giggle when it said you could reunite your dog with his/her relatives. Can you imagine if I contacted Beignet’s relatives to request a meet up so that she could meet her biological family?? I also discovered that Beignet’s “WOLFINESS SCORE” is higher than most dog… Most dogs are <1% wolfy and my Bennie is 4.3%. Here’s a link to her profile for anyone interested: http://embk.me/beignet12 and to her vet report:
Most of you who read our blog have seen recent posts where we sung the praises of the FreeStyle Libre. BOY WERE WE WRONG!!! Keep reading to find out the scoop on what Abbott Pharmaceuticals thinks of dogs.
The last few days, Beignet’s glucose readings on the sensor looked great. But were they actually great??? Unlikely!!! This morning I scanned her and was shocked to see a 47. I immediately grabbed her AlphaTrak2 meter and got a reading of 313. I did a repeat reading thinking the 313 had to be wrong with a scan of 47 and got 310. That kind of variance is NOT okay. I immediately called Abbott Customer Support where they “had a high call volume” with a “hold time of 30 minutes.” What did they have to say???
The gentleman acknowledged that the variance we had was not okay but he said and I quote, “It’s a dog so there is nothing we are going to do about it.” I asked him to repeat his statement and he proceeded to tell me very condescendingly that they are in no way responsible for dogs. I proceeded to tell him that I called when we first got her sensors and I specifically stated that I was using them on a dog and they replaced them. I have had many I did not call about because I realize they may not all stick for 14 days on a dog and I certainly don’t expect them each to be replaced if they don’t stay in place. However, for a malfunctioning sensor, I do expect replacement especially only 4 days into a new 14 day sensor. He kept talking rudely about it being just a dog. I informed him I knew for a fact that sales reps market these sensors to veterinarians so again how are they not going to take responsibility for a faulty sensor? I was put on hold and he came back once or twice and asked my address, etc. Then I was sent to Miles the supposed technical specialist. Miles was incredibly rude about it being for a dog and he delighted in telling me what was wrong with my sensor but that they were not responsible because “it’s on a dog.” I was also told that if a veterinarian requests information on their product they send a rep. Well isn’t it unethical to do that if your product is not for pets and you delight in telling pet parents this?
So who’s dog is “just a dog” and not a valued member of your family? Who of us on the dog diabetes journey isn’t giving their all to keeping their dog healthy and happy each and every day? How many of us are spending a small fortune to do so? Most humans are able to use insurance while pet parents are their probably almost 100% exclusively cash paying customers. From the get go, I wanted a Dexcom because it is far superior to the FreeStyle Libre but just not affordable. I was very pleased with the results I got with the FreeStyle Libre and I recommended the product to many human diabetics being that I am a physician. At this point, its hard to articulate the callous manner I experienced with these Abbott representatives for anyone to fully appreciate. I will say it was enough to make me NOT want to recommend any Abbott products which quite frankly is more of a problem for them and not me in my field of pediatrics when there are equivalent if not better products from other companies.
The worst part about it that I can hardly let myself dwell on, is the harm that could have come to my precious Beignet due to me relying on this sensor that gave faulty readings. I can’t even think about all the consequences, but realize this device COULD HAVE KILLED MY DOG! Yes I know (and have many, many times) cross-checked readings with her glucometer. But when you’re readings look wonderful, it doesn’t cross your mind to bother her by poking for a blood sugar. No one says being a good diabetic pet parent is easy. Perhaps, one should always question a device that makes it so much easier because there’s that saying about if it seems to good to be true…… I’m sure I will continue to beat myself up over this for quite some time.
I ask that each of you let FreeStyle Libre/Abbott Pharmaceuticals know what you think of their position on dogs by commenting below or on our Facebook page or contacting them directly. You can flood their Facebook page with copies of this post and your thoughts [https://www.facebook.com/FreeStyleUS/?brand_redir=954298964703081 ] . You can call their Customer Service department at 1-855-632-8658. Support diabetic pet owners, PLEASE SHARE THIS POST!!!!!!! If sensors are faulty in dogs (and we’ve had now 2 in 5 months) it’s clear there are faulty sensors in humans too. Diabetes is no joke. Diabetics require good control or side effects will occur. This device may make you think you’re controlled when you are not. If you chose to use this device for your dog you still must very regularly home test. Don’t become complacent with not testing when numbers look good because your dog will be the one that suffers. And know they will not stand behind a faulty product if it’s used on your pet. I can understand not continually replacing sensors not staying on a pet (which is why I’m out money for many of those) but a defective product – absolutely ridiculous!
I’m always getting asked how I knew Beignet was diabetic. I admit, I almost missed it myself. During the Holidays of 2017 things were hectic as they typically are that time of year. I had noticed that one of my two doxies had been having accidents in the house, but I was never sure if it was Andouille Sausage or Beignet. On New Years 2018, I convinced myself one of the two had a UTI. I planned on taking both to the vet the following day to see which one had the infection. I took them both to my parents’ house to watch LSU play in their Bowl game. While we were there, Beignet started having accidents in their house which had never happened before. She also started drinking insane amounts of water. She was even trying to drink out of their swimming pool. Right then it hit me. I instantly knew she was diabetic and took her straight to the ER Vet where my suspicions were confirmed. So always remember, it is NOT normal for your dog (or cat or yourself) to be drinking excessively and urinating excessively. Diabetes can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. Dying from undiagnosed diabetes would be a very unpleasant way for your pet to leave this world. This is not a vet visit to put off. I might also mention that it is very treatable and not a reason to euthanize your pet. If your dog gets the diagnosis, develop a plan with your vet, plan on home testing, join Canine Diabetes Support and Information and before you know it your dog will be feeling great again!
I can’t say enough, if your dog is drinking and urinating excessively – this is NOT normal and they must be evaluated for diabetes ASAP!!! These symptoms are so often ignored and felt to be associated with another issue, but diabetes must be ruled out first!
I’m going to post some of our favorite products below. Feel free to click on any you may want to purchase! You will definitely want the washable puppy pads – they were a total gamechanger after diagnosis. I’ve yet to find a disposable pad that can handle a diabetic dog!