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Old 05-22-2010, 09:56 AM
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diggydog diggydog is offline
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Default The Wee Dude Alfie earned his wings 23rd June, 2015

Name - Alfie
Breed - Border Terrier
Birth date or age -17th March 2003, 7 years old
Weight - 6.45kg
Date diagnosed with diabetes - July 2nd 2008
Type of insulin and how often given - Caninsulin 3units twice a day
Diet - Burns High Oats
Method of monitoring - Vet only

Best to start from the very begining I think.
I go Alfie when he was 2 1/2 years old from a rescue centre in the Scottish borders. The wee soul was 3times his ideal weight and although never been starved suffered a really shit first couple of years with his "owners"
Alfie came to me with more problems than I like to think about but his weight was clearly a huge concern and so started the diet! We sorted most of his behaviour out and got his weigh down a bit but he was still a chubby fat wee dog.
Alfie has always had the best tempremant with people and would do anything to please even the worst of humans.
Anyway a couple o years ago he was not feeling very well but there wasn't anything specific, he just seemed a bit off to me. My vet gave him a once over and didn't find anything wrong with him but offered to run some bloods.

Ok so we use different values in Scotland to the USA so I will try to use both - ( I found a wee web page thats going to convert it for me )

His blood sugar came back as 18mmol/l or around 324mg/dl so although he was high it was felt it wasn't so high to be considered diabetic and possibly that it was just a stress reaction to being at the vets. By the end of the week Alfie has stopped eating and started to vomit an odd bright orange colour of what can only be described as foam. He was kept in at the vet and finally diagnosed with Pancreatitis. After treatment for this including a week long stay in vet hospital Alfie returned home a full blown diabetic.

I was only 26 years old at the time and living on my own felt totally unable to cope with this!

He was started on Caninsulin 7units twice a day. I cried every night beore injecting him and felt so totally lost with it all and had no one to talk to about it and to be honest I still feel that way at time.

The first year was by far the hardest as Alfie suffered from every type of infection possible all of which messed up his blood sugar. Here in scotland we are not advised to test blood sugar at home and all that stuff has to be done by the vet and very quickly it becomes a very costly business!

Originally Alfie was fed Hill Prescription W/d but at the begining of the year I swiched him over to Burns High Oats.

The last few months he had been great, no infections for about a year and his blood sugar has been stable within normal limits.
He had a hypo a 2am on friday morning and then another this morning at 5.30am so am once again worried sick about the wee dude. It could just be a change in the weather thats knocked him off, for once its actually really sunny and hot in scotland!!!!!!
I am keeping my fingers crossed thats what the issue is as I have read loads about the Vetsulin problems and hope its not that or anything worse.

I still find it hard on my own with him and my other dog and not many friends understand why I dont go out as much so I can be in to feed Alfie and give him his injection at the same time but then Alfie is my family and I would do anything to keep him as healthy as I can. I joined the forum as I figure ur lot are going to understand exactly what its like and think it will be great to talk to peole about it all.
Well done if u made it through all that

Allison, Alfie & Skye
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Old 05-22-2010, 12:19 PM
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k9diabetes k9diabetes is offline
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Default Re: Alfie's Story so far....

Hi Allison!

Welcome to you and Alfie and Skye.

You have been through a lot with Alfie! I would have argued that his original glucose reading of 18 mmol qualified him absolutely as a diabetic. What I'm hearing now from vets is that only cats have that instantaneous glucose response to stress. If a dog has high blood sugar, he's got diabetes. A dog who has already been diagnosed and is relying on injected insulin could have a vet-stress induced increase in blood sugar because he can't adjust to the stress. Hope that makes sense.

Heat could be causing Alfie to run lower blood sugar. Have you reduced his insulin dose?

Are you interested in learning to test blood sugar at home?

We have a handful of members here from the UK and all are testing at home, including a small Westie, Jessie, out in the far reachs of the countryside: http://www.k9diabetes.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1528

Natalie
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Old 05-22-2010, 06:49 PM
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Default Re: Alfie's Story so far....

Welcome Allison...you and Alfie have found the right place! We are all dealing with exactly the same thing as you, and you will find a lot of support here.

I was mostly struck by your statement "I cried every night before injecting him and felt so totally lost with it all and had no one to talk to about it and to be honest I still feel that way at times." I completely empathize with you. I felt the same way initially, but realized that giving the injections was keeping Ozzi as healthy as possible, and without them, quite frankly, he would die. Now that I have accepted that, injection time has become a special time for us, and honestly, it has brought us closer.

