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I know there are tons of pet owners parents around here and I need some help!

My male 8-year-old pug (Gizmo Laughing) was just diagnosed as diabetic, needing insulin injections every 12 hours. It's a long story, but our vet basically shared a whole lot of worthless information with me and I was overwhelmed and didn't get many questions in. She didn't even show me how to give him the injections! Luckily, my husband has given injections to a cat in the past and we were able to make it through the weekend (he's doing much better than he was!).

Does anyone else have a diabetic dog that could share some tips with me? I'm so worried about my poor buddy!

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I had a Pomeranian many a years ago that was diagnosed diabetic and we had to give her insulin shots twice a day so I have been exactly where you have been. It can be a lot of work but I think any pet owner would agree that it is most definitely worth it. My vet at the time explained to me how to give her shots by if you were to pick her up by the scruff on the upper back (like you would pick up a puppy), it will create a fold in the middle. Grab the skin like you would pick him up and then inject the needle in that fold of skin. It never seemed to bother my dog.

One thing you HAVE to keep watch of is Gizmo's state of well being. If he's not eating enough, his insulin levels will get to high and he could go into shock. Watch for him being lethargic, weak-kneeed and just not himself. If that happens, give him something with a high sugar content like honey so that his blood sugar levels get back to normal. If that happens, you may need to back off a few CCs of his insulin shot amount but definitely talk to your vet about it.

We had to give Pooky shots for about a year and a half every day before she passed and I was thankful we got that extra time with her. Good luck!

My shepherd mix Diabolique was diagnosed a diabetic when she was 7 yrs, sadly she is no longer with us.

Ok I had to give her an injection of porcine insulin after she ate in the morning and evening, and her diet was quite restricted. Her condition was extremely progressive and I had to take her in for a blood curve quite often to adjust her dosage that kept going up. The type of insulin she was on was new at the time and occasionally hard to find so I would buy it two at a time and when one was empty would immediately replace it. Always refrigerate the insulin and keep an ample supply of syringes on hand.

It was expensive, and sometimes an ordeal, but treating her meant having her in my life as a happy dog for three more years...she eventually suffered organ failure and had to be put down.

I'm sorry your vet wasn't more helpful, our dog was so much better after starting the insulin, and our vet was the best. Feel free to write down your questions and call her back. If she is unhelpful, replace her with a vet that will give your new situation the care it deserves.

ETA: Giving the shots is harder on us humans than on them, just a matter of pulling up some neck skin gently and giving the will get to be a master at it.

Thank you, thank you!

The vet did warn us about keeping an eye on Gizmo during the first two weeks to make sure that his insulin didn't get too high. It's actually made a noticable difference and we can tell when the last dose of insulin is wearing off.

I definitely stuck him in a bad spot once this weekend. Other than that, he hasn't been bothered by the injections at all. I do feel weird, however, throwing the used syringes in the trash even if they're capped. We created a little biohazard box of our own out of tupperware.

I think the type of insulin that Gizmo is on is Humulin or something like that. Human-derived insulin. We do have to take him back in two weeks for a glucose curve. They also said there's a slight chance that it could be Cushing's Disease and not diabetes.

I know that successful management of diabetes means staying a step ahead of it. Do the injections really have to be exactly 12 hours apart? I'm just worried about being home at 7pm EVERY night. Usually someone in the house is home then but there are the odd occurances that keep us out later (we have young kids that go to bed early).

Also, the vet didn't say anything about diet change except that we could try out prescription antioxidant food. I read that adding canned pumpkin to their usual kibble should be sufficient. We tried that this morning and he devoured it.

One thing I would ask, although I've never had a diabetic dog, would be are you feeding good quality kibble?  CCer jewelsmcblah had a great article about dog food that she shared back in the day.

During a time of stress, such as your visit to the vet, people usually only hear 50% of what they are told and retain maybe 10%.    Your vet obvioulsy was trying to squeeze the maximum amount of teaching into the small amount of time she had you in from of her.

I would suggest that you keep a journal of your dog's days and write down all the quesitons you have.  Then request a teaching session with one of the Vet Techs.  OR ask for a consult with a vet who specializes in diabetes.  I'm sure they exist.

As for the timing of the insulin injections - your dog will do better on a regular schedule of meals and insulin.  When giving medications you have a window of approx 15 - 30 minutes before and after the hour a medication is due that it can be given and still be considered given "on time".  Hope that helps.

My cat was diabetic.  I only had to give him an insulin shot once a day & did it faithfully at 6 A.M.  I feared I wouldn't be able to find or "catch" him, but he would hear my alarm & come up & jump on the bed.  How weird is that?  Maybe he knew it made him feel better.  He lived for 7 years after he was diagnosed.  I, too, had to take him in every so often to check the "curves--but I had a wonderful vet who I believe was responsible for keeping him alive.  I was told when his sugar seemed to drop (he would become lethargic & unable to walk) to give him a clear syrup (I'm sorry I can't remember if it was like a maple syrup or what--this was 9 years ago).  I'd give him a teaspoon of that, and many times it would be all he needed to get "back on track."  I would put the used syringes in a coffee can and take them to the vet when I would go in for a visit.  He always disposed of them.  Good luck!!!

6 Replies