What if I Do Nothing?
September 8, 2015 (published)
Dennis Ngo

Doctor, You Aren’t Listening to Me... What if I Do Nothing?
November 11, 2013 (published)


A month ago my sister wanted to know if her Jack Russell Terrier could be sick because he was drinking and peeing all the time. I told her he needed to go to the vet; he could have a simple urinary tract infection or he could have more going on. Inside my head, I was screaming “diabetes” as polyuria/polydipsia (drinks a lot and pees a lot), or PU/PD as medical types call it, is a hallmark for diabetes mellitus in dogs, cats, and people. In dogs, diabetes mellitus rarely responds to dietary changes - unlike some people and some cats - and almost always requires twice daily insulin injections to control the disease.

Having seen clients react to a diagnosis of diabetes, I wondered how my sister and her husband would react if they had to take care of this chronic condition that requires significant planning and scheduling. It’s not for every owner: while it’s not expensive, it requires insulin injections every 12 hours, 7 days a week for the rest of the pet’s life, with no time off for good behavior. It requires considerable commitment, which can be particularly difficult for people like my sister and her husband who work outside the home and can’t drop everything to give a pet medication at the appropriate times. I wondered what they would choose to do if their dog did have diabetes rather than a urinary tract infection.

Receiving a diagnosis of a chronic disease can be difficult to wrap your mind around. During my years in practice, I noticed that there are some pretty universal questions most clients ask.

  1. “What are my options and what will happen if I do nothing?” When I hear this, I translate this into:
    a. How will the disease progress? Will this be a disease that progresses quickly or is it going to be something that is a nagging problem for years to come?
    b. How long does my animal have to live if I don’t treat?
  2. This question is usually quickly followed by “Is my animal in pain?” or “Will my animal be in pain?”
  3. The third question on their minds is usually “How expensive is it going to be to treat?” This is a valid question since most of us are not independently wealthy, and money has to be considered.
  4. “What will my time commitment be?” Some chronic conditions only require that medication be given once a day. Some, like inflammatory bowel disease require a lot of testing and veterinary appointments in the beginning but smooth out for the most part once the condition is regulated. However, feeding a dog or cat with megaesophagus requires three to four 20-minute feedings a day, followed by 30 minutes of sitting upright. Dogs paralyzed by a disk extrusion need a cart to get around and must have their bladders manually expressed two or three times a day. For some people, that kind of time, effort, and scheduling is not a problem; for others it is.
  5. "How am I going to give an injection/pill to Fluffy? He would hate that and then hate me for doing it." We have to remember, not every pet is amenable to being treated, even if it is supposed to be for their own good.
  6. And last, but not least, “How will I know it is time to consider euthanasia?” or “Will my pet die peacefully in his sleep?”

All of these questions are valid and should be asked by every client facing a pet’s chronic illness in order to help make an informed decision. The answers to these questions, along with the decision to treat or not treat, has led to many disagreements between owners and their veterinarians as well as disagreements amongst owners and their families. This decision is personal and never an easy one to make.

Depending on our life stage, we can be in different places financially and emotionally. When I am talking to a client across the examination table, I have to remember that I am not just talking to this person, but to everyone else in this person's life: kids, spouses, parents, bosses who expect them to be at work on time, as well as other household pets. In most cases, they have more caretaking duties than just the animal on the table in front of us. I have to remember that I am only seeing one small part of their daily life. I don’t know if this owner is taking care of small kids, a spouse with cancer, elderly parents or working two jobs to keep the bills paid. Personal history can be a factor too. Did this client take on a chronic disease in a previous pet only to find that the stress eventually caused them to resent that pet? After all, animals are supposed to bring joy to our lives, not cause stress and resentment. No one wants to start resenting their once-beloved pet! And in the case of the pet who fights treatment at every turn, no one wants their pet to start shying away from them!

If you are faced with a decision about treating a chronic disease, take the time to ask your veterinarian these questions and really think about the answers. Except in an emergency, you usually have time to consider what responsibilities you’re willing to take on and what you’re not. Talk about it with your family and your veterinarian; make the decision based on your time, energy, money, and wherewithal to live with an animal with a chronic disease. Know what you are capable of emotionally, financially, and with the time you have available. Do not discount the emotional difficulty that can occur unexpectedly; many people believe they can handle it, but later feel like they’re drowning when they find their lives being dictated by the needs of this pet or see themselves running up bills that will take away money from their children’s college funds.

Believe me, it is okay not to treat your pet as long as you don’t allow him to suffer. My sister and brother-in-law decided not to treat Buzz, who was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus. To quote my brother-in-law, “We will love him and enjoy him while we have him.” And that is okay! Don’t let anyone – including your veterinarian - tell you otherwise. Just because veterinary medicine can provide a treatment does not mean it’s the right choice for you and this pet.

182 Comments

Debbie Furnish
July 31, 2017

I had a Basenji that was diagnosis the diabetics in 2009. We treated him for several year until recently with wander off diabetes took his eye site. I found that Walmart/SAM you can purchase insulin 24.00 and syringe 12.50. they are the cheapest. Don't let the cost of this disease keep you from loving your pet. Yes, it is a commitment to give your pet the care they needed but it does not need to be a deathwatches. i loved my dog and would do it all over again for 5 more minutes to be with him. He was 14 years old.


Chandra Jackson
July 17, 2017

July 15,2017 we took I dog to the vet because she was loosing weight so fast in a week.so they tested her and call us and told us she has diabetes and she was suffering..she had loss five pounds in a week cause we just had took her to get her shots two weeks before .but following that we notice a lot of weight loss she wouldn't eat ,bark she just drunk a lot of water urinate a lot.she stop eating so he call us and told us she was a biabetic real bad and that she was suffering and that we could of took her to the animal hospital for fluids and to get her glucose levels up but she would of had to stay in the hospital for a few days but there was no guarantee that she would of survive those two days cause she was so I'll and it would of cost us 2,000 to stay in the hospital for a few days but he told us the best thing for her was to have her put to sleep so we had her put to sleep cause she was suffering so bad but it hurt so much and all we been doing is crying but we know she is at peace now but wonder was we wrong for having her put to sleep but we didn't want her to keep suffering...she was only 9yrs.old.


Linda P
July 15, 2017

It is such a relief to read this article and all the comments!  I am very much an animal lover, currently have 5 rescue cats and a dog.  To me they are family.  In the past year and a half, 3 of my animals started having major medical issues.  I ended up having to put one of the cats to sleep in February.  Nearly broke my heart.  My dog was diagnosed with pancreatitis, cushing's, then diabetes this past year, one right after the other.  It has been a roller coaster ride of living at the vet, incredible bills, sleeping on the couch as he had to go out frequently during the night.  He is finally stabilized and doing well.  I now have another cat with heart issues, that they think now has diabetes.  This is after 2 pet e.r. visits, and 2 regular recent vet visits.  I literally want to cry.  It has so helped to read these comments.  Thank you!  TIP for Diabetic Dog: my dog hated the shots until I started giving him a cold green bean (low fat treats dogs seem to love) after each shot.  Now he comes in and waits for his shot, knowing he will get a treat!


Susann Basta
July 5, 2017

Found out today my cat has at very least diabetes. My son keeps him, as I stay with my elderly mother , who does not like cats in her house. Cant trust my son. I work some 12 hour shifts, I cant keep him here. I am 66 years old on fixed income. Putting him down is unthinkable. I am at a loss , really.What do I say to family and friends who say - put Stu down - you cannot take care of him.


Anne D
June 26, 2017

Walmart has the cheapest price for insulin.  Our dog needs 9 mm twice a day, the cost of the insulin and syringes are $30 a month. It would be kinder to put a pet down rather than to let him suffer a long death by diabetes.  Even with seriously ill and suffering pets, many vet will not do this.  We had to search for a vet to put down our ill cat.  However, we use that vet now for our two dogs and cat.  The relationship between a vet and a pet owner should be a partnership.


Sue M
June 21, 2017

I stumbled upon this article as I was searching for some sort of advice on what to do about my 11 year old  chocolate lab. As tears are streaming down my face I am faced with the difficult decision on what to do. He was diagnosed with diabetes back in Oct 2016. After many visits to the vet to get his blood sugar regulated and adjusted plus 2 er visits, I have spent well over 8000.00 dollars in the past 8 months. He has arthritis  especially bad on his rear legs , has had knee surgery 5 years ago which also contributed to him not being able to excercise as well as he has in the past. As of right now he can barley make it 3 houses down the road a  very slow pace without being in significant pain. He is on  insulin 18 units 2 times per day and 300 MG of gabapentin 2times a day. This weekend he could not walk well at all so I brought him back to DR and his motor skills are very slow which indicated to her that he is starting to have neurological issues maybe because of the arthritis or something else. I chose not to have MRI done as I will not treat him for cancer due to his age and condition. Vet suggested steroids to help with inflammation so she gave him an initial shot and then pills 2 times per day. It may affect his diabetes and will also increase his thirst and appetite. It has been two days but while it seemed like a miracle in terms of his ability to walks it has come as a cost, due to high volume of water intake he was up the entire night panting and having to go outside as well as had an accident in the house. I just dont know what to do. I have tried as much as I feel is right to do and I love him to death but it makes me so sad to see him in this condition. It is literally breaking my heart but I know that his quality of life is going drastically downhill and the medicine seems to help but then the side effects may not be worth it. Struggling with the decision!


Jessica Joseph
June 16, 2017

Yesterday, My 9 year old Siberian Husky was diagnosed with Diabetes. In addition to this most of her other blood work was off the charts! The vet is confident that she has at least Cushings and a thyroid problem on top of the diabetes but we need to regulate the diabetes before adding additional treatment. My husband and I are in the middle of trying to start a family and I am not sure that we are going to be capable of dealing with her condition. In addition to all her problems she has arthritis in her hips and last summer her right hip seized. Gracie was my Husbands dog before we were married, so the attachment to her is great for him. I have seen the downward slope this diagnosis will take as my childhood pet had diabetes that turned into him becoming blind, with a liver and heart condition. We have decided not to treat our dog, not just for financial reasons, but I do not want her to suffer! I am still not sure that this is the right decision. For now, we are going to try and keep her comfortable. Its hard to ask your self, are you keeping the dog alive for her or for you. In this case, I think it would only be for us.


Southport
June 15, 2017

I have a mixed breed dog, Cookie, that we rescued as a puppy.  She and her sister are wonderful pets.  Cookie is especially sweet and loving.  She was diagnosed with diabetes almost 3 years ago.  I think for the most part we.have handled the treatment well but our vet just did a blood test on her and wants me to go up on her shot amounts to 15 and 14 from 14/13. For the first time since the diagnosis I am truly wondering if continued treatment is the right thing to do.  The cost of her insulin is around $150 per vial and the syringes are $20 per box.  We are a middle class family with decent incomes but we have three kids to put through college eventually and all kinds of regular household expenses.  Also, I have not been caring for the other dog with updated shots, vet wellness visits, etc. because of the cost to treat Cookie.  This is very tough.  In addition to the fact that I care for her I also don't want my kids to think I give up on things when times are tough.   I just don't know what to do.


