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Kiva, passed away on Friday, November 14. She died suddenly and unexpectedly of what the vets think was a pulmonary embolism: a blood clot that blocks an artery in the lung, often causing sudden death. Her vet said that diabetics are at risk for developing embolisms.

She lived with diabetes for 2.5 years before she died. She was diagnosed in May 2001. Her vet (Dr. Guy Newton, Peak to Peak Animal Hospital, Nederland, Colorado) took excellent care of her. This newsgroup and all the pet diabetes websites helped me tremendously in getting educated on the disease and its treatment. I can't thank the list-owners and web-site maintainers enough for all your help! It was so scary at the beginning, but the knowledge I gained on the Internet helped me enormously.

Kiva went in for several BG curves in the vet's office at the beginning, but she her BGs were always jumping around. We thought we had gotten her more or less regulated, but one day, about 4 months after her diagnosis, she went hypoglycemic. She was stumbling around and couldn't walk straight. We took her to the emergency vet. Her BG was still only 30 when we got to the emergency vet, even after tons of Karo syrup and a 45 minute ride to the vet. All the vet did was monitor her BG and give her food. She was wiped out the whole next day, but she recovered well. That night, I did research on the best glucometer, and the next day I went out and bought one. I was determined never to give her a shot of insulin again that would cause her to go hypoglycemic. After that experience, it was too scary to give her a shot and not know what her BG was when I gave it to her.

We picked the Lifescan Onetouch Ultra tester. It required the smallest amount of blood. I would dry the underside of her lip with a paper towel and prick her with a lancet. She took it so well! I would do this twice a day, and adjust her insulin based on her BG reading. She still bounced around a lot with her BG readings (150-400) was the usual range. I would err on the side of keeping her BGs higher rather than lower, after that first scary experience with hypoglycemia. I figured high blood sugar would kill her eventually, but low sugar could kill her immediately.

She also developed cataracts and took thyroid medicine. The cataracts developed quickly, within about a month. The eye vet said her vision was about 80% obstructed, but you couldn't tell except for she had a hard time seeing small things. Once the cataracts formed initially, they stopped growing and never did get any worse. We were going to have the cataracts removed, but then my husband of 19 years was diagnosed with lung cancer and died less than six months later. Boy, I thought dealing with our dog's diabetes was difficult. My husband's illness and death put that into perspective real quick.

I believe the twice-daily home testing with the Lifescan glucometer was the single most important part of Kiva's diabetes management. She was 10.5 and had had diabetes for 2.5 years, but she felt good and was active and happy until just a few hours before she died.

-- Contributed by Laura

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Contributed November 2003
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