View Full Version : About Jack - Blue Heeler diagnosed 10/08

10-02-2008, 08:29 PM
Two days ago, my 8 year old blue heeler was diagnosed with diabetes. He was so sick that he went to go to a special canine hospital. They didn't know if he was going to survive. I have never cried so much. Today we went to visit him and he will come home on Sat if all is okay. I didn't like the doctors. They were just "matter of fact" another words, no bedside manner but yet they want $3,500.00 when we pick him up which is beside the point. I know that after he comes home will be challenging with the insulin injections. They said he would go blind which is real upsetting to me. I have done a lot of surfing the internet in the last 24 hours and have obtained a lot of information. I know that our budget will now include insulin which the doctor said was about $60.00 per month so he says. We already had him on a veggie diet which we will continue and his normal exercise.Thanks for reading. LOL :)

10-02-2008, 10:01 PM
Welcome to the forum - sorry it has to be for such a scary reason!!!

I assume Jack had ketoacidosis? How did he seem today - I hope much much better!!

Sometimes the 24-hour hospitals just don't excel at bedside manner. But from the sound of it Jack really needed that round the clock care.

A few things that I hope you've read elsewhere today and I will just be repeating/confirming them...

:) Well managed, Jack can live a long, healthy normal lifespan.

Our dog was 9 when diagnosed - he was a larger mix, probably shepherd, terrier, etc. who weighed 60 pounds... he died recently at 14.5 years of age from cancer. His blood sugar was well controlled to the last moment of his life.

:) Injections are likely to be far easier and less stressful for both of you than you imagine.

Most dogs are a breeze to inject; some need a bit more strategy. Our dog always got a mini milkbone after his injection and he was so anxious to get his favorite "snackie" that he would want me to hurry up and get the injection done so he could have it!

:) Blindness is likely but it can be corrected with cataract surgery - diabetes induces cataracts in dogs - AND it's far from the end of the world.

Our dog was blind for four years. In his case, we felt the surgery risks outweighed the benefits and he adapted very well. Walked every day on a leash, waded and sometimes even swam in the river (he was never much of a swimmer) on a long lead so we could reel him back in if need be, travelled with us staying in motels, played in the snow, played at the beach... he just trusted us to watch out for him in strange environments and headed out. No big deal. We were devastated by his loss of sight as no one really prepared us for that. He didn't care too much about it.

:) Home testing blood glucose is a great tool and something to consider starting with Jack as you do insulin injections. It will save you money in monitoring his blood sugar levels and give you a much clearer sense of how he's doing.

:) If the insulin will cost $60 a month, I'm thinking it's Caninsulin. NPH is cheaper and is a very good insulin with dogs so if budget is an issue talk to the vet about NPH.

Could be the cost was insulin and syringes.

Please let us know how Jack is doing! He and you are part of the family now and we will want updates!! LOL

And details!! How much insulin, what kind of insulin and how often - should be twice a day. Don't let them put you on once a day...

You will look back on this week down the road and wonder why you were so upset. Diabetes is very manageable - it was always the least of our Chris' problems.

Best wishes,


10-02-2008, 11:03 PM
Hi and welcome to you and Jack.
I'm sorry you had to come looking but glad you discovered this site. So much information and support. Where are you from? If you give your location there are probably many in or around your area that can help with information on insulin and needle supplies.
Jenny & Buddy

10-03-2008, 04:42 AM
So glad you found this site...there is a wealth of knowledge here, and support to help you cope. I know it all seems overwhelming right now, but we have all been there, and we understand. The injections will be a way of life in no time, and soon you will wonder why you were worried about them. There are less expensive options...Natalie is right about that. Vetsulin/Caninsulin is only one option as far as insulin is concerned. Ricky and I use Humulin N, and some people even use the WalMart ReliOn brand of Novolin N, which costs about $25 a vial..approximately half of the price of Humulin N. When Jack gets home, and you get settled in, my best advice is read, read, read. With so much information and support out there, that is your best bet. We are all here for you. Let us know how Jack is faring.

Love and hugs, Teresa and Ricky

Cara's Mom
10-03-2008, 05:50 AM
You sure came to the right place...lots of knowledge, help, love and support here!
I know, I just went through what you are living with right now.
My 8 year old English setter, Cara, was diagnosed Aug 1. But with the help and support from this group I made it this far! Shots will get routine, believe me;)!
Like everybody here kept telling me: Don't forget to breath and it will get better:):):)

Hugs to you and Jack:)!