Laura
June 14, 2017

My 8 year old female cat was recently diagnosed with diabetes. I asked the vet to give me some time to think about what to do next. She is recommending insulin treatments and prescription cat food. I love my cat dearly she truly is a member of my little family. However as a single parent scraping by I am just not certain I can afford the expensive treatment plan. (About 250 a month). I'm not a "quitter" by nature but realistically I just can't afford it. I've had to remove carpet in various spots of my house because she goes wherever she wants now. I'm afraid the vet will refuse to put her down because of her age. I know I will feel guilty in the end but there really is no win win in this situation.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
June 7, 2017

Dana, My heart goes out to you.  It is hard to fight your dog to get medication in every day, twice a day, 7 days a week, with no time off for good behavior! There are times when our animals will not let us do everything we can to treat their illness and that is out of our control. I recently had to put one of my cats to sleep, he was very ill with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease).  I could not treat him. I had never been able to give that cat any medication, liquid or pills, and I am a professional at giving meds! It is how I made my living! I understand the feelings of guilt, I still get them about my cat.  Then, I sit back and remember that he would not let me medicate him, that it was not my lack of desire treat him that led us down that path.  And I know that letting him go, since he was so ill, was the right thing for both of us. I wish you luck.  Please take care of you as well as your dog!


Dana
June 6, 2017

My 16 year old Chihuahua/Jack Russel mix has chronic heart disease. She can not take tablets or have them shoved down her throat due to collapsing trachea. The vet has her heart meds compounded into a liquid. The cost is about $250.mo. I'm senior on SS. She has gotten to where she won't eat when I put the liquid in her food. She tries to bite me if I try to squirt it in her mouth. I struggle with this twice a day for about 45 minutes each time trying in vain to get her to eat. Other than this heart disease she is perky and healthy. I have come to the point where I am considering stopping treatment. I just don't want to fight this anymore but the guilt is overwhelming.


Denise
May 24, 2017

I just lost my 13 yr old min pin 2 days ago. She was blind and had lost so much weight from being diabetic. She hated the insulin shots. I tried everything from giving a treat to physically holding her down. Each time it got worse and worse. After 7 months of shots, I knew it was time to stop. She was tired, I was tired. So she was with me for a week. I made her as comfortable as I could. The last night I stayed up and watched her sleep. Checking her often to see if she was still there. On Sunday around noon, she was panting a little. Then without a sound she was gone. I will miss her but I'm happy she is in a better place now, and no more shots.


Linda
May 18, 2017

My dad's 13+ year old large black lab also has diabetes and is going blind. For those who say the insulin is inexpensive, that is relative to the dog's size. It's true, the insulin is $25 per bottle, but this dog is large and is taking 45 units a day. The insulin only lasts about 2-3 weeks. You also need to purchase syringes at $10 per 100 and, the vet wants to do blood tests every couple of months to make sure he is not getting too much insulin. All of this adds up quickly. The vet has to come to the house because the dog is too difficult to travel with. In the four months since the dog was diagnosed we've spent well over $600.  My dad is 86 years old and cannot give the dog the injections. I have to do it. So twice a day I go to my dad's house to inject his dog. The dog, which is very easy going, does not like it and tries to snap at me. I work two jobs and have a family too. This is a huge burden, I have to arrange my schedule around the injections. I feel this is only drawing out the inevitable. Think long and hard before you commit to insulin injections, it is a huge commitment.


Cherie
May 13, 2017

I'm scheduled to take a 7- day trip n about 2 weeks and I'm really stressing out about leaving my blind, diabetic dog.  He has had diabetes for about 2 yrs and receives 2 shots a day.  Because of his blindness I want him to stay in his home and I have arranged for someone to visit the house twice a day to feed, play and inject him.  I'm worried he will not eat for her so she will be able to give him his shot.  He is very attached to me.  I know he will eat eventually but will be happy to see her and may not eat until she leaves.  What happens if he doesn't get his injection? Any suggestions?


Rhonda
May 9, 2017

I just found out 15 days ago that buddy had diabetes. After two weeks of insulin twice a day except two times that he tried to bite me he went back for follow up and his blood sugar was only higher. That same day he bit me giving him insulin. First time in 13 years he had ever done that. Later that evening .. time for insulin shots.. I got full frontal 'teethery'. I was looking at a entirely different animal then the one I knew for 13 years. Snarling at me with glaring eyes like he truly wanted to tear me apart... All because he didn't like getting a shot. That day was yesterday. The day I made the decision. I don't know how long we have... Days? maybe weeks?. Please don't be judgemental. I could easily say that crazy is rather the person that dresses fheirt pet up in humans clothes or carries them around in a purse and puts bonnets and booties in them... But to each their own. My dog will be euthanized and he lived 13 years so far. Every day was a blessing until he turned into chip over a tiny shot. Good luck everyone with whatever decision you make.. remember its YOUR decision. Your pet needs you to make it because they can't. Not every person is the same and not every pet is the same so don't cookie cut everyone into your mold. Not fair.


Pet Person
May 5, 2017

I love my animals and treat them well.  They have good homes, but they are not on the same level as my family members.  BUT I too feel the same anxiety, stress and guilt over appropriate treatment for my furry family members.  I have no great answer for all of you dealing with this (I am too), but I can tell you that one of my greatest regrets in my life is that I kept my sweet and loyal German Shepherd alive too long.  I couldn't see (didn't want to see) how old and feeble she had become.  When I look at pictures of her I'm alarmed at how old and miserable she looked.  I pray I will be smarter with my sweet heeler, but I'm afraid my attachment to her may dull my senses.  Now that I've written this, I think it's time to let her go.


Cath
April 29, 2017

Thank you for this article and for all the stories - it is a great comfort to read and share in these experiences. If you will allow me the catharsis of sharing my story, it would be a relief and may help me to regain some clarity... I live in Mexico and have 4 rescued dogs. 3 of them are approaching / already into their golden years. The baby of the pack, Noni, is just 4 years old. She found her way to my land as a pup (her Mama was a nervous wreck who wouldn't let me get close to her on the street other than to leave food at a distance while she barked after me even in her last days, and her Papa – now one of my other 3 - was the head of the street pack who I adopted months before her after he was hit by a car and left to die with horribly infected leg wounds as well as TVT picked up from Noni’s mother). Noni has always had nervous / anxiety issues, although she's always been a sweet and playful (if princessy) girl. We avoided the vet's suggestion of long term sedative-type medication when she used to eat her own arm raw and spent months wearing a satellite dish collar. Well around 5 months ago she started drinking lots of water and peeing all over the floor at night. We treated her for a urinary infection (which she had had in the past) to no avail and eventually tests showed she had diabetes, but our vet felt (and still seems to feel) that we found out in time for her to live a “normal” life on insulin. The last 13 weeks have been so intense as she has gone between too much and too little insulin, with her extreme reactions on both ends of the scale: severe separation anxiety / panting / trembling / crying / peeing / uncontrollable fear / not eating when the insulin is too high, and falling around / walking into things (she actually ran headlong into a tree once) / unable to stand unsupported, when it is too low. At this point it seems 12/13 units is too low a dose and 14 is too high. She grudgingly allows me to inject her every 12 hours, but I have to literally drag her out of her little cave under the kitchen units to do so, and only in a small area of her scruff because she shrieks with sensitivity anywhere else on her torso. She usually has to be persuaded to eat afterwards. I have tried taking her to a local trainer, with whom we have tried all sorts of things, but she seems to get less responsive every time (she is not interested in any of the positive rewards we try to offer), and is less and less interested in playing (perhaps because I tried to use it as reward for letting me inject her), which seemed to be her only remaining enjoyment. At this point I am exhausted. The other dogs just seem to ignore / accept her, but every day her anxiety seems to be getting worse. She is waking me up during the night clawing at the door (last night she even clawed the plaster off the wall) because she doesn’t want me to leave her, but when I’m with her she doesn’t calm down either. She now has to be dragged inside for me to be able to leave the house, and last night all I could do was to cage her (I sat up with her, covered her in lavender oil, tried rescue remedy, tried holding and soothing her, tried being strict and firm with her – nothing would snap her out of it). I feel like she feels that her body is not working properly and the inability to control herself freaks her out even more on a downward anxiety spiral. She is very sensitive. I am at the end of my tether and feeling like the quality of life is now seriously in question (both hers and mine), and the other dogs (while they generally ignore and accept her) are beginning to resent the extra attention / meal she grudgingly receives. Even if anyone else would be willing to inject her (which so far, no one has actually come to try, although a few friends – I have no family here-  have said they will be willing to have a go), I couldn’t ask anyone to deal with her anxiety attacks that I don’t even know how to deal with myself. I am starting to consider the prospect of euthanasia (even the word is hard to type). I am asking myself if she would survive in the wild without insulin, and suspecting she would go the same way her mother did (in hindsight perhaps she had diabetes too), and whether there is any chance of improvement in behaviour / humour, or if she’s too stubbornly anxious. I can’t continue down this road for much longer without seeing at least some sign of her appreciating life. But she is otherwise so young and healthy, I don’t know if I could live with the “what ifs” of putting her to sleep. But is it right that a pig or cow should have to give their lives for her to have their insulin when she doesn’t respond positively to it anyway?! (Have I understood correctly where insulin comes from?!) Is there any herbal alternative to try? A friend suggested that putting stevia in her water could help to heal her pancreas, but I struggle to understand the logic of the condition and fear to try things out as a result. How long do I keep on down this road? Is it the absurd human fear of death that is driving me crazy? I know ultimately I am the only one who can answer that question, but it is a great relief to be able to share with those of you who have similar experiences. I am also very aware, especially reading back over this, that Noni is reflecting back to me aspects of myself and my own behaviour (the victim / martyr role) which I still have to continue to work on in my self. I am fascinated by the symbolic significance of the diabetes (the desperate need for the sweetness of life but the inability to absorb / receive it), reflected so obviously in her personality (as well as my own, if I’m brutally honest with myself), and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my mother’s dog when I was growing up also had diabetes (seriously… what are the chances?!). I feel like I’m in a sort of purgatory of understanding but not being able to heal her.  But approaching the peak here. Something’s gotta give… Thank you for letting me share, and blessings to you all and your furry loves (on this side and the other) on your journeys.


Cathy
April 26, 2017

When my maltipoo was diagnosed with diabetes, his blood sugar was over 600. Should he have stayed at the vet until it was better regulated or been sent home for us to begin insulin injections? This was the day before we were leaving for a vacation and I told the vet he would be with a boarder while we were gone.


Marsha
April 8, 2017

Thank you so much for this article. My 4 year old Yorkie was just diagnosed with diabetes and I have been struggling emotionally to figure out what to do. If money were no object than I would definitely treat her with insulin. But, my husband and I are seniors on a limited income. We have our own health/medical issues to contend with. I love my little Yorkie so much and I hate to see her suffer.


Kristen
April 6, 2017

My 17 year old dog was diagnosed with diabetes today. I am honestly wondering if we should just let him decline due to his age or try to chase down some more time with him trying to control his insulin. Nobody wants to let go of a beloved pet but am trying to be logical in our decision.


Tracy
March 26, 2017

My Maltese was diagnosed  just over 2 1/2 years ago. She had full-blown diabetes by the time I got her to the vet. She has shots twice a day. She receives the human form of insulin. Which can be used for both dogs and cats it is not very expensive. $24 for a tube. Which last me about   Four months . I was very very worried about giving her shots in the beginning because I could not imagine having to put that needle into my sweet little fluff ball. But over time it became easier and easier and now right after she eats we sit on the floor and I give it to her and I give her a little teeny bit of shredded carrots. And she doesn't mind now.   She has developed cataracts in is almost blind, she has seizures fairly often. But I will continue to give her the insulin. She otherwise leads a very healthy happy life. But for the people who are struggling with whether or not to treat the dog. I would say please treat them. If they do not get the insulin I feel like they are struggling. Their body shakes it makes him feel very very bad and they walk around very sluggish and lethargic. I think it is a slow painful thing to have to live with. If you are financially unable or your time does not allow you which I cannot imagine because all you have  to do is give them a shot when you get up in the morning and give them a shot at dinner time or whatever time you set when you are at your house. That to me is fairly easy. But I would most certainly not allow the animal to live with diabetes the choice is either treat them or put them down. It is not fair to let them struggle through the disease which could take years! While I would never compare an animal to a human. I love my animals! And if that means that I have to give up a little time, to schedule shots which take two seconds. And if I have to give up a little outside activities, eating out, etc..to be able to afford it. Then for me that is exactly what I'm going to do!


