Thursday, June 02, 2016

Dog stuff

At this point, all I can do is ask for advice. My George vomited and collapsed a few hours ago -- then returned to normal. An hour later, he looked dazed and disoriented, and his legs trembled.

After Googling these symptoms along with his larger issue -- diabetes -- I concluded that the dog had a hypoglycemic episode. As I understand it, this is the equivalent of too much insulin, and is treated by the application of syrup. He didn't want to eat anything, so I swabbed some pancake syrup on his gums, and he licked it up.

This treatment seems to have improved the situation somewhat. But I'm curious: Have any of my readers had to deal with this? Diabetes is a new factor in my life, and I didn't know that things could swing back and forth...
No experience with dogs but some with people.

The vomiting might have caused a hypoglycemic episode. It causes disorientation among other symptoms and often aggression. Sugar immediately fixes problem.

You diagnosed George's problem correctly and you did the right thing to address the low blood sugar (insulin reaction) episode. The most frustrating aspect of type 1 diabetes are the many variables involved in trying to control it. But it boils down to balancing insulin and food intake. Too little food for the amount of insulin given can lead to a low blood sugar incident. Too much food and too little insulin can result in the opposite effect---high blood sugar, which isn't healthy for organs. But your problem is complicated because you are dealing with an animal and so---I'm assuming---not able to do frequent blood tests to determine his insulin level. If you can, keep a daily diary of times and amounts of insulin and food given. Also note when and if he exhibits a LBS situation. Should they become more frequent, then you or the vet might want to reduce the amount of insulin he gets. But getting back to the immediate LBS episode, you noticed the most important quality---George seemed confused and didn't want to eat. LBS episodes affect humans in the same way so sometimes it is necessary for caregivers/relatives/friends to immediately take action and give some form of sugar, in your case syrup. And you applied it correctly by rubbing it on George's gums. The confusion happens because sugar is brain food and when it doesn't have enough, our operating system starts to shut down and we don't know what to do to correct the sitution. If not addressed, LBS can lead to coma and even worse. I wish you the best in helping George and applaud your efforts to do so.
Thanks for that, JL. I had been trying to reduce George's food intake, simply because he was getting a little hefty. Also, I've been making him exercise a bit more. But now I understand that there is such a thing as too much exercise for diabetic dogs! Hitting the sweet spot is difficult.

I think I'll skip the insulin shot today, and feed him a meal with a large amount of complex carbs -- brown rice, or whole oatmeal, with a little chicken. For the past few days, he has been eating a "mostly chicken" diet. Guess that was an error.

A week ago he had a "high blood sugar" day (ultra-frequent piddling) and I was pretty worried. Damn. Diabetes is a see-saw!
Update: George is resting but breathing heavily. He ate some rice, but had a hard time keeping it down. He was able to go up and down stairs on his own.

This is scary. Once again, I'm glad I never had children: I'd be terrified every time a child of mine coughed.
It takes awhile for blood sugar to "settle" after a hyper or hypo incident.

You might want to run her a sketch high for awhile. Less insulin goes well with high protein/high fat food and light exercise after a meal. A nice walk.

Does the vet have you testing her blood sugar?

Walmart, for all it's evils, is a savior for poor diabetics everywhere. Instead of $300/bottle analog insulin, they sell old fashioned human insulin (Novolin R) for $30/bottle. Test strips are 9 cents a piece and the meter is cheap. You don't need a script for either.

If you think she's going hypo, try reducing the insulin by half and then increase until she stops peeing so much.

It's awful tricky to deal with it in yourself, harder to administer to your pup. Take your time, the high blood sugar for a little while is much better than some desperate lows.

Hang in there, Joseph.
Thanks for the guidance, OldCoastie. I think I was misled by a website which said that the way to treat diabetes was a high-protein diet. So now I'm going back to high complex carbs.

