Here's a totally random one...Anyone here have a Diabetic pet?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by TheMusicMan, Jan 31, 2006.

  1. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    We have just had some sad news. After visiting the vets today we've just received a diagnosis that one of our lovely King Charles Spaniels has unfortunatley developed diabetes. I have an appointment with them in the morning to discuss what this means and to talk about a tretment plan, what costs are involved and how we can best manage the condition for her.

    I am wondering if anyone here has experience of pets with diabetes...? Any info/thought/advice greatly appreciated.

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  2. wow!! we had a diabetic dog!!! (iccle toy poodle called oliver!!!) but he died a few years ago. unfortunately i was a bit young at the time to be able to give you any advice, but just thought id share with you the fact that he was diabetic!!!
  3. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Hi John.

    Sorry to hear your bad news. Unfortunately I have no direct experience of diabetes in pets, just a little in humans (not me ;)).

    I'm sure the Vet will explain in much more detail than me, and probably with more relevance to animals...

    Diabetes is essentially the general term for the body's lack of the ability to regulate it's glucose levels. The mechanism for glucose regulation involves insulin. Depending on the nature of the disease sometimes it's treated with insulin injections or other medications,and sometimes just by controlling diet.

    You've probably noticed that your pooch has been drinking more, visiting the WC more frequently ;)...once the glucose levels have been brought into control this may stop. Long term, the complications of diabetes include kidney failure, eye problems, long healing times.

    The problem is that if medication is necessary, then it can run into a fairly hefty bill. If you had pet insurance prior to the diagnosis, then most policies cover at least some of the costs.

    Sorry if this all sounds a little bleak - I'm sure the vet may be a little more reassuring.

    Hope it all goes well tomorrow,
  4. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Cheers Keith...

    PS: will respond to PM shortly...
  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  6. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    Sadly I had the most fantastic, loyal, loving dog who developed diabetes. The good news is, like humans, it is treatable if you either a) have insurance or b) can afford to pay out if you don't have insurance.

    Unfortunately this was not the case with me. My beautiful Gemma 'died' in 1996 at the age of 9yrs. At that time I was a single parent with two small children, living on income support after my husband had left. Over the space of a couple of months, Gemma started to deteriorate and my mum offered to pay for a visit to the vets. After tests it was discovered that Gemma had developed diabetes and would need intense treatment for at least 3 months to stabalise her. Even then, the vet could not say for definite she would recover. Gemma would need special food which would have cost me £12 a week, daily injections (cant' remember the cost of this) and until she was stabalised, she would have to spend 1 day at the vets every three days for tests and monitoring, at £10 per visit. My immediate reaction was to do everything I could for her, however, once I had worked out the cost which worked out to be over £200 per month for at least the first 3 months, I realised, living on benefits, there was no way I could pay for this. I contacted the PDSA, who were unable to help, you have to register pets before illness, so I had to make the dreadful, guilt-ridden decision to have Gemma put to sleep.

    I vowed never, ever, to be put in this position again, and the next time I did get a dog, I immediately took out pet insurance.

    I still think about Gemma, and still get upset. If only I had had the money, Gemma may have had a chance for a longer life. Gemma was a cross between Alsation and Labrador, and everyone that met her fell in love with her, she was the most sweet, gentle, non-aggressive dog, I have ever met even to this day. :cry:
  7. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    [I assume, in the following, that it is Diabetes Mellitus (Sugar Diabetes) that your dog has, and not Diabetes Insipidus (which is a very different condition)]

    Unlike humans, where diet and tablets can be used to stabilise glucose levels in certain forms of diabetes mellitus, in dogs insulin injections are always necessary.

    Without treatment the body cannot cope with
    1) the inability for the cells to take up glucose (so the dog can lose weight, become lethargic and develop nerve or behaviour abnormalities as the muscles and brain become starved of energy) and
    2) the excessive level of glucose that builds up in the bloodstream, which causes damage to the eyes and causes the dog to urinate more (and become more thirsty to compensate for this).
    Eventually the dog can deteriorate so that no glucose is reaching the cells, at which point "Ketosis" develops and the dog can pass into a coma and die.

    In many cases treatment is tolerated extremely well, and I have known many dogs that have gone on for years of normal life after being diagnosed with, and treated for, diabetes mellitus.

