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

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Syringes matter!

So my first topic is going to be making sure you are using the right insulin syringe! Vetsulin requires a U-40 syringe. Novalin N & Humalin N (NPH Insulin) require a U-100 syringe. 1 unit in a U-40 does NOT equal 1 unit in a U-100. U-40’s should have a red needle cap and U-100’s should have an orange needle cap (however always verify your syringe says U-40 or U-100 because some brands are misleading). Syringes comes in different sizes with different size needles. Remember that the smaller the gauge needle, the larger it actually is. So small dogs need a higher gauge. When my ~10lb dachshund was on Vetsulin for a short period, we did use a 29 gauge U-40 but on Novolin N she uses a 3/10cc 31 gauge U-100. A 3/10cc syringe would be my recommendation for a small dog who should never come close to needing 30 units of insulin. I prefer a syringe that has half unit markings as small dogs typically increase doses in half unit increments. I pictured my favorite syringes I buy in a 5 box special deal at a great price from http://www.adwdiabetes.com. I accidentally bought 50 unit syringes in bulk once that didn’t have half unit markings. I hated them. I had a ton of fur shots because the needles seemed flimsy (a fur shot is when you miss some or all of your injection and the insulin ends up in the fur and not in the dog) plus it was harder for me to pull up smaller dose without a ton of air bubbles. I ended up donating them all to my vet. Another important point is if you ever switch between Vetsulin and NPH insulin please make sure there is no way your syringes can get accidentally mixed up. If your syringe does not have half unit markings and you want to dose a half unit, on most syringes if you line up the black tip end of your plunger with the hash from the unit below, the tip of your plunger usually ends up at the halfway mark. This isn’t true for all syringes though. Hope this helps!!

-Devoted Doxie Mom