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Readers Respond: Your experiences living with a diabetic dog or cat

Responses: 24

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From the article: Diabetes Mellitus
The diagnosis of diabetes can be daunting. For many people, monitoring blood glucose and giving daily insulin injections to their pets seems like mission impossible. After some time and practice though, managing your diabetic patient can become second nature.

What stories and tips can you share with others who live with diabetic pets, particularly the newly diagnosed? Share your experiences here. Please note - this is for your stories and tips about diabetes, questions cannot be answered on this page. Please call your vet about pet-specific questions about diabetes. Thank you.

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Giving Insulin shot

Make sure you have the proper syringe. I use a 31 gauge, since my dog is only 25 pounds. Also, I muzzle him. I then have a treat in hand. I have no problems.
—Davidzzzz

Classical conditioning

My dog Cookie was diagnosed 3 years ago. She gets 2 shots a day of humilin N. We used a little PSYCH 101 and employed a classical conditioning technique. When we first started she was allowed a very small amount of her favourite treat just before she gets her injection. We then started to delay giving the treat and now three years later when she sees the insulin vial she comes right to you and sits down waiting for her treat which she gets immediately after her injection. We made sure not to give her her treat at any other time so that she associates the treat with the injection.
—Guest Cookie's Mommy

To the People on the Board

I see everyone going through a bad situation, I know that pain. My dog is a Pomeranian and developed diabetes after using a medication for arthritis. So he developed pancreatitis that led to diabetes. Now fast forwward 6 months and he's blind, sugar is so so but I"m told at 230 it's OK. He's not as active but he's happy. He is still having eye issues. Food - People should make their own food, try using turkey meat, boiling veggies gently then mashing, then using brown rice, blend it all and watch them eat. It works. The owners who stop using injections, giving up too soon, stop that. This is not going to be easy and if you are not willing to help your dog through his suffering you should look for an owner who will. If the dog is lethargic, it's probably too high a dose. The dog needs to be fed a regular balanced meal, then the insulin. For the dogs who are having an issue with the needle. First pull scruff up, pinch, angle the needle 45 degrees, then quickly inject. Works
—Guest Maria

My diabetic cat Pawsy..

My cat has been diabetic for 4 years now and I give him insulin shots twice a day, 12 hrs apart.. I've had to lower the units of insulin a few months back so that was a good news.. I hope that despite his illness my cat is happy with me.. He's 17yrs old and hopefully he'll live a few more months/years.. Wishing you all the best with your beloved pets.. Niki
—Guest Niki

peanut butter

With the hypo ready I put a small dab of peanut on my fingertip I sort of tease him with it - when I get his full attention my hubby injects him. Works almost every time.
—Guest fran

homemade dog food diet

My dog Lazy was diagnosed about 1 yr ago after having several bad bouts of Pancreatitus. She was up to 45 units a day when I thought I would try to control her levels through a homemade diet as opposed to dry commercial dog food. After a lot of research online I tried to make my own. I started with 6# ground deer meat,raw broccoli,green beans,Kale,carrots,brown rice and boiled eggs. The ground deer was cooked and mixed with raw ground up vegetables mixed with about 4 cups cooked brown rice. I give her 1 1/2 cups with 8 units insulin in the morning and 12 hours later she gets 1/2 cup "light" dry food and 1 cup fresh food with 8 units again. Although I haven't done a home glucose curve on her in about 6 weeks , she looks great,is very active and alert. I used to be so scarred that she would have crashes in sugar levels,but that only twice when she was on commercial food. I will continue doing what works until I see a change needs to made and make adjustments as needed.
—tp62

My diabetic dog

My dog will be 14years old and he has been diabetic 6-7 years. He is such a lovable dog and he gets 2 shots a day. He will see his Dr. soon because of his low blood sugars and needing to have his insulin regulated. When he goes to the vet he is so anxious it was good to hear that the glucose curve test can be done at home. I am hoping he can go to one shot a day instead of 2. He has difficutly hearing and seeing but he is functioning well. I hope he will continue to do well and hopefully be able to go come off the insulin or 1 injection a day. Hang in there and enjoy your dog like I do. We do what needs to be done to help these innocent and adorable dogs. We are a blessing to them.
—Guest MY LUCKY BOY

