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My wonderful diabetic dog Tippy was a neutered male mixed cocker that looked a lot like a schipperke. He was diagnosed at the age of 10 after many misdiagnoses. He just quit eating and kept throwing up. At first, he was treated for a stomach ailment but after two days when he was getting worse, a blood test was taken. By the next night, Tippy was so weak, I thought he was going to die. I called my vet and he had me come back right then. An IV was started while the vet called the lab for the results. When he found out they had had the results since early that morning and hadn't called him, he was furious. Tippy's blood sugar was nine times normal. 

It took 4 days to get Tippy regulated on insulin but he still wouldn't eat until he was home. He was on 10 units of insulin once a day. At the end of his life, he was on 15 units in the morning and 6 units in the evening. He lived with this disease for 6 years.

My vet is special as he had the courage to help me keep Tippy alive. The other vets I have talked to since then would not have recommended that he be treated. They felt it was better to euthanize him. My vet knew Tippy was my baby and I couldn't have done that. Also, Tippy had no other problems except a chronic ear infection. He was in great shape for his age.

All of my friends who are breeders were appalled that I would subject him to a shot everyday but I don't think Tippy minded, at least after the first few days of learning. he never fought, he just stood still.

Getting a urine sample in the morning was easy. I just followed him around until he lifted his leg then I used a saucer to catch some urine. In the snow, however, it was cold.

As for diet, I was very careful for the first years and he would eat well. I would feed him three small meals a day and never had a problem with weight. Toward the end, I had to tempt him to eat. The best food, and vet recommended, was baby food meat and meat sticks. I would smear his regular food with it and he would nibble. The last year, I pretty much gave him whatever he would eat.

The last weekend I had him, he quit eating, even ice cream which he loved, and would just stand in a corner shaking. He was so sick, I just couldn't let it go on. The hardest thing I have ever done was have him euthanized. I don't believe in it unless it is a last resort.

Having him those last years was a blessing. I didn't see it as a burden, it was a joy. I was especially lucky to have a mother who was attached to Tippy and he was attached to her so when I went away on vacation, there was someone to take care of him.

I hope this helps someone. It has been a kind of catharsis to write and remember him. I have a new dog now but she cannot take Tippy's place in my heart. He was my first dog and it took more than a year before I could even think of getting another one.

-- Contributed by Susan Jackson

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Contributed October 2001
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