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Pippi's Mama 08-03-2020 08:58 PM

Pippi is now at The Rainbow Bridge May 29, 2021
Pippi is an 11-year-old small Miniature Schnauzer. She turned 11 years old on March 29, 2020. She was diagnosed with diabetes on May 9, 2019, so she has been a diabetic a little over 1 year. Pippi is a vivacious, humorous little dog - personality plus. Her antics always say, “Look at me! Look at me!” She demands to be the center of attention - always!

Around March of 2019, I had noticed that she was panting a lot as if she were hot, and she began needing to go out to the bathroom during the night after bedtime, which was unusual. I didn't notice her drinking lots of water at this point because there were two other mini schnauzers in the house drinking water, too (one of these was my mother's dog who was visiting). However, other than this, she seemed normal. She had gained a lot of weight after my mother came to visit with her dog, Gracey. Pippi was a tiny bit overweight before the visit - a little over 13 lbs. My mother & Gracey stayed for around 4 or 5 months and Pippi kept eating her food, then eating Gracey's food. We'd try to feed them separately, but it kept happening here and there. 9 I noticed she was gaining weight, but didn't realize how much. Sometimes it is hard to tell when you are looking at them everyday. I took her for a weight check at the vet in April - 17 lbs! Ahhh! I put her on a diet immediately, and she began losing weight. None the worse for wear, right?

On May 8, 2019, I realized something was terribly wrong with Pippi. She had acted totally normal ALL DAY. Then she started acting almost drunk, very lethargic. It was around dinnertime, so I fixed her food and put it down in front of her. She wasn't interested at all and was acting as if she were in slow motion. She could hardly put one foot in front of the other. It was so weird. She just wanted to lie down and sleep. It freaked me out to say the least because she LOVES food and eats anything that's put in front of her. She began drinking tons of water, even from a water puddle outside when I took her out before bedtime. It did not occur to me that she was displaying symptoms of diabetes as I'd never been around a dog that had it, but I knew something was dreadfully wrong with her.

The next morning, she was acting the same way, so I took her to the vet for a blood test. I thought he was going to say she had a bladder infection or something like that, but when he sat down with me with the bloodwork results, I knew something was wrong by the way HE was acting. He showed me her 600 blood glucose level and told me she was a diabetic. I sat there in shock. I know how I probably looked, and I remember exactly what I said. “Well…how did THAT happen?!”

I couldn't believe this. My other sweet mini schnauzer, Phoenix, had been diagnosed with kidney failure in November 2018 and had almost died. The vet had not expected her to live as her creatinine levels had risen to over 5. He had told me even with fluids, she would live maybe two weeks. He'd never seen a dog come back from creatinine levels that high. But my sweet Phoenix, true to her name - the Phoenix bird who rises from the ashes - came back. When Pippi was diagnosed, I was at that point giving Phoenix 300 ml of fluids a day, but if no one knew I was giving Phoenix the fluids, they would have thought she was a healthy active little dog with no problems whatsoever. So this hit me doubly hard. I now had a dog with kidney failure who was doing fantastic on daily fluids, but who could take a turn for the worst at any moment, and now I had a dog who had just been diagnosed a diabetic and needed 2 shots of insulin a day to survive. My vet told me they needed to keep my little Pippi overnight to get her regulated and that I could come back and get her the next day.

I'll never forgot that day I picked her up. The tech led me back to her little cage. A sign on the cage in huge letters said, “Diabetic”. They told me to give her 6 units a day and come back in a week for a glucose test around 1 p.m.

Pippi is a very stoic little dog and never once had a problem with me giving her shots, which I gave to her religiously after each meal. Every time I'd take Pippi to the vet around 1 p.m. for a spot check each week, she'd be at around 50, so they'd lower the insulin level. The vet thought she might still be producing some insulin. Finally, she “seemed” to level out at 3 units 2x a day for a while. I faithfully took my baby every week or so at 1 p.m. for her glucose check. She was so good. She just stared into the vet's eyes while he drew her blood, even if he couldn't get blood right away. She never acted like anything bothered her. Sooooo…I thought everything was all right. 2 shots twice a day after meals…no problem. Got it!

