a labor of love
Information presented in the "Living With..." sections of the SCARF website represent the personal viewpoint of the individual who made the journal entry and do not represent the opinions, positions, or viewpoints of SCARF or the veterinary community. [see complete disclaimer at bottom of page]
My dog, a male, neutered Samoyed was diagnosed at 10 years with Diabetes Type I. His first wetting accident since puppy hood and I remember it seemed like he would never stop urinating. I took him into the vet the next day and he was diagnosed. His blood glucose was 450 (normal is 70-120).
I had been a nurse and was familiar with Diabetes so I knew that this was very serious. The vet who diagnosed my Samoyed gave me the option of euthanizing. She pointed out how my life would change. This was not an option, so we changed his food to Hills Canine-W/D and decided to start insulin when my Vet returned in two days.
My boy was started on Lente once a day. The first time he went in for a 24 hour curve (3 days later) it was determined that he was going hypoglycemic at peak (although he had no symptoms). We cut his dosage in half but had no luck in regulating him.
Meanwhile, I learned to blood test and identified several hypoglycemic reactions (again asymptomatic) and one Symogi episode when we raised the dosage too fast. Through trial and error, we determined that the herbal compound that I was using for Arthritis was causing wild fluctuations in blood sugar. Even with this knowledge, we were still unable to regulate him. After reading everything I could find on Diabetes (both on dogs and humans), I suggested to my vet that I would like to change to NPH and go to twice a day injections. This was the ticket for him and within a month he was regulated. During the period it took to regulate him (about 4 months) he developed a pin point cataract but otherwise did fine.
During the time of trying to regulate my dog, I started doing 24 hour curves at home and faxing them to my vet to determine dosage. This worked really well for both of us. I kept meticulous records and had a notebook that went with him to any veterinary appointment.
My Samoyed did really well for about a year and then he developed a mouth tumor that needed to be removed. This meant changing diets and re-regulating him. Coincidently, my wonderful vet decided to go into Animal Rescue full time so we changed to another Vet in the same practice. This vet was also great and treated me as a partner in the care of my dog. I was able to regulate him again and he did great for another 8 months. He started to rapidly deteriorate but the culprit wasn’t his Diabetes. He developed Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia. When examined, he had multiple lesions, was bleeding all over and was starting to Bloat. I made the heartrending decision to have him euthanized rather than put him through a risky and painful treatment in order to buy him a little more time.
My Samoyed had great quality of life and I don’t regret a minute of his care. The key to care for a Diabetic dog is consistency. They need consistent food, exercise, medication and routine. While the care can be overwhelming at times, it was very rewarding. My relationship with him was even closer after diagnosis then before (and I didn’t think that was possible). The other key is to have an excellent working relationship with your veterinarian.
As a tribute to my Samoyed, I try to help others facing this diagnosis with their Samoyeds.
Information presented in the "Living With..." sections of the SCARF website represent the personal viewpoint of the individual who made the journal entry and do not represent the opinions, positions, or viewpoints of SCARF or the veterinary community. There may be discussions of drugs, devices, additives, foods, vitamins, herbs or biologicals that have not been approved by the FDA/CVM for the particular use being discussed. SCARF assumes no liability for the accuracy or outcomes of any suggestions, advice or other information provided by the "Living With..." postings on the SCARF website. All treatment decisions should only be made after discussion with your pet's veterinary health professional, and no changes in your pet's treatments or diet should be made based on any information found on the SCARF website.