E.M.
March 24, 2017

Re: Kelley February 9, 2017 I am in the same boat, except that I resent the cat.  It was never "my cat".  Someone dumped him on me, and I've been out thousands in vet bills and insulin.  He's thirteen years old now.  I can't do it anymore.  We can't take vacations, (not that we can afford "real vacations" to begin with), we have to schedule every single thing around these injections, and this cat is a thug.  He eats the dog's food seconds after he's had his own food, drinks a ton of water, and pukes all over the house, and I spend so much time cleaning up his messes, (including the enormously increased output in the litter box and vomit in every corner of the home), that I feel too stressed out to do the sort of housecleaning I was once able to do on an everyday basis.  I am depressed.  I worry that putting him down means I am an a-hole.  But I'm so, so tired, and he's such a sonufabetch, I just can't stand him, and I wake up every single day wishing he were already dead. I know you don't feel the same about your cat as I do this one, but my point is that, love or not, there's only SO much we can be expected to do.  I don't even love this cat, and I'm out thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of sleep.  I understand.  I want to put this cat down, but I have a hard time finding a "good reason" to do that when he can still find ways to bust my butt everyday.  He's still kicking while destroying my will to EVER care for another cat like this again.   Resentment is heavy.   You don't sound resentful. It just sounds heavy for you, and I hope you can find the peace you need soon.  As the original article said, "It's okay not to treat as long as you don't allow your pet to suffer."  We shouldn't suffer too much either, you know?


Cindy S
March 16, 2017

I went online today to find out how long a dog, when diagnosed with diabetes, has to live.  I found this site and a lot of concern. Finding other people with the same concerns as myself, I concluded that the questions could be divided into three categories: 1) support for decisions regarding "living with it" vs. euthanasia; 2) issues directly related to diabetes (glaucoma, food, urine testing etc.) and 3) insulin injections (inc. cost, store-bought / vet bought, etc.)  I have a technique for #3...I have no "magic bullet" but I DO know that, even though diabetes is a serious disease for both humans and dogs, it is NOT a "big deal" to inject insulin.  If you think you will never be able to do it, find another ADULT human, wearing heavy gloves, to hold an orange.  With your syringe filled with water (preferably with the amount of ml the vet is suggesting for your dog, and then start to give the dog (the orange) the insulin (water).  At the same time, the person holding the orange can wiggle it, pull it away, whine/scream how your DOG would sound, do several at the same time, anything that WORRIES YOU that your dog may do.  This technique was taught to me about 40 years ago by a vet at a zoo...your dog is MUCH less intimidating than a lion! The vet also told me that your dogs vet is not infallible...he/she is part of a TEAM, with the dog being at the top of the list of team members.  Someone on this site said something to the effect that ALL family members are affected when your dog is diagnosed with diabetes.  Only you know how YOUR  diabetic dog will affect or BE affected with a new baby, or 3 kids and ball practice or long work hours. And the vets office especially needs to know all of the problems YOU and YOUR FAMILY will have.  I found that writing all of the issues, including the POSITIVE things, (i.e. a responsible teen at home who can inject insulin) not just the negative and going over these issues with your vet in person.  It is ALWAYS EASIER to have a hard copy in front of you and the vet AND having a copy of that put in your file at the vets office. an “IF” : please, PLEASE talk to your vet about the KIND OF INSULIN he/she is prescribing.  Our vet wanted us to use a certain kind; I went home and spent about an hour on the internet researching the different kinds of insulin and called her the next day.  Our discussion led us to human insulin “N”, purchased at WalMart, over the counter, for approximately $23.00.  (The price varies somewhat from store to store, but not by much.  I don't know if other stores do this but WalMart actually has your dogs name and type of insulin in the computer!  I felt privileged that my dog was in a nation-wide computer! (especially when traveling!)) an "IF" : if you must use a muzzle on your dog, remember that it's only a tool for YOU!  YOU are afraid of being bitten and the dog can not only feel that fear but now has the fear of the muzzle as well... an "IF" : A blind dog or dog with glaucoma canNOT tell if you changed one little thing in his living environment.  Our house has become very "straightened" out so our blind Reni doesn't run into anything (like a vacuum not put away, a chair not pushed back to the table, etc.) to TRACY March 9, 2017: I truly feel your pain as we are going through somewhat the same thing.  I have tried several herbs to help with the arthritic pain and it seems to be "easier" on the stomach (I can tell you what they are BUT a holistic vet would be a better choice.  If you canNOT find a holistic vet, call a holistic healer/chiropractor.  They can either suggest a holistic vet or suggest something to give your dog. (They have to be careful because they are not licensed as a vet but because a lot of herbals are not ruled by the FDA, they usually have some good suggestions.)  With regard to sluggishness: his body will be "getting used to" ANY changes in diet or insulin. It usually takes weeks for just ONE change to become "normal".  I would suggest that you "do one change" for 3 weeks and then try another thing.  I cannot stress enough that writing down everything is a must. It usually takes a lot longer to write down what you did than to give him his insulin injection! TRACY March 9, 2017: Just thought of another thing...we get info on herbs and roots, home remedies, etc., from the Amish that live in our community.  You may not have Amish but perhaps there is a family member or a neighbor that have those “home remedies”.  One of our Amish friends said to try CRANBERRY on Beka's urinary tract infection.  She balks at the sourness of it so we grind up a quarter of a pill or cut the “gummy” kind into quarters and put that piece in peanut butter...after about 3 days, no blood!  Just want to make the point that there is usually someone around that has an “idea” that may help!  I also use the internet to check on what herbs, roots, etc. are good or bad for dogs.  My vet does not believe in holistic veterinary care so whenever I find something that really works, I let her know!  I think she is coming around... Sorry if a rattled on and on but the whole issue of diabetes IS a confusing one!  There is never only one way of dealing with it.  The very, VERY best thing for you and your beloved dog is this: PATIENCE !  Do not become overwhelmed, nervous, angry, anything your dog can pick up from you!  RELAX!  Pet him, hold him close and just be quiet...it WILL all work out!  And probably better because HE will be calmer!  Thanks for listening and I hoped I helped someone even a little bit...


Tracy
March 9, 2017

My 12 yr old was recently diagnosed with diabetes. He also has arthritis, an enlarged heart and an enlarged liver. We are trying the insulin, he had his first glucose curve and his body is not responding to the insulin. He is up to 14 units 2x a day of insulin. I am struggling with what to do. He seems sluggish still. He is on 3 different pain meds for his arthritis. While I know what I should do for him, I struggle with it. His furry sister has never been alone. I'm afraid she would die from heartbreak. My 9 year old son and my husband are equally as devastated as I am. I just don't know what to do at this point.


Darlene
March 8, 2017

I have a 10 year old cat with recent diagnosis of diabetes. Change in diet worked the first few months. But his sugar is up again and I am in no way able to pay for insulin. Vet trips to regulate him and trips for when he bottoms out. And trust me they do. I don't feel any guilt because I choose not to go into debt to spend in the end what could be thousands of dollars to treat an animal. I get really upset reading that people compare not treating an animal to not treating a child or parent who needs medical care. I take excellent care of my fur babies. But this one is way over my income.


Mari
February 16, 2017

Kelley - Have you thought about switching vets? $400 for your cats insulin is ridiculous! I pay about $165 for a 6mo supply. I know at times it is hard to make that switch to a new care provider but there may be a better vet for you and your fur baby. Maybe a food change as well. I am praying for you and your kitty that you can get through this and have many more happy years together.


Dee
February 13, 2017

Michele Murphy I am in the same boat. There are one to two times a week i can not give my dog insulin. She yelps every time and jerks away. My husband does most of the shots, and she is usually fine. When he is not here I have to do them and most of the time I can't. I don't get it because I have worked in dog rescue for 14 years and have gave many shots, but i can not give my dog her insulin shot. I don't get it and am super frustrated!


Diane
February 10, 2017

I get human insulin for my dog at Walmart- about $40.  He gets 7ml 2x a day. [Editor's note: Check with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's insulin.]


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
February 9, 2017

Kelley, My heart goes out to you.  Let me see if I can help in some way. "but I see it in his eyes when he's starving but he's had all the food he's allowed for the day. He cries all night long, wakes me up 20 times a night for food, pees on every rug, laundry basket and shower drain in the apartment"  You know your cat and what I read tells me you do not think he is happy or healthy.  I would  have to agree, a cat who is happy and healthy is not crying all night long, is not peeing all over your apartment. While your motives for wanting to rehome your cat are pure, it really would not be good for your cat.  No one is going to take care of him the way you have, no one has that connection that you have.  From your description, you have done your best to take care of him, so his problems cannot be blamed on your care. "asked if we can euthanize"Euthanasia is a huge step and a decision that no one can make for you, not even your veterinarian.  They can help walk you through the decision making process, to help decide when the time is right, but they cannot and should not make the decision for you, even if you ask them to. They should only support the decision you make.  So, in an effort to help you have that conversation with your veterinarian, here are the questions I ask my clients to answer when they are wrestling with this decision. 1.      Is your cat happy?  Does he have more good days than bad? Quality of life is paramount. 2.      Are you happy?  Are you still enjoying your cat more good days than bad, or are you resenting him?  Your quality of life is paramount as well. 3.      Can you afford to continue the care of your cat?  Feeding yourself and continuing to pay  your own bills does take precedence over treating your cat, just as you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others. From reading your comments, I would say that neither you nor your cat are happy, and having two maxed out credit cards is not good for anyone. It is time to have this difficult conversation with your vet, for the peace of both you and your cat, who knows how much you love him.  You have tried very hard to take care of your cat who has an ugly disease and knowing when to quit is difficult. Please let us know how things go.


Kelley
February 9, 2017

I just cry as I read the comments here. My cat is 13 and has had diabetes for 5 years. It's the most difficult and expensive thing I've ever done. He's got some sort of major illness at least once a year that requires a few nights stay in the vet, thousands of dollars, and usually a new plan of action. I give him insulin twice a day, which is human insulin; a vile costs me around $400 every 6 months. He won't let me test his sugars at home so he's usually labeled "uncontrolled diabetes". Neuropathy, kidney and bladder infections, ketoacitosis, most of his teeth extracted, all of this has added up to nearly $10,000 in just 5 years. My vet keeps saying "He's just not that sick" but I see it in his eyes when he's starving but he's had all the food he's allowed for the day. He cries all night long, wakes me up 20 times a night for food, pees on every rug, laundry basket and shower drain in the apartment... and once I'm sure I've finally had enough he crawls in my lap and purrs and cuddles... and I just cry! The guilt is overwhelming! I've begged the vet for help, asked if we can euthanize, asked if he knew of someone that would take my cat to give him better care. I've posted on Facebook boards trying to rehome him.... nothing. I'm backed into a corner. He's almost out of insulin and I have no more money to spend on him. I have two credit cards maxed out JUST FOR THE CAT. I'm so upset and frustrated. diabetes is the worst thing that's happened to me and it actually happened to my pet. I don't know what to do.


Milana
February 8, 2017

Like others, this is the first article I have come across that offers compassion to the owners of a beloved pet. There is no pleasing everyone all the time, but this is such a personal decision. My heart goes out to the people who are going into debt for care of an animal, jeopardizing their family's financial stability. This only serves as evidence for how difficult it is to make these choices. I just want to do for you what I would want others to do for me as I struggle with these calls - I affirm you and the hard decisions you must make. It is our responsibility, but it is tough both to see your sweetie struggling, to deal with it, and to determine when you are ready to let them go. God bless.


