Louise and Derek
Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my dog is a diabetic?
The first signs most owners will notice is theirdog or cat 
urinating excessively and drinking excessively. If your pet has
these sypmtoms, then there is no harm to take them to you local vet and have a
urine glucose test done. This is a simple test where a fresh sample of
urine is taken and a chemically treated dipping stick is placed in the sample
and the results are read in a few seconds. If the results show there is
glucose in the urine, then a small blood sample is taken (usually drawn from the
foreleg) and tested for glucose. This is also done on the spot and the
results are immediate.

Will my dog get over diabetes?
Once diabetes has developed in a dog, it is usually for life.
There are many dogs who have lived with diabetes  for 8 years plus.
 As with  humans, diabetes can be managed with insulin, diet and exercise. 
It is not a death sentence.

Can young dogs develop diabetes?
Yes.  Although not as common as found in older dogs.

What is hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia is when the blood glucose level falls below the normal range.
 The occurence of signs is not only  dependent on how low the blood glucose 
goes but the how fast the drop was too.

What are the signs of hypoglycemia?
lethargy (increased sleepiness) can be quite subtle too.
weakness, head tilting
"drunkedness"--ie wobbles when walks, seems unbalanced
hunger, restlessness, shivering
ataxia (lack of muscular corrdination)
disorientation, stupor,convulsions/seizures, coma

 How should I treat hypoglycemia?
Depending on what state of hypoglycemia your pet  is in,
the following is a guide on treatment. 
If possible, try to obtain a bg reading to 
determine if it is in fact a hypo episode. 
This may not be possible if convulsing.

a)  No outward physical signs, just a low bg reading. 
Treatment:  Give them something to eat like a dog biscuit or a small
amount of dry food and keep an observervation on them.

b)  Wobbly, disoriented.
Treatment:  Give them Karo syrup (or equivalent sugary solution). 
Follow with some food.  Tell your vet.

c)  Unconcious.
Treatment:  Rub Karo syrup (or equivalent sugary solution) onto their 
gums.  The gums will absorb the solution into the bloodstream rapidly. 
When concious, follow with some food.  Tell your vet.

d)  Seizure.
Treatment:  With a 5ml syringe (no needle attached) draw up some Karo 
syrup (or equivalent sugary solution) and insert and inject into the 
animals rectum.  The rectal lining will absorb the solution rapidly. 
When concious, follow with some food.  Tell your vet.
Or give glucagon injection.

What is Ketoacidosis?
Ketoacidosis is when the body has an insufficient supply of insulin it
cannot metabolize carbohydrates.  Because of this inability to 
metabolize carbohydrates, the muscles become starved for glucose needed 
to provide the energy for work.  In order to get that needed energy, the 
muscle breaks down fat.  Fat, when metabolized produces the by-products 
called Ketones, which are normally excreted in the urine.  If the body
is unable to clear the ketones through the kidneys, they build to toxic 
levels and eventually lead to ketoacidosis.
At the same time the body is producing ketones, it is not using glucose. 
 The kidneys, through the production of urine, must remove both.  The 
higher the ketones and unused glucose levels, the more urine must be
produced and the body will become dehydrated.

What are signs of ketoacidosis?
polyuria (excessive urination)
polydipsia (excessive water consumption)
High blood-sugar levels
High levels of ketones in the urine
Constantly tired
Anorexia, nausea, vomiting
(vomiting can be caused by many illnesses,not just ketoacidosis!)
Abdominal pain
A hard time breathing (short, deep breaths)
Acetone odor(smells like nail polish remover) on breath
A hard time paying attention, or confusion
Dehydration, (sunken eyeball, reduced tissue turgor, dry tongue)
Evidence of precipitation illness (MI, Infection)

Why is a high fibre diet important?
You can answer this one, Judy
Soon Louise, I will put the answer here!

Can I cook for my dog?
Yes, I homecook all of Queenie's food and she has been
a diabetic for over five years.

Do calories matter?
Calories are probably one of the most overlooked part of a diabetic 
dogs' diet.  Ask your vet how many calories your dog should be having 
each day and you will be able to calculate how much food to give him. 
Most pet food companies will provide an analysis of calories, and you 
should be able to work out calories of home cooked foods from some diet books.

Why should I home test my dogs blood?
Home testing is not absolutely necessary.  It is a matter of personal 
preference.  But, it does allow you to control you animals diabetes with 
more accuracy than relying on a visit to the vet every couple of months.
 Some people prefer to use the diasticks to test the urine, which is
fine.  However, some dogs urine glucose may have a negative reading even 
when the actual blood glucose level is high, say 270 (15 mm/l).  If the 
dog was regulated in this case, then home blood glucose testing would be 
wise so that you would know how low the bg's are, since the urine 
glucose will always be negative.

How do I home test my dogs blood?
There is an excellent description on the procedures for home testing 
under blood testing on the website as well as directions
for testing urine and adjusting insulin based on urine tests.

Does exercise have an impact on bg levels?
Yes.  Exercise uses up glucose as a form of energy.  Be aware of this 
fact and always take some karo syrup (or equivalent - some people take
the little packs of McDonalds hotcake syrup with them).  Hypoglycaemia
may occur during, or a short while after exercise.

Why is timing the meals important?
A diabetic requires a constant blood glucose level in the bloodstream.
By feeding at regular intervals the bg's remain at a constant level.
The meals should coincide with an insulin injection so that the sudden 
intake of food is combatted by the insulin taking effect, keeping the
bg's constant.  Different insulins act differently and you should be
aware of how your dog's particular insulin works to best utilise it with 
your feeding regime.

What are the different types of insulin and what are their effects?
Insulins have a variety of properties and components.  One way insulins 
differ is by what the source of the insulin is:  human, beef, pork, or 
beef/pork.  A second way insulins differ is by added ingredients which 
make it fast-acting,
medium-acting or slow-acting.  So, you can have fast-acting human 
insulins and fast-acting beef-pork insulins, slow-acting human insulins 
and slow-acting beef/pork insulins, etc.

Humulin insulins are human insulins, and come in a variety of "speeds" 
from very fast acting to very slow acting.  Beef/pork also comes in a 
variety of "speeds." 

Whether an insulin is longer or shorter-acting will be indicated by the
name of the insulin, which tells you about those added ingredients. 
Insulins names include the following:

PZI (Protamine Zinc)

This list is in order from shortest-acting to longest-acting -- 
I say "approximately" because this will vary from animal to animal.  For 
some, Ultralente is longer acting than PZI, but for others that is
reversed.  But in general, Regular is quite fast-acting.  NPH and Lente 
are intermediate- acting, and Ultralente and PZI are slow-acting.

Why is it important to have water available all the time?
(Give your pet all the water he can drink...keep his waterbowl
full at all times as his body is trying to get rid of the excess glucose
by passing urine so needs all the water they can drink.
The excessive drinking and urination will stop when
your pets diabetes becomes regulated.

What other problems can be associated with diabetes?
Diabetes can occur as the result of an illness or treatment.  Many 
diabetic dogs develop or have a predisposition of cushing syndrome, 
hypothyroidism, liver problems, but this can also be due to the age of
the dog, since it is mostly older dogs that develop diabetes.  Most 
diabetic dogs do develop cataracts.


Take me Home to Pet Diabetes!
Give a Diabetic Pet a Shot at Life!