Pippi never slowed down, and I didn't hold her back. I had no idea that blood glucose levels rise and fall during exercise - and I never thought to ask. And I had no idea that most diabetic dogs go BLIND! She and Phoenix ran and ran at Beck Lake Park, hunted for rabbits when I fed the horses, ran around in the arena when I was riding my horse, and took walks around the block - chasing more rabbits.

Since Phoenix had been diagnosed with kidney failure, she needed food that was low in protein. When Pippi was diagnosed with diabetes, she needed a food high in protein. I fed Phoenix Freshpet (she didn't like the low protein prescription diet from the vet so I fed her the lowest Freshpet chicken roll I could find), and began giving Pippi Freshpet mixed with Purina One Healthy Weight dry food with turkey the #1 ingredient so she would have more protein.

But then Phoenix got finicky as her kidney failure progressed. Nothing seemed to taste good to her. So I began switching dog foods to try to get her to eat. It seemed that all she would eat was Ol' Roy Cuts in Gravy canned dog food from Walmart, so Ol' Roy, it was.

Because I didn't know that changing dogfoods on a diabetic dog can drastically change blood glucose levels, I switched Pippi to Ol' Roy Cuts in Gravy mixed with Purina One Healthy Weight as I didn't think there was a need to have two types of canned dogfood for both dogs.

During all this, I continued to take Pippi back to the vet once a week for spot checks. The 3 units were now not enough and her blood glucose was higher. I told the vet that I had switched her to Ol' Roy canned dog food, and that I didn't know that it mattered as long as I gave her the same amount of food every time. He said to keep her on the Ol' Roy mixed with the Purina One since that was what I was feeding her, and we would work on getting her regulated to that. He mentioned that FreshPet wasn't good for her as it had too much fat in it. We went to 3 _ units 2x a day and her blood glucose levels at spot checks were pretty good. (Phoenix soon got finicky on Ol' Roy and at the final stages of her kidney disease, all she would eat was hamburger meat and chicken that I cooked for her and a little Purina Beyond Canned food. The vet said that I should give Phoenix anything she would eat as she was nearing the end.) 9

I found this diabetic dog forum toward the end of 2019 and saw you all were using glucometers. I have learned so much from reading all your posts! Since I was so anxiety ridden about not knowing what Pippi's blood glucose was all week except for the weekly spot checks, I bought a glucometer at the end of December 2019 and began using it on Pippi. Boy, was it a nightmare at first - not for Pippi, really, but for me. I had the hardest time getting blood at first and felt like I was going to have a nervous breakdown. Especially when I tested her before breakfast that first morning and her blood glucose was over 400! Since I have been using the glucometer for about 7 months, now, I realize that it was probably because I was feeding her around 7 p.m. and not feeding again until 8 a.m. - that 1 hr. difference was causing her blood glucose to rise too much during the 13th hour. I now always feed & give her insulin as close to 12 hrs. apart as possible.

As I began to do blood glucose curves, I started realizing that it probably wasn't good for Pippi to be running around like she'd been doing for _ a year since she'd been diagnosed. She was probably having Somogyi overswings all over the place, and I hadn't known because I didn't have a glucometer at the beginning. I now test her 1st thing in the morning before breakfast, before I walk her in the late afternoon in case she's low and I need to give her a carb treat, and at night before supper. Her current insulin level is 4 units Novolin N 2x daily after meals and has been this way since mid-February 2020. However, depending on what her blood glucose reading is, I will either give the insulin to her immediately or wait up to 30 minutes (if her blood glucose is lower than I'd like at feeding time).

In late February 2020, I tried changing Pippi's dog food to a better brand as I was kind of embarrassed about feeding her Ol' Roy. LOL. It had been a kind of “mistake” that I was feeding her that, anyway. I thought if I had gotten her regulated so easily on Ol' Roy, surely I could get her regulated on another higher quality food.

