So back in 2018 when Dr. Brad suggested I start a blog to help other parents of diabetic dogs, it quickly morphed into way more than diabetes. Beignet sure has comquered a lot! But today I actually have dog diabetes advice instead of my typical Facebook posts! It’s been awhile since I’ve done an actual blog. For those that don’t follow us on Facebook, we lost Beignet’s non-diabetic doxie sister, Andouille Sausage, very suddenly to extremely aggressive renal failure at age 15 on 11/28/21. We are still heartbroken and the tears are still falling. She was truly one of a kind. In March, I saw a 15yo dachshund up for adoption and my broken heart could not handle the fact that anyone could give away their 15yo doxie. Étoufée Rae joined our family and will be shown love and be extremely well cared for all the rest of her days. She’s deaf, heart worm positive and now we know has resistant urinary issues. So that’s a brief update and now back to today’s topic.
I’ve said this before, but I always recommend keeping dog urinalysis strips at home. They’ve saved me time, money and visits to the vet/ER vet. For me, I typically only use them when I find a urine sample on the floor thats not on one of our washable pads. If Beignet’s sick or has a UTI, she has accidents – if she’s fine she almost always goes outside or if not she goes on a pad. So I test the floor sample (not the best sample medically speaking) by just dipping the strip into the puddle😬. I am in the medical field and realize I could buy pipettes etc but this just gives me a quicky view and is not being used diagnostically.
When interpreting results, having more than 1 doxie, seeing whether or not it contains glucose tells me “Who’s guilty.” My nondiabetic should be glucose free – although I’m probably not the only diabetic dog owner who checks the blood sugar of their other pets if they are ever acting abnormal…. If there’s blood, nitrites, or leukocytes – I’m worried about a UTI. I do keep an eye on her protein since that gives me an idea of renal function. I would always let my vet know if I saw more than trace protein because he might want to do bloodwork if there was no known kidney disease. For diabetics, checking for ketones is also important. High blood sugar with ketones = diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) which is a medical emergency!
Now, if my strip says UTI – for sure the vet or vet will be repeating their own (“clean”) urinalysis sample. No one should expect not to pay for a vet urinalysis because they did one at home. Your vet also may want to send a culture and so they need to make sure it was collected appropriately. The savings come in that you didn’t go in for a UTI check when there was no UTI. Or it may help narrow down what needs to be checked if there is an illness. Now if your vet asks you to collect a urine sample at home, that’s different. However even in that scenario, they still may want to do their own urinalysis and you doing your own strip could potentially contaminate the specimen.
Next lesson: CHECK YOUR EXPIRATION DATES!!! So anyone who knows me, knows its been an EXTREMELY rough year. I’m usually one who pays attention to details. Well guess who didn’t pay attention to the expiration on Beignet’s urinalysis strips?? Yep – this girl! Which is why it now makes sense that I had checked Étoufée Rae’s urine twice with normal results so was shocked to hear she had such bad urinary issues. I’ve been just beating myself up with the realization that she came to me with a UTI and I did nothing. Looks like I got off track (not surprising if you know me)…. Ok so this morning, I found a “puddle.” I tested it and my strip wasn’t doing much. So I know for sure Etta Rae has issues and I know for sure Bennie’s going to have glucose in her urine. Something was definitely wrong. Yep – strips EXPIRED😭. Also in case you didn’t know, strips may not work as well once opened. Be sure to close the container quickly whenever getting a strip out.
I ordered new strips today that should arrive soon. The nerd in me is very excited about my new ones. They are Vet-14’s so they test for 14 different things instead of 10. Link to what I purchased from Amazon below.
INVBIO-Pet Urine Test Strips 14 Parameter for Dogs & Cats-Urinalysis 14-in-1 Include Calcium Testing- 50 Count https://a.co/d/jaltera
You will have those times when someone will not care that you’ve already diagnosed your diabetic with a UTI before arrival. Beignet’s been diabetic for over 4.5 years at this point. She also has chronic pancreatitis, jejunal IBD, she’s allergic to everything, she has severe dry eye that required parotid gland transposition surgery, etc. I know my dog. We have been through a lot together. I know how she acts when she’s sick with certain things. I can pretty much tell you what her blood sugar is at any time without checking it. Beignet is also as Dr. Brad’s dad used to say, “a true wienie.” She is all drama when she hurts or doesn’t feel good. And of course we all know, her drama is often more than understandable. Anyways, if she has a UTI between my fear of it getting worse with her medical history as well as my work schedule, I go ahead and take her right on to the ER for treatment if its after hours. To me, waiting could mean worsening blood sugars, possible DKA, etc. I like that Bennie has always been so well controlled and we want to stay that way. Well during the pandemic we had one of those experiences. You had to stay in your car at the ER. I told the tech she had a UTI. She tells me she needs a full work-up because I don’t understand the seriousness of the situation. She wants me to agree to labs. I ask to speak to the vet when she seems to think I’m a bad pet owner when I try to explain whats going on. The vet calls and basically tells me I’m gonna kill her if I don’t do the expensive blood work she wants to do. So I sit out there waiting for an update. After such a vehement push towards this work up part of you even starts to wonder, “Am I wrong?” The phone call from the vet eventually comes. She says all the bloodwork was completely NORMAL so she went ahead and did the urinalysis I wanted and she has a UTI. Shocker! Now don’t get me wrong, normally we love the ER vet – theres no place you have a perfect experience every time. Bennie loves most of the crew there. And they may have had a bad night or that vet is just so used to diabetics who’s owners don’t know them so well. But when I already spend so much on my little trouble maker, I was not happy I was bullied into that extra 💵.
Its tough having a special needs dog, because we all end up in those scenarios. When a veterinarian says if you don’t do what they say, you could lose your dog. You know in your heart they are wrong, because they don’t know your dog, your dog’s history, etc, How do y’all handle those kind of situations where you know for sure without a doubt you’re right? Now this isn’t the same as a situation where you just want to be right because you don’t like what they have to say (we’ve all been there too, I’m sure). Also besides home checking blood sugars and doing home checks with dog urinalysis strips – what other ways do you save money with your diabetics?
Well that’s a lot for today. Hope your diabetics are all doing well!