Seeing But Not Believing

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.

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Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie!

Well Beignet got a little summer weight off the hard way, but she’s still thriving on Pentoxifylline! She’s eating better than she has in 1 1/2 years! It’s absolutely amazing to have such stress free meal times! She was doing great at her follow-up yesterday! She still has a little chronic peritonitis from her constant inflammation but otherwise was perfect. She was thrilled to see Dr. Brad and got lots of tummy rubs from the entire Southern Hills staff. Our biggest issue has been getting her glucose back under control with her increase in intake, but I know we will get there.

Will update again soon! Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers!

Diabetes or Livabetes

Y’all I’m so frustrated with veterinary medicine. If your pet has diabetes, they are screwed if they have anything else. In the human world, diabetes is not a death sentence. In the vet world on the other hand… With 1 in 100 dogs being diagnosed with diabetes these days, it should be a significant focus in veterinary medicine. However, research on diabetics with other illnesses is in my opinion absolutely pathetic. My dog has treatable conditions – but in the vet world they are not treatable because of diabetes?? I’m not a vet. I’m tired of researching. Frankly in general I’m exhausted. I appreciate so much my vet trying so hard to research options but why aren’t there treatment plans? No one would accept common human illnesses with no treatment plans. Why is it okay to just put a dog down that could live a happy life?

Meanwhile I’m stuck handling this solo. No advice or help getting her to eat but told to keep going. I’m so confused on what I’m supposed to be doing. On the other hand I’m also over hearing “but it’s just a dog.” Over the fact that I know 100% that if I had a patient with these conditions they would have treatment options. I’m over sitting at home crying. I doubt the pentoxifylline trial will do anything. I’m feeling completely defeated and alone.

Do I give up? Do I travel to a specialist again? I know in my heart that it’s not time yet – she’s not ready to go but I refuse to sit back and do nothing. She’s far too precious and doesn’t deserve to ever suffer.

So I will keep helping her eat for now and making sure she knows how much she’s loved. And in the meantime I don’t want to hear that I’m crazy. That she’s just a dog. Or that I’ve already done too much. For all I know she’s sick right now because of the cracked molar she’s had since diabetes diagnosis that can’t be fixed because she’s a diabetic. I mean how crazy is it that diabetic dogs get refused by vet dentists because they are diabetic? I truly will never recover from the insanity that I’ve learned about the vet world. And I will never understand that people so easily put down dogs that have very treatable conditions. My pets are family and couldn’t be more loved.

~Beignet’s Mom

Holidays & Hypoglycemia

When you have a diabetic dog, you definitely have to be flexible with your schedule. This afternoon, I missed out on Memorial Day with my family because Beignet’s blood sugar was too low.

I feel like hypoglycemia is one of the biggest fears of a diabetic dog owner. The best advice I can give is to stay calm. I always double check a low reading to ensure it wasn’t just a faulty reading. If your dog is symptomatic, quickly rub ~1tsp of Karo Syrup (or honey) directly on his/her gums to get the sugar quickly absorbed in their system. Know this will quickly wear off, so try to get the dog to eat right after. If you have to go to the vet, be sure and bring Karo with you for the drive in case they drop again. Continue to check blood sugars every 10-15 minutes to ensure it’s coming back up.

Beignet has only been symptomatically hypoglycemic one time – at the time I was rushing her to the ER Vet in hypovolemic shock. Needless to say she truly needed Karo Syrup that time (and more than once). Usually if her sugar is low she is not symptomatic. With her other health conditions, she doesn’t do well with sharp rises/drops in sugar. She can’t eat any of the recommended treats for hypoglycemia either which is frustrating to treat hypoglycemia with protein. I’ve had to learn how she reacts so now I feel very comfortable when she does have a low. My vet and I have discussed at length how I should respond.