I weaned her off the Purina One & Ol' Roy and changed her over to Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight with Chicken & Brown Rice dry dog food mixed with with some Pure Balance canned that was high in protein. Her blood glucose levels went crazily high. She would have a big food spike when she first ate and at the end of the day before her next feeding, her glucose levels would shoot up again as if she had run out of insulin. She wasn't dipping into the 100's like she had on the Purina One Healthy Weight & Ol' Roy. At first, I thought it might be a Somogyi overswing, but by checking her glucose levels throughout the day many times, it seemed like the insulin was running out or something. Then I thought that maybe I'd just give her the Blue Buffalo by itself, and it was worse than ever! I know that it takes a little while for the body to adjust, so I tried to hang in there to give it some time. But she continued to jump off the bed at night to go out to pee and drink water - and I knew what that meant. I'd check her and she'd be in the 400s or 500s. One night, when I checked her blood glucose after she had done this, it was 600! I about passed out. I gave her 1_ units of insulin after that 600 reading and then got up and checked her every 2 hrs. the rest of the night to make sure her blood glucose was coming down (thankfully it slowly came down to normal levels).

I decided at this point that it wasn't worth it to try and continue with a “better” dog food. I could have upped her insulin and tried to keep getting her blood glucose levels stable on the Blue Buffalo or try another high quality dog food. But I was scared to death that she was going to go blind, and I was going to lose my mind. She had loved the Purina One & Ol'Roy Cuts in Gravy, so I switched her back to that. Her blood glucose levels straightened out in less than a week. I don't know what it is about the Purina One Healthy Weight Turkey & the Ol' Roy Cuts in Gravy mixed together, but it works unbelievably well with the Novelin N Insulin for her. I'm very happy I made that “mistake” and fed Pippi the Ol' Roy all those months ago. If Phoenix had not gotten finicky, I never would have bought the Ol' Roy and tried it. I never would have considered giving it to Pippi if that had not happened. And Pippi might never have gotten regulated so well! She stays in the 100s most of the time, now. Usually low to mid 200s in the morning before breakfast, 100 hundreds throughout the day, and low to mid 200s again before supper. She'll sometimes have glitches in the 300s & a 400 here and there, but not often. Sometimes she's a little lower than I'd like, and I give her a small carb treat to raise her blood glucose a little. (After trying several areas, we found the metacarpal pads work best for us to do the BG test). She never ever has to go out to the bathroom at night anymore or needs to drink water in the middle of the night.

After I got my trusty PetTest glucometer, I had not been to the vet since February, as I had been going mainly for spot checks before that. I do like to go every several months for comprehensive blood tests, though. I love the two vets at this clinic. They are first rate and have never had a problem with me testing her myself. They were more than happy to have me bring in my glucometer when I first got it so I could check it with theirs. They have been very supportive.

I took her to the vet several weeks ago. Her weight was 12.3 lbs. Perfect! I asked him to look into her eyes with that instrument that can see back to the retina. He looked really good and said that she could see very well in both eyes. I knew this, of course, because I walk her everyday, and she can see a rabbit at 75 yards. But after her being a diabetic for a year and 2 months, it felt good to know her eyes still seemed to be o.k. I asked him from his experience how many dogs still had their eyesight after having diabetes this long, and he said, “Very few.” He said that if I keep doing what I'm doing, she probably would not go blind. Her blood glucose at that visit was around 150. I put her in my lap as he was talking to me. He was standing across the room from us, and he said, “Just looking at her, you'd never know.” He's right. If anybody saw her running as fast as she can off leash at Beck Lake Park or “chasing rabbits” when walking & running on leash around the block on her once-a-day escapades, they'd never know. She looks healthier and fitter than she's ever looked. Crossing my fingers & praying!

My sweet Phoenix passed away from kidney failure in October 2019. Pippi & I miss her very much.

jesse girl 08-05-2020 08:03 AM

Re: Pippi's Story
Its nice to see the process on figuring out K9 diabetes and like you and Pippi some of it is luck that drops into your lap . In general it appears the blue buffalo high protein diets are not that good for diabetics not producing sugar fast enough to work with injected insulin creating big swings in sugar and an imbalance between sugar and insulin . Its funny at least for diabetics high end foods can be problematic . You have done a wonderful job with Pippi . Jesse has kept her sight the 10 .5 years being diabetic but old age is catching up with her senses with almost being 16 . It does show if your willing to do a bit of work and its not really that big a deal a diabetic dog can have a normal happy dogs life with some limitations .

Well done and hope to see continued success for you 2

Pippi's Mama 08-07-2020 09:50 PM

Re: Pippi's Story
Thanks for your kind words, Jessie Girl!

