Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Did you know dogs could get diabetes? Yes, they can!

     A little over a week ago, I noticed something different about our dog,Taylor (mini schnauzer).  She was starting to have accidents.  Now, she's 5 years old so it has nothing to do with being a puppy or being older.  Plus she was thirsty ALL THE TIME!  At first, I thought it was because we were going through a heat wave in Illinois, but deep down, I knew it was something different.  After about 2 days of this I caught her drinking her own urine.  That's when I called the vet and made an appointment.

     She had lost 4 pounds.  Doesn't sound like a lot, but when you only weighed 18 pounds to begin with, 4 is major.  She got a check up and seemed to be in good health, but they did a blood draw to check her out more.  The blood draw would look at her sugar levels, thyroid issues, urinary infections, and a few other things.  A couple of days later, we got the call saying that Taylor has diabetes.  I had an inkling that that's what the problem was- just based on her water intake.

     Well, today we went in and I got to learn how to give Taylor insulin injections!  As if 2 heel pricks aren't enough, I now get to inject my dog.  I might as well go into nursing now.  At this point, we're just trying to get Taylor's sugar levels normal and figure out how much insulin she needs.  She's on a prescription diet food to help get her levels down.  Once that's under control, then we can switch to a low sugar food from a general store or keep her on the special diabetes food.  She'll also be receiving 4 units of insulin, 2 times a day (12 hours apart).

     When I first brought her to the vet, I was worried that the diagnosis and care would be so expensive that we wouldn't be able to keep Taylor.  We love having her as a pet.  She's great with the kids and doesn't require too much maintenance.  The only thing that we dislike is her constant barking when we have company or the squirrels get too close to the front porch!  But since we're a family of 6 and I stay at home, extra large costs are really hard to deal with.
     Fortunately, her insulin costs around $35 and will be purchased every 2 months. The prescription diet food costs $25 and is enough for a month.  The one thing I'm not sure on is the price of her needles.  Those are also prescription and I'll be picking them up later today.  So the cost of Taylor's diagnosis is pretty minimal since she's a small dog and considered part of our family.

     The kids were extremely relieved that Taylor would be staying with us.  During both vet visits, Lily kept asking "Will Taylor be coming home with us?"  I know it was hard for her to understand what was going on. The last time I went to the vet, about 3 months ago, I took our cat Spooky.  Spooky was 17 years old and had developed some kidney problems.  Because of her age, there wasn't anything the vet could do, so Spooky was put to sleep.  We had prepared Lily for this, but the memory must have really stuck with her. I'm pretty sure that's why Lily was so worried that Taylor wouldn't be coming home!  I'm grateful that our pets have been a blessing to our children's lives and I know that Lily is loving her dog even more.

     On the way home, Lily said that she was thinking about being a doggy doctor!

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