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
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
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
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
weakness, head tilting
"drunkedness"--ie wobbles when walks, seems unbalanced
hunger, restlessness, shivering
ataxia (lack of muscular corrdination)
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
Treatment: Give them something to eat like
a dog biscuit or a small
amount of dry food and keep an observervation
b) Wobbly, disoriented.
Treatment: Give them Karo syrup (or equivalent
Follow with some food. Tell your vet.
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
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
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
Anorexia, nausea, vomiting
(vomiting can be caused by many illnesses,not
A hard time breathing (short, deep breaths)
Acetone odor(smells like nail polish remover)
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
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
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
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
Insulins names include the following:
PZI (Protamine Zinc)
This list is in order from shortest-acting to
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
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
The excessive drinking and urination will stop
your pets diabetes becomes regulated.
What other problems can be associated with
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
diabetic dogs do develop cataracts.