If your dog does get low & your vets office isn’t open, an absolutely phenomenal resource is the Facebook group Canine Diabetes Support & Information. Someone will jump on your post and help you right away. CDSI is the largest online group and definitely the most helpful. Had some odd experiences trying out other groups and would only trust info from the CDSI group. In fact, I’m not sure I would be able to check Bennie’s blood sugar at all were it not for a member in CDSI that insisted I try checking her inner lip. Total game changer! The other benefit is you get to find support from other pet owners experiencing your same highs and lows. They have great resources available. Plus they will help you handle hypoglycemia step by step if needed.

Know with hypoglycemia a dose change in your dog’s insulin could be needed. Be sure and make a hypoglycemia plan with your vet and if that’s not possible, use the CDSI resources.

Well I better run and get Beignet fed. Hopefully she will eat after all of her treats earlier… Hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day! We are so thankful all who have served our great Nation!

Sincerely,

Devoted Doxie Mom

Click on products below to start testing your dog’s blood sugar today!

Tales of a Hangry Dachshund

The look you get when you force your dog to try nasty vegetarian dog food…

Does anyone else have as many feeding issues as we do? I’m not sure even our vet team truly understands the time and energy I spend each day trying to get Beignet to eat. Mistake #1 is that both dogs free fed prior to the diabetes diagnosis. Definitely would never ever make that mistake with any future pets in the off chance we ended up right back here. So after diagnosis I had to add toppers and such to get Bennie to eat on schedule. When she became very ill 5-6 weeks post diagnosis, she had to be syringe fed about 4 times a day for weeks. After she recovered to this day she will not touch wet dog food, a previous favorite. She also doesn’t like to eat out of anything except her regular metal dog bowl.

Those are the easy things we’ve dealt with. The biggies are knowing she also has jejunal inflammatory bowel disease and chronic pancreatitis. Pancreatitis requires a low fat diet. IBD requires a novel protein or hydrolyzed protein diet. Not only do I have to ensure Bennie never gets into anything that could increase her blood sugar but now she’s so extremely restricted in what she can actually eat.

One thing I’ve learned is that there are almost no dog foods she can safely eat. Nor does any company specifically make a food for a dog with all of her conditions combined. Hydrolyzed protein foods are generally far too high in fat for her to eat. Because of the minimal options, vets are not comfortable making changes.

One thing I learned is that you can’t go by the fat percents on dog food bags. You have to calculate the dry matter fat percent using an online calculator (Ex: https://www.pawdiet.com/articles/dry-matter-basis-calculator-for-pet-food/). I now because of our ordeal have quite an extensive lists of foods I have calculated on my own so that I never deal with someone recommending a food she cannot have. https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3Ac9264731-8e11-4cbf-956f-413d835e9027

One of the most shocking issues we’ve had is that we traveled 4.5 hours to College Station for Beignet to be hospitalized with the Internal Medicine team at Texas A&M Vet School. My understanding is they are one of the nation’s leaders in gastrointestinal disorders. They insisted she should be on Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein dog food because it was the lowest dry matter fat food of any hydrolyzed food. We returned to Louisiana and Beignet’s blood sugars were rising higher than they had been and she continued not to feel well. Imagine my surprise when I calculated the dry matter fat percentage and discovered she was now on the HIGHEST amount of fat in a hydrolyzed. I called and the staff doctor was shocked by my revelation. She admitted they had never calculated the fat content themselves because the Royal Canin rep assured them it was the best food in dogs like Beignet. WHAT??? Apparently to this day Royal Canin falsely markets many foods to busy veterinarians that don’t take the time to do their own research. This should be illegal! They admitted to me this was not the food for my dog when I called to complain. I did my own research and had Beignet put on Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diet HA – the actual lowest fat hydrolyzed protein food after a failed attempt with Rayne Clinical Nutrition Low Fat Kangaroo food. After a few months on the Purina, Beignet’s hair finally grew back where they had shaved her stomach and she quit having flares. Problem is she hates the food. It reminds me of Kix cereal. Our vet had me start ordering grass fed ground bison to use as a topper (not sold locally so has to be shipped in since only vegetarian fed is available). Needless to say I’m completely over the feeding expenses I incur for food my dog hates.

