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KD KD is 15 years old and is a spayed female Miniature Fox Terrier who lives with us in Queensland Australia. KD was diagnosed with diabetes in August 1998. She is now on 12 units of Caninsulin twice a day. Caninsulin is an insulin formulated specially for dogs and cats and is not available in USA . Her shots are given between 6.30 and 7.00 in the morning and evening with her meals. She is quite well regulated now with only the occasional hiccups but it took time to get to this point.

In August 1998 she displayed the classic diabetic symptoms of drinking lots and peeing lots. She has always been an inside pup and was house trained and very good inside. When she started getting us up two and three times a night to go out we knew something was wrong. My husband, Keith (KD means Keith's Dog - long story) thought it was diabetes as he had recently read an article in Dogs Life magazine. I thought it would be an infection of some sort and took her to the vet.

Our vet initially thought her kidneys were the problem and wanted a urine sample. He was telling me that it is not easy to get a urine sample and to go home and when I could get one to take it in as soon as possible as it needs to be fresh. I asked him if we could try while we were there. KD has always been obliging in that area. You take her out onto grass and say "Good Girl" and she goes. It was no problem putting a urine sample dish underneath her. He is still amazed an often says she is the only dog he knows who pees on command.

He tested her urine with kidney problems in mind, but found that her sugar was high so other tests followed. We did not start insulin that day. He wanted to check her over the next two days to make sure that the high sugar was not an isolated instance. On the second day he started her on Caninsulin. He gave her the first shot and sent me home with syringes and a bottle of insulin. I never had any experience with syringes and never had to give a shot before so I was VERY nervous but determined. She was initially started on one shot a day so I had 24 hours to worry. I very quickly realized that giving the shots was quite easiest of the things I had to learn. My husband and daughter took a little longer to realize this as she had them bluffed, but both help out now.

Diabetes management in Australia is not as advanced as in America. We live in a country area and our vet treats one other diabetic dog who was regulated on one shot per day very quickly. KD did not respond the same way, so it was a learning experience for us all. KD's blood glucose was always high in the mornings when I took her in to the Vet. This was because she was only getting one shot each morning and by shot and breakfast time the next morning, the previous shot had worn off.  The morning's shot would take up to two hours to start working again. 

The first night we started her insulin I had searched the net for any information I could find. This is how I came to be on the PetDiabetes list. After reading many of the posts and finding that most were on two shots I approached the vet about changing. He was initially reluctant but I contacted a specialist in Brisbane (which is 6 hours away) by phone and armed with this information and what I had found on the list, I convinced him. The improvement in KD's condition was immediate and she has remained stable since.

KD is on a home cooked low fat diet. Her liver can not tolerate much fat these days - something we learned the hard way not long after she went blind. She gets 100gm of lean good quality steak twice a day with her shot. She also gets a little dry food, a Senior type. Treats used to be biscuits and dog chocs but this had to change. She now gets low fat pretzels and dog jerky.

We monitor her urine daily with ketodiastix but do not home blood test though I have been thinking about it more lately. KD does not like her mouth touched much and I am not sure a lip stick would work on her but a paw prick may. We have learned to watch her general health signs and never ignore even the smallest problem. She goes straight to the Vet at the first sign of a problem.

A common problem with diabetic dogs is the onset of diabetic cataracts. KD developed these about a month after diagnosis and went blind virtually overnight. When I took her to the vet I was stunned to find that this would be permanent. I cried all the way home from the vet with KD on my lap licking my face probably wondering what on earth was wrong with me.  I consulted another vet who worked with a specialist and confirmed that she was not a candidate for cataract removal. This was due pre-existing conditions with her eyes and also her heart. 

KD KD wearing her hoop adapted very quickly to her blindness, and although the is slower in her movements she gets around the house with no problems. She navigates the doggie door and finds her way from room to room with ease. We live in a two story house and the only thing she won't do is come down the stairs, but it is not a big problem.  We think she may have had a fall at some time when we weren't home.  One way we were able to help KD get around more safely was to get her a vest and hoop.  She wears the vest and the lightweight aluminum hoop forms a protective hoop in front of her head.  When KD bumps into something, the hoop hits first and she doesn't hurt herself. The vest and hoop was made for her by Dave in England who is a member on another list I am on. 

We feel KD has a good quality of life. She enjoys a walk at the park and will even run a bit in what she knows is open space. She enjoys her food and any of ours she can con out of us and still loves a cuddle and a special ruff up from Keith.

Diabetes has made us make a few changes to our lifestyle but we think she is well worth it.

-- Contributed by Peg

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Contributed February 2000
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