Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and it seems no matter what, there is a dog-shaped place in our hearts for each one of them. My heart is heavy tonight for the loss of a member of the Bayfield Bunch. My sincere condolences to Al, Kelly, and Pheebs on the loss of little Motormouse. She kept us all entertained and I always loved seeing her share a breakfast burrito with Al.
We also got some bad news this week regarding our Poppy dog. She was at the vet about a month ago and we were told she was pre-diabetic. Doc thought we could get it under control by watching her diet and getting some weight off her. We were so pleased when she had lost 7 pounds. We thought we were doing everything right. Unfortunately, it was full blown diabetes and not our careful diet that was causing her to lose weight. Her blood sugar was over 400 and normal is 100, just like it is for a human.
Diabetes in dogs cannot be regulated with a pill; They must have insulin. She had her first two injections today and did not seem to mind but her blood sugar is still high. Here are some of the considerations we are weighing in regards to Poppy’s situation.
It is almost impossible to monitor her glucose levels by testing her blood. It is hard to get blood from a dog except from their footpads or their ears – neither is a good option. So we have the old fashioned strips that test her urine. These are not nearly as accurate as blood tests so we are playing a guessing game to some extent.
We will NEVER be able to leave her alone or even with a housesitter. Insulin therapy carries the inherent risk of low blood glucose and that can be life threatening and needs immediate treatment. Her food will always be the same, at the same time of day, and in the same amount. We will need to adjust her insulin dosage based on her level of exercise and how well she is eating. It will always be an estimate and risky.
The vet said it is pretty much inevitable that she will lose her vision. With dogs it is not retinopathy that causes blindness, but cataracts. He said the cataracts develop from high blood glucose and can totally eradicate their vision within a month. It is not reversible.
At this point we are not ready to give up on Poppy. We know she is elderly. We are not sure how old she really is but we have had her for over twelve years and they said she was 2 or 3 when we got her. We will see how she responds to treatment and how well we can manage her disease. The vet said she also has some fused disks in her back and her lung function is not as good as it could be – just old age, not a disease process. She also has an infected foot from licking it and I am concerned about the healing process there. Diabetics do not heal as well as non-diabetics, and this sore is not yet healing as we had hoped. She is on antibiotics for that.
I was thinking back to the dogs we have had in almost forty years of marriage and it hasn’t been that many. The only one we have had to put down was our first dog, Sheba. She lived to a ripe old age but had cancer and it was the kindest thing to do. Then we had Gidget who was also old, had a seizure and passed away at home. Then there were Rusty and Poppy. We tend to have dogs that live a long time I guess. We already knew that Rusty was not going to last too much longer but I really thought we would have our Poppy dog for several more years yet. She is the best travel dog ever and is always ready to go. We are definitely going to go ahead with our planned trip later this month and she is going with us. Rusty will stay at home where he is more comfortable.
It may be that our decision to treat Poppy is a selfish one. It has been obvious lately that she hasn’t felt well. I just put it down to old age. We will see how the insulin regimen goes and if it is not in Poppy’s best interest, then we will have to rethink our plan. I know she has already had a long (in dog years) life and she has enjoyed that life to the fullest, but I can’t let her go yet. I know all you pet lovers out there understand.
We are again kid-less! Corbin went home last night and we took the grand girls home this morning. Our daughter and SIL met us in Salem (half-way) so that was a blessing. Glad we didn’t have to make the round trip to Portland. We also got a new battery for the Fit and it is starting just fine. Now we just need to get some rest tomorrow then get busy on getting Therapy ready to roll and see if we can get Poppy regulated enough to go on a trip.