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Old 05-04-2010, 08:16 AM
Harley'sMom Harley'sMom is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2010
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Unhappy Re: Diabetic Veterinary Diets: Which Do/Have You Used?

Hi Everyone! I would like to tell you about my dog and my best friend..

Name: Harley

Breed: Rottweiler

Age: 7yrs & 3mos.

DX: Diabetic almost 2 mos ago

Weight: Now 81lbs Was 94lbs and perfect!

Insulin: Humilin N 14 U 6a and 6pm

Diet: just started 1week of DCO

I love my boy so much! I am a pediatric RN at Galisono's Children's Hosp in Syracuse NY. We get new onset diabetic kids all the time. We are usually able to get them off the insulin drip and turned around in about 12 to 24 hours. A diabetic dog is soooooo different!

Harley had his 2nd TPLO surgery on 2/25/10. I noticed about 2 wks after his surgery he had increased thirst and had to go out to urinate alot more than normal. I got some urine dip sticks and tested him..the glucose was >1000, so I went and bought a freestyle light glucometer = BG 303. I went to vet immediately and after blood work, got the diagnosis.

Harley already had cateracts, and is not blind yet,,, But this is so hard on his mommy! I cry alot!!!! I check his urine and home test very frequently as well as do my own blood curves and talk with my vet who I love..just about every other day.

Last night I tested him before his pm meal and insulin = 160! Wow! a first!! I gave him the 14 Units and gave him 3 cups of food (normally 2 1/2cups), then I started 2nd guessing myself.... should I have lowered his insulin??? I checked him at 930pm, BG =193 I felt better and went to bed, but this am BG 407!!! and he had his 2nd accident ever in the house! (first was due to UTI from high glucose in urine) Is it Somogyi rebound?? I fed him 2 cups of food and gave 14 units. last check at 0930 BG 242.

I will do anything for him... should I try to lower insulin? should I change his diet? I want to get him regulated, but like I said, this is all so different in the dog world? Are carrots ok as treats? I don't want him to loose any more weight, and his tummy is grumbling ALL the time!

My head is spining! Help!, Support!, Constructive criticism!
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:01 AM
Patty's Avatar
Patty Patty is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Central CO
Posts: 8,326
Default Re: Harley 7-year-old Rottweiler

Hi and Welcome to you!

I'm not too far away, about 80 miles North of you. Your medical background will help Harley a lot, but you are right dogs are soooo different! I had to set aside a lot of what I knew about Type 1 diabetes in humans and relearn in helping my dog.

Congratulations on learning how to home test him so quickly. Next time you are at your vet's office with him you can calibrate your meter to see how far off it is. Most human meters run a bit lower on dogs due to the difference in size and shape of their red blood cells compared to humans. Test Harley as you normally would at home, then have your vet draw blood to run on their lab machine to find the difference.

Humulin N works very well for most dogs. Some here use WalMart's Relion Novolin N as it's almost 1/2 the cost. FYI if you can get insulin from the hospital pharmacy they often have a contracted rate with the company for a 1/4 of the retail cost.

I'm sorry to hear cataracts are setting in so quickly, but hopefully the progression will slow as his blood sugar becomes regulated. There are a couple of canine ophthalmologists in the area if you get to the point of needing one. There's one that travels to Syr and another in Springville (Animal eye center of western NY). I can't vouch for either but just to know they are there.

Have you done a recent curve where you test fasting bg (blood glucose) then every 2 hours after? If so, we could help if you post the results.

I do know a few people that have had success with DCO but the majority I think have found a large spike in blood sugar with it. Your curve will give you the information on how well he's processing food/insulin.

It's hard to tell whether rebound occured or not overnight. It could have just been the extra food and lack of activity as well. You could always reduce the insulin next time to see if that actually gives you a lower number.

As far as treats, pieces of raw carrot, frozen green beans, or cucumber chunks are ideas. Green beans actually raise my dogs bg but cucumbers work great and small baby carrot for us.

Again welcome!
Patty and Ali 13.5yrs 47lbs diagnosed May '08 Ali earned her wings October 27, 2012, 4 months after diagnosis of a meningioma ~ Time is precious ~
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:18 AM
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k9diabetes k9diabetes is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Northern California
Posts: 11,307
Default Re: Harley 7-year-old Rottweiler


Welcome to you and Harley!

What was Harley eating before starting DCO?

The interesting - and frustrating! - thing about food changes is that they literally change everything. You almost have to throw out what you knew before about your dog's blood sugar patterns and start over. One diet might give a nice flat range of blood sugar and another diet can cause large spikes and sharp drops, with a risk of hypoglycemia during those sharp drops.