Michele Murphy
February 5, 2017

Sorry to trouble you. I haven't been able to give our dog her insulin for two days as she cries when I try to inject her. I am heartbroken and don't know what to do. I have ordered her holistic diabetes drops, which should be here tomorrow. Besides diabetes she has Cushing's and a thyroid problem. We are fosters and have had her for two years. Right now she is not eating, is very listless and sleeping. I do not feel she is suffering. Thank you, Michele


Nina
February 4, 2017

My 15 yr old cat has eaten a raw food diet, with supplements, all her life.Recently she refuses her food.The only thing she will eat now is cooked chicken without anything added.I've tried "many" different foods,from baby food to canned,& back to raw. I leave it down for 10 mins then put it in the fridge. I've waited all day thinking she'll eat when she gets really hungry,but unless I give her cooked chicken she will not eat.She acts normal,except for her change in appetite. I'm concerned in giving her only cooked chicken.


Nina
February 4, 2017

I wouldn't Put my sick child "Down". Why should I do it to my sick dog? I really Love my animal companions like children.


Shelley Lomanto
January 24, 2017

Hi,everyone.  I'm wondering if anyone has any advice or suggestions with our situation.  My 7 year old, rat terrier mix, was diagnosed with diabetes 10 months ago.  In December she developed cataracts overnight.  We've seen a specialist and she is a candidate for surgery, however we need to get her glucose regulated first.  This is where we are having problems.  She is currently on 6.5 units, twice daily of Vetsulin.  Her diet consists of Hills WD mixed with boiled chicken and green beans.  I make her treats at home by dehydrating chicken strips.  She gets NO other food.  She has been very active but with the loss of her sight, she isn't as confident.  Her numbers continue to be in the upper 600's.  Our vet has told us that it isn't unusual for it to take some time getting pets regulated but with the need for surgery sooner rather than later, I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas that we may be missing.  Also, she is VERY neurotic.  Any attempts at a glucose curve, either at home or the clinic, is useless.  We are basing our information on fructosamine testing alone.  Thanks everyone.


Terri
January 12, 2017

It has been almost three years since the diagnosis of diabetes and the posting of my story... I was struggling to find the 'sign' when was time to let go. I know it now and I hope this helps others...the pain I feel seeing her struggle is more unbearable than seeing she just exists. She, my 'mommy kitty' of 18 years (mother of a litter of 4) and almost 20 year old now, deserves the right to be without pain, the compassion of a heart that loves her, and the dignity to rest in peace. I question I may have waited too long and I hope the guilt subsides. I can't sleep tonight since tomorrow I will make the call to put her in a better place than I can offer to her frail furry body now. My heart aches, but I know I'm doing what is compassionate and what 'I' would want. I'm not sure how to grieve as this is the first and only time for me. I hope my sadness is only narcissistic in my head but my intention is very much gallant in my heart. She warmed my life, taught me patience and allowed me to dig deep into the depths of an unselfish companionship I treasure. I know the days ahead will be most challenging. Love you my 'mommy kitty'...you will be soon be free to jump, play, not to feel hunger or thirst again. ILU.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
December 8, 2016

Dear Dog Lover, I am not going to comment on what the veterinarian who treated your dog did or did not do, as I was not there.  But, in the interest of clarifying some medical information from your post, I submit the following. Karo syrup rubbed in the mouth is an appropriate treatment for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), but the treatment should NOT stop there.  The pet needs to then go to the veterinarian to find out why the pet is becoming hypoglycemic, as there are a myriad of causes of hypoglycemia, including insulin overdose, Somogyi effect, not eating, absorption problems.  It takes a trained veterinarian with some lab work to work through what is going on.  They should not be hypoglycemic on a regular basis, or even frequently.  It should be a very rare event. The idea of a red tag stating that the dog or cat is a diabetic is an excellent idea.  It is certainly a VERY important piece of information to relay to the veterinarian when presenting a dog with seizures. Injections do need to move around the body, not stay in one place, so that scar tissue does not build up, preventing absorption issues. Here is some more information about treating diabetes from our veterinary partner site: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&C=&A=631&SourceID=  And an article about using glucose curves from another of our VetzInsight authors: http://www.vin.com/vetzinsight/default.aspx?pid=756&catId=5860&Id=7600411 Thanks for writing and sharing your story.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
December 8, 2016

Tom, Diabetes is NOT a simple disease.  You need to work very closely with your veterinarian to treat your dog and your veterinarian is the best person to answer your questions since they see your dog.  I could only speculate on the myriad of causes as to what is happening with his blood sugar. Here is some more information about diabetes from our veterinary partner site and another article we wrote on diabetes and glucose curves. http://www.vin.com/vetzinsight/default.aspx?pid=756&catId=5860&Id=7600411 http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&C=&A=631&SourceID=


Tom
December 8, 2016

My parents were telling me they thought the dog had diabetes because he began to throw up and drink lots of water and pee a lot. I took him to a vet and he had two issues. 1. he had an infection in his intestine 2. his sugar level was at 402. The doctor seemed alarmed and basically told me my dog was diabetic and had to have insulin right this minute or he might die. So we gave him insulin and something for his infection. I changed his diet of dog food to food I made which was basically rice, chicken, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce and chicken broth. The doctor prescribed 6 units of insulin. I originally added carrots but took them out when his next blood test showed his sugar was now at 680. I am now giving him 16 units a day (two 8 unit shots, morning/evening) and his blood sugar level is still in the 600's.   My question is: Why did his sugar levels go from 400 to 600+ in a weeks time and is that normal? The sugar levels are basically the same at 6 units and 16 units with very little change. Why didn't his sugar level go down if he was at the bottom of the diabetic chart (400-600+) instead of becoming full blown diabetes?


Dog Lover
December 4, 2016

My rescued pet (miniature pinscher) also got diagnosed with diabetis like 3 years ago. She  had gotten so thin and she went completely blind. She was resilient I was determined to save her. I injected her every single day low dosage insulin twice a day. She improved! She gained all her weight back. The only thing is that sometimes she would go into diabetic seizure (hypoglycemia ) the solution? Corn syrup, you rub their mouth with it until they stabilize. My dog was resilient, I have never seen a dog move her tail/butt area so quickly , she was just so happy to be alive. Unfortunately, this past week, while most of the family was gone, she went into a diabetic seizure again, my family members who found her did not know what to do so they took her to a vet and the vet was really busy and he  must not have recognized that she needed glucose immediately, he only gave her diazepam to treat her seizures, or he waited too long to check her labs and to recognize that she needed glucose immediately.  She passed away from energy starvation in her cells because she was not given immediate glucose. This is so devastating to me, I could have saved her if I was home. I should have left her corn syrup outside on top of her dog house in case of an emergency. Please if your dog is diabetic buy him/her a RED DIABETIC tag so that the vet will know right away what is going on and treat him/her for hypoglycemia ASAP. I believe they treated her for her seizures only and she was never stabilized and she was in critical condition. This has happened at my house before and I was able to save her by rubbing Corn syrup in her mouth immediately upon noticing her acting confused and scared. Don't give them  SUGAR or  HONEY BECAUSE it's not enough sugar.  My dog did not have the ketadosis?  ketones diabetis she just had the one where I needed to inject her with insulin. I would never have chosen to euthanize her. I was able to manage her diabetes. I'm just too emotional to do that and I would not want anyone to give up on their loved one/pet due to a medical condition even if it is permanent. I am not criticizing anyone, it's your own choice to make, but my dog was full of life and vibrant.  Her death was senseless and I am furious, but I was able to control her weight with daily injections, you can't skip days because that means your dog didn't eat for that one day you forget to inject them.   Injecting her became routine, so much so that even now the first thing I think about what I get up is, Time for her injection, it was definitely NOT a burden and  I would inject her near her butt area to cause less pain. The first vet I had gone to told me to inject her near her neck but that area is so sensitive that she would not let me. It would hurt her to much. She lived for 3 years and would have lived so many more years had the vet given her immediate glucose to raise her low sugar levels.


Dana Barton
November 28, 2016

I posted a comment back in August about my 15 year old dog with Diabetes.  At the time, I didn't know when or how I would know when it was time to put her down.  She was diagnosed in September 2015 and lived another year+ with twice daily insulin injections.  She eventually became very thin and blind, but despite this seemed to be very determined to live.  Eventually, though, her hips became very week and made a horrible cracking sound when she walked and she could no longer make it up and down the steps to the backyard on her own.  I was worried that one of us would put our back out or fall while carrying her up and down the stairs as she still weighed over 40 pounds.  I feel incredibly guilty for choosing the day to have a vet visit to put her down.  Even though we devoted so much time and effort to taking care of her, I still feel that it was mostly that we could no longer provide care versus her letting us know that she was finished living her life.  This just makes me feel so sad.  My family felt she was past the point, however.  Anyway, on the day, we made a special bed for her and surrounded her with love and had a home visit from the vet.  My only reassurance that day came in the form of the vet telling us that since she did not register the injection of the sedative as "pain" - didn't even flinch - she speculated that she must have other pain that was much greater.  The vet agreed to give her a large dose of the sedative so we could feel relieved that she was definitely relaxed and pain free (her tongue fell out of the side of her mouth) before the injection to stop her heart was given.  We loved her so much! She was a brave and dedicated dog, the best dog.  I hope she knew how much we loved her as she took her final breath.


terri
November 14, 2016

My 'baby' kitty of 19 yrs+ (not sure how old, she just showed up at my door about 16/17 years ago ) has diabetes as of 2 years ago  ... I have managed to care for her for two/three yrs with insulin, special food and timely feedings (every 6 hours)and love (lots of love really)I think?. I'm finding myself sad and disengaged? I'm so tired of the amount of care, $$$, time, and patience... I really love her but feel I'm done... the cleaning up (vomit or other) every day, the food, the insulin, the worrying about if she is suffering???  My marriage- we can't go anywhere and do anything anymore. I feel I have a responsibility as owner care/taker and loving her (I do LOVE her,very much)but my life seems to be not happy anymore. She is now blind, kinda deaf, just wants to be held for 24/7 and I can't give her that(we both work long hours)... but I can't put her down for 'inconvenience'...as it seems so wrong. I'm sad for her and not sure what to do...I'm struggling so much.


jlgilgin
November 13, 2016

I can't imagine not treating my pet for diabetes. If your child, or your mother or your father, had diabetes, would you not want them to receive medical treatment and isn't your pet a family member as well? Taking in and caring for   a pet is a lifetime commitment - it is NOT something you do if and when it is convenient for you.


anonymous
November 7, 2016

I am so grateful for the comments I am reading on this site.  We just had our dog euthanized last week, and I am devastated and feeling extreme guilt - cant stop going over and over the last visit to the vet in my head - and wishing I could go back and do things different!  Our dog was at least 12 years old - don't have exact age - we adopted him when he was 9 years old from a rescue group, and loved him very very much.  He has pancreatitis and arthritis, but was doing well.  about a month ago, he started the excessive drinking so we had him tested and he had diabetes. The twice a day insulin shots (19 units) seemed to be working and all was well until about 2 weeks ago he went blind basically overnight.  Then he developed glaucoma in his right eye, so we had a procedure done to relieve the pressure in that eye.  The very next day, the left eye had the high pressure (very painful)so back to the ophthalmologist. She said the only choice was to have both eyes removed immediately.  This is a large Alaskan malamute with underlying health issues who was at least 12 years old, and we just couldn't imagine him adapting to this well.  The downhill slide came on so suddenly and we were forced to make a decision immediately.  The surgeon wanted to remove the eyes, and then we could see our regular vet to figure out what else was going on to bring all of this on so quickly. We could not leave him in pain, and chose to let him go.  I am curious how other people get past this.  I just keep wishing we had made the other choice...


