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

An Eye For An Eye….

Pictured above is our 3rd vet specialist selfie of 2018. Beignet and I just made our first 6 hour round trip visit to see Dr. John Warren at Veterinary Eye Institute in Plano, Texas (http://www.veterinaryeyeinstitute.com/meet-our-doctors/john-r-warren/ ). When Beignet got diagnosed with diabetes, all I could focus on was that she was only 7 years old and could soon be blind due to this diagnosis. Was she going to be able to beat diabetes? Of course I just assumed as a physician she would be the best controlled diabetic my vet has ever seen (and yes Bennie decided that wasn’t going to be the case…). Was her perfect control going to be soon enough to prevent diabetic cataracts? I sure hoped so.

The doctor in me immediately thought I needed to do all the preventative precautions for a diabetic. However we had a few obstacles. First there are very few vet specialists in our area. Secondly, Beignet threw me a major ball when she became extremely ill just weeks after her diagnosis. Worries over her eyes after a 6 week struggle for her life were just a distant memory.

Dr. Warren said it is always best to see a vet ophtho as soon as possible after a diabetes diagnosis. They can guide you through what to expect. Work with you on preventative care options. And also diagnose cataracts and other eye conditions that may already be present. Depending on the source, 50-70% of dogs diagnosed with diabetes develop cataracts during the first year after their diagnosis. Beignet has 4 more months until her 1 year anniversary so we hope that we beat those odds. However all diabetics will eventually get cataracts. My almost 12yo nondiabetic has early lenticular cataracts from old age now. My understanding is that diabetic cataracts respond better to surgery than nondiabetic cataracts, so at least there’s that if I can afford surgery when our time comes.

What I didn’t realize with my focus on cataracts was the next most common eye disorder in diabetics, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (aka dry eye). After a bout with corneal ulcers, Beignet received this new diagnosis weeks ago. Having the same diagnosis, I have some idea of what she’s been going through. However my dry eye doesn’t involved nasty snot pouring from my eyes all the time (thankfully). Beignet can at times not open her eyes. She blinks repetitively. I’m constantly having to clean her eyes and apply drops. If your diabetic dog has mucus discharge of any color from his/her eyes, please have your dog tested for dry eyes or better yet, see a vet eye doctor if you haven’t already. When Beignet saw Dr. Warren, she still had ZERO tear production in either eye. She has to do a month of once daily steroid drops along with a compounded 3 time a day immmunosuppressant drop that will hopefully stimulate tear production. If dogs fail therapy they can transplant a saliva gland from the mouth to the eye which causes nonstop tearing. We hope we don’t have to resort to this….

We will be traveling back to see Dr. Warren in a month. Please pray that her eyes are responding to treatment. We are feeling a little defeated at the moment. I keep thinking – what next?? Before 2018, we had minimal issues. So far, it’s been diabetes followed by chronic pancreatitis followed by suspected jejunal inflammatory bowel disease followed by a new heart murmur and now this. You can see with all that, why we aren’t the perfectly controlled diabetic I initially thought she would be (although is there even such a thing???). Her eye issues require more time than anything else. And for the record her heart issue was insignificant. Despite it all except for the 6 weeks in February/March and this past month this sweet baby has been nothing but happy no matter what she had to deal with. I’m hoping we get back to that fun loving, tummy rub obsessed, tail wagging, loves everyone happy girl again!

To end, my advice is even if you have to drive, get your dogs eyes checked! Even if you can’t afford cataract surgery, getting established might improve you dog’s long term outcomes. And what if your dog has treatable dry eye, like Bennie or another easily treatable condition? Not treating can lead to vision loss. I definitely don’t think a $125 visit was at all unreasonable especially in that it was the nicest vet office I’ve ever visited. Just wish he was a little closer!!!

~Devoted Doxie Mom

Addendum : A lot of diabetic dog owners go ahead and start lubricant eye drops when their dog is diagnosed to hopefully prevent their dog from getting dry and becoming more susceptible to corneal ulcers. Here is the type many use pictured above. Click on the pic to purchase.

Although it was recommended that Beignet not use just drops.   Instead, Dr. Warren insisted she use the GenTeal Tears Severe Gel (not to be confused with the version for nighttime that’s a step up from this which we were told not to use). You can purchase the gel by clicking on the pic ABOVE

There is no set brand of eye wash you have to use. It’s best to use a dog version of an eye rinse though or sterile water whereas the GenTeal brand of dry eye products are actually made for humans but okay to use on pets. I’ve posted a link to our favorite sterile eye wash below. Click on the pic to purchase.