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Old 12-30-2015, 09:38 AM
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Fua2015 Fua2015 is offline
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Default Fua became an Angel December 21, 2016

Hello everyone

My adorable cross-breed setter, 13-year old, male dog is not doing well at all. He was diagnosed with diabetes in Nov 2015, and we have had him on canine insulin since then (starting with 8 units; then increased to 12 units; and now 15 units).

He has had two blood curves, and the second indicates that he was not responding at all the insulin.

I blame myself entirely for his diabetes. The reason is this. In May this year, he was fine. We take both our dogs (both rescue dogs, the other dog is an 8-year old greyhound-cross, who does not have diabetes) to our family home in Portugal for 4 months of the summer.

One of the my Portuguese neighbours told me that when they feed their dog they put a liberal portion of olive oil onto the food. I had started doing this with my dog, and I'm sure this is what caused his diabetes. I don't understand how he has lived most of his life without diabetes, and then it just comes out of the blue in his 13th year. I do not give him olive oil any more.

I am extremely worried and upset by his current condition. Some days he seems okay, other days he just isn't himself. He looks sad in the face and hardly makes any barking noises or shows any enthusiasm about anything anymore. He urinates frequently, drinks a lot of water, and we leave the conservatory door open at night-time so he can go into the garden for a wee. His appetite is good, but recently no matter what he eats, he is drastically losing weight.

In Nov, he was 30kg. Now he is 25kg and you can see his ribs and he's starting to feel boney.

After doing extensive research on the internet, I have looked at adding things to his diet - such as cinnamon, kale, garlic - etc which are purported to be natural remedies that help in one way or another with the condition.

The vet thinks that it could be one of many things - Cushing's; Addison's, etc.

His correspondence to me says: " The main abnormalities detected were raised ALT and ALP enzymes as well as severe hyperglycaemia with a moderately raised white cells count. Renal function appears normal ruling out a kidney abnormality, liver function values are normal. Once again, interpretation of the abnormalities favour diabetes with possible Cushings/adrenal gland overfunction as the most likely reason hence the treatment plan on which we started.

The next step is testing for Cushings once we are sure that we have reached the point where insulin therapy is definitively non responsive and we have ruled out simple errors in administration. The first glucose curve performed by XXXX looked reasonable in response, just too high. The second one done recently had virtually no response which tends to show insulin not being administered correctly or not reaching the blood stream in sufficient concentration. We did discuss this in consult so eliminating this simple problem may make a big difference.

Fua has a shot of Metacam (Meloxicam) Oral Suspension each morning. I feed him in the evenings with kibble from the supermarket, and raw beef, some boiled kale, and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

He can still go for long dog walks. Recently, myself and both dogs walked for three hours (9 miles) which is what both of them are used to. But he doesn't run around any more like he used to. And he drinks from puddles all the time, or I usually take a bottle of water and a drinking bowl in the car.

I don't really know what to do next. I myself am disabled (not physically, but mentally) and am at home all the time, so I look after both dogs. However, I am finding it very difficult to deal with Fua's ill health, because I suffer from schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder.

I am fearful of these long, dark winter days when Fua's health seems to be declining, and in my mind, I have already reached that dreadful realisation which all dog-owners eventually face - that he may die soon.

We rescued him from a dogs' rescue in Nantes, Northern France and he lived in the South of France with us for a while. He was abused as a puppy by his first owner, but never really had behavioural problems with us. He lives with his brother, Ashley, a grey-hound cross, also a rescue dog, who has behavioural problems around other dogs.

Both myself and my partner have both said we would love nothing more in the world than to have one more long summer with Fua at our holiday home in Portugal, and we would spend every day with him, doing things he enjoys.

We recently purchased an AlphaTrak blood glucose monitor but I have had a lot of problems collecting blood and cannot get it to work - it just displays the 'require more blood' symbol.

If anyone has any ideas on what I can do next, I would be extremely grateful.

thank you very much

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Old 12-30-2015, 10:00 AM
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Judi Judi is offline
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Default Re: Fua - 13 year old dog, not doing well at all

hi: I'm so sorry about Fua

1. You are probably NOT to blame for his diabetes. I've heard of steroids triggering it but never olive oil. canine diabetes is like human type 1: his pancreas isn't working. It may just be genetics.

2. My dog lived for 3 1/2 years as a diabetic and she was 11 when diagnosed. You may have him around for awhile yet.

3. Can you post the actual curve results? That way some of the more knowledgeable folks around here can help you.

hang in there. It is overwhelming at first but 95% of dogs get regulated pretty easily. the rest of us hang out here LOL
Jenny: 6/6/2000 - 11/10/2014 She lived with diabetes and cushings for 3 1/2 years. She was one of a kind and we miss her.
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Old 12-30-2015, 10:18 AM
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Eddie Eddie is offline
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Default Re: Fua - 13 year old dog, not doing well at all

Hello and welcome

It is all a bit overwhelming at first so everyone on here will understand about being worried and stressed by it all. It will get easier.