I have to try trick after trick to get Bennie to eat so we can give her insulin. I shocked myself recently. After I removed all of my pets from Royal Canin last year (they lost a lifetime customer that’s for sure), I was willing to try just to see if it would work. Tonight was our first attempt with Royal Canin Vegetarian food – the only food I felt like she might tolerate fat-wise. My friend Heather had mentioned how much her dog Izzy had liked it. Well not so much with Beignet. She did sniff it as seen below but that was it. Back to square 1 I guess… Thank goodness she likes the bison as well as her absolute favorite treat, RooBark, 100% kangaroo jerky. I think she’d live off Roo Bark if I’d let her.

Click Above To Purchase Beignet’s Favorite Treat!

I truly believe one day I will find the right food that she will love without having to doctor it up. If anyone has any advice feel free to comment below. Or if you just need to commiserate over your own struggles.

Sometimes I wonder just which one of us is not going to survive all this! I sure hope she knows how much she’s loved!

Sincerely,

Devoted Doxie Mom

What a cool idea!  You can click on the pic above to get a dog food bowl with a built in scale!  That way you know exactly how much your dog ate!

We Love Our Vet Crew!!!

Bennie snuggling with her favorite human, Dr. Brad Everson, during a recent visit.

When you get a life changing diagnosis like diabetes, initially you may be in a fog of sorts. Even as a (human) medical professional, the thought of taking care of a diabetic pet was unfathomable – there are so many differences between the care of humans and animals. Knowing you have an AMAZING vet to get you through this journey is key! Long before her diagnosis, Beignet formed a special bond with her vet, Dr. Brad Everson at Southern Hills Animal Hospital in Shreveport, LA ( http://www.sohillsvet.com ). She gets so incredibly excited when she realizes we’ve pulled up. She adores everyone on staff, but no one quite as much as her Dr. Brad. The joke amongst the staff is that Dr. Brad is her boyfriend😂. She will literally sneak out of an exam room to look for him in his private office if she doesn’t see or hear him. She will cry and moan if she hears him in the next room, completely jealous he’s in a room without her.

Bennie has spent quite a bit of time at Southern Hills since her diagnosis in January 2018. Even at her sickest, she is always happy to be there. If she spends the day, I don’t even get so much as a tail wag because she is never ready to leave. From the moment she walks in the door she has everyone from receptionists to everyone in the back, ready to give her tummy rubs. She’s also good at getting everyone in the waiting room to rub her tummy as well. We just can’t say enough about how much we love our vet team!!!

When it comes to having a diabetic pet, you need to think of yourself as part of a TEAM with your vet. Hopefully everyone has a vet like, Dr. Brad, that they can work seamlessly with. He is always patient, answering the LISTS of questions I bring in each visit. He encouraged me to home test, letting me know Bennie would be hopefully regulated far quicker and more accurately if I was willing to home test. Having had several diabetic pets himself, he empathized with our set feeding and insulin schedules. He has time and time again gone above and beyond for my sweet girl. He truly loves her as much as she loves him. He is typically on the floor rubbing her tummy or holding her while she showers him in doggy kisses while he fills me in on everything I need to know.

My advice for anyone going through this is to have a vet you can trust and work with. Don’t make changes to your pet’s care without consulting your vet. If you want to change insulin or other medications, discuss these changes with your vet as they may have reasons for the medications they have prescribed for your pet. Be patient. Your dog will not be regulated in days or weeks. If you don’t feel you are getting correct information get a second opinion or request to see an Internal Medicine specialist veterinarian. This may require you to travel. However, they typically will allow you to send them home testing results and blood glucose curves and give you advice between visits via phone or email. Plus I think the goal of most vets and vet specialists is to get you to the point that you are comfortable making your own insulin changes, etc if you home test. If you don’t home test, your vet will always manage your dosing based on your dog’s blood sugars in their office. Thankfully if needed, Southern Hills has an Internal Medicine Specialist, Dr Treadwell, on staff if we were to need her.

