Author Topic: Diabetic Dogs? Input needed...  (Read 1882 times)

Offline ZooKeeper83

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Diabetic Dogs? Input needed...
« on: May 31, 2008, 09:55:50 PM »
We're planning on adopting another dog now that we're somewhat settled in the new house.  (And for those of you that followed my other dog threads we planned this even if we end up taking Bailey from the 'inlaws' - but 3 small/medium dogs would be our limit!)  We figured it would be at least 6 months or so before we actually decided on a dog, but we've still been scanning petfinder all the time and discussing dogs together to figure out what would suit our lives and our family.

Well, I'm finding myself drawn to an adorable 1-2 year old Aussie mix that's diabetic.  Apparently her original owner dropped her in a high-kill shelter once she found out she was diabetic and the extra work it would cause.  The shelter where she's at now took pity on her, but even they are now saying that if she doesn't find a home soon, they'll have to put her down.  It says in her profile that she'll need insulin shots, obviously, that should cost around $25 extra a month.  I can do the shots.  I have absolutely no problem with that.  I'm just wondering if anyone else knows what would be involved with having a diabetic dog.  With a quick internet search I just found that she will need to be on a regulated diet that possibly consists of a special dry food for diabetic dogs, I would need to monitor her water intake and urination because that would tell me if her blood sugar level is under control, and I may need to do daily blood monitoring. 

Now I *could* handle all that, BUT I'm still weighing if I'd have the time and energy for it.  But while I'm weighing everything, I thought I'd see if anyone on here had any experience with diabetic dogs.  Would my vet bills skyrocket due to needing to have her checked out more than normal?  Is there any aspect of this that I'm not thinking of?

I'd love to take her in since it's obvious that not too many other people would even consider wanting to take in a dog that's labeled from the start as needing extra time and money, but I wouldn't just want to jump and take her if in the end I couldn't handle her or she wouldn't be happy here.  It wouldn't be fair to her or us if I did that.

Oh, and in case someone is interested this is the beautiful girl - Freckles - http://www.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=10839056

Thanks for any input that anyone can give!
Melissa
Owned by: Dopey the basset; Lacey the border mix, Stinky, Lila and Happy the kittehs; Diesel the ball python; Rosie the dumeril's boa; Chili the children's python; Angus the bearded; Petri the leopard gecko; Addy the crested gecko

Offline Ratwings

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Re: Diabetic Dogs? Input needed...
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2008, 11:24:52 PM »
I work at a vet and we see a fair amount of diabetic animals. Insulin shots are quite easy to administer, the needles are so tiny the animals usually can't even feel it, especially if you are feeding a tasty treat at the same time.  You might want to consider investing in a home blood glucose tester. All you need is one drop of blood, easily obtained from a pin prick (they even come with special little blades for doing this) and it will give her blood sugar. Some dogs are harder to regulate and need to be monitored daily like this and might slight changed in their dose daily. But other dogs do well with a constant dose as long as they are eating well and not missing meals.  In any case, she should have a BG curve done every few months- this means she would have to stay at the vet for a whole day while they take samples throughout the day. This is not usually too costly.

I would highly recommend putting her on a raw, grain free diet. Mild cases of diabetes can be managed with diet alone! Exercise is also helpful but will probably not be a problem with an Aussie mix. ;)

But every case of diabetes is different. She looks like a cute little girl, I love Aussies... I know where Stroudsberg is, I live outside Philly. I would be tempted to adopt her myself! I am such  sucker LOL. If she has the right personality and seems like a good fit for your family, I wouldn't let the diabetes deter you. It is a perfectly manageable condition.
~Julie

Offline ZooKeeper83

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Re: Diabetic Dogs? Input needed...
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2008, 07:30:54 PM »
Thanks for the information!  I think I might call and ask a little more about her tomorrow and call my vet to see what they would normally charge for things like the BG curve (my vet tends to be a little pricey, but I really like her).