Janine
November 1, 2016

My 8 year old dog jake has just been diagnosed with diabetes ketoacidosis, he was kept in over night, collected him today and he has to go back in the morning, I'm really not sure as a single Mum of three how I will cope with all his appointments, getting kids to school and managing to keep jake on a strict timetable, he needs twice daily insulin injections, which I'm not even sure I'll be able to do..... I certainly don't want him to suffer for the time he has left.


Amanda
October 3, 2016

Thank you very much for this article. I have a 16 year old handsome boy (cat), that has been healthy up until the last few months. He has started drinking A LOT and peeing it right out. He also has other problems that I have been dealing with. He was one of two when we got him at 8 weeks, so it’s been a very long time, my entire childhood and growing into an adult and I’m having a hard to with deciding on whether to treat or not treat. We said goodbye to his brother 2 years ago after giving him the insulin and special food for two years (it didn’t help, he was also a diabetic) and I can’t see doing that to him now. My schedule has also changed over the last two years and it’s not remotely possible for me to be home every twelve hours (it’s just me, single pet mom). I feel out of options but the only thing I want to do is give him the best I can until I know it’s time, I can’t see treating him as a good option. :(


Alysha
September 30, 2016

Alice, My dog Achilles was diagnosed with Diabetes also and he is 8 years old. The vet insisted we put him on the costly food and insulin.  We used the vet food for two months then read an article that Blue Buffalo was low in sugar and excellent for Diabetic dogs so we switched back to that for his food but just stopped the daily treats. His blood sugar went lower on the Blue Buffalo than on the expensive vet food. So there should be no worries as to food expense. We use the Vetsulin from the vet but you can easily buy the insulin cheap from Walmart as well as the syringes. And at 9 units 2 times a day a bottle lasts a whole month. So I do not see where these prices are astronomical and hopefully this information can help you deal with this terrible situation that you are going through. I completely understand and I hope I am not too late. But either way know in your heart that your baby knew how much you loved him. 


Alice
September 7, 2016

My 10 yr old rot/lab was diagnosed with diabetes 10 days ago.  When the vet called and said the cost of testing and getting her numbers under control with several days of keeping her was $2400.00, my first question was "is the cost worth it, she is 10?  How long will she live with the treatment?" I was told she could live another 6 or 7 years.  I was not told her insulin alone was $68.50 per WEEK, and the food would be another $200 a month.  I barely make ends meet now.  i would have made a different decision had I been given all the information, not just the cost of that visit.  Now I have my happy, fun dog back.  But
cannot afford her treatment.  I am now so upset, I will have to put her down because of money!  I wish they had given me full disclosure when I was asking questions. To put down my happy, sweet friend makes me feel like I am murdering her.  How do I get through this?


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
September 2, 2016

Sue, I am glad that the information is helpful.  That was certainly the intent.  :-).


Sue Lizzi
September 2, 2016

Thank you so much for your information, compassion, and common sense in this article. It is immensely helpful to me right now.


Dana Barton
August 24, 2016

I am offering my comment to help others consider what care might be like down the road for their diabetic pet.  Our 15-year old shepherd mix was diagnosed with Diabetes (and possibly Cushings but we opted not to test for it) almost a year ago.  Over the course of the year, she  has required more and more insulin to manage her diabetes.  We now pay approximately $200+ per month for insulin and a lot on food that is appropriate for her to eat with diabetes.  Despite the increased insulin, she still has monthly episodes (particularly when stressed, traveling or hot weather, etc.) when she will pee copious amounts indoors by surprise.  If the backdoor to our house (leads to our backyard via a staircase) is not left open around the clock, she'll often go inside.  My point is that it is hard to manage her diabetes even at 12 units insulin twice a day.  She went one day without insulin because of a snafu with the pharmacy and became blind literally overnight.  Now, a year later, I am still considering what most of the people commenting are contemplating, when is the right time for her to be put to sleep?  She still gets up and asks for food like a champ.  She still wags her tail. She still plays with her squeaky toys.  But she is always hungry and always begging to eat. I'm in debt, I have two boys in college, I have a difficult time finding dog care when my husband travels since I work full-time.  We love her to pieces and it breaks our hearts to think about putting her down. Everyone says that I will know, but I don't know.  She wouldn't be alive if we didn't give her insulin, but since we do, she's happy enough as the blind old dog she is! The only thing I know is that the insulin needs continue to increase and she continues to decline slowly. So difficult!


Michele Gaspar, DVM, DABVP (Feline Practice)
August 21, 2016

Hi, Peggy, Let's see if I can help a bit.  I know how devastating it can be to have a sick companion animal.  And, even though I am a veterinarian who is used to seeing many ill patients, having one's own ill pet can be emotionally challenging.  I've been where you are, too. I know you can do it.  Some tests for Cushing's can be skewed by other illnesses, so listen to the good advice of your veterinarian and begin to treat the diabetes.  No human was born knowing how to give insulin injections, but believe me, in a few days, you'll feel confident in your ability to treat your buddy.  I once had a client who had the use of only one arm and somehow she managed to give insulin injections to her kitty, so where there's a will, there's a way.  This might be a good time to reach out to some friends and neighbors, who might be available for support. Diabetes can be expensive to treat in the beginning, because it can take time to regulate a patient.  However, once the pet is regulated, costs typically decrease and are manageable for most clients.  Some clients even learn to do blood glucose checks at home and fax, phone or e-mail the results to their veterinarian.   There may or may not be a charge for the veterinarian's time (as it does take expertise to sort through a glucose curve), but I give this as an option to you for a discussion perhaps a little ways down the road with your dog's veterinarian. When a patient's blood sugar is high, they are lethargic and typically don't feel like doing very much.  Patients who are not treated for diabetes, or who have a consistently very high blood sugars run the risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis, so it's best to begin treatment for the diabetes as soon as possible. Have you seen this information on canine diabetes from Veterinary Partner?http://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0LEViZZ_LlX01YAwB0PxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByOHZyb21tBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg--/RV=2/RE=1471835353/RO=10/RU=http%3a%2f%2fwww.veterinarypartner.com%2fContent.plx%3fA%3d631/RK=0/RS=DXBMA0RQ.eE9jU8MuMY58.5Z4y0-  Veterinary Partner is a free, client-friendly site that is associated with the Veterinary Information Network (VIN).  VIN is a world-wide community for and of veterinarians,   Veterinary Partner provides reliable information that has been, well, "vetted;" so you don't fall into the trap of reading some websites that might be inaccurate or unduly alarming. I know that you feel overwhelmed now and so do reach out tomorrow to your dog's veterinarian for additional advice and counsel.  Veterinarians are compassionate people and know that in the beginning, some "hand holding" is often necessary to get clients up-to-speed with treatment. I wish you and your buddy the very best!


Peggy Arison
August 21, 2016

Please someone help me. I have been so distressed for 4 days. Making myself sick not knowing what to do. I have a 10 1/2 yr old affenpinsher that I rescued. He has been the most loving smart dog. And my best friend. I found out Tuesday that he has diabetes and another blood test shows maybe Cushing disease. That enzyme was over a thousand. The vet said it could possibly go back to normal when the diabetes is under control. I am so torn. Just 1 day at the vet was almost 500.00. I love my best friend but money is a factor. I am 61 and I am already strained financally. I have not been able to eat and my stomach is in knots over this what do I do. For the most part he seems happy at times. He always sleeps and cuddles with me but since this started I wake up and he is laying on the floor.  He never did this before.


DCUNITED
August 18, 2016

As I type this we are two hours from letting my buddy and pal, Jesse cross the rainbow bridge.  He is an 11 yr. old cocapoo recently diagnosed with diabetes in May.  We have tried everything to get him regulated including traveling to a holistic vet after our primary told us to consider having him PTS.  We have been down a similar road when he was a pup and broke his neck, devine intervention brought us to an intern at U of Penn who thought a hail mary shot of cortizone and six weeks of not being able to stand would save him...6 weeks and a day later Jesse popped up like nothing happened and has been healthy ever since!   This time its much different....harder...  We have spent several thousands of dollars, spent hours in offices and hospitals because we love him as a child.  I would do just about anything if it would give him joy. But after he went completely blind almost overnight, starting peeing in his crate, sleeping all day and not getting up when I came home...Our boy Jesse has cease to exist as Jesse.  I have read for hours about this decision, blog after blog.  Stay with him or not?  Cremation or bury?  I've done every checklist, twice.  Who am I to say what quality of life is?  I know he can't see, play, go up steps, hear well, but every once in a while he wags his tail so I start the process all over again and wait.  They say there are signs...I wish.  The other night I thought I saw one when at 2 in the morning while letting him out he made a b-line for the street(very far away) until I commanded him to sit.  I honestly think he was making a run for the woods on the otherside to go out his own way.  Was this a sign?  I have no idea.  I have read story after story about how great blind, deaf, diabetic dogs can be happy for years.  I wish Jesse was one of them, he is not.  So in an hour and 45 minutes I will take him on his last ride.  We will be driving by the home where we got him 11 years ago almost to the day.  The advice I can give each of you facing this is...no vet, friend or blog can make the decision...maybe they can make it easier, I don't know.  But I came to the conclusion this morning after watching Jesse and thinking back to just a few months ago...If I continue what I am doing he will live longer, maybe 6 months, a year, 2 years?  Who knows.  It will not be for him, it will be for me, my wife and my kids.  If I let him go, I am giving him the gift of peace.  I also do not fear my decision due to the folks that say this is playing god.  I artificially kept my dog alive past the time he would have survived in nature.  Wild dogs don't go blind and survive.  Wild dogs dont have diabetes and survive.  I know how much we love him, I know how much a part of our family he was...If you can say that don't fret about your decision.  I want him to leave us on a good day, not after a seisure, more bathroom issues or when he stops eating.  Jesse is under my feet right now and I will miss that...as many of you will too.  But I love him too much to see him like this.  Say a prayer for Jesse...He was a great friend.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
August 9, 2016

Robert,  You made the best decision for your best buddy, as well as you and your family.  You listened carefully to the veterinarian, you knew your dog and how he would act being subjected to twice daily injections, as well as taking into consideration your financial commitments to your family.  That is all you can do, make the best decision with the data at hand.  I have been in your shoes (three times with my own animals), as well as many times with my patients, needing to make the decision to euthanize or treat a diabetic. There is NO one right answer.  There are just too many variables.  If any of us had a crystal ball, we would use it to look into the future of every animal presented to us to decide which scenario will play out:  1.      This patient will be easily controlled on twice daily injections, cost minimally to treat and live a good life for another 3 years.  It is worthwhile to treat.  2.      This patient is never going to be well controlled, will continue to lose weight and have several seizures due to hypoglycemia; euthanizing now is the best option for quality of life.  3.      This patient will be easily controlled, but will die from heart disease next month, so we can treat for the next month, knowing he will die shortly from heart disease. 4.      This patient will be hard to control and it will be expensive and time consuming to do so.  Treatment can continue, knowing that is expensive and you and your family will live life around your dog's diabetes. 5.      And so on and so on for many other possible scenarios. Unfortunately, NONE of us has a working crystal ball, so we make the best decision we can with the data at hand. And we all know that you made your decision with love and caring for your dog.  And he knows that!  He really, really knows that!  So, the long and short of it is, you did great and you made the right decision! I hope some part of my words help alleviate some of the pain I can feel in your letter...


