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  #1  
Old 01-21-2016, 01:59 PM
Jessie'sMummy Jessie'sMummy is offline
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Default We're new to this. Four days in. Please help!

Jess is a 13 year old collie cross, she was diagnosed with diabetes on Monday. We're in the UK.

Her blood sugar was 26 on Monday afternoon when tested. She's had 6 doses of insulin since (4IUs of caninsulin twice daily) and her reading was 12.2 at the vet's this afternoon.

The vet is pleased. She's eating fine and the intense, obsessive water drinking we saw in her last week has stopped.

She's had mild cataracts for 3-4 years that haven't hugely affected her sight but she's gone almost blind in the past week.

We're absolutely heartbroken. However we were (wrongly) told she probably had three terminal illnesses in summer 2014, so we're grateful for every day we have with her.

She seems happy in herself generally, enjoyed the ride to the vet's today and a walk in the park this afternoon.

She's managing ok as long as we have lights on early in the morning and at night. I am scared when she comes down the stairs and she sometimes bumps into things.

I've read a lot on this forum and it's brilliant.

I'm keen to start testing her at home (vet was surprised at this, says she's never heard of anyone doing this) and we're pushing for cataract surgery as soon as she's stable.

The one thing I'm really confused about is that we've been told to feed her 1 hour after her insulin and I can't find the same advice anywhere.

The vet says it's best practice and is obviously working for her as her blood sugar was so much better today.

Any advice/support greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-21-2016, 02:01 PM
Jessie'sMummy Jessie'sMummy is offline
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Default Re: We're new to this. Four days in. Please help!

Sorry that should be 8IUs twice a day. She's about 17kg.
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Old 01-21-2016, 02:31 PM
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Eddie Eddie is offline
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Default Re: We're new to this. Four days in. Please help!

Hello and welcome! We're in the UK too.

It sounds as if he blood sugar is much better already which is good.

We blood test at home (solely because of this forum). We are the only clients our vet has who do test at home and we started without even telling them. I am so glad that we do and I can't really imagine managing this without doing it. There is lots of help on this site about how to do the testing.
I get all the supplies for testing off Amazon. (I also get Caninsulin online from Animed as it is much cheaper than the vet's price).

I would not inject before feeding. I am quite surprised if that is the advice you have been given. The risk is that you shove the insulin into them and then they don't feel like eating, or just eat a bit - and you have no way to get the insulin back again so it works out that they have had too much insulin and risk their blood sugar going low.
At such an early stage in the process I really doubt that giving the insulin that one hour early makes any discernible difference in how it works, and I think it is possibly risky.

We inject while our dog eats - but we always check that it looks as if he is going to finish before we actually inject. (He is half Labrador so he almost never refuses food!).

There are lots of things you can do to help them get around if they do lose their sight - I found a good book called "Living with Blind dogs" by Caroline Levin very helpful. Our dog lost his sight (before he got diabetes) from an unrelated problem quite a few years ago and he is still a happy waggy dog even though he does sometimes bump into things. The most useful thing we did was to teach him that if we said/ shrieked "Bump" he had to stop until we told him where to go.

It does get a lot easier and more routine as you get used to it all, and this forum is a great help.
Antonia
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Eddie - Lab x golden retriever. Weighed 63lbs. Ate Canagan. Diagnosed October 2012. 13units of Caninsulin twice a day. Had EPI as well as diabetes. Died 20 June 2017. Loved forever.
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Old 01-21-2016, 02:44 PM
Jessie'sMummy Jessie'sMummy is offline
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Default Re: We're new to this. Four days in. Please help!

Thanks Eddie, I've emailed the vet and hopefully will get a response tomorrow. In the morning I'll feed her and give her the injection at the same time, just to be safe.
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Old 01-21-2016, 03:36 PM
Jessie'sMummy Jessie'sMummy is offline
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Default Re: We're new to this. Four days in. Please help!

Me again Antonia, sorry didn't notice your name at the bottom of the message. Hope you don't mind me asking some questions.

You say you found the caninsulin cheaper online, we've been charged 30 for 10ml today which will last her nearly a month. It would be 10 for a prescription from the vet which wouldn't make it much cheaper online for us. How much do you buy at a time?

Love that you shout "bump"! I've used the word "careful" more times than I can believe this week. She's looking to me for encouragement though and luckily she does understand a lot of words. She stops and listens if she's unsure where she is. Using "up" and "down" on stairs and steps in the garden is working well for us, as well as "slowly" which she already knows.

She doesn't seem to want to stay in the garden at all except to go to the loo and straight back. Does your dog do that? Or does he sniff around?

We're having a new sofa tomorrow (worst timing ever) but it will be in the same place so shouldn't bother her too much.

I'll get the book you mentioned. I've also moved her bed into our room so I don't worry about her falling downstairs in the night - though she did jump the last four steps tonight and looked very pleased with herself.

I'm finding it so upsetting to see her blind but she has amazed me by how she's managing really.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:38 PM
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Cara Sandler Cara Sandler is offline
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Default Re: We're new to this. Four days in. Please help!

I second the vote to not inject before eating. If you do inject and then your pup won't eat you're probably going to have to make a trip to the emergency vet for IV glucose.
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Old 01-21-2016, 05:01 PM
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lab lover lab lover is offline
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Smile Re: We're new to this. Four days in. Please help!