I feel the same way about home testing now. I was scared to death to home test and delayed trying for months. During this time, Ozzi became blind, and in many ways I blame myself for that since his blood sugar was too high for too long. But, I did learn to home test, and I am happier than ever now. If Ozzi has a hypo event as he did last month, I know that I can intervene immediately.

The point I'm trying to make is that in the end, injecting Alfie (or home testing if you learn to do that) hurts much less than not doing so. Our babies depend on us, and sometimes parents have to do difficult things in their kids' best interest, so I hope you re-think things and know that you are doing the right thing for Alfie and never cry about it again!! As far as friends and family not understanding, I get what you are saying, and my answer to them is a resounding "pfffft!" LOL

Keep up the great work you are doing with Alfie!
Kevin
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Old 05-22-2010, 07:56 PM
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CarolW CarolW is offline
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Arrow Re: Alfie's Story so far....

Hi Allison and Alfie - and Skye, too - all part of the family!

Your story REALLY tore at my heartstrings! What you've been through is really horrifying!

I'm not going to tell you not to cry; because sometimes, we just can't help it, but I firmly believe that after you've been here a short time, and been able to take advantage of what the people on this forum offer, you will be feeling infinitely better, and Alfie will be doing better, too.

When you've collected yourself, and are ready to do some more reading, here's an article that should be very helpful to you, assuming you decide you'd like to learn to test Alfie's glucose levels yourself. (It's an incredible assistance to us to be able to do that! - also, it's great for the dog!)

http://k9diabetes.com/monitoring.html

And here's a series of pages with pictures and detailed comments on the testing method using the "lip." (It's not really the LIP we prick for samples; it's the inner lining of the mouth, with resemblances to the cheek lining).

I'm so glad you joined us; I'm trusting your life with Alfie will shortly become a great deal easier than it's been so far!

By the way, I'm in Canada, and we too use the mmol/L measurements. Like you, I convert to mg/dL for the benefit of our many friends here from the U.S.

Here's a very hearty welcome to you and Alfie, and Skye too. I'll be here watching and cheering you on!

Sat, 22 May 2010 19:53:44 (PDT)
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Old 05-23-2010, 04:13 AM
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diggydog diggydog is offline
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Default Re: Alfie's Story so far....

Wow,

Thanks Natalie, Kevin & Carol - I must say I had a wee cry after reading your posts. I cant tell you how amazing it feels to know that I am not alone in all this and that you are all here to offer support!

I must say that when I inject Alfie now I dont tend to cry anymore but this is the hardest thing I have had to deal with. Alfie is the best wee dog tho and I can call him into the kitchen for his injections and he sits nicely and even gives me a wee kiss after it. I swear if he wasn't so good at getting his injections I dont know what I would do.

Its not standard for owners of diabetic pets to home test blood glucose which has always struck me as odd over here. I think it would help and be a HUGE benefit to me & Alf but without the support o my vet I would not even know where to start. Need to set aside some time to read up on here about it all i think. I know it means more work for me but if it helps to aviod more hypos then I am all for it. Nothing worse than seeing Alfie having a fit due to low blood sugar - I dont think I will ever get used to seeing that!!!
I am very lucky that I work as a duty manager in a great hotel that is dog friendly and get to bring Skye & Alfie to work with me so I am with him all day nearly everyday so I could potentially test his blood whenever I needed to. Not even sure how often it needs done?


The vet reduced his insulin yesterday due to his 2 hypos but what I dont understand is how the weather is affecting his blood sugar so dramatically???

Going to try get a photo of him for my profile so u can all see my baby

Allison
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:11 AM
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CarolW CarolW is offline
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Talking Re: Alfie's Story so far....

Good morning, Allison - for you, good afternoon! I'm so pleased you can have Alfie at work with you - Skye, too. Usually if you do a glucose curve on the dog, it wll mean testing approximately every two hours; the closer to the "correct" appointed time, the easier it is to see and assess the trends in blood glucose.

If you want an eyeful, you can wend your way through some of Kumbi's charts (I love charts; they help me understand), as well as a few charts from other dogs; here:

http://www.coherentdog.org/vek/curvejourney.php

Kumbi has NEVER - not once - in 3.5 years as a diabetic - had a hypo! He's come close to hypo level a couple of times: 8 June 2007, primarily. He also dropped too low for comfort on 14 May 2010:

http://www.coherentdog.org/vek/kubgsgolow1.php

and the following day (same chart, though not quite as low as the previous day), and again he was uncomfortably low (the discomfort was MINE, not HIS!) ON 16 May (you can see that chart by using the NEXT button on the page that has the 14-15 May chart).