Robert
August 9, 2016

5/16/16 is a day I will never forget. I brought my lab who has been my best buddy for the past 8 years. After going to the regular vet the prior month with a good checkup he started drinking and urinating a lot and then started throwing up a few week. He had lost 20 lbs in a month. The emergency vet said the dog is in the process of dying with Diabetic Ketonacidosis(DKA). I was given the options of this being a very expensive process to get back in check and very expensive and hard to manage later in the dogs life. Along with the vet telling me he had a heart murmur (needed to do an ultrasound to make sure) that my pal would not be able to take insulin. The vet then mentioned euthanasia as the other option. So her I am in the console room with my dog crying my eyes out and I called my wife and consulted with my mother. Along with some financial stuff I am trying to pay of and send my daughter to college this fall. The vet could not give me an exact idea of what my dog's quality of life would be but what I was hearing was mostly negative and all I could think about was would my dog want to go through this. I don't think that is about being a dog. I prayed to God on what I should do and kept looking at him. He looked and was feeling miserable. After consultation again with the vet and my family members, I made the final decision to let him go. I don't think that makes me a bad person (I try to convince myself of this every day).  By the way the vet talked to me, he would almost need a nurse and would never get better. This condition was covering up many other problems that I would have to deal with later. I still cry every night thinking about him hoping I did the right thing for him. I hope that does not make me a bad person. The past three months have been filled with enough guilt of What Ifs? after reading all these other post. I only had what I had to go on at the time and to me what was going on and the most likely future prognosis from the vet led me to my decision. I just don't see how my dog would have been happy being poked by needles constantly, not eating as normal, eventually going blind, having seizures, etc. I just pray every day that in my heart I hope I made the decision he would have wanted me to make.


Terri Halstead
July 29, 2016

I've been treating my dog for over four years for diabetes. Yeah, it can be costly but he's worth it. I don't know why it seems that vets don't encourage home monitoring. And when asked I was told I would need the "dog" glucose meter, I bought it and compared it to a human meter. They were nearly identical. I purchased the meter for 15 dollars and it had a 15 dollar mail in rebate. And as others have mentioned the cheap Wal mart insulin is 25 dollars a bottle. If you wanted to treat it can definitely be done a lot cheaper if you test at home, not to mention that if you monitor the glucose, you should be able to avoid many of the complications commonly associated with diabetes. I will say it's been a lot of time and effort involved, my dog is worth it. I've also read that most dogs do okay on a good dog food, not always the prescription food the vet tries to sell. It seems to me that the vets usually don't try to help people understand that there are less expensive ways to go. And if you can give an injection, there's no reason you can't do at home glucose monitoring, it's really simple. And why if you did not treat the diabetes would you just wait and see what happens, I would imagine that would be worse then trying to provide the care they need. I hope anyone with a newly diagnosed pet that they really care for would try to find a way to treat them, don't expect the vet to try to save you money along the way. Good luck!.


Karen Lewis
July 7, 2016

This article was such a comfort to me.  We made the decision to put our 11 year old Bichon, Deuce, to sleep 4 days ago.  It's undoubtably the worse kind of decision any pet owner will have to make.  Logically our family knew that it was the right thing to do but making this type of decision still carries a huge amount of guilt.  Especially when others judge your decision.  This is a deeply personal decision because every circumstance is different and family dynamics can not be ignored. We've had Deuce from the age of 12 weeks.  He was very sweet and loyal and very, very attached to me.  Deuce followed me around the house constantly and was distressed when I left.  He had separation anxiety and was on medication to keep him somewhat calm when I was not at home. Deuce was diagnosed with diabetes about 5 years ago.  I was totally committed to taking care of Deuce and I did a good job of managing his illness up until about 6 months ago.  Deuce started to refuse food often and was increasingly picky about eating so I had to frequently change his diet just to entice him to eat.  Eating every 12 hours was imperative because of the need to provide insulin.  Changing his diet frequently, however, added to the challenge of stabilizing his glucose levels.  It was a vicious circle.  Family dynamics also changed.  Our family started traveling more. Which led to increased separation anxiety and loss of appetite.  I resorted to having a dog sitter care for Deuce at home while I traveled.  This was very expensive and often Deuce would still end up at the vet hospital because of his refusal to eat when I left home. I left Deuce last week to travel with my husband and a couple of days later, my dog sitter called explaining that Deuce would not eat and needed to see a vet for glucose monitoring.  My husband and I looked at each other and decided that enough is enough.  It was time to let Deuce go.  It feels a little selfish but the reality is that his diabetes was just too difficult to manage and our sweet little guy was becoming a major source of stress, expense and worry to our family.  I also know that his quality of life was decreasing because of the frequent hospitalizations and his loss of eyesight was becoming very obvious.  He would often loose sight of me even when I was in the same room. He was a loving source of joy for us for 11 years but as the author of this article stated, everyone's circumstances are different and when faced with this hard decision you have to weigh all factors: animal and human factors.  Our pets are important but our human family's interest must always take precedent.  Thank you for this article.


Nina
July 4, 2016

A little problem with people who judge those of us who choose not to treat.  I have had 4.  The first I committed wholeheartedly to treat.  I did the diet, the fresh water, and I chased my little boy around until he hated me twice a day to give him his insulin.  H died in less than 6 months.  The second one I took it on a less wholeheartedly.  He too was not amenable to treatment and he too died very quickly.  The third I chose not to treat but watched her closely to be sure she was not suffering.  She was constantly comforted by me and by my youngest cat in her last days and died peacefully.  I dearly love the one who is just now beginning her journey and I can tell she too will go quickly.  But she won't be given insulin shots she hates twice a day.


Nancy
July 4, 2016

Hello! My 11 year old minpin was diagnosed 1 month ago with diabetes and ketoacidosis. She had been vomiting and had diarrhea for 2 days so off to the vets. They ran blood work and it was all bad. Her sugar was 680 and kidney and liver functions all bad too and yet other than the vomiting and such she seemed ok. My vet said he wouldn't blame us if we put her down then and there well no way! We asked if there was anything else they could do so they kept her overnight gave her iv fluids and insulin and a megadose shot of antibiotics. The next day they called and said she was doing better her sugar had come down to 123 so we picked her up and brought her home with two antibiotics for 14 days and also twice daily insulin shots of 3 units each time. She does not like the shots but doesn't give us a hard time. So we took her back for a 10 day recheck and her bs was now 709! Vet wasn't surprised as it can take a couple weeks to regulate but her liver and kidney functions were back to normal. He upped her dose to 5 units twice a day. So took her back in last Thursday for 10 recheck and her bs was 95! Yay! Vet was very happy and said to stay on the 5 units until her recheck at the end of July. I have not put her on any special diet. She eats grain free salmon and sweet potato canned food or grain free turkey and sweet potato canned food. She gets a third of a can twice a day and also a grain free cookie around noon to keep her steady until her next shot. I get her insulin at Walmart and I pay $25 for a 10 ml bottle which my vet said will last her 3 months if kept in the fridge and also the needles which were $11 for a 100 count box. So for $36 I can manage her diabetes for 3 months at a time depending on how much her dose fluctuates. I do not count the cost of her food because hey, ya have to eat, but it costs me 85 cents a can from my local feed store and 20 cans will last a month so I guess it just depends on what will work well for your pet. Good luck to everyone here.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
June 27, 2016

Charlene, It sounds to me like you have done a good job in managing Sassy's diabetes. As you state in your email: ". I think the time has come now that I need to let her rest no more being poked with a needle twice a day no more being confused it's time for my precious little  Sassy to go to rainbow bridge." I would not let her go for more than a day or two without insulin, as she will likely get very sick, vomiting, not eating, dehydrated.  If you believe it is time to let her go, then make the appointment to euthanize, don't make her get really sick from the side effects of uncontrolled diabetes. My thoughts are with you on this, it is never easy. I put my diabetic dog to sleep last fall when her quality of life was such that neither of us was happy.


Charlene Davis
June 26, 2016

My little dachshund was diagnosed with diabetes almost 2 years ago, right away I knew what was happening when she started drinking lots of water her mother also was diabetic, I choice to treat her she receives 6 unit's of insulin twice daily have no problem given the shots and she is such a good girl always knows when I say it's time for your shot Sassy. My poor little girl, lost her site bout a year ago so sad but other than that she has responded really well. I also work outside the home. I love this little girl more than I thought was possible . but I would never wish  this on anyone and it  is one constant job after 2 years she now is getting very confused at times and has always knew her way all around house and yard as long as I have never moved a thing and trust me I never have. I guess I just wanted to write this today and cannot help but set here with tears rolling down my face telling you if I had this to do over I never would. My own selfish heart has kept her alive knowing she would never be the same. And shame on me. I think the time has come now that I need to let her rest no more being poked with a needle twice a day no more being confused it's time for my precious little  Sassy to go to rainbow bridge. While my heart will always have a empty stop. I just need to know will she go through pain or can you please tell me what pain she will endure after shots stop? Thanks so much for listening to me my heart is breaking


Kathy Cobb
June 25, 2016

I am not going to judge everyone who does not choose treatment, but I do have a problem with the statement that "pets are supposed to bring joy." It implies that all pets are good for is the owner’s amusement. Pets are family. However, some people treat them as second-class family members. Pets give us their unconditional love, and yet, some pet care givers  “love them” as  long as it doesn’t cost them anything. I do not respect someone who resents having to take care of a sick pet. This is a fair-weather friend. Would these same people resent caring for their sick child?  For many pet care givers, our pets are our children. If we make the decision to euthanize, it is because there is little hope for a happy outcome, and we don’t want our pets to suffer. If there is a chance at a happy and extended life, we at least try to raise the funds. We at least TRY – that is the point I am making here. Diabetes is a manageable condition and not nearly expensive as most think. To decide not to give treatment because the owners don’t want to spend the money or take the time is deplorable. To just enjoy the pet as long as they have them makes it all about the owner. As long as the pet is fine, we love him. If he gets sick, we don’t treat, let him feel like crap, then euthanize. I  HAVE A MAJOR PROBLEM WITH THIS.


Elizabeth M.
June 22, 2016

This was so helpful - we just had to put our 14-year-old cat Prince to sleep today. He was diagnosed with diabetes a year ago, but he started as an outdoor cat (he sort of adopted us) and we couldn't guarantee that once we started using insulin that he wouldn't become miserable being cooped up inside after he started feeling better. This led to an additional worry that if we let him outside again, he wouldn't come back to the house consistently enough for us to give him insulin on a regular basis. We put him on the proper canned food, but he lost weight rapidly and started struggling to walk around and would make messes outside of the litter box. This morning we found that he could no longer use his hind legs and decided it was time. My mother was most involved in his care and has been feeling deeply guilty - she's constantly worried she hasn't done right by him. She also received a few judgemental comments from some of the people working at the vet's about Prince not receiving treatment. It's very frustrating that people who (while they may mean well) don't know anything about what went into my mother's decisions making her feel even worse when she's already going through something so difficult. We loved Prince and did everything we thought we could for him without making him suffer. It means so much to hear from someone who understands that these decisions can be hard very hard on owners.


Marie
June 21, 2016

My little granddog age 11 a bichon/shihtzu mix has just been diagnosed with diabetes.  I am certain she had it since last July when she had a urinary tract infection and on the blood test her glucose was elevated.  But the vet never gave us a heads up that she might be on her way to diabetes until she developed it full blown now.  Anyway, we have decided not to give her insulin treatment due to the potential for hypoglycemic episodes. Being familiar with diabetes, we felt we should try diet/exercise so we started with W/D Hills Physician food and put a little "gravy" for appeal.  She likes this. We also give her vegetables (no carrots/potatoes). At her "diagnosis" (which should have really been done last year and not until her pancreas blew out) her blood sugar was 700.  It is now 400 a few weeks later on this food.  We walk her several times a day to get the glucose moving out of her bloodstream.  She also gets B-12 shots every few weeks.  After reading up on diabetes in dogs, we felt that insulin would not be the way to go – the dog has to endure pokings and the hypoglycemia could be fatal.  So we are trying to make her as comfortable and healthy as possible to make her remaining life as good as we can.  We love her and have enjoyed her company for all her life and hope that we are blessed with at least another few months if not a year of our beloved pet.