I'd agree with Judi - don't spend any time blaming yourself for the diabetes. Olive oil sounds like an unlikely cause (presumably your neighbour's dog is ok on it) and often it is just not clear what has caused it.

Are you giving the insulin (Caninsulin?) twice per day, and feeding and injecting about 12 hours apart?

It is not unusual for them to lose weight at the start (and although it probably doesn't seem like it, you are still at a pretty early stage in the process). Our dog dropped a similar amount of weight to yours at first, and did not put it back until we got his insulin sorted out. It will come back slowly once things are a bit more in balance.

How long has he been at 15 units and what was he on when the second curve was done?

It is great that you are trying to test at home. It took us quite a lot of goes to get it right and a longer time for it to become anything like routine. Can you adjust the depth of your lancet device so that the lancet goes in a bit deeper - or just push it a bit harder against his skin? Whereabouts are you trying to get blood from?

Home testing is so useful that it is really worth persevering with it although it seems hard at first.

Sorry for so many questions but the more info you provide, the better people on here can help.
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 12-30-2015, 11:44 AM
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momofdecker momofdecker is offline
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Default Re: Fua - 13 year old dog, not doing well at all

Welcome to the forum. Only have a quick few minutes but wanted to say that I believe setters are a breed that are known for being hypothyroid. The 'sad face' expression you describe and the lack of energy could be symptoms of the disease.

If your pup is truly experiencing insulin resistance due to a concurrent disease - hypothyroidism could certainly be the cause. Here is a link to a comprehensive list of symptoms that might show up in a hypothyroid dog:

Another thing I wanted to mention - if you are considering testing for cushings - it can be difficult to diagnose accurately in a diabetic dog. You may want to research the UC:CR test. The UC:CR is a urine test that can rule OUT cushings if it is found to be negative. If positive, it will not confirm cushings, it will only help support the need for more testing to confirm cushings. The UC:CR is relatively inexpensive and puts no stress on the dog as you can collect the urine sample at home from the first pee of the day and then drop it off for the vet to screen.

Best of luck in getting things figured out.

Holli & Decker // diagnosed November 5th, 2011 // Journeyed to the bridge January 26th, 2013, surrounded by his family at home // 9 years old // Levemir insulin // Hypothyroid // C1-C5 cervical spinal lesion // weight 87 lbs // Run with the wind my sweet boy. Run pain free. Holding you close in my heart till we meet again!
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Old 12-30-2015, 11:54 AM
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CraigM CraigM is offline
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Default Re: Fua - 13 year old dog, not doing well at all

Welcome to the forum.
A question on your AlphaTrak. Are you bringing the small "barb" located on the side / edge of the test strip to the blood droplet? (Unlike most other meters where the blood pick-up is located at the end of the test strip). Generally, the AlphaTrak only requires a tiny blood droplet - typically if you see any blood at all, it should be enough.

Annie was an 18 pound Lhasa Apso that crossed the rainbow bridge on 10-5-17. She was nearly 17 years old and diabetic for 9 years.
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Old 12-30-2015, 02:47 PM
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MikeMurphy MikeMurphy is offline
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Default Re: Fua - 13 year old dog, not doing well at all

Welcome to the forum.

Just wanted to confirm Holli's comment that it is very common for setters to have hypothyroidism. As a matter of fact, the Michican State University thyroid database ranks English Setters as the number one breed susceptible to thyroid issues. Hypothyroidism can cause insulin resistance in dogs, so you might want to have your vet test your dog for it. The good news is that the problem can be solved with a low cost med called soloxine.

My English Setter, Lily, is hypothyroid and we had a very difficult time getting her insulin to work until she was put on soloxine.

Here's another good link that talks about hypothyroidism and diabetic dogs...

In regard to testing... Setters are very easy to test on the inside of the upper lip.
Lily is a 62 lb English Setter, born 07-27-2007.
Diabetes: Aug 2013 - Hypothyroidism: Dec 2013 - Cataract Surgery: Feb 2014
Insulin: Novolin R/N mix - Meter: ReliOn Prime
Nulo Adult Trim Cod & Lentils, Pumpkin, FortiFlora, Dasuquin, Thyroxine
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Old 12-31-2015, 05:57 AM
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stylynjm stylynjm is offline
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Arrow Re: Fua - 13 year old dog, not doing well at all

Most people with diabetic dogs feed 2 exact same meals,12 hrs apart,testing before food and giving insulin right after they eat...i didn't notice that was your routine...
I would think a 3 hr walk for an unregulated,not well dog might be way to much,but every dog is different.
Don't give up on alphatrak.it is so important. Also,you can use a cheaper human meter. Walmart has several that work well.they just read sugar levels a bit lower.
Sissy 13 yr old Bichon, born 4/17/03, 12 lbs. Diagnoised 7/20/12. Passed away 12/29/16 in my arms. My life will never be the same again. She will always be with me. Run free my babygirl 3 ozs I/D 4 x's day. 1.75 units levemir 2 times a day. .1 mg thyroid pill, tramadol for leg pain, morning & night,Use Alphatrak 2 and Relion Confirm meters.
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:02 AM
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Fua2015 Fua2015 is offline
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Default Re: Fua - 13 year old dog, not doing well at all

Hello everyone,

Thank you to Judi, Eddie, momofdecker, CraigM, MikeMurphy and stylynjm for taking the time to respond.