We Hope
10-03-2008, 08:27 AM
There's not much I can add except WELCOME! to you and Jack! :)


10-03-2008, 10:18 AM
Hi and welcome,
It is very upsetting at first to be dealing with diabetes. Some dogs go blind overnight and some keep their sight for a long time. Only 15% of dogs don't go blind!!
My Lady has slowly been going blind but her vision stayed great for the first 9 months after the diabetes showed up. She has been diabetic for 21 months and is over 12 years old. Plus she has Cushings. It took months to get her regulated with both diseases and is a struggle at times for us to keep her regulated.
Before her vision began to fail I had read a lot about how pet owners helped their dogs to cope with blindness. It helps if we stay calm and not get upset (hard to do!!). Dogs use their noses and ears before their eyes so adjust to blindness better than humans. When Lady bumps into something she just re-arranges herself and keeps on going. She is listening better to me and I can help her when she gets disoriented and doesn't know where I am. "This way" was always a command on walks and it comes in very handy now. I can steer her left or right with the leash...just like a horse!

Lady's diabetes was diagnosed in a one vet clinic and we were treated like royalty. Now that we're back home we use a very big clinic, open 7 days a week, and it can be very frustrating at times. My husband says we were so spoiled at the first one and that we'll never find another clinic like it!

Hope things are going better for you today, take care,
Jo-Ann & Lady :)

10-03-2008, 05:20 PM
Hi and welcome Jacks mom....My Mickey was diag. with diabetes about 5/6 months ago...He is now starting to go blind..his diabetes is under control, but the blindess is a part of the deal. I understand how you feel..Im just now trying to adjust myself to Mickey's growing blindness. I know it can be hard, but stay as upbeat as you can, your dog can sense your distress and I think that upsets them more then the issues they are dealing with. You have come to the right place, the people here have helped me more then you can imagine with support and the BEST information! We have a total of 7 dogs ( one of them is also named Jack :) ) so Mickey has become our "special little guy" he amazes me with his spirit and the uncondtional love he gives to us , even with all he is going through. Hang in there, and try to be positive, diabetes is not the end of your dogs journey, its the beginning of a new and stronger relationship between you and your beloved Jack :)

10-04-2008, 02:14 PM
Jack's Mom - a huge big fat welcome to you! I just read all the replies to you. As always, they are great! I haven't been here very long - only a few weeks, but THIS should tell you something: I avoid online forums, because I find them hard to deal with, on dial-up. I make a BIG exception for k9diabetes, because of the very excellence of the forum, which I joined as soon as I found it.

My diabetic dog, Kumbi, is about 11.9 years old. He was diagnosed a little over two yeas ago. My vet is one of those smaller-clinic vets; she has her own clinic, with another vet to work with her, a few technicians, and other stuff. My vet specializes in internal medicine, which is a big help, but she's in general practice. She instructed me so well I didn't even bother with information from the web, or email lists or forums, till I got especially interested, and went looking for others to talk to - about 8 months later.

My vet also is a vet because she LOVES animals with a deep passion, and she does all in her power to keep them happy and comfortable. Our vets are our teammates, so I hope you have a vet like that near you - one with some knowledge of and experience with diabetes - or one who is willing to learn, and to consult with other vets.

I'd be honored if you'd like to check into my web site, where I've put up information with lots of pictures, intended especially to help newcomers to diabetes, including in aspects of dog-behavior - how to get your dog to cooperate for injections, for instance. I also have a step-by-step series on giving painless injections.

If you start here, and keep your eye on the vertical navigation areas down the right side of the main pages as well, you should find your way around okay.


In particular, the part on injections walks you through the details, very carefully. So does the section on getting your dog to cooperate.

It does sound as though maybe it's Caninsulin (or Vetsulin if you're in the U.S.) that they put Jack on. I agree, go for two injections a day. It's a very good insulin. However, many, many dogs do really well on Novolin NPH insulin, which is about 1/4 of the cost of Caninsulin. It has another advantage, too; that is, it's a U-100 insulin, meaning, its concentration is 100 International Units of (biologically-active) insulin per milliliter of fluid. To inject this insulin, you use U-100 syringes. What's the advantage? Well, you can get U-100 syringes, usually, cheaper than U-40 syringes (which are made to match the concentration of Caninsulin- 40 Internatioal Units of insulin per milliliter of fluid. But - the needles for those are usually half-an-inch long, and they are 28 or 29-gauge, and you can get U-100 syringes that are only 5/16 inches long (not much more than half as long as the U-40 syringes), and you can get them as thin as 31-gauge (higher numbers are thinner needles), or, sometimes, depending on the capacity of the syringe, 30-gauge. That's still thinner than the Caninsulin syringe needles. This makes it easier to give painless injections.

If a dog is on Caninsuln (or its U.S. counterpart, Vetsulin), and the human uses "the wrong syringes," the human MUST make a conversion, to make absolutely sure to measure the dose correctly. I have extensive pictures and stories dealing with that on my web site, and Kathy has a wonderful explanation here on k9diabetes about making those conversions. Check with your vet before doing any such thing!

