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  #1  
Old 06-16-2017, 08:26 AM
ByrontheLab ByrontheLab is offline
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Default Diabetic diagnosis - putting lab to sleep

Hi Everyone

I have come to this forum as I was hoping to get the opinion from some owners of diabetic dogs.

My 13 year old Labrador has just been diagnosed with diabetes - I do not understand the numbers but I was told he's at 30 at the moment. It has been a very rapid change and we were shocked to receive the diagnosis. We have not yet started treatment as our vet has told us that due to Byron's age and level of diabetes it will be hard to treat. His eyes are clouding and his back legs are going. We have therefore had to stop dog walks. He has said we should seriously consider putting him to sleep rather than trying treatment which may not be successful. In particular he is concerned his use of his legs may not return to normal.

Has anyone had a similar experience? Could treatment make his legs better again or is it kinder at this age not to attempt treatment that may not be successful? Our main concern is any suffering and that he cannot go on walks at the moment.

I really do not know anything about diabetic dogs!

Thank you so much in advance for any help!
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  #2  
Old 06-16-2017, 12:28 PM
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CraigM CraigM is offline
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Default Re: Diabetic diagnosis - putting lab to sleep

Welcome to the forum.

I won't talk about end of life decisions because that's such a personal thing.

Diabetes is treatable, but might take months to really get under control. Blindness is common in diabetic dogs, but most learn to navigate being blind. My 16 year old pup, Annie, is totally blind and gets around the house OK. Leg weakness may improve as the diabetes comes under control, but may take several months.

Generally, we parents have to modify our schedule to help regulate the dog. Usually two identical meals, and insulin injections will be required 12 hours apart: every day. There are exceptions to the 12 hour rule, but there would still be a fairly strict schedule to follow.

Home blood testing can be very helpful and most everyone on this forum does home blood test. It's not as hard as it sounds! There are videos on this website, and on YouTube to give you an idea how easy it is.

You must live in Canada, or the U.K.? The 30 your vet mentioned is 30 mmol and is a high number, but not impossible to bring down to a more desired 5-10 mmol range. There is sometimes a little confusion with numbers stated because the U.S. uses a different unit of measure (we use mg/dl, but forum members quickly learn both units of measurement).

Let's see what other say.

Craig
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Annie was an 18 pound Lhasa Apso that crossed the rainbow bridge on 10-5-17. She was nearly 17 years old and diabetic for 9 years.
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Old 06-17-2017, 01:28 PM
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k9diabetes k9diabetes is offline
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Default Re: Diabetic diagnosis - putting lab to sleep

If Byron doesn't have other life-threatening health issues, then I would absolutely treat his diabetes.

His age doesn't make his diabetes more difficult to treat - the treatment is the same regardless - getting him the insulin he needs.

Most of the time, the back leg issues are related to the high blood sugar and will mostly or entirely resolve once his blood sugar is regulated.

I worry that your vet may not be very well-versed in diabetes from your description of what you were told. That's not unusual, unfortunately, and we can help you get Byron's blood sugar under control.

How much does he weigh?

Regardless of how it turns out, it makes sense to me to get Byron started on insulin immediately. That will make him more comfortable and head off any complications from uncontrolled diabetes.

So please start insulin right away.

Natalie
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Old 06-17-2017, 08:54 PM
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amydunn19 amydunn19 is offline
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Default Re: Diabetic diagnosis - putting lab to sleep

It is unfortunate that many vets have such a bleak view. It is hard since I do not know all the factors for your case but I will tell you a little about my dog and our experience.

Maggie was in diabetic ketoacidosis and pancreatitis when she was diagnosed. Their advice was that she would not live three months if she survived at all and I should consider ending her suffering. She was just unresponsive to the vets at the ER. She wouldn't open her eyes, or lift her head. I told them I wanted to see her myself and if she was that far gone, I felt I would know it. The minute I spoke her name, she literally jumped up and started wagging her tail. So, no, we would treat her. We saw a specialist a few months later who said she would not make it much longer. She wasn't eating the food and she was horribly overdosed on insulin so her numbers were crazy. She had a hypoglycemic seizure and I almost lost her. I took charge of her care, learned every possible thing I could, found a new vet, started home testing and found food she would willingly eat. Maggie lived 9 years with diabetes, and in the end, it wasn't even the diabetes that took her. I am not saying every dog can have a miraculous turnaround but you can't write them off just yet. See how he responds to insulin. These guys can go from being very ill to better pretty quick.

The back end weakness is a very common trend with labs and similar breeds with diabetes. Controlling blood sugar can improve this in most dogs. It may take time.

I think you should at least start him on insulin and see how he responds. If he seems to be truly suffering, then you can always make that decision. As Craig said, it is very personal. I think when you have a relationship with a dog, you can sense whether they are ready to fight or ready to go.

I would also seek another vet. Negativity is not a great start and I feel like a second opinion wil give you more perspective.
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Maggie - 15 1/2 y/o JRT diagnosed 9/2007, Angel status on 6/20/16. Her mantra was never give up but her body couldn't keep up with her spirit. Someday, baby.......
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:39 AM
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LizE LizE is offline
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Default Re: Diabetic diagnosis - putting lab to sleep

My dog was 15 when she was diagnosed and also got very sick very fast. My vet started started hinting about putting her down because he was worried that the only way she could recover would be to have her under 24/7 care at a specialty hospital. He advised me that it would be thousands of dollars to treat her and that there would be no guarantee she would be saved.