It sure has been a journey and a lot of work in trying to figure things out, but we seem to have a handle on it, now! I sometimes get sad about the “limitations” part. When I go ride my horse, now, I hate to leave Pippi behind as I worry about her blood glucose going too low because she loves to run so much. But always when I return, I make sure I take Pippi for her fun time in the afternoons. Sweet little thing. She is such a joyful, happy little dog and has no idea that anything is wrong with her. She looks so healthy that I can sometimes almost forget. But her diabetes is always in the back of my mind. Even so, I know that she is a very lucky little dog. She has the best life and enjoys every minute of it. I’m so grateful that she is mine!

I just recently joined this group, but have been reading posts from this forum for several months. I’ve learned so much here! I learned a lot from reading your posts and was encouraged that your Jessie still had her sight after many years with diabetes. I’ve also seen posts from other members who’s dogs have not gone blind. It gave me hope. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but today, Pippi chased the rabbits.

jesse girl 08-08-2020 08:05 AM

Re: Pippi's Story
Yes you work with what you got . A dog is happy as long as we are happy and joyful around them .

Pippi's Mama 09-22-2020 09:20 AM

Re: Pippi's Story
Pippi had been regulated well on her Novalin N insulin 4x a day injections since February. She did have some 300s and a 400 here and there, but for the most part, was in the 200s and 100s throughout the day until about 2 months ago when I changed her insulin bottle.

I always write down the date I open and start using the bottle. I had used the bottle that she was well regulated on for 3 months from April to the end of July. I know that seems like a long time to use a bottle, but I test her every day and her bg levels were good most of the time. It did seem to start losing its potency a bit, so I changed to a different bottle on 7/25.

Once I did this, however, I haven’t been able to get her bg adjusted correctly. The new bottle seemed a lot more potent and she seemed to be going low in the afternoons. If I didn’t catch it in time and give her a carb treat, I think she was having Somogyi overswings. I usually feed her around 8 a.m. But in the afternoons, I’d notice that she was sometimes already in the 300s or 400s by 6 p.m. and I’d have to go ahead and feed her so I could give her insulin.

I feel that they might be Somogyi overswings, because if I walked her to get the bg down, she wouldn’t come down, just kept going up.

In the mornings, she’d be high and after feeding her, I’d have to run her around the block to get her bg down. Sometimes, I have to run her around the block 2 or 3 times a day to keep it down. I thought after using this bottle for a while, it might mellow out, but it hasn’t.

Now, things are worse, not better. In the past several days, she’s been in the high 400s and into the 500s which is totally abnormal. The last time she was in the 500s was in February when I had her on the Blue Buffalo.

Since I got her back regulated to the Purina One/Ol Roy at the end of February, I haven’t changed her food and she’d been doing good. I weigh it every day, so it is the same amount.

I just changed the bottle again on 9/20. At first, I thought she might be doing well as her numbers were good yesterday. But this morning at 7:30 am, she was 538 on the PetTest Glucometer and 452 on the Relion Glucometer, which reads about 85 points off the PetTest as it is a human one. I fed her, gave her 4 units insulin, waited 1 hr., then walked her around the block.

Right now, she is 178 on the relion at 10:00 a.m. I only have 1 more PetTest test strip as I am waiting for more in the mail, so I didn’t test her with that one again. But since it seems to read about 85 points higher, she probably would read around 263 on the PetTest.

So here we go again. She is down to almost normal range now, but I know something is off as I have to run her around the block so much.

She can still see really well and I’m so scared she is going to go blind if this keeps up. I don’t know what to do. Has anyone experienced what I’m going through? Could it be that I need to up her insulin?