One thing that I'm thinking that might be a problem is my schedule.  My schedule is fairly regular (M-F), but the hours can vary.  I'd say the average time I get home is around 4:30 and the average animal dinner time is 5, but that can change slightly day by day since I go out on job sites and work until the people I'm inspecting decide to stop working.  Do you think it would mess with her blood sugar level if dinner was sometimes an hour or two late?  It's not normal, but it can happen.  When it does happen now everyone around here is, of course, very angry at me, but they'll survive.  There are days when I'm late and my other half is here to feed, but I'd be the only one giving the insulin shots since he's a big ol' wuss ( ;)), so her dinner and insulin would have to wait until I get home.   :-\

Oh, and if it turns out she couldn't fit with our family for whatever reason, but say someone else in the Philly area wanted her - she could possibly be delivered halfway or even all the way there some weekend since I live in Easton and the other half works in Stroudsburg... :wink5:  :cheeky:
Owned by: Dopey the basset; Lacey the border mix, Stinky, Lila and Happy the kittehs; Diesel the ball python; Rosie the dumeril's boa; Chili the children's python; Angus the bearded; Petri the leopard gecko; Addy the crested gecko

Offline Lise

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Re: Diabetic Dogs? Input needed...
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2008, 11:31:07 PM »
I also work at a vet clinic, and in my experience many diabetic animals (varies of course by animal) cost easily thousands of dollars more in vet bills in their lifetime.

There are some animals that are easily controlled diabetics -- but a great many that I have seen even with all the best care by their owners can only stay controlled for 6 months, or a year... before something goes out of whack and the animal gets sick again, etc.  Some dogs we have had coming in repeatedly for blood glucose curves once a month and no matter what the vet & owner tries they never seem to stabilize.

Of course, that is worst case scenario,and may likely not happen to you... but I think you should be prepared for the worst case scenario and able to handle that IMO if you want to adopt her.  And hopefully she will be an easy to regulate diabetic that is otherwise healthy! ;)

I'm sure you should be able to talk to the veterinarian who currently has diagnosed her for more information on how she is doing as well.
|| Lise ||

The Boy: Simon  The Girls: Arizona | Karma | Pepper | Penelope 

& Always Remembered: Molly, Nora, Tevy, Lucy, Guinness, Seagram, Pixie, Cleopatra, Skye, Bella, Juno, Sasha, Gibson

Offline Heather

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Re: Diabetic Dogs? Input needed...
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2008, 12:14:51 AM »
I have read alot of people have great results putting their dogs on a raw diet which is better than grain free kibbles which have fruits/veggies and a starchy binder like white potato. I'm not experienced with all the terms and such but I'm sure you could ask and look into it further (and get the experiences from others) if you join the rawfeeding Yahoo group. I DEFINATELY would not do a kibble from the vet's office. It's either SD or Royal Canin- two very crappy brands.

SD diet- Ground Whole Grain Corn, Powdered Cellulose 17.1% (source of fiber), Chicken by-product Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Mill Run, Corn Gluten Meal, Soybean Oil, Dried Beet Pulp, Soybean Meal, Iron Oxide, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Sulfate, L-Lysine, Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), preserved with BHT, BHA and Ethoxyquin, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, L-Carnitine, L-Tryptophan, Beta-Carotene.

Royal Canin- can't even find ingredients.. they must not be too great. :-\

Offline tsk_n_such

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Re: Diabetic Dogs? Input needed...
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2008, 01:19:01 AM »
My first yorkie, whom I adopted from a shelter when he was 10, was diabetic.  He also had a heart condition.  With a good diet and his meds, he lived to 15, at which time he passed from a complication from his heart issue.