So combine the change in diet with the fluctuations in quantity over the past two days and you will have a very confusing picture.

The cure for this problem is to settle on a routine - a safe number of units and a quantity of food and stick with that for three to five days and then do a curve to assess what you've got. Certainly you can take spot readings during that three to five days, especially to check for any possible low blood sugar and just to keep an eye on things. But you really need a curve to get a good picture of how his insulin and this particular diet is working for him.

I say a safe number of units because if the insulin's action and the new diet do not match well, you would have very low blood sugar from the dose you were using without a problem on the old food. So it might be wise, given these low numbers combined with the diet change, to reduce his dose a little bit until you can get through about three days of a stable diet and dose and do a curve.

Let's say, for example, that he gets a big post-meal spike from the DCO as many dogs have. That can mean that 6-8 hours later there isn't any food left over - it was all digested and converted to glucose right after breakfast. If 6-8 hours later the insulin still has quite a bit of punch, he might have strong insulin action and zero glucose from his meal for it to work on, leading to low blood sugar at that point.

So I suggest sticking with the 2.5 cups and reducing his insulin 1-2 units and see how that goes.

Again, you're aiming for a regimen you can keep consistent for about three days with no worry of low blood sugar.

Why the diet change? Was the previous diet not working well?

Did you measure what he ate before diagnosis?

Counting calories is the best way to reduce or increase weight once they have enough insulin to make use of the food. If you have a known quantity of food that maintained his weight, you can calculate the calories in it and then increase it by about 25%. Which will require a bit more insulin (not 25% more insulin, just a little more usually).

But don't go there now. First, get him stable on a diet and dose.

I wouldn't give carrots as they are rather high on the glyemic index. Would he eat green beans? They are virtually freebies and a lot of dogs like them (mine hated them... he was opposed to anything green).

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Old 05-04-2010, 03:35 PM
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CarolW CarolW is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2008
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Talking Re: Harley 7-year-old Rottweiler

Dear Harley's Mom,

Looks to me as though you'll get things sorted out okay - I know it's confusing now, but you seem to have a good start, especially, coming here; this is my first choice of any of the forums on diabetic dogs.

I'll be watching and rooting for you and Harley - and a big, fat welcome to both of you.

Tue, 4 May 2010 15:34:57 (PDT)
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:00 PM
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ozzi ozzi is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Ipswich, MA
Posts: 619
Default Re: Harley 7-year-old Rottweiler

I'm wondering if Harley did have rebound. With a BG 160, there's not a lot of wiggle room when that is the starting point before giving insulin and food. So, it's possible that his sugar went too low, and his liver started spitting out glycogen, causing a rebound that gave him a high am sugar. Rather than increasing his food to counter the 160 value, it might be better to back off a couple of units and feed him the usual amount of food.

Initially my vet advised me to keep everything the same with Ozzi when he was diagnosed, so I did. I kept him on Alpo and Science Diet and he free-fed, so I did not change that either. I could NEVER get him regulated! I have found that consistency is the most important thing in dealing with canine diabetes. I think people have it a bit easier since we can use rapid acting insulin like novolog or fast acting regular, which typically aren't used in dogs. Since NPH is intermediate acting, it's really not possible to quickly adjust for high sugars as we do in people. This is the challenge!! And you are so right about throwing out a lot of what you know about human diabetes, but the basics still hold...consistency in feeding being one of them.

I was SOOOOOO happy to read that you home test! You are so ahead of the curve (pun intended!). There is no formula unfortunately, but if Harley were mine, I would probably decrease his insulin by about 2 units and continue feeding him the usual 2 1/2 cups of food twice/day with insulin, and wait about 3-5 days and do a curve. This length of time will allow things to settle in so you're not dealing with overlap of insulin, and will get truer numbers. At that point, you can look at the low where the insulin peaks and adjust his insulin from there. The low BG is the important factor in making adjustments, not the highest numbers.

Regarding treats, some people here do give carrots. I don't because they cause Ozzi's BG to increase a lot. I boil boneless chicken and cut it up in cubes as a treat, and Ozzi LOVES it! I also use green beans (frozen), which are a safe treat. Others here use commercial diabetic treats and can probably give you suggestions. Ozzi seems happy with the chicken and green beans, so I have stuck with that.

Keep us updated!
Ozzi, Dalmatian/Australian Cattle Dog mix, 12/03/1996 - 08/15/2010. Diabetes, blind from cataracts, cauda equina syndrome, and arthritis of the spine and knees. Daddy loves you Ozzi
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