Jacqueline
June 20, 2016

Hi, my 13yr old yorkie has just being diagnosed with Diabetic Ketonacidosis (DKA), we took her to the vets with vomiting loss of weight, urinating a lot, drinking a lot and diarrhoea. She was very down and not her usual happy self. When her did a urine sample Ketones come up straight away and he said the treatment could be very expensive and the condition could still come back. He wanted to put her to sleep then and there and we said no not yet. He gave her an injection to settle her tummy and said bring her back in the morning. We took her back and she was smiling at him when he called her through. He noticed a good change in her overnight and has now said let's try and settle her insulin and see how we go. I am unable to find the kind of money the treatment is going to cost. God knows I wish I had the money as I've had Suki since she was 5 weeks old. She the little girl I never got as I have 2 sons. I know that without treatment this condition is not going to go away. I was wondering if anyone has any ideas how fast this will progress and how long she may have. He said yesterday that it's not inhumane to keep her alive and to try stabling her insulin. She has other small problems too that are very manageable but altogether it must be getting her down


Dr. Tony Johnson
May 28, 2016

Hi Sue, The general rule is no insulin if not eating. Is there no one nearby who does after hours care, or home euthanasia? Sounds like you need someone pretty quick. 


Sue
May 28, 2016

My 11yr old, diabetic, totally blind Yorkie stopped eating yesterday., but still drank water. Last night she started throwing up with diarrhea.  Today is worse.  I tried to give her sulcralfate, but she threw it up.  This evening it is even worse.  Her diarrhea has turned to bloody water.  Our vet is out until Tues. (being Mem. Weekend).  She doesn't seem to be in pain but very restless.  Her 'look' has told me it is that time to say goodbye.  I have stopped her insulin.  (Don't know if I should have) I don't want her to suffer but don't know if I need to wait until Tues.  No ER vet.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
May 20, 2016

Terri, Thanks for sharing your story!  It is amazing how many of us have pets that found us when we did not know we were even looking for them!  Mommy Kitty was lucky to have found you and I am sure she knows it. Knowing when it is time to euthanize is a personal journey. We all struggle with it, even veterinarians.  It is NEVER an easy decision.  This Veterinary Partner article has a Quality of Life scale that might help with some objectivity.  I know that I have recommended clients write on a calendar the good and bad days and when the bad days outnumber the good, it is probably time. http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=1523 Again, thank you for sharing your story, it is a heartwarming one!  Let us know how the journey continues.


bb
May 20, 2016

Hi i have an 18 yr old cat who has been on varying amounts of caninsulin for 7 years now. i have taken the executive decision to cease his shots and to do home testing and insulin according to his needs. he has just gone for four days  without any, gradually from 4.5 units over 6months. he seems brighter, healthier coat and no signs of distress or extra water consuming or peeing. the trick? all animals are different but he now rarely eats ANY dry food and lots of fresh chicken and fish, bones and all and only low carb canned or pouches. i did have him on raw beef but it kept his weight too high. i am just about to test his bg and fingers crossed it will be in an ok range.


Terri
May 19, 2016

Thank you for the article...reading peer comments are helpful too. Our story... My 17+ yr old cat (she showed up at my door in the snow 17 years ago) my vet thought she may be 2 yrs old at the time. I was not looking for a pet (actually did not want one, as my husband and I love to travel and much less could keep a plant alive-did want commitment) But I felt sad she was in the snow...had no idea of gender. Kept it in the warm garage that winter and fed it...though maybe she would leave. I found out that April that "kitty" as we called her gave birth in the garage to 4 adorable kittens. Thus, the gender reveal, and her now birth name, we call her "Mommy Kitty" although odd we still call her this today and nothing else seemed to fit. Well after her kittens were adopted, she made her way into the house, them my bed. Ok, now I’m a pet owner I a have the "furr baby"...she was never a lap cat, liked to be pet-a little, don't like play too much, never jumped on anything (I got lucky)...so we were both happy. She was fun to watch. all I had to do is leave a bowl of hard food out and done. Friends and family thought we were lying all the time about having a cat since she never came out in public.  Present date...she was diagnosed with diabetes two years ago. I have been caring for her with insulin, wet cat food as recommend at timely hours, and have not slept past 6:00am in 2 years (time of 1st insulin shot) and have not been on vacation either but I'm fine, I'm honored to care for her, she would do this same, I think, cuz I love her. She is my alarm clock and wakes me each morning for a food and a well-accepted insulin shot. Now diagnosed with excessive Neuropathy, and glaucoma, I also administer Zolpline (b-12). I believe this has helped her to walk the past year in case others are wondering about the effectiveness. As I write this, I gasp, as it sounds as if I keeping her alive for me...but I'm not? I don't see her in pain and she is more affectionate than ever (oddly wants her stomach be pet ALL the time,a location I was NEVER able to touch 16 years ago). I think she also is hard of hearing since at times she does not even known I'm behind her and startles when she sees my feet. She looks depressed all the time and is home alone all day...I'm struggling with saying goodbye. Everyone tells me I will know when...and when I think that is the time she flops in-front of me rolls over and begs for affection. When done, limps back to her corner to sleep. She is happy right? I feel for everyone here who has made the hard decisions and who is challenged by it. I'm thankful for a forum that I can express my true thoughts without judgment. Maybe tomorrow I will have more clarity...I can only hope. 'Mommy kitty'...I hope I'm doing the right thing and when the day is done you will let me know somehow when the right time is...until then, see you at 6:00am.


Pat
May 17, 2016

Thank you for sharing this article.        My 11 year old half Schnauzer, Twig, is in her 4th year of Diabetes. She gets 5 units twice a day, and is almost totally blind. I use WalMart's Novalin N for around $25, and their 12/7 needles for around $15. The needles can be used several times before getting dull, I rinse and cap after use. Twig is extraordinary in that she will come to me for her injection. Occasionally she may yip, but it's not often. I have not been on vacation, or taken any trips where Twig cannot go. No, it's not easy taking care of a Diabetic dog, but, as long as she's not suffering, and I can afford it, I'll do it. I love my Twig, and I know the time will come when she must go to Rainbow Bridge, and I'm hoping it will be peaceful.


Diane
May 13, 2016

This article has helped me I found out today my beloved chihuahua was diagnosed with diabetes and ketones in her urine the starting cost to help her is more than I can afford along with the many appointments and testing insulin etc.in weeks to come  her mouth is infected and many teeth keep falling out.  She is 8yrsoldand has been with my kids and I since she was 5weeks. I can't are the thought of losing her yet I don't want to see her suffer.  This is so hard.  I wish I had all the money to help her.. My precious girl


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
May 6, 2016

Marcy, Fred is lucky to have you in his life.  After I wrote this article, my dog, who happened to be a littermate to my sister's dog in the article, came down with diabetes.  I did treat her for 6 months, but it did not go well.  All in all, she did not live any longer than her brother and she never did get used to the injections.  I probably waited a couple weeks too long to put her to sleep, but finally did so.  Enjoy Fred while you can, spoil him now and don't be afraid to let him go when it is time.  He knows you love him!


Marcy
May 4, 2016

As I read this article searching for answers on what to do with the news we received today, it hits me this is what we have to do. My almost 8 yr old black pug Fred went in to have his ears checked, that's when they were able to look at his teeth. We then fine out they are in bad shape, so we make plans to get them cleaned and taken care of After all it will help him live out a fuller, healthier life. So I get a call today from the vet about Fred's pre op bloodwork. His sugar levels were over 600...so his cleaning is cancelled due to his blood sugar. The vet then launches into all we can do: testing, insulin, follow up bloodwork every 14 days and then MAYBE he can survive his cleaning and extractions. Then a lifetime of daily shots twice a day. All at a cost of course, I am not angry about the costs just sad. And guilty. I have had Fred since he was 8 weeks old, he was my deployment puppy. My husband was deploying yet again and Fred was meant to be a distraction/cuddle buddy during the long months ahead. Only my husband came back early, wounded and damaged in a way only soldiers know, Fred's job became healer, he forced my husband not to give up. So the very thought of giving up on him since we can't afford to save him breaks my heart. But with all the options laid out and reality hitting we are choosing to put him on a diabetic diet and spoil the heck out of him. I will make as memories for as long as this stupid disease allows! Fred will always be my hero! Thank you for "okaying" our choice, the guilt will consume me for a bit, my heart may heal but there will only ever be only one Fred!


Jane
April 27, 2016

Thank you so much for this article.  My vet didn't seem to entertain any option but to treat my cat. I started injections this past weekend and after a few days she was on to me... running away without eating her food. On my last attempt she ran off with the needle still in her back... fortunately it fell out right away. My husband and I are in our 60s and enjoy road trips in the summer, but our years of such travel are limited due to our ages and health conditions. I would hate to spend the next 5 years tied to our house giving our cat injections even if she was accepting of them. I would like to enjoy my cat for as long as she is as lively as she is now and would like her to continue to enjoy her life as she currently does. This article has been a godsend to me and provides some information I can share with my vet.  I hope he will accept my decision and continue to be willing to provide us with the wonderful care he has over the years with this cat, our dog and many pets before them.

Dani
April 8, 2016

I am writing this in hopes that it will help. I just had to put my beloved 12 year old westie down 4 days ago. He was diagnosed with diabetes in November of 2014. The disease is extremely hard to regulate at first, but with careful monitoring, persistence and diligence it can be done. Walmart seems to have the best prices for insulin, although this disease put me through a financial ringer for sure. My boy responded well to Humilin N which is a human insulin and it would cost me $132 every month and a half, plus special food at $32 a case, twice a month, ($64 a month). No amount of money in the world was more important than my boy (even though i couldnt afford it), so I paid it with credit cards and continued treatment month after month. When he was first diagnosed, the vet and I were still experimenting with his insulin. Within the first two weeks of diagnosis my boy went completely blind. He managed ok and I did my best to accommodate his blindness. Then he developed a nasty ear infection in both ears, taking the hearing in his right ear and some hearing in his left ear... twice a day I would flush and clean his ears, give him oral antibiotics and topical meds, his ears just seemed to get worse despite me also switching meds to see if there would be a change.... but.. there wasnt. He then developed a painful hematoma on the flap of his ear which, if drained, comes right pack in a few days. The other option was surgery and I was not going to put him through since he suffered enough. The last two days before he passed he hid from me, would not eat or drink, flinched when I touched him and showed absolutely no signs of happiness. His tail no longer wagged and I couldn't bare seeing him in any more pain.I made the appointment for euthenasia and he peacefully passed in my arms in his favorite blanket :(. Any infection a diabetic dog gets is extremely hard to cure, especially if the dog is hard to regulate. It is a burden of love to own a diabetic dog. With that being said, if they are not responding well to it or have lost their sight, hearing, or are just struggling, the best thing to do is to peacefully send them over that rainbow bridge. You pet will let you know when it's time... you'll see it.. my mind knew it but my heart didn't want to let go. I miss my baby boy so much and I would give ANYTHING to have him back in my arms again... but Im comforted in knowing his suffering is over. :(


petlover1
April 3, 2016

My just-turned 10 year old large breed dog is diabetic --found out 4 months ago. We (the vet & me) can't get it under control thus far between dietary changes & insulin (now have her on 16 CCs twice daily injections). She's a fantastic patient-- she knows when to lie down for her shots, knowing I'll give her extra cuddling & diabetic treats, and she's never balked. It's just severely wearing me down --- emotionally, time & work/personal life-wise & financially. I'm a single parent (1 child in 6th grade) who works part time, just started school again & have 3 other pets (2 dogs & a cat).  On top of that my youngest dog, an approx 12-13 month old border collie/heeler/who knows what else mix just got diagnosed with Iatrogenic Cushings (he has Lymphedema caused by tick-borne illness, that I've been treating him for ever since I started fostering--& then adopting--at 6 months old) Hos medical needs are also severely limiting. My diabetic girl is my best friend, truly my favorite pet I've ever had in my 50 years of life, and we have an incredible bond, unlike any bond I've ever had with a pet. I just don't know what to do. I know she's starting to lose her eye site. I feel lost, like I don't know how much more of this I can take, and when to let her go for the right reasons.