Fua's first blood glucose curve is here:-

His second blood glucose curve didn't show any response at all - his hourly figures were up in the 30s, apart from one hour when it strangely dropped to 18.

The vet said this could be due to poor administration of the insulin by myself (ie not injecting into muscle or pulling the needle out). His second blood curve was done on 9 Dec 15.

I am still trying to get to grips with performing the Alphatrak reading myself at home. I also have a One Touch Select Plus machine (for adults).

Stylynjm: I think you're correct that 3-hour walks are too long for him. I take him now for about 40 mins. His morning meal is small, and I give him insulin straight after. This happens at 9.30am. His evening meal tends to be a lot larger, and he gets insulin straight after. However, his evening meal is always at 7.30pm or 8.30pm. Would it work better if it were exactly 12 hours apart?

MikeMurphy: I am sorry to learn about Lily and her hypothyroidism. I hope she's doing well! I'm definitely going to get my vet to check for hypothyroidism.

CraigM: Thanks for this tip re the Alphatrak. I don't think I'm doing it right. I'm going to have a try now and I'll post later. My vet echoed what you said - it only requires a tiny drop of blood.

Momofdecker: Holli, I am so very sorry to read about your boy, Decker. Thank you for the link. I've had a good read and it fits all Fua's symptoms. My vet said he could run all manner of diagnostic tests but it might be expensive. I'm not too worried about the money, I just want Fua to be ok.

Eddie: Thanks for your response. Yes, it's Caninsulin that I'm giving to Fua. To answer your questions, he has been on 15 units of insulin since 9 December 2015. Fua was diagnosed with diabetes on 10 November and we were told to give him 8 units every 12 hours; then after the first blood curve, on 16 November (to which he seemed to be responding partially, although the vet said the figures were still too high), we were told to give him 12 units every hours. After 2nd blood curve on 9 Dec, he's now on 15 units of insulin.

I agree with all that you say about home testing. I've tried to get the blood from the inside of his ear, but he's always been very sensitive. I'll try the inside of the lip. As for the feeding 12 hours apart, no I'm afraid it's not precise. He gets his morning meal at 8.30am or 9.30am (a small meal) and then his evening meal around 7.30pm. Is it better to be feed strictly twelve hours apart?

Judi: I am so very sorry to hear about Jenny.

Thanks for reassuring me about not blaming myself by giving Fua olive oil on his meals in the past. I'm trying to remain positive, and I'm grateful for having found this wonderful forum!

The other thing that has happened recently that alarms me greatly is I noticed what might be small amounts of blood around Fua's bottom after he'd been to the toilet. I haven't seen any in his stools, but my other dog, Ashley, has always intuitively known when something is wrong in the past, and Ashley has been sniffing Fua's bottom a lot recently, as if there might be a problem.

The vet did undertake a rectal examination when Fua was diagnosed in Nov 15 and said everything seemed fine then. I am going to mention this blood when I see my vet on Friday but wondered if anyone else had seen this?

Also, I wondered if anyone has tried the Blood Sugar Gold product, made by Pet Wellbeing. I have bought some, but wanted to discuss with my vet first before giving it.

Thanks again for all your support.

I hope it's okay to post a photo of Fua below, so you know who you're writing about!


Last edited by Fua2015; 01-06-2016 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:17 AM
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stylynjm stylynjm is offline
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Arrow Re: Fua - 13 year old dog, not doing well at all

Hi Aron,
Seems like you are determined to get this right. You will. It takes time,patience, lol,and some good luck!!!!
Yes,to start with,most of us do blood test,exact same amount and kind of food 12 hours apart,then insulin as soon as they eat...
I think you will have a better chance of getting some balance.
Others will respond,but you have to balance food and insulin.I'm not sure how much success you will have with the food not being consistent...
Sissy 13 yr old Bichon, born 4/17/03, 12 lbs. Diagnoised 7/20/12. Passed away 12/29/16 in my arms. My life will never be the same again. She will always be with me. Run free my babygirl 3 ozs I/D 4 x's day. 1.75 units levemir 2 times a day. .1 mg thyroid pill, tramadol for leg pain, morning & night,Use Alphatrak 2 and Relion Confirm meters.
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Old 01-06-2016, 11:21 AM
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jesse girl jesse girl is online now
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Default Re: Fua - 13 year old dog, not doing well at all

what a cute pup

yes consistency is important especially at the beginning figuring out the correct dose. as time goes on you can possibly adapt more flexibility to the routine

the reason is the body has to adapt to the new reality of injected insulin. very different from the natural process. even walks should be consistent because of the possible affect it can have on blood sugar
Jesse-26 lbs - 16.5 years old ,11 years diabetic, one meal a day homemade and a vitabone snack . 3 shots of Novolin( under the Relion name ) a day . Total insulin for a 24 hour period is 6.5 units of NPH insulin .
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