Doggie Diabetes

A few sleepless nights and “accidents” inside the house made me realize something was wrong with my dog. The excessive evening drinking from her water bowl made my terrier mix dog want to go outside constantly during the night. She was lethargic, so unlike her normal, bouncing, terrier-type personality. According to my veterinarian, this is a sign of either kidney problems or diabetes.

I was previously unaware that there was any such thing as diabetes in dogs, but apparently it’s very common in female dogs over the age of 7 and more prevalent if the dog is overweight.

A blood test showed the possibility of diabetes but to confirm the test results we needed to obtain a urine sample. Not an easy task.

In the early hours of the morning I followed my dog around the back yard ready to place a small bowl under her when she started to “go.” As soon as I placed the bowl on the ground she looked at me in disgust and walked off. I tried again. This time a squirrel sparked her interest and she raced off, chasing the squirrel and coming to an abrupt halt at the base of a tree while barking profusely. The squirrel glared back at her. The noise, I’m sure, alerted my neighbors who probably wondered why I was chasing my dog around the back yard while holding a bowl and wearing a night gown and fluffy slippers. Two days later I was still trying to obtain the “sample.”

Finally, I decided on a larger container and that seemed to work. I proudly went to the veterinarian with my little zip lock bag ready to be tested. They were not overly impressed with my valiant efforts and nonchalantly took the bag.

With the diabetes confirmed she was put on a special diet and we then had to find a suitable dose of insulin. Once the dose was calculated, the insulin was given to her in the morning (based on her body weight) and injected into the skin on her back. A week later she spent the whole day at the vets while they tested her blood every hour to document the fluctuations in blood glucose. She seemed okay for a while but after a few weeks, the night thirst and late night/early morning urination started again and the dose was reduced but given twice a day.

The most difficult part I have found is making sure she eats at regular times as insulin cannot be given before she eats. Having two dogs, my mornings consisted of me standing between their two bowls trying to keep the dogs separate. I felt like a referee in a wrestling match.

We now seem to have settled into a routine of morning and evening injections and my dogs have become used to having separate bowls. The best news is that my little dog is back to being happy and lively and we are all getting a good night sleep.

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