I still haven't paid off what I owe for the last vet bill, although I'm making good progress, thanks to my wonderful readers. When things improve, I'll by a glucose testing set-up -- I've spent this morning researching all of that.
My good friend Shelly learned about treating her cat, Bootie, for Diabetes I and kept Bootie alive for years. If you'd like, I can have her write you at your email about how to go about helping George. I don't know if you are skipping today's insulin on a whim or because you tested George's blood? If George was diagnosed with Diabetes I, George's pancreas is not making insulin, so not sure it's the best decision to skip the insulin. Rather, you test him and administer insulin accordingly. It's no different than humans. What is different is how precise you have to be when giving insulin due to our pet's size. Where we can handle a "fat" dose, a pet needs it very precise. Shelly could advise on this. FYI - neither of us are doctors/vets. I'll watch here to see if you'd like her to email.
My friend thinks you should go to this site. They will work with you 24/7, as they did with her to deal with her cat's Diabetes I diagnosis.
My chihuahua isn't diabetic, but every couple of months he has a hypoglycemic episode. It is important that when a dog has this episode, you give the dog Karo syrup or Nutrical and rub it into the dog's gums. Make sure the dog is warm. Keep giving them the syrup or Nutrical until the dog is able to stand and comes out of the "seizure." The episode will subside.

BOTH my chihuahua and my Lhaso apso (not my first one) have had these episodes. The Lhasa has had it just twice. For both it typically happens when they don't eat enough. Especially with toy breeds like chihuahuas, you have to feed them frequently throughout the day.
I've got diabetes; everything the commenters have already said holds true. I had a low two mornings ago. They are extremely unpleasant. One side effect that I have is a decrease in IQ. I had one in restaurant once and was mystified because I couldn't figure out how to turn the page in the menu. Yeah, I get extremely stupid. Exercise has always been the only thing that ever really helped me but I can't too much anymore due to the old body falling apart.
I'm Type 2 diabetic and have hypoglycemia frequently. I have a tube of glucose tablets in every place where I spend more than a few minutes. They're cheap ~$1 / tube @ Kroger. You might try making a solution with a couple crushed tablets and a drop of lemon juice (preservative) and keeping it handy with a syringe.

My doctors don't know why my glucose levels fluctuate so wildly, so they say I just need to recognize it and take the glucose.
Joseph - the high protein diet is fine and will result in your pup needing much less insulin.... the hard trick is to figure out how much insulin. You've got to match the his sugars with the food and his level of exercise.

Start small. Work up.

Get the prime meter and test strips from Walmart. Testing is the key.

Have the vet show you how.
I am so grateful to all of you, especially to the ones with personal experience of diabetes. This has been quite an education for me. Frankly, it was impossible to think about politics yesterday.

Pennelope, I am sorry to hear about your personal situation. Do you think one of those restaurant packets of honey would work? I think they have such things on offer at Chic-fil-A.

Old Coastie -- so you are saying that feeding George mostly fresh chicken meant that my usual insulin dose turned out to be way too much? That would explain a lot.

Also, Old Caoster -- you think the Relion Prime glucose meter is all right? I had researched it and saw that the Relion Confirm system required less blood, which I thought would be easier for the dog. However, money is always a huge issue, and the Prime test strips are a lot less expensive.

If you think Prime is okay, I would love to save some money.

Thanks all.
Joseph, yes, the honey should work and honey is a natural preservative. I think the syringe is the key, so you can force feed him instead of relying on him licking his gums etc.

Good luck, we lost our cats 9 and 15 years ago and it still hurts thinking about them.
I am diabetic & have kept my ha1c around 5.8 (legally not diabetic) using diet & exercise since 2001. there are recipes for pet food for sick animals in the book by the vet Dr Pitcairn. I used the recipes to reverse feline luekemia in a cat many years ago & he lived another 8 years after the diagnosis, much to the astonishment of the vet I took him to. I lived in Maryland at the time & the vet who advised me on the cats diet is in Sparks, outside Balmer: Dr Christine Chambreau.

Yes, Joseph - high protein diet means much less insulin, so yes, that is why your pup went hypo. And the Relion Prime meter is just fine with the strips... they seem to last about a year and then you need a new one, but they work fine.

If my old dog were diabetic, I would have him on a high protein diet if his kidneys were good...
We had a Beagle that at approximately six years old had a diabetic episode. We found out at the vet's office, through blood tests. He lost his sight and suffered from exhaustion and urinary incontinence. He was medicated insulin, and after two days in observation the vet gave us the right amount to inject him. We had to learn to give him the shots twice a day, (it was very hard at the beginning for us, but he did not show pain or resisted the needle), after measuring the urine each time. We only could afford surgery in one eye. But he survived quite fine with regular check ups, and strict diet for at least four years more. He contracted a pulmonary disease probably at the vet's office. We enjoyed him all those extra years and took care of him very gladly. I can say that he was as happy and active dog as before he got the illness. Good luck with your dog. Hope you can help him too.
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