Riliey and Mo 09-22-2020 11:20 AM

Re: Pippi's Story
I think your Pippa has just hit a bump in the road
If her blood work is okay and no infection or uti then a change might be good
But what to change?
Has Pippa gained or lost weight?
Theres always a solution.
Giving Novolin R fast acting insulin will work in 30 minutes will help rather than running around the block. Test every 15 minutes and only inject half a unit at first.
Your renewing the insulin so maybe a change in food low fat good quality follow manufactures feed guide by weight
But only change one thing at a time..wait 7 days..do a curve

Pippi's Mama 09-22-2020 01:19 PM

Re: Pippi's Story
Pippi has never had a uti (knock on wood), but I did think of that as I've read that uti's can cause high blood glucose levels. I think I'll make an appointment with the vet and have some bloodwork done and take in a urine sample to see if something is going on.

jesse girl 09-22-2020 01:54 PM

Re: Pippi's Story
What I have seen with a new vial of insulin it has to settle for a bit . Like just about everything it can take a week or 2 . It was always frustrating to see a new bottle degrading regulation . I also go about 3 months before buying a new vial and your conclusion is probably correct that the new vial maybe more potent and the body reacts to it . The extra walks may exacerbate the situation dropping and raising the numbers a bit to much . Usually for jesse i just leave her be for a week and she usually settles down

A way to maybe avoid the problem is to get a replacement vial sooner . for jesse its not very extreme and sometimes I will slightly reduce the dose with a new vial

Consistency is always king with this disease .

Pippi's Mama 09-22-2020 07:41 PM

Re: Pippi's Story
Thanks so much for your responses. These thoughts have helped.

I have made a vet appointment for tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. I’m getting comprehensive blood work done and am also going to bring in a urine sample in case something is going wrong there.

Also, thanks, Jessie Girl, for your post. It makes me feel better that someone else has experienced what we might be experiencing with a new insulin bottle. I didn’t wait three months to change with this last one. Two months this time before changing. Good riddance! But this morning 538! Ahhhh!

I had a long talk with the Walmart pharmacist about Pippi’s blood glucose several days ago and also told him about this forum. He was really helpful. Since I didn’t have a backup glucometer, I mentioned to him that some people in this forum used Relion glucometers as I felt I needed a backup to make sure my PetTest one was reading right. He said that the Relion was a good glucometer even though it wasn’t as expensive as some of the others.

In the little amount of time that I’ve used it (about 3 days or so), I noticed it is “reliably” about 80 to 85 points off the PetTest glucometer when I tested both, which is great. Thank goodness, my shipment of PetTest strips came in today, but I was confident enough with the Relion that if the shipment hadn’t come in, I’d have still known her approximate glucose levels.

Here is her blood glucose levels today (9-22-20). After the 1st reading at 7:30 a.m., it wasn’t bad:

7:30 am – 538 PetTest Glucometer
452 Relion Glucometer
walked her about 2 1/2 blocks.

10 am – 178 Relion Glucometer
Didn’t test with PetTest as I only had 1 left and didn’t know when the new batch would come in, but figured it would have read around 263

12:25 p.m. – 178 Pet Test Glucometer – my strips had come in! Woo Hoo!

2:35 p.m. – 165 Pet Test

6:15 p.m. – 245 Pet Test

Then gave her normal daily walk – but there was a terrible lightening thunderstorm so we had to run home! Ahhhhh!

7:15 p.m. 364 Pet Test -- You have NO IDEA how happy I was with that reading! It wasn’t in the 500s, even though not ideal! I fed her and gave her 4 units. We will see what happens now.

Jesse Girl, I think you are right about me running her around the block and throwing glucose levels off. I recently have thought that myself, but I freak out when her blood glucose levels are so high. I thought that if I just ran her around 1 block instead of our normal walk, maybe that would be ok. But she isn’t in a “routine” when I do that. Routine is the key, I know.

She has been a diagnosed diabetic now for 16 months and can still see really good. I want so badly to help her and for her to keep her sight that I freak out when I see those high numbers. All I can think of is that if she has numbers like that, she is going to go blind.

I’ll do what you said for a week and see what happens, even though it will be hard for me if her glucose levels are high!

jesse girl 09-23-2020 10:18 AM

Re: Pippi's Story
Maybe things are beginning to settle . I was the same way and did whatever I could do to get her numbers down . I also wanted to preserve her sight and she has not developed cataracts . Not sure why because she had a time she was very high in the beginning . Maybe diet is a factor I am not sure but there are other factors that seem to play into diabetic cataracts . Looking back most of those interventions may have not helped much if any at all . That is the negative part to testing reacting to a single number and its hard to control ourselves from jumping in to make it better . Human Nature .

You will see ups and downs good days and not so good but what you are looking for is a good quality of life for your dog . Its not going to be perfect for most of us and thats ok dogs can deal with it .

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