Hi Jessie Mom , I'm Ida and my lab Baby Girl has had diabetes since she was 9 she is 13, I just came back to the post wonderful ppl and they help u a lot, I just wanted to let u know Baby Girl is almost blind I think she see a little bit , if lights are not on at night she won't moved. Do u notice she's a little more anxious because of not seeing - we moved from Tennessee to Miami, in the process of the moved she started too go blind and that was hard on her, right now she I adjusting, so glad too meet you.
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Old 01-22-2016, 02:15 AM
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Eddie Eddie is offline
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Default Re: We're new to this. Four days in. Please help!

We pay about 16 per bottle at Animed. The vet charges 12 for a prescription and we buy 10 bottles at a time. They have very long "use by" dates and we have never had a problem with using it well within the dates. Over the months/years it makes quite a difference, although we do use more than you as our dog is bigger.

Our dog does go outside and potter about on his own or with the other dogs, if they all rush out to bark at something. He will also follow trails like when there has been a hedgehog in the garden and they all dash around trying to find it, he joins in despite me telling him that it is silly and he needs to slow down!

He perhaps goes out on his own a bit less than he used to but I think that is down to ageing rather than lack of vision. He will still set off purposefully on his own towards the muck heap to find some horse manure to enjoy privately (as he knows we will tell him to stop if we catch him at it!).

He did go through a stage of being more hesitant at night. I suspect it was at a stage when he could see a bit in daylight and not at all at night. Then I used to put a lead on him so he felt reassured - he would still lead the way but I think he was more confident as he knew I would guide him away from obstacles if needed. He hasn't wanted that for several years now so I think it was just while he adjusted.

Overall I think them losing their sight tends to be more traumatic for the owners than for the dogs, unless they are especially anxious like Amy's Maggie on here. Having said that, I would have investigated surgery for Eddie if that had been at all an option for him so I can completely understand that. I gather that the after care is quite intense though with many eyedrops required at first.

One final thought - we found that there were some things eg table legs that Eddie consistently hit and it was much better for him after I wrapped them up in bubble wrap - not a great look but much softer for his head!

Antonia
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Eddie - Lab x golden retriever. Weighed 63lbs. Ate Canagan. Diagnosed October 2012. 13units of Caninsulin twice a day. Had EPI as well as diabetes. Died 20 June 2017. Loved forever.
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  #9  
Old 01-23-2016, 07:32 AM
Jessie'sMummy Jessie'sMummy is offline
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Default Re: We're new to this. Four days in. Please help!

Hi Ida, I've seen your thread and I hope Baby Girl is doing ok. Jess doesn't seem too upset, just a bit confused especially at night. She's still enjoying going in the car and for walks. I think she can still see a little or better during the day.

Thanks Antonia, I didn't realise it would have a long date on the insulin so we'll definitely look into doing that. Jess has been having a wander in the garden and checking out her favourite pond (carefully!) so I think she's gaining in confidence a little bit.

On Wednesday morning about 4am I checked on her and let her out and she bumped into lots of things so I put her on the lead - but in hindsight she was probably still sleepy more than anything and I'd woken her up.

The mornings are getting lighter quite quickly though so hopefully things will be a bit easier soon.

She's doing ok with navigating without too many bumps now though we are considering getting her a crash helmet! But I think bubblewrap on the coffee table might be a good thing - though she's always bumped into that as it's head height on her and she was never great at looking where she was going.
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Old 01-23-2016, 08:24 AM
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amydunn19 amydunn19 is offline
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Default Re: We're new to this. Four days in. Please help!

Hi and belated welcome to you and Jessie! Glad you found the forum. The first step in this process is the decision to take an active role in your dog's care so you are off to a great start. I was quite hesitant at first and completely trusted my original vet and didn't really do much research until Maggie had trouble.

Testing at home has added years to Maggie's life. At one point,
I was told she wouldn't make it 6 months. She has had diabetes for over 8 years so I hope that this gives you hope for your dog leading a relatively normal life.

Blindness came practically overnight for her and she did not adapt at all. Maggie had a pretty horrible start in life - she was mistreated and left in a crate while her family left for four days at about 9 weeks old. The breeder (a friend of mine) found out and demanded her return. I got her at 11 weeks old and she has always had separation anxiety and can't be crated. I think this prevented her from accepting the blindness because it came on quite suddenly. She cried and stayed in a panic if she wasn't held or carried. We elected to have the cataract surgery because the anxiety was wreaking havoc on her blood sugar. Her vision was restored and she had her vision until the past year. She has developed some old age blindness and had some ulcers that we had issues healing but ironically, she completely accepted going blind this time. I think the main reason is because it has been gradual and she still has some limited vision. If she did not have such an extreme reaction to blindness, I probably would not do the surgery over again. It is a risk, of course, as all surgery is and as others have mentioned, it is not as important to most dogs as it is people. You have to weigh how much it impacts your dog. I felt like Maggie wouldn't survive just from sheer anxiety if we didn't do something so I never regretted it.

I would agree with the others regarding injections - I never would inject prior to the dog eating. It can be dangerous if they don't eat.

You will find diabetes can be frustrating in the beginning - getting to a good dose can take some time especially if done properly. It is a process that requires patience and resisting the temptation to try to "fix" them quickly. They can live a normal life with probably more structure than before - I think you will find that you develop a deeper relationship and I always say Maggie's diabetes made me a much better "owner" and person.
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