A Is For Allergies…

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated this site on Beignet (I’m a lot better at updating the associated Facebook page). Anyways I always laugh when I picture my face when our vet, Dr. Brad Everson, said diabetes would be a secondary concern when compared to all her other diagnoses. I couldn’t imagine anything would be more life altering for us than the diabetes diagnosis. Dr. Brad has been right over and over again. Diabetes for us is nothing to manage. It literally is everything else…

Our biggest struggle the last 6-9 months has been severe eye swelling. Our amazing vet ophthalmologist, Dr. John Warren at Veterinary Eye Institute, scheduled Bennie a double specialist visit with both himself and Dr. Dennis Crow of DermVets. Dr. Crow skin tested Beignet and found she’s allergic to everything. She started personalized oral immunotherapy back in February within days of that appointment. Dr. Crow started her immediately on the maintenance vial to speed things up since her options for other medications are limited by her diabetes diagnosis. Don’t know about y’all, but one of my pet peeves is hearing that my sweet girl is ineligible for anything because she’s diabetic.

Well here we are almost 3 months into immunotherapy. Bennie’s right eye is so awful looking. There are days I haven’t even been able to see her eye itself due to the swelling. 4 weeks ago, we made the hard decision to risk putting her on Atopica (cyclosporine). There was quite a risk of terrible side effects with this medication but Dr. Crow felt it was her only other option since she’s diabetic. Dr. Brad said we were at the point that we had to take the risk. 5 days in she did starting throwing up and have to go to the ER vet for a Cerenia shot but has been fine since. 3 weeks in and the swelling is 50% improved. During this time we also put our cat, Boudin, on the new Purina LiveClear cat food to reduce his dander (after 3 weeks of eating this food it decreases cat dander by 80%). And Dr. Warren had us stop ALL topical eye medications to ensure she was not also have hypersensitivity reactions from her many eye meds. He knew this would cause her dry eye to get bad but said we needed to know. This past week I first added her Tacrolimus Eye Drops back and she had immediate swelling. When things returned to the 50% improved state we added Cyclosporine Eye Drops. Things were going okay until she woke up with terrible looking eyes this morning with external bleeding🤢. She spent the day with Dr. Brad. Dr. Warren personally called and feels today’s issues are related to her also having a sensitivity to Cyclosporine eye drops. So basically we can assume we will never get back to having good dry eye control again 😢. And let me just say, I can’t even count the times Dr. Warren has personally called me during all of our struggles – 1 week I spoke with him twice. He is that caring of an eye vet and although we haven’t required surgery, we know his surgical skills are amazing – if you are within driving distance of the greater Dallas area – he’s the one you want to use for sure!!!

So all in all, I’m just hoping and praying that something works for us. My own eye doctor gave me a concoction to try on her eyes. Dr. Warren gave us the green light to give it a try next week. So hoping that it has a miraculous benefit. As a physician that understands allergies, this process has been so incredibly defeating. I’ve doubted myself over and over again. I just cannot understand how a dog this incredibly sweet with such a amazing spirit can possibly continue to get one worse thing after another. I continually worry about what the next expense is going to be as her current expenses keep me stressed as is. I guess if I try and have 1 positive thought about all of this, at least her hypersensitivity reactions just knocked off a few pricey prescriptions from her list… No more compounded eye meds shipped in from New Jersey…

All in all, we are still making it. Beignet is definitely not at all a fan of social distancing. She cannot stand curbside pickup at Southern Hills Animal Hospital. This morning I thought she was going to lose her mind because I couldn’t take her inside the building and she had to wait an entire 5 minutes for a vet tech to come out and get her. She cried and moaned nonstop. And literally leaped our the car window into the tech’s arms. My girl sure loves going to the vet and seeing Dr. Brad and crew. We hope everyone else is doing well. Our goal was to start doing some video blogs on diabetic dog care and those may still come so stay tuned…. For now, we just need to survive severe allergies!

Stay Well!

~Devoted Doxie Mom

Chemosis Is Atrocious

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!

One example of Beignet’s chemosis.

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!

Best K9 Detective sniffing our whodunnit in Downtown Shreveport!

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!

Friday nights scare!

So that’s our update! We will let y’all know what we find out Wednesday!

Sincerely,

Devoted Doxie Mom

Walking In A Wiener Wonderland

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…

She really is a Tiger Fan

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🤦🏼‍♀️

Waiting to be seen for UTI #2

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!

Sincerely,

A Tired & Frustrated Devoted Doxie Mom

Beignet Bootcamp!

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!

Hope everyone has a great week!!!

~Devoted Doxie Mom

Diary of a Diabetic Dog Mom

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!

Monday Funday

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!

Sincerely,

Devoted Doxie Mom

Doxie at the Dentist

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!

Sincerely,

Devoted Doxie Mom

We use this to scale with as well as the one below which really helps to have if something gets stuck between her teeth.
Clenz-a-dent is a great to help clean those stinky dog mouths and help with dental issues.
These brushes make it easier to reach back to the cracked molars. My other dachshund, Andouille, is completely neurotic and she will actually let me brush her teeth with these.