This Worked For Me

At first the shots were no problem for Buddy, but then he started squirming and twisting, making it impossible for me to get the needle in. My friend, a dog-lover, told me it's okay to physically restrain him, so here's what I do: He's sitting on the couch with one side of his body against the back cushion. I put my left knee behind his butt and my right knee in front of him so that he can't lift his legs and push me away. My right elbow is just above his head so that if he tries to lift it, he only has about an inch of wiggle room. He's not hurt, but he can't move. I have both hands free to hold the scruff of his neck and inject the insulin. This is a ten-second event versus the 20 to 40-minute ordeal of coaxing him to sit still. When we're done, he gets several green beans, which he considers his cookies, and a whole bunch of, "Good boy, Buddy!" It has helped us immensely. I hope it helps you.
—Guest Jeanine

my dog oreo

My dog oreo is 13yrs and was diagnosed as diabetic just over a month ago and was put on humulin n, but when she gets her shots she checks outs she won't do anything and just stairs into space . She doesn't hear us when we get home and was losing muscle mass and weight . We took her off it and she is feeling and doing better but her blood sugar is sky high still .
—Guest jessica

Diagnosed today

I have a 9 year old Maltese that today received a diabetes diagnosed. The vet thought she had cushings a couple of years ago. I always said that I would not give a pet insulin shots, but now I am faced with this decision.
—mooleen

My dog Pookey

My dog was diagnosed about 6months ago. He got a tooth abscess and had to have blood work because he was 10 yrs. old. He started at 2u twice a day and is now up to 13units. I am still researching and trying different foods. He has just started crying, jerking, and turning around to nip me. I don't want him hating me over this.
—Guest Pam

Wondering if anyone has this problem...

My dog, Benni, was diagnosed about a year ago. At first, he didn't mind the shots but over the last 6 months or so, he acts like they are painful. He winces and tries to squirm away (very frustrating!) I have tried several different spots, injecting him when he is eating, giving a treat afterwards, nothing changes his reaction. I'm wondering if I have a strong-willed, manipulative dog or if this is something that others have experienced. Incidentally, he is fine with me checking his glucose level, which makes me wonder if he is having a reaction to the insulin. I would love to hear of any similar experiences.
—roadstermom

It's getting harder

We have a cat with diabetics there were many tears for the first few months as we were told to inject then feed. But when my sister in law a retired nurse visited she showed us how easy it could be we dish out his food have the injection ready and when he starts to eat we inject him. He rarely even takes notice it's made such a difference to us so I hope this will help someone else
—Guest Gwen

my chihuahua sadie louise

she is 9 & is a diabetic for 6 months. we give her 2 shots a day (2 units each time). we have to keep her on a perscrition diet from the vet. Her hair has stopped growing! They think from cushing . She used to be so pretty,long coat ,black& little white on face. I always got her hair cut in spring.thank goodness we live here in tn. where it never gets really cold! after shot we give her a treat of pill pocket,rolled in a ball.very important , no meat or fat ever!we will see what the future holds. NO TREATS OR TABLE SCRAPES.
—Guest larry

Diabetes Controlled With Diet Alone!

My cat, Miss Cheyenne from Siam, has diabetes. I'm fortunate that we caught it very early. My vet prescribed Lantis, a long acting insulin that you give 12h apart. My cat's blood glucose levels has never been even close to the "give one unit" level. (It's usually low 100s before a meal which is somewhat high but safe). I control her diabetes through the "Catkins" diet (Atkins diet for cats), which is < 10% of calories from carbohydrates, 60% or greater from protein and the rest from fats. I had a bear of a time finding Catkins approved food that she likes (she's always been a fussy eater). Her fructosimine levels, since being on the Catkins diet are exactly where they're supposed to be--her diabetes is controlled through diet alone. She does not get any kibble or kibble treat. Instead, she gets freeze dried chicken breast or freeze dried cod. My cat is back and she's very CAT. I knew that the diet was working when she decided to climb the curtains and did lazer pointer backflips.
—Guest Miss Cheyenne from Siam

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