PDlogo   Kiri's Story - diabetes, Cushing's & hypothyroidism



Kiri is a spayed female Husky/Shepherd mix, born June 1988. We're not sure of her exact date of birth, because we adopted her from the local Humane Society Shelter.  When she was just over six years old, in August of 1994, we noticed a great increase in her thirst and urination. About the same time, her eyes suddenly appeared cloudy and grey. We took her to our local vet who diagnosed her with diabetes. 

We immediately got a referral to the Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. We've had several other pets treated there through the years and felt confident with their care. In her first year of treatment she was at VHUP almost monthly, as she was also diagnosed with Cushing's disease and hypothyroidism concurrent to her diabetes. These diagnoses were arrived at through much testing, such as LDD, ACTH stimulation, thyroid function, and ultrasound. 

Kiri was initially started on Illetin I insulin for the diabetes, lysodren for the Cushing's, and soloxine for the hypothyroidism.  About two years ago she was changed to Humulin N insulin, not because of resistance to Illentin I, but rather because that product was scheduled to be discontinued. Kiri also was diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes and has been blind since she was first diagnosed with diabetes. 

We keep Kiri on a strict daily routine. We test her urine for glucose and ketones twice daily at 11 AM and 11 PM using Bayer Ketodiastix. If her urine glucose is 500 or higher for six consecutive tests, her insulin is increased by 1/2 unit. If her urine glucose is negative for six consecutive tests, her insulin is decreased by 1/2 unit.  She is presently on 14-1/2 units Humulin N twice daily. She is fed 1 cup of Pro Plan low calorie dry dog food mixed with 1 can of Mighty Dog Senior dog food twice daily.  She weighs 56 pounds and has maintained this weight since her diabetes was regulated. She also gets 0.3 mg soloxine twice daily, and 750 mg lysodren weekly (this is divided in two doses...500 mg Monday AM and 250 mg Thursday AM). She recently began taking Glyco-flex twice daily for age-related arthritis. This product is essentially shark cartilage and brewer's yeast. I also brush her teeth every AM after feeding and medicating her.

She goes to VHUP on average four times yearly for retesting, although during the summer of 1999 she had to have her lysodren dose lowered so she was retested three times on a monthly basis and then was "reloaded" and again an ACTH stimulation test was done. We do notice a change in her insulin needs that concur with changes is the dosage of lysodren and soloxine. However, these changes are made at VHUP so she is safely and closely monitored at the time. Even on a weekly basis, her bg tends to run higher before her lysodren and lower afterwards. Usually the difference is not enough to warrant a change in insulin dosage according to our schedule.

The problems she has encountered through the years have been minimal and we have dealt with all of them successfully. One hypoglycemic incident occurred at the time we lost her two canine pals to old age and illness. I believe the hypoglycemia was stress induced and we treated it successfully with Karo syrup and an extra can of Mighty Dog dog food. She has had two urinary tract infections, both treated with a 21 day regimen of antibiotics followed up with a sterile urine culture and sensitivity test done at VHUP via needle aspiration from her bladder. A bout of diarrhea was treated at VHUP, but it turned out to be unrelated to her endocrinopathies. After a dental cleaning, prophylactic removal of four lower front teeth was done to prevent gum disease. She also has four or five fatty tumors on her ribcage, back, and toe. All have been needle aspirated and biopsied to determine that they ARE fatty tumors and are benign.

Her liver shows slight enlargement on ultrasound. The enlargement is attributed to disease processes and multiple medications. She has also been examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist regarding her cataracts. We opted not to have surgery, as we were told there was about a 50% success rate, and she gets along surprisingly well for being blind.

Kiri is a healthy, stable, well regulated "normal senior" pet. I attribute her good health and longevity to two things. First, the excellent and extensive care she has received at VHUP.  I really can't imagine ANY local vet being equipped to do the testing she has received there. Second, her VERY strict daily routine of  testing, diet and medication. I feel very fortunate to have her so well regulated and with such a high quality of life for so long. She will be 12 years old in June 2000 and in August it will be her sixth anniversary of diagnosis with three quite severe endocrinopathies. 

It's been a pleasure to share Kiri's Story and I hope it might be of some help or encouragement to others. 

Marilyn & Kiri 

In July, 2000 Kiri passed away due to liver failure. You can read her memorial page.

home  education  resources  techniques  site info  contents

Contributed February 2000
Copyright. All rights reserved.
This site is for information purposes only.  Please consult your veterinarian.