I have a different vet situation from yours. My vet encourages me to make decisions when that is the best thing to do. I keep my vet very closely posted. And it was my vet who suggested I learn to test Kumbi's glucose levels myself. Simply, because he stressed so very badly at the vet's. He'd bark all day, non-stop, poor fellow!

I've known of people whose vets at first thought their clients shouldn't meddle with testing glucose levels, but once the people DID do the testing, and reported to the vets, the vets sometimes began to appreciate it!

A feeling I get sometimes is that some vets are afraid we'll start being presumptuous, and thinking we know more than they do. (What's ALMOST funny is, sometimes something that gives that appearance actually DOES happen - sometimes, there are things we know that the vets don't.) Closer examination reveals that the things WE know are things we learn from our dogs, and each other. We don't learn anything like enough stuff that could in any way qualify us to be veterinarians!

We DO know our dogs; we live with them. So the trick is, a vet ALSO needs to be a good communicator. Vets vary a lot with that skill.

But we can always choose our paths, and most of those here on the forum choose to learn all we can, and to take an active part in caring for our dogs. What each of us chooses to learn varies, and we also make choices based on what we can manage at any particular time.

When it all becomes too much, we can take a breather! Sometimes that's the best approach. It's what lets us start up again and plunge back into the chilly waters of study!

Last night I had an uncomfortable situation with Kumbi, which I reported in his thread (which begins with the name "Kwali"). I was SO glad I'd been studying here on the forum. I felt panicky, but didn't BEHAVE in a panicky way; though I did come here and yell; haha! We seem to be past the crisis today, though I'll be watching. It was NOT a dangerous one; Kumbi's glucose levels were too HI, not too LO! (The meter says HI or LO when the readings are beyond its ken.)

I'm trusting you'll find this forum as helpful as I do!

Kumbi sends greetings to you, Alfie and Skye. Oh, yeah, I do, too!

Sun, 23 May 2010 08:11:29 (PDT)
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:52 AM
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diggydog diggydog is offline
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Default Re: Alfie's Story so far....

Morning Carol,

It is indeed afternoon here - so much so I have worked a 9hour shift and am finally home!!
I can't believe in 3.5years Kumbi has not had a hypo - thats amazing! Makes me more determind to test Alfie at home so it can be avoided as much as possible. I am lucky I am a light sleeper as when in full hypo Alfie falls over a lot and I heard him the other morning. I dread to think what would have happened if at 2am I didn't hear him untill my alarm at 6am.

My vet from when Alfie was first diagnosed left the practice about 6months ago so we now have a new vet who to be fair to her is really good in some respects. She called me this morning on a sunday on her day off to find out how Alfie was so she does really care but I think as its not normal here to home test its making her slightly uncomfortable. I think when I see her tomorrow I am going to get her to have a look on this forum about home monitoring and get started on it with Alfie as soon as I can.

I gave up my degree at uni to look after Alfie when he was first diagnosed as I needed to be with him and at the vets a LOT so I am totally committed to doing everything I possibly can to help him. I have spent a lot of time today reading through older posts (dont tell my manager lol) trying to understand more and see if I can get more information on the home testing stuff - it really does seem the way to go!

I hope you crisis with Kumbi has passed - they do worry us a lot at times dont they! Alfie, Skye and I are sending good thoughts to u both.

Alfie has not had a hypo so far today so all fingers and toes crossed it stays that way - now if I could test him myself I would know or not - think thats the hardest part with it all is the not knowing.

Time for a walk in the woods with the dogs and then back here to read some more about the different monitors and maybe even buy 1.

Hope all go's well with Kumbi for the rest of the day.
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:39 AM
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Default Re: Alfie's Story so far....

Marg and her dog Lucy have been bringing along their very nice vet in Scotland along on not only home testing but on trying some different insulins:

http://www.k9diabetes.com/forum/showthread.php?t=596

Fortunately, since the supplies can all be bought without a prescription, you can do home testing even if you still have the vet do curves. I figure more information is always better.

Natalie
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Old 05-23-2010, 10:53 AM
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Margaret Boyle Margaret Boyle is offline
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Default Re: Alfie's Story so far....

Allison Alfie and Skye,

A very big welcome to you all, you have came to the right place for help they are a fantastic bunch of people and you will get plenty of support.

I have not been posting but I felt I had to send you a post.
I have read all about Alfie and Lucy is also on Burns High Oats. Has been for well over a year now.
I am not that far away from you I am in Lennoxtown (the Campsie Hills)

Your wee dog will be fine it has taken us a long time with Lucy to get her anywhere regulated and just like Alfie she had loads of infections---especially UTI's.

