I’ve been feeling dog-tired for a few months. In spite of being hungrier than ever and successfully begging for more food from the kids, I’m losing weight, not gaining it. I’ve had a couple of accidents in the house, even though I tried really hard to wait until I got outside to pee. I just figured it’s because I’ve been thirstier than usual and drinking a lot lately.
My family got suspicious and had my veterinarian check me out yesterday. They poked a needle in my paw to get some blood and ran tests before telling my humans I have a disease called diabetes mellitus. I’m not sure what that means, but my mom was really upset and started to cry! Tomorrow we go back to the clinic so she can learn to give me daily shots. OUCH!
Newton, I don’t like getting shots even once a year, much less every day. I heard my mom tell the vet she was scared to try to give me shots but she didn’t want me to die. Now I’m really scared, too! Can’t they just give me a pill or something to make me feel better?
Thank goodness your people were on the ball. They caught on to all the canine diabetes symptoms. Diabetes in dogs can be deadly if not treated! Don’t panic as it can be controlled more easily than your mom suspects. She’s probably worried she’ll hurt you when she gives you the injections you need, but with advice from your veterinarian and some practice on oranges to simulate injecting insulin into your body, both of you will soon be old pros at this injection procedure.
It’s estimated as many as 1 in 500 dogs may develop diabetes. Humans can get diabetes, too. Both species can lead active, healthy lives through dietary control plus daily medications. Often humans can control their diabetes by taking pills, but pills don’t usually work for dogs. Doggone it!
Here’s the simple poop … er, scoop. Bodies need a hormone called insulin to convert food into glucose, the “fuel” both dogs and humans run on. Without enough insulin, glucose can’t get into our cells to make the energy our bodies need to function. The extra glucose builds up in our blood and washes out when we pee. That’s why your mom and the doctors will talk about monitoring your “blood sugars” by checking your blood and/or your urine.
Canine diabetes can’t be “cured” so you’ll need lifelong treatment. In addition to insulin shots, your veterinarian will probably recommend a low-fat diet high in both fiber and complex carbohydrates. (Your doctor will explain what’s best for you.) The good news is you’ll likely be fed twice a day rather than once! That will help keep your glucose levels from getting too high or too low throughout the day.
The “bad news” isn’t really that bad. Yeah, chances are good you’ll need shots of insulin once or twice daily. But the needles are minute and you likely won’t even feel them. The really good news is that many vets recommend you be given a healthy treat along with each shot. The important thing is for you and your human to remain as calm as possible. You’ll both get used to the routine of injections, regularly timed feedings, and visits to your vet to be sure you stay healthy.
Diabetes is a chronic illness, but it’s not a death sentence! Once your veterinarian finds the right treatment plan for you, you and your humans will still be able to enjoy an excellent quality life with lots of fun.
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