My web site is intended to make people laugh. It seems to work. The point is to get you new people to breathe! Also, to provide pictures and diagrams to, I hope, help people comprehend things a bit easier. I try to set it up so you can practice ahead of time before you have to inject your dog for real. But ask your vet to SHOW you how to give injections - that can be the most help of all.

Your message caught me as I'm in the middle of doing a mini-blood glucose curve test on Kumbi - his numbers are running on the low side, compared to before, which is actually good. After you've had Jack home for a while, and given him some injections, you probably wouldn't be afraid to try learning to do these BG (blood glucose) tests yourself. It's so much nicer for the dog than having to go the vet's office and wait around all day to be tested every couple of hours!

You couldn't have come to a better place than here, so again, a huge welcome to you and Jack! Maybe the most important thing you can learn is:

Having diabetes, even going blind, does not change who your dog is. Jack will always be Jack!

Hugs to you!
Sat, 4 Oct 2008 14:08:42

10-06-2008, 05:00 PM
Thank you for your message. All I have done for the last few days is searched for all the information on diabetes. Jack is now totally blind. It is very difficult to watch him get turned around thinking his way out is behind the bathroom toilet or the way back in the house is under the patio furniture. I tried to help and direct him but he stood there and shook. My other dilema is his sister, Tymbre, a Siberian Husky. Jack walks her way and in her space and they get into it. Of course Jack gets the worst since he can't see her. I know this sounds like "poor me" vs "poor pooch" but I am at a loss on how I can train him. I continually talk with him and give him lots of loves. LOL Terri :o

10-06-2008, 05:21 PM
Is Tymbre likely to adjust to Jack's lack of sight?

We have two cats - one accommodated Chris very kindly, always getting out of his way. The other is basically autistic and would just let Chris step on him - no effort to save himself even - and then slap at the dog.

Really about all we could do was try to keep him from running into the cat.

Perhaps you can train Tymbre to watch out for Jack... like if you see Jack approaching Tymbre, give Tymbre a command to back up, lie/stay, or come to you. She might, with time, come to realize that she has to leave Jack alone.

I'm sure it will help Jack a lot if you can keep Tymbre from going after him. Blindsided attacks would sure add to his anxiety.

How was their relationship with each other before?

I think you will find that Jack will be doing a much better job of navigating in a week or two. Not that he won't ever get lost but they do adjust and develop kind of a map in their heads that allows them to navigate pretty well.

The older and sicker Chris got, the less navigating he did. One of the videos I have of him in his last year is of him careening toward the edge of the patio and then wrestling his way through the patio furniture to get to the sliding door! He really didn't mind too much.

I would also do whatever you can to be upbeat with Jack. They are so attuned to your emotions and will pick up anxiety and worry from you. If you can consciously make an effort to be cheerful and "no big deal" and even let him figure out how to navigate on his own rather than guide him, he's more likely to take it all in stride. After all, if you think it's okay, he probably believes that!

Hang in there - it will get better. You and Jack will both adjust and it won't seem so overwhelming.


10-06-2008, 09:20 PM
Hi and welcome,

my Niki is border collie/blue heeler mix, she has had diabetes for 6 yrs now, she went blind 2 yrs ago.

It will get easier, when you get the diag. it is so hard and sad, i cried and cried.

Niki had been going blind and i didn't even know it, but she has adjusted well.

Our diabetic pets become very special with us, you and your dog become more close.

i would look into using the walmart brand of insulin the NPH, my vet never told me i could buy insulin without a RX and I kept paying and paying for 4 yrs or more with using eli lily's brand.

Things will get easier, it will get better, at first its really heartbreaking to us, somehow the dogs wonder what is wrong with us!!:)

Hang in there !!

10-07-2008, 10:02 AM
Jack is still disoriented but I feel he has made small baby steps today. I can see his nose is really working i.e, sniffing his way to the dog door. Of course, I keep track of his whereabouts. I know that I need to have him figure it out. I feel bad that it takes him so long to find his way back in the house. I have made a couple of "safe" places. One he already had at the front door but with a new pillow. The other in the family room next to my husbands chair ~ that too with a pillow. He likes his pillow in the family room, in fact, he has been laying on his back with his feet proped up on the chair. Pretty relaxed. I am trying harder today. I appreciate everyones support.. LOL Jack's mom.

10-07-2008, 12:02 PM
Glad you're feeling a teensy bit better today!

Think of his wandering around trying to find his way back in as "map making" - he will register all the textures and smells and lay of the land as he finds his way and will build the map he needs to navigate more easily. I'm sure he will get better each day at honing in on his target destination.

One thing you could do is scent the door in from the yard with something that will stand out, that only that place will have that smell. That would make it easier for him to find it.


11-03-2008, 10:41 PM
How's Jack ?