We all have our happy dreams when we bring home our new puppy or dog. Playing fetch, going on hikes, watching them romp happily while they play with other dogs and so on. Rarely do we imagine what it will be like when they're older, except maybe picturing them slowing down, or that dreaded day when they pass.
My two shih tzu mixes, Annabelle and Doobie, aka the Littles, are 15 (16?) and 13 yrs old. And let me tell you it has been a rough few months. Doobie was diagnosed with diabetes in early June. Besides agreeing to spending thousands, yes, thousands!, of dollars for the hospital to get him stable, I also had to understand that this meant monitoring his diet, checking his blood glucose at least twice daily, and giving him insulin shots every 12 hours with very little variance . In other words, life as we knew it now revolved entirely around Doobie.
"Can you do it?" the internist asked? Of course I couldn't put a dollar amount on Doobie's life. So yes, I agree to the money to get him stable.
"Can you commit to being able to give him insulin every 12 hours every day for the rest of his life? Some people can't." Again, I say yes.. I have to try. I cannot say goodbye to my dog because he needs me more now than ever.
So, that has become our new norm. Every morning and every night, I check Doobies glucose before I feed him at 7:00. After he eats, he gets an ounce of goats milk to lap up while I give him his injection. I feed him the leaner meats, make his treats, and worry... worry, worry, worry. Now that we're 5 months into it, I don't worry quite as much, but I still worry.
His mother Annabelle was diagnosed with Cushings about a year ago and we were treating it holistically to start. When your pup has cushings, they drink a lot of water and urinate frequently. It may be outside, it may be inside. Now she wears diapers, but there are still times I don't put them on in time. After her symptoms started getting worse, we decided to put her on Vetoryl, one of the medications used to treat cushings. She has not responded well to the meds. She's lost weight, she's become weak, lethargic, and today she didn't want to eat her breakfast. We did another ACTH blood test the other day and now she is off of the Vetoryl for a couple of weeks. But I don't know if she'll make it that long. More worry, worry, worry. So now I will be giving her 100 ml of fluids subcutaneously every day, cooking her anything that she will eat, and carrying her outside to potty.
Yes folks, life with our Littles is not an easy one right now. But I wouldn't have it any other way. From the day we bring that new dog, or any pet, home, we are making a commitment to them. No matter how hard it can be, they are with us for the rest of their life.
For better or worse
Click on the links below to learn more about
Canine Diabetes - https://thebark.com/content/preventing-and-treating-canine-diabetes
Cushings Disease - http://www.canismajor.com/dog/cushings.html
How to give subcutaneous fluids - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp_C_EkMEy4&feature=share