Last updated: Mon, 9 Feb 2009 07:40:35
It is now Wed, 26 Apr 2017 06:53:29
A Rose has Thorns
A Brush has Bristles
Photo by Almali
Look at the tension and stiffness in that hand! Pretty tense! Pretty stiff! The brush looks quite stiff, too, as though it wouldn't bend to fit a dog's contours.
Carlova and her Sisters are checking out this rather stiff brush.
That stiff hand, and the stiff brush, seem to Vekkie and me very representative of how newcomers to diabetic companion animals often feel. A few humans take a diagnosis of diabetes rather cheerfully, because it is usually the least of possible evils to explain how sick the dog is at the moment.
Almost universally, humans do NOT want to HURT THEIR DOGS!
Oh, have faith, ye with the trembling needles!
Yes, you can learn to give painless injections!
Yes, you will get used to giving injections. You will even do it very well!
Yes; if the diagnosis is diabetes, do let out fifty million cheers!
Because of the possible reasons for a dog to be that sick, diabetes is the least of possible difficulties!
Humans who teach about diabetes in dogs (cats too) have two mantras.Both are correct. They won't sting you. (If you go there, you can use your browser's Back button to return here.)
I generally have to drop the third shoe. That third mantra is, to me, crucial. Vekkie and Carlova agree with me.
It might sometimes be easier for me if I didn't have that third foot, which seems to be for the sole purpose of putting it in my mouth. I'd much rather have a third hand; it would be far more useful. Maybe I could steal one from some of my composite photos.
With her very cheering, my vet was instructing me, whether that was her intention or not.
There seems nothing quite as nice as having a great vet. Staff, too. The technicians, the office staff, the office manager - just wonderful people.
Thanks to the vets and staff at Saseenos Veterinary Services, even though Kumbi, too, was very sick when diagnosed, when my vet cheered, so did I.
My vet gave me the right leads! The right information!
i did have to learn, and so did Kumbi. So did his elder companion, Kwali.
We went through a couple of hard times, till Kumbi's pain and illness cleared up, and then later, again, with an infection, when he suffered great weight loss, and took months to recover from that.
Finally, I asked my vet, "Is Kumbi going to die?"
And, smiling, she said, "No."
"Relax" is easier said than done, but we can learn. It's worth making a great effort to relax. Force it! Relax! (Yeah, right!)
Until we relax, our animals can't relax. They read us so well. We cannot fool our companion animals.
Your most urgent and crucial resource is your veterinarian. This person is your teammate in caring for your diabetic dog. You need a vet who is knowledgeable about diabetes in dogs (or cats, if your diabetic is a cat). This vet must also talk to you willingly, and within a reasonable time after you phone for information or to consult about a problem you're having with the diabetes.
Stress is The Great Enemy for any living creature. We need to keep stress levels down to a low level in our companion animals. To do that, we need also to keep our own stress levels down, because our animals read us to perfection, When we are stressed, our animals will be, too.
So, for dogs in particular, the next most crucial resources come from dog-person Turid Rugaas. Her work is featured here on Coherent Dog. She knows dogs as well as anybody on Planet Earth, and better than many. Acquire her works if you can, and if you can't buy them, you might ask your local library to acquire them.
You will also find information about canine calming signals in various places here on Coherent Dog. You can learn to use these signals as a matter of course during your daily life with your dog.
Actually, all species have their own versions of calming signals, and if your diabetic is a cat, you can learn from your cat how to communicate using some form of cat-calming signals. Cats have some of the same ones dogs have.
You could make a list of what not to worry about.
Maybe the first on your list would be, don't worry if at first you feel overwhelmed. Caring for a diabetic animal requires a commitment; mostly, to pay attention, watch, and raise the funds necessary for the extra care. Vet expenses are large at first, but you will be glad to know they diminish before too long, if it's only diabetes that is the problem. Other complications bring their own expenses.
Caring for a diabetic requires some scheduling. Typically, you will be asked to feed something like twice a day, twelve hours apart, and to give insulin (that means, inject it!), likely about 30 minutes after feeding.
It turns out that some vets actually recommend giving insulin before feeding. With animals, to do that is risky. We cannot be sure just how an animal is feeling. Some animals will try to eat even if they feel a bit nauseated, and will then vomit the meal shortly afterwards. Some, if they feel nausated, simply won't eat, no matter how much we stress them further by coaxing, or no matter how we try to tempt them to eat by adding some tidbit on top of the food, or by soaking it in warm water, by warming it up otherwise, or by crumbling burnt toast into it (a favorite trick of Muffin-list regular Denise).
If you have already injected insulin at the time you feed, and your dog either doesn't eat, or can't keep the food down after eating, there's a strong risk of a hypoglycemic event occurring shortly thereafter.
If your vet has said to inject insulin before you feed, I encourage you to get a second opinion on that, and to make sure your second opinion comes from a vet who is well-experienced with diabetes in dogs.
To manage the stresses you will naturally have, you can first congratulate yourself on having made the decision to continue caring for your dog. Having diabetes doesn't change who your dog is. It does put additional demands on your time and other resources. You have, quite apparently, made the decision to commit those resources to your dog. Thank you. Your dog thanks you. Your dog is the dog s/he always was - just needs extra care and attention from you.
Vekkie is working away at more Parts for the Parts List.