Over a month ago, we noticed that Cyprus, our 26
pound poodle-terrier, started drinking excessively and having accidents on the
kitchen floor. We debated if this was a behavioral problem and what action to
take. We decided that we would not discipline him but instead caught a urine
sample and brought it to our local vet.
His urine tested positive for high blood sugar and his BG was hovering at around 30. Other than that he was full of energy and eating normally. This particular vet immediately assumed he was a Type I diabetic and arranged to have insulin therapy immediately.
However, something nagged at us and we felt that maybe we should get a second opinion. We kept thinking: "How could a perfectly normal and healthy dog become so sick overnight?". Maybe this was a form of denial but what came of it was that we arranged to go to a "holistic veterinary clinic". We were asked to bring Cyprus' full health record (tests, drugs he had been on, etc.). To our amazement, the vet spent 1-1/2 hours with us discussing Cyprus' condition, what to expect, and the diabolical nature of this disease. During this visit the vet re-did his blood chemistry and urinalysis, and the results showed no ketones, and high glucose. The vet suspected that our little guy may be actually a very rare case of Type II diabetes which could be managed with diet and immune building therapy. Cyprus was prescribed a rich multi- vitamin, Omega3 oils, and liquid Chromium therapy. The intent was to try to reverse the nonsense in his body since we had caught it so soon. We wish we could report that Cyprus was cured overnight, but this did not happen. His BG did decrease from 30 to16, but it is hard to say whether this was an isolated reading or not.
About two weeks into this therapy he began to be fussy with food, and experienced episodes of out-of-control need to urinate. All of us felt a little devastated and lost. We followed up with our vet, and he recognized that it may be wise to confirm his suspicions of Type II diabetes by testing his natural insulin production levels. His reasoning behind this was once we give him an outside dose of insulin it will be hard to determine what really is going on with Cyprus. He was hospitalized for half a day and the results showed that his insulin production was indeed within normal range! We felt strangely elated but still at a loss. Now what?
We continued for about another week with the immune building therapy but with little progress. We started taking regular tests for ketones. All of us agreed that when ketones appeared we would react more urgently. Two weeks ago, we detected ketones and from that day we kept seeing them. The vet at this point felt it was important to determine whether Cyprus would react favourably to a dose of insulin. Cyprus went in again for the day where he was administered 13 units of insulin. Great success - his BG went from 16 to 3.9 that day. We picked Cyprus up from the vet and we did not recognize him. He was almost hyperactive.
In addition, the vet ordered new medication called Ultra CLA (High Quality Conjugated Linoleic Acid). Ongoing research claims that this particular treatment supports glucose metabolism and activates insulin sensitizing receptors. He has been taking this medication for over a week now. There have been no dramatic changes, which was to be expected. The vet is reassured that we could fall back and rely on insulin.
We continue to measure urine ketones and glucose using keto-diastix reagent strips for urinalysis. Ketones have now started to show and his glusose is still high. We are becoming tempted to resort to insulin but worry that this may dry up his natural production of insulin. We suspect that we need to make a decision soon.
-- Contributed by Ian
Contributed July 2000