    A stable daily regime is the first necessity for controlling diabetes. Walks, feeding times and type of food all need to be exactly the same every day to enable fluctuations in the glucose levels to be minimised, and this may well involve special foods with high fibre levels and controlled "Glycaemic Index".

    Stabilisation with insulin injections is the next step, and involves injections once or twice a day with insulin, along with monitoring of blood and urine glucose concentrations to make sure that the glucose level is being controlled but not taken too low (which could be life threatening).

    Costs will depend largely on how easily stabilisation is acheived - some dogs settle within a week on a stable insulin dose and need only very occasional monitoring. Others need blood tests on and off for several months before a stable level is acheived. I guess costs over the first 12 months could be anywhere between a few hundred pounds and over £2000 depending on the ease of stabilisation. There are also additional costs if cataract surgery is needed (sooner or later most diabetic dogs develop cataracts, although many of them cope so well with the vision disturbance that they cope without cataract surgery (which can be £1500 per eye)).

    Feel free to PM me with any questions you have.

  8. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    How did it go, John?
  9. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    I had a cat who developed diabeties she only lasted 3 weeks as it was very bad, she was put on insulin but she just got worse.
    But a lovely little cat who made the most of each day she had from a kitten.
    She lived to be just over 10 years old.
  10. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Hi Keith

    All went OK actually thanks. She stayed with the vets for a day on Wednesday having her bloods evaluated and for a treatment plan to be devised. We now have our first weeks plan and Insulin dosage, and have both been shown how to administer an injection.

    She has another full days monitoring on Tuesday next week - as long as all goes well up until then that is. The insulin already seems to be stabilising her... she's not rushing to her water bowl, nor rushing to go out and pee... looks like we might have stabilised things for her very quickly after diagnosis.

    It's a huge commitment for us having to administer injections twice a day, amending her diet (we have two dogs, so it's a huge change) and no longer being able to easily go off for the day, but we'll manage. She's a good 'un....:biggrin:
  11. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member


    Good news :D
  12. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    Glad things have gone well for you:tup
  13. bigmamabadger

    bigmamabadger Active Member

    Having read all this I have a nasty feeling my cat might be heading the same way. She's always in the water bowl and the other morning I caught her weeing on the doormat which she's never done before.
    Simply haven't got the money to keep her going on insulin so she may have to visit the Big Needle. She is 12 so she's had a pretty good innings.
    Anxious Badger
  14. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    BMB: There are lots of things that can cause cats to drink more, and many are treatable if they are caught early enough (and in cats Diabetes doesn't always need insulin injections, sometimes a diet change is all that's required). In any case, 12 isn't that old for a cat - I once treated one that was (allegedly) 31 years old! Get her checked out by the vet so you have a definite answer as to the problem before guessing about the likely outcome.
  15. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Ron... are you a Vet? if so... Ill be PM'ing ya!
  16. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    UPDATE: Belle seems to be settling down a little now... not 100%, and not fully regulated on Insulin yet, but she's OK. Here's a snap I took this morning.

  17. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    Aw, what a cutie! Looks just like my 'niece' Sage. Glad to hear the situation is improving.
  18. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Glad to hear things are improving John :D
  19. blakeyboy

    blakeyboy Member

    I've got a king charles spaniel, Lucy, that is Diabetic, she was diagnosed November last year. She's got used to the insulin and is now eating fine and is more active than she ever was. she's at a steady weight and isn't lathargic at all now. She does drink quite a bit still but thats calmed down loads now. Its does seem a bit of a struggle at the beginning but once you get into a routine feeding time they're fine. We still give Lucy treats every now and again, not as much as before, but still we've found it doesn't do any damage at as long as its only once or twice a week and its a sensible treat. It's just a matter of being vigilant for a few months so they get used to it. Lucy is possibly the best I've seen her since we rescued her.

    It does seem like a bit of a battle sometimes and not fair on Belle but you will see a significant difference once she's settled into a routine.

    Good luck mate;)
  20. How long did it take to stabilise your dogs?
    We are watching ours getting skinnier and skinnier, lucky she wasn't thin to start off with.
    and how much per month is it costing you for insulin and stuff?

    and finally, how do I persuade Drummergurl that she can inject and test wee wee samples?

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