Just wanted to post this Ode to Dr. Brad! I can’t even list the ways he has gone over and above for us! He actually told me when Bennie was just 2yo that he suspected she would end up having IBD when she got older, so at least I was somewhat prepared for that diagnosis. We ❤️ the Southern Hills team and the quality of care we always know we will get! When my dogs went for their ProHeart shots, Dr. Brad’s newest partner, Dr. Tori Torres, saw us. She had taken the time to review Beignet’s whole chart when she saw us on her schedule so she would be up to date and prepared for any questions I might have on Bennie’s care which really impressed me! Another partner, Dr. Brown, discovered Bennie’s dry eye diagnosis. So thankful for our Southern Hills crew!! The best of the best!!!

-Devoted Doxie Mom

Bennie with Ms. Bonnie that runs the kennel area at Southern Hills. Bonnie always makes sure my diva gets extra spoiled on all the days she is sick enough to spend the day with Dr. Brad. And she always comes to our exam room to get her snuggles if we are just in for a quick visit. Bennie trying to tell Ashley to rub her tummy instead of posing for yet another pic.Bennie giving kisses to LJ, one of her many besties at Southern Hills.

Making sure she gives everyone a turn to give her some love!

Beignet does NOT like sharing snuggles with Andouille!

Should We Be Enticed by Entyce??

Anyone else ever had to offer their diabetic a literal buffet to try to entice them to eat in order to get that all too important insulin injection done??? For Beignet, add in the diagnoses of chronic pancreatitis and suspected jejunal Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). If we have a flare of either, then meal time becomes an absolute nightmare🤯🤦‍♀️😭! When Bennie was hospitalized with the internal medicine service at Texas A&M Vet school, I was told to offer her different wet and dry options until she hopefully decided to eat something. That plan doesn’t work for Beignet at all. Thankfully they sent us home with something that did help – the new dog appetite stimulant, Entyce®️ (capromorelin).

When they initially prescribed it, I had questions. I had heard the sugar content was high and that it could potentially interfere with insulin. I’m not sure if it has now been studied in diabetics, but it had not been back in March. Our vet team listened to my questions and concerns, and said that I was absolutely correct in that its use is currently controversial. However, they said it was far more important that Beignet start eating (she had been very ill for ~4 weeks at this point) and that she would only be on the medication once daily for 4 days. So basically in the grand scheme of things, potentially having a few days of a higher sugar was a small price to pay if she overall improved. We’ve used Entyce®️ several times since March for flares. I only noticed her blood sugar increasing with our last round back in June. I’ve seen others post that their dogs increase every time. It takes about 1-2 hours for it to kick in on Bennie. So if I don’t know she’s not going to eat, its not as helpful day 1 of a flare if I want her to remain on her regular insulin schedule. I personally wouldn’t use this for the overly picky diabetic, but more for illnesses like pancreatitis and IBD. If your dog is in the latter category, its something you can potentially discuss with your vet. Since it is new, many vets are not using just yet. Our vet said we should always have Entyce®️ and Cerenia®️ on hand in case of a flare. We spilled some of our prescription from Texas A&M, so Dr. Brad ordered us a new bottle which was the first prescription they had dispensed from Southern Hills Animal Hospital (although they have used it on hospitalized patients with great results). Just sharing this to reiterate that this is a new product with a lot of promise for our diabetics with pancreatitis and/or IBD, but is something you may have to do a risk/benefit discussion with your dog’s vet if needed. Since we had some on hand, he had me give a one time dose to Andouille, my other dachshund, who refused to eat after having a procedure under anesthesia. It worked great for her as well! Hope this info helps since I left out info on Entyce®️ on my pancreatitis post!!

-Devoted Doxie Mom