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Me and My Niki
Niki is a border collie/blue heeler mix. She was born in Oregon and is 11 years old.
Niki started to have some problems back in 2001. It seemed like something was wrong with her back—it was arched up. We went to the vet and per the vet she was constipated, so they gave her an enema and some antibiotics and fluids.
After that, she started leaking urine. We went to the vet again but she did not test positive for diabetes. Niki was prescribed Detrol for urinary incontience.
Niki took this drug and the urine leaking stopped for a while... after this time, a sad thing happened—my husband passed away.
Then Niki started breathing hard. I could not figure this either.
In 2002 I moved from the Northwest to the Northeast, driving across country with my three dogs. We stayed at mostly Best Western motels, which thankfully were dog friendly. Niki started dripping urine again. The detrol was not working and naturally she spotted on the bed at the motel, so there I was with towels and soap, disinfectant, and a hair dryer.
It didn't matter during my drive across country that every hour and a half we stopped at a rest stop or park and the dogs did their business. You would think her bladder would have been empty.
So I kept driving. Somewhere in Kansas I noticed that her breath smelled like nail polish remover! It didn't make any sense to me because I knew I didn't have any acetone with me.
Finally we reached our destination in Pennsylvania. I took Niki to a new vet and told her about the Detrol and that I needed a prescription for it. She said, "Wait a minute; let's do a blood test."
Thats when Niki was diagnoised with diabetes.
I was so down and upset upon hearing this. The vet had me buy special dog food, gave me a prescription for insulin, Humulin N (NPH), and showed me how to give her an injection of insulin. All I felt like was "Please, no! I am not hearing all of this. This can't be happening." I left the vet's office in a fog.
When we got in the car I was so upset. I was crying and holding Niki. I was mad at the world. Why did my beautiful dog get diabetes?
The vet had told me that diabetes was not a death sentence and could be controlled with the right food and insulin and that it would take a lot on my part and patience to help her get regulated. I was scared to give the injections, scared of the bottle of insulin. I was a wreck! But I knew I had to get myself under control. Niki needed me now.
With practice, I learned how to give her the injections. My vet told me to call her any time, even during the night (which I did).
As time went by, I learned about canine diabetes, the foods they should eat, and insulins.
It takes some time, but you can get the diabetes under control. It's a learning experinence. No questions are silly to ask your veterinarian, whatever they may be.
It's 2008 now and Niki is 11 and is beginning her seventh year as a diabetic. I am so thankful that the second vet caught what was going on with Niki. I would never have known that Niki was in trouble with high blood sugar. The vet showed me a graph with her blood test and where a normal reading would be on the chart, so each week for about 6 weeks we went to the vet for blood tests to check her blood glucose readings, and they got better.
With the help and support of other diabetic dog owners, talking about our experiences, even to laugh at ourselves, having some humor at times, made Niki's and my world a better place.
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