A good diet can really go a long way in helping a diabetic dog. 
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Offline ZooKeeper83

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Re: Diabetic Dogs? Input needed...
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2008, 08:56:36 AM »
Thank you everyone!  And thank you Lise for the worst case scenario!  I want to know about the kind of things that can happen.  I called my vet first thing yesterday morning to get an estimate of what they charge for insulin and a BG curve.  Well, she estimated that it would cost around $80 for a month and a half to two month supply of insulin, needles, and a sharps container and they charge $300 for a curve.  So honestly if I took her to my vet and it ended up being the worst case scenario or she even needed a curve multiple times a year, I couldn't do it.  Just her normal care would drain my emergency vet fund and could possibly start taking funds from my regular savings - which I kind of need for silly things like food and bills. :-P

I did e-mail the rescue, though, to find out a little more info about her since I'm a glutton for punishment.  I found out that she's now in a foster home and in no immediate danger of being put down anymore.  Her foster mom told me Freckles is currently on 14 units of insulin one time a day after having two curves done since she came to the shelter and her mom's seeing an improvement in her symptoms already.   They are trying to get the funds for a canine blood glucose meter so they can monitor her daily.  Do you really need a canine version?  I read online that human one's work and there are decent ones out there that aren't too costly.

I still want to talk to her more and find out what Freckles' current vet charges for her care, but it's looking like money-wise it might just be a little too much for me right now.   We had already figured out money-wise that we could adopt another dog and handle normal care and basic emergencies (huge emergencies would be taken care of, of course, but with credit cards :-/) but to also plan to tack on hundreds to thousands more to the basic care might be pushing it for now.  If I could just find a vet that I trust that doesn't charge as much as mine, it might be different.

Thank you for all the information everyone!  That's exactly what I wanted - the good and the bad - to put everything into perspective.

I'll let you know if it seems like it could actually work somehow!

Melissa
Owned by: Dopey the basset; Lacey the border mix, Stinky, Lila and Happy the kittehs; Diesel the ball python; Rosie the dumeril's boa; Chili the children's python; Angus the bearded; Petri the leopard gecko; Addy the crested gecko

Offline Ratwings

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Re: Diabetic Dogs? Input needed...
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2008, 10:56:14 PM »
A canine specific glucometer is much more accurate. 

Sorry you decided you couldn't adopt her.  I still give you a gold star for considering adopting a special needs dog and doing all your research beforehand. Yay for being responsible!  14 units for a dog of that size, that young, is on the high side, which makes me think this dog will one of those that is difficult to regulate for her whole life, so probably better that you didn't get her if you didn't think you could afford it. I'm glad she is in a good foster home though.  If it weren't my grouchy parents I would definitely to tempted to take a little drive and go visit her. ;)
~Julie

Offline ZooKeeper83

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Re: Diabetic Dogs? Input needed...
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2008, 11:26:38 AM »
With my last post I was still hoping I could find a way to get her and did speak with Freckles' foster mom more, but we did decide against it for a few reasons.  The extra vet bills are definitely one big reason, along with the fact that my schedule can vary and feeding times are not always at exactly the same time throughout the week.   It's not something I can control with my job, so I just wouldn't feel comfortable since I know her health does depend on a steady schedule of her insulin and food.

Oh, and I found out that she is not in Stroudsburg, even though it doesn't say that anywhere in her profile.  She is fostered in Alabama.  The shelter does mention that they work with a shelter in Alabama to relocated dogs up this way, but I figured it would state something about it in the dogs profile if that's where they were.  So, if we did want her, I wouldn't be able to meet her or see if she got along with my basset boy or the cats or if she'd jump at the rattie cages, etc.  Her foster mom said she's been fine with other dogs, but she hasn't been around any other type of animals.  So that kind of settled it.

We had narrowed down our list of dogs to inquire about in petfinder to 3 other dogs besides Freckles, so we started calling and asking about them, too.  I didn't want to make too quick of a decision, but I think we have a perfect fit already.  There might be a new thread in the Dog Tails section after this weekend..we'll see... ;)

Owned by: Dopey the basset; Lacey the border mix, Stinky, Lila and Happy the kittehs; Diesel the ball python; Rosie the dumeril's boa; Chili the children's python; Angus the bearded; Petri the leopard gecko; Addy the crested gecko