We opted to treat her on an outpatient basis at my local vet, really only trying to keep her alive until my son could get home from school to see her.

It was rough at first but 18 months later she still maintains her status as Queen of the Block, socializing with the rest of the dogs in the neighborhood on a daily basis. She has lost her vision and hearing and a lot of her mobility but she is remarkably happy.

Snickers's blood glucose levels were comparatively easy to regulate so I don't agree that being an older dog automatically makes it more difficult to treat diabetes. It's only been since her rabies vaccine in March that I've had some problems and even then she's been asymptomatic.

Getting the diagnosis is a shock and there is a lot to learn but this is a great site to get information and support. My dog took a while to recover, even after getting her numbers under control but I am so glad I decided to pursue treatment for her.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed at the beginning of the diagnosis but if you're the kind of person that already sought out this site and asked for advice I think you can get through it.
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Snickers is a 16 year old Skye terrier mix. - Diagnosed 12-1-15. - She weighs 34 lbs, eats Earthborn Great Plains Feast, snacks on Sea Mobility Joint Rescue treats and carrots. Supplements with collagen+vitamin C, and d-mannose . - Takes 9 units Novolin N twice a day.
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Old 06-19-2017, 09:40 AM
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Raysaint Raysaint is offline
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Default Re: Diabetic diagnosis - putting lab to sleep

I live in Canada and yes 30 is a high number, but my dog was in that range for a bit, and now he's close to regulation. I am diabetic myself and feel that whether it's human or dog, it is treatable, at any age. There are some things to learn, and there are sacrifices to be made, but if you are not prepared to let him go, get another vet asap, who wants to show you the way.
Not saying your vet is wrong or doesn't want to help, but if really leans toward putting him down, there's more vets out there.
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Riley, 7 yr. old maltipoo, 25 lbs., diagnosed Feb 2017, taking thyroid meds, had pancreatitis and DKA mid March, eating Wellness Senior formula can food. NPH dosage now at 7.5 units Humulin N. Adding either pumpkin, spinach, blueberries, yams, or green beans to his food. Also omega-3 oil.

Last edited by Raysaint; 06-19-2017 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:06 AM
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Mom of Bruno Mom of Bruno is offline
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Default Re: Diabetic diagnosis - putting lab to sleep

I'm relatively new here but am answering because I too have an older Lab, Bruno,10, who was diagnosed with diabetes two and a half months ago. His was at 600 which is very high too. It was a few weeks before it came down and now we're close to having it under control. Thirteen is old for a Lab, but they often live to 14 or 15 depending on their genes. I noticed a big change in Bruno after only a week or two of treatment; he seemed more alert and excessive thirst and urination stopped. Last week I was so happy to see him play again.
I don't think that treatment of diabetes would do anything but help Byron feel better. At his age, his rear legs may be weak from arthritis which can be treated with meds.
I agree that you would do better with another vet who would be more dedicated to treatment.
I know how hard it is to see an older dog not feeling well and you ask yourself if the quality of his life is so bad that he doesn't want to continue. In the past when faced with that awful decision, I ask myself what I would want if in my dog's place: Do I want to stay with the family who has loved me for years or is my life so bad that nothing else matters.
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  #8  
Old 06-20-2017, 11:00 AM
ByrontheLab ByrontheLab is offline
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Default Re: Diabetic diagnosis - putting lab to sleep

Hi Everyone

Thank you for all of the responses. For some reason my notifications went in my junk mail so I had assumed no one had replied. It's lovely to see that so many people have!

I live in the UK which is why the vet used the number 30. It's been really helpful to hear stories of other dogs who are older and also dogs with high numbers.

As the vet was very on the fence with regards to treatment and mentioned it being the end, it left me really confused.

We are starting insulin with help at first and I am planning on using this site to learn as much as possible.

It has been awful to watch Byron go down hill so quickly and really look like a dog who has nothing left so thank you for all of the honest stories.

Thank you x
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Old 06-20-2017, 11:19 AM
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CraigM CraigM is offline
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Default Re: Diabetic diagnosis - putting lab to sleep

Quote:
Originally Posted by ByrontheLab View Post
Hi Everyone

Thank you for all of the responses. For some reason my notifications went in my junk mail so I had assumed no one had replied. It's lovely to see that so many people have!

I live in the UK which is why the vet used the number 30. It's been really helpful to hear stories of other dogs who are older and also dogs with high numbers.

As the vet was very on the fence with regards to treatment and mentioned it being the end, it left me really confused.

We are starting insulin with help at first and I am planning on using this site to learn as much as possible.

It has been awful to watch Byron go down hill so quickly and really look like a dog who has nothing left so thank you for all of the honest stories.

Thank you x
Glad you came back to the forum.

How much does Byron weigh? Which insulin will he be using? What dosage (I'd push for twice a day injections).

Remember, this will likely take time. He will likely be started on a low dosage, and then be evaluated weekly or two followed by an insulin increase.

Craig
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Annie was an 18 pound Lhasa Apso that crossed the rainbow bridge on 10-5-17. She was nearly 17 years old and diabetic for 9 years.
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  #10  
Old 06-20-2017, 11:28 AM
ByrontheLab ByrontheLab is offline
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Default Re: Diabetic diagnosis - putting lab to sleep

Thank you so much for your reply. It was very informative and gave a realistic view of life with a diabetic dog x
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