Now to get on to the subject of the vets, our vets in Scotland are a bit reluctant to let you do things, but I told my vet I wanted him to work with me not against me.
I have got a good vet Allison but I am a bit assertive when it comes to my wee gem Lucy. I knew the only way I was going to get a grip on all this was by doing things myself with the support of my vet.

I blood test Lucy myself and I am glad my vet was happy for me to do it,
he even tells me he trusts me completely with what I do now.

Allison by blood testing yourself you can save 70 for each curve they want to do, at the end of the day there is " no-one" who knows your dog more than you do. By home testing you can know at any given time if their blood sugar is High or Low and this gives you peace of mind.

I, like Kevin can empathise with you at crying at the start, it is very frightening to know they are depending on us totally.
I knew if I did not inject Lucy she would die, and at the end of the day they are wee treasures who are very tolerant.

Alfie will get used to the blood testing and you will be surprised how quickly you get used to it (and Alfie).

My Allison I have not been posting much and I have written a novel

You will be fine Allison there is always someone who can answer your concerns and questions.
Work on your vet about home testing, and I know you will talk them round.

All the very best.

Hugs

Margaret
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Last edited by Margaret Boyle; 05-23-2010 at 11:01 AM. Reason: missed something
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Old 05-23-2010, 12:04 PM
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CarolW CarolW is offline
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Arrow Re: Alfie's Story so far....

Good evening (for you - late morning for me!), Allison! Kumbi says to Alfie, "Woof, I'll give you some of my glucose from last night!)"

Sounds as though your vet is, indeed, very caring. I know vets don't have spare time, but just in case, you might want to point your vet to your thread here!

And Margaret's and Lucy's!

And, of course, always welcome in Kumbi's thread!

Allison - next chance you get, I'd discuss THIS with your vet - any chance Alfie's hypos were related to the vial of Caninsulin? Caninsulin and Vetsulin are the same stuff. There could be some vials that have too much of this or that, or too little of it, too. But also, that was a pretty big dose for Alfie, I think, at least, by FORMER U.S. standards for Vetsulin. It's really nuts, for US - that recommendations for using Vetsulin and those for using Caninsulin should be any different, because they ARE the same insulin.

Here's a somewhat nutty description of the situation, when Intervet changed the recommended starting dose for Vetsulin - but NOT for Caninsulin!

http://www.coherentdog.org/#newsarea

The description is nutty because the SITUATION was nutty!

Don't worry if you don't understand those notes; I don't, either!

Allison, you remarked:

Quote:
She called me this morning on a sunday on her day off to find out how Alfie was so she does really care but I think as its not normal here to home test its making her slightly uncomfortable.
Very well said, Allison. I think it's really hard for vets who aren't used to this, that, or the other thing, to allow us to do it. Or, for some things, to try it. So much depends on what sorts of previous experience the vet might have had.

There ARE things we can teach our vets, oddly enough! Having to do with what we Human Dog-Parents - their clients - might be capable of - and might usefully contribute when working out a program of care for the dog.

For any of us, anything we step out to do that isn't known to be tried and true - or that WE aren't familiar with - can be a bit scary. And there are, presumably, people who would test only to evade a vet's help at all - or, a vet may fear such a thing.

Of course, that's NOT why we who test do it! WE do it for our peace of mind, and to help our vets work out what it best for our dogs. I send my results to my vet by email.

Usually if we discuss the results, it's over the phone, or sometimes, if I take Kumbi in to the clinic, or drop by on my own.

Rarely, they send me email back.

Indeed, you are dedicated, to have given up a university degree to care for Alfie. You are great role model for any loving Human Dog-Parent who comes along. (Too bad you had to give up the degree idea; maybe you can recapture the opportunity later. Actually, you might be surprised at what opportunities can come along later in life, sez I, being well over 70.)

And about starting doses; of course, they are generally checked on by occasional monitoring, generally by doing a full glucose curve, of at least 12 hours. Also, I've seen Natalie remark in several places on the forum, that sometimes terriers require more insulin than some other breeds. In a way, that makes sense to me, because typically, they are easily-triggered Alert-Alarm dogs; that's part of their nature. Alerting-Alarming must, to some extent, raise stress hormone levels - cortisols, for instance - and these would slightly get in the way of insulin, maybe requiring more insulin to "get past" the stress-hormone barrier, so to speak.

Kumbi is doing fine today, or at least, so he appears; his morning numbers are okay - still a bit high. I'll report in his thread. Thanks for asking!

Looking forward to your next reports!

Sun, 23 May 2010 11:45:41 (PDT)
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