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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Canine Diabetes

The first week of January my vet diagnosed my son's dog with diabetes. Our ten-year-old "puppy" had been drinking over a gallon of water a day. From his annual checkup in late October to his sick visit two months later he went from 78 pounds to 63 pounds. Yeah, that sounds like a lot. To be truthful, it's easy to overlook in a large dog. After a urine glucose test and an in-office blood test, the doctor put him on Vetsulin--the veterinary equivalent of insulin. Normal blood sugar range for a dog is between 80 and 120. Our poor guy came in at 406. So, I began giving twice-a-day 10 units insulin shots and checking his blood sugar level once a day with a urine test strip. Every three days we returned to the vet's office for a blood test of his glucose level. We have since gone up in dosage to 12, 15, 18, 21, and 25 units twice a day, and we've watched his blood sugar go from 406 to 606, 586, 604, 587, 583, and 612. The urine test strips show a consistent 1/2 reading.

Today our puppy spent the day at the vet's having blood drawn every three hours to check his blood sugar. It ranged from 496 to 512, a sign that Vetsulin is not working. We have switched to a human insulin--Novolin. Because this insulin is more concentrated, we are beginning back at 10 units again twice a day.

Canine diabetes is similar to human diabetes in symptoms, treatments, and side affects. Already suffering from cataracts before the diagnosis, they have advanced to the point of completely obscuring his vision in a very short time. At about $2500 per eye for cataract surgery, correcting the problem is not a financially viable option for us. Treating diabetes in animals can be expensive as I am discovering, but how do I put a price on my son's pet?

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick

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