Lynn
March 14, 2016

Thank you very much for this article.


Linda Du Frane
February 24, 2016

I read every comment & I know how hard it is. I lost my husband suddenly, we didn't have any life insurance(always thought we'd get it eventually). I am now losing our home. I have 8 rescued furkids ages starting 4 yrs to 15 yrs(all indoors, & fixed). I saved them right off the street. I love them so much, they give me something to come home to. Tippy my love bug was recently diagnosed with diabetes, I am having such a hard time getting her glucose numbers down, she is always getting urinary tract infections, not eating.stiff back legs. I have made many, trips to the vet. She is on 5 units 2x a day. Right now she is not doing good again. I couldn't give her, her insulin this morning because she wouldn't eat anything. I'm at my wits end. I can't afford to go the Vet til next week. I have let so many bills go so I can take care of her. And to make matters worse my orange little man Tuffy was diagnosed with asthma last week. Thought he was going to die in my arms. He was put in a oxygen chamber, we were given Amoxi drops, Prednisolone and Theophylline. My bill was over 400.00. Now I have another cat who is throwing up and not eating. I am just about to give up. I don't want to lose my furkids, I love them all so much, we've been thru so much already. It'd hard to know where to turn any more. I do alot of praying, saying prayers for everyone here also.


Victoria Place
February 9, 2016

I adopted a very nice funny singing dog 3 years ago!!! Never found out his age!! I would say about 7 or 8 years old Yorkshire terrier. Had him 3 wonderful years, all of a sudden he started get sick and did not want to eat, drinking water like crazy, loosing weight and could hardly hold his head up. I raced him to the vet as quick as possible? The vet did some blood test, and found out he was diabetic. I tried the insulin for a month the dog became better and then he went down again!! I notice he became blind, I became shocked because the dog was confused and I became even more confused. No one told me the dog would go blind!!! What a horrible thing for this lively dog!!!! Could not play with his doggie friends anymore!!! Then he got a infection starting in a blind eye!!!!! I decided what a life for such a happy go lucky dog!!!!! So before he could go through anymore pain, I took the strong decision to put him asleep!!!!! I'm sad , but It was for the Love of the dog. Not to see him suffer!!!!!!!!!


Jeannie
February 9, 2016

I have a 12 year old Cairn Terrier that was just diagnosed with Diabetes and they started him on one shot a day and now 2.  He cries for water and never is able to get enough and eats a lot too!  He has to wear diapers and has lost a lot of weight! He attitude has changed too.  He is real anxious and won't lay still 5 minutes.  His stomach is also real swollen.  I have been told that Insulin is not good and I don't see that it has changed his condition one bit in fact he may be worse!!  Not sure what to do at this point!  I don't want to put him down because I love this little fella!!


Christina
February 6, 2016

For all those with diabetic cats and in a financial pickle or strain please check out this website: http://fdmb-cin.blogspot.com/p/compassionate-assistance-program.html
They can help with insuline in some cases. They helped my cat a lot but unfortunately I found them too late and diabetes took over his body.  Please donate to their cause because they really do help diabetic cats in need. They tried to help mine so much but I found them too many months late. I lost my cat but as soon as I am financially able I am going to donate  because I am so thankful that they tried above and beyond to try to save Mr. Wiggles. I only wish my local human society had known about their nonprofit charity. I hope this helps others and their cats.


KIMBERLY WEISS
January 29, 20126

My dog (almost 11-cockapoo) had classic diabetes symptoms (urination, drinking a lot) and was diagnosed on MLK day. His blood sugar and ketones were awful. We put him on insulin, and his blood sugar and ketones remain terrible. He acts fine. His peeing/drinking is better, he is rude, annoying, barking, chasing the cats, demanding treats we have no intention of giving him in his condition, telling us what room to go in, burying things in kitty litter--in other words, he seems perfectly normal. Yet, his numbers indicate a dog that is deathly ill. Are we just in some lucky grace period before the terrible sickness sets in? And why doesn't he seem to respond to the insulin at all?


Kellie
January 28, 2016

Hello! Not sure if anyone will read this post or not, but I just found out my dog has diabetes last night. She is an 11.5 year old dalmatian mix. She is currently at the emergency vet because they found a trace of ketones in her urine. She has since stabilized but will be kept there a couple more days to figure out the correct dosage of insulin she will need twice a day for the rest of her life. I have already spent over $3,300 on this and I am terrified about the cost of insulin each month, or if she should come down with other ailments, because I am having a new baby boy in less than a month - money is tight! I am not considering putting her down, but just really unsure of where to begin with the process of selecting a good enough insulin that I can afford. I am going to see her at the clinic after work today and I know the vet recommended 5 units of insulin twice a day.....any advice or help would be much appreciated from someone who has gone through this before! Thank you!


Lisa W
January 26, 2016

My dog was just diagnosed, she is not suffering perhaps uncomfortable at times, but that's the process in regulating your dog's blood sugar levels. I would not ever put a dog down as once you get their levels regulated they can continue to lead a healthy normal life-span….It truly is not that expensive to treat a dog with diabetes (maybe in the beginning until you get your dog regulated) but after that, $25 a month is so worth having my baby here with me, and seeing her happy sassy personality come back…she's getting more and more comfortable as her numbers come down, and I'm 100% committed to her…if you can't afford to treat your dog, get rid of cable?? that's more then enough a month to cover your pet…When you get a pet, you sign up and commit to them for the length of their life! I am so thankful for the help from my vet, and there is nothing I'd rather do then take care of my baby girl.


Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
January 4, 2016

For those of you treating a diabetic pet with insulin, please know that it is not a good idea to change brand or dose of insulin without consulting with your veterinarian.  Dogs and cats do not respond to commercially available insulin products in the same way humans do, and they may respond differently to one brand vs. another.  Please always check with your veterinarian before making any changes!


Mary Hart
January 4, 2016

People whose dogs have Diabetes should be aware of the fact that WalMart- at least, the stores large enough to have a pharmacy- carries there own store brand of insulin- not for every single version of insulin you can buy in a pharmacy, but for most of them.  They sell this for $24.88 per bottle.


Jacob
January 3, 2016

To everyone going through this i want to give my condolences i have a young pup and cant imagine that moment yet. But my mother had this situation over two years ago and i saw the damage it was causing her. You loved your dog for its entire life and your dog loved you. First off a dog is not a human they have no tv no books to read no anything. A dogs life is pleasing you and thats what your dog loves to do. Greet you at the door sleep with you and play. When the time comes that your dog loses what it loves to do it is suffering you may not see it but put yourself in your dogs shoes. Id the question is how much is this gonna cost comes up you can in no way hurt your financial standing for your pet think about it do you really think your pet would want you to do that. If money is no option then by all means but if money is tight your not a bad owner for letting your dog go peacefully with you by its side. Dont let anyone tell you that your a bad owner for not spending every dollar they are the terrible ones. You have to sit down put yourself in your dogs shoes and really think if you would want that life. Im not saying put tour love one down or not im saying really think what is best for the dog not what is best for you. If you decide to let your dog go because of money you're not teaching your children a bad lesson you're showing your children mercy and compassion, teaching them that sometimes you have to do what is best for others.


Jybyooh
January 3, 2016

To Sunshine, We get our insulin at Walmart. We use novolin n and it is $25.00. We have 2 diabetic dogs. The bottle lasts 1 month. One of our dogs gets 13 units and the other 6 units twice a day. Maybe try Walmart.


Sunshine
December 22, 2015

My best friend/dog Rocco was diagnosed with diabetes last month and dropped 40 pounds in that month. His happy loving smile did fade away and it is obvious to anyone who knows my dog that he isn't feeling well. I can't afford the insulin. I looked around for insulin prices and a bottom of 100 units is $147. He needs 10 units twice a day, meaning one bottle of insulin is only going to last him 5 days. How am I supposed to pay that much every five days including the syringes? Is there any payment plan or any other way? I found your blog to be comforting. I'm going through a tough time seeing my dog the way he is. I'd do anything not to see him in this condition but I know financially, I'm just unable to pay. How can I treat him without the medicine? What can I switch his dog food too that may help keep his blood pressure down and steady? The sucky part is, I know I'm not emotionally ready to let him go. The thought of that bring a me to tears every time. Any advice from you or anyone reading this.


Heidi
December 7, 2015

Hi! My 6-7 year old redbone coonhound "Trax" was diagnosed with diabetes about 4 months ago. We started giving him 6 units of Humulin 2 x a day with no change. We are now at 18 units 2 x a day and he is still holds steady between 600-700. He is eating a low glycemic diet by Nutro. My question is, is there any point to continuing the insulin if he is not going to regulate? My vet is recommending an internal specialist consult, but I just can't afford that and I'm not sure how many more glucose curves I can afford:( My poor guy is completely blind and just does not seem happy and he hates getting the injections. I know if he doesn't regulate he will end up dying, but at this point, if we stop giving the insulin, is that going to speed up the process? I mean, are we waisting our time and finances giving him the insulin if his #'s are going to stay so high? Ugh...I don't know what to do. We love him so much, but he just seems so sad:( Thanks.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
December 7, 2015

Mary, I presume that you are talking about skin tumors, and this answer really only pertains to skin tumors. Most skin tumors are treated with excision only.  In other words, most do not have any chemo or radiation types of treatments in addition to surgery.  So, if you have them removed, you have a chance that you will have cured your dog.  Also, the smaller the tumor, the bigger chance that excision is curative, and generally the cheaper the surgery.  Waiting is a bad idea. You can remove them and NOT send them for pathology, which saves money.  The downside to this is if they do not have good margins, you will not know if the tumor is cured, or what kind it is, so you won't know if it is something that comes back rapidly.  You will have no prognosis. You just need to decide if: 1.  You are ok NOT knowing the kind of tumor (i.e., will it come back quickly?) 2. You are ok NOT knowing if all of the tumor has been cut out and therefore may come back. 3.  If there is any chance you want to remove them, do it NOW before they get big! As long as you are making an informed decision, I do not see anything wrong with removing tumors without doing histopathology or any followup treatments.  It is also ok to NOT remove the tumor at all, but realize once you make this decision, it can be hard to go back, but as long as you know that, it will be ok.


Mary
December 7, 2015

My dog doesn't have diabetes, but is in a similar situation in that she has several tumors that may or may not be cancerous. The vet wants to remove them and have them sent to pathology to determine either way.  I understand this, but the problem is that  after this $700+ surgery, if I find out that they are cancerous, I am not able to pay for treatment for this. If I do nothing, there's the 50/50 percent she will not have cancer.  If she does have cancer, the tumors will come back.  Then what do I do?  Is it worth putting her through all this either way?


Wynona's Mom
November 16, 2015

My cat Wynona was diagnosed in September with Diabetes. She was put on insulin shots twice a day and switched her food to diabetic food. The Thursday before Halloween, she was lethargic, didn't want to eat and not moving. I called my vet and they told me to take her to the ER. She was there for 5 days with ketoacidosis, blood sugar off the charts and dehydrated. After the 5 days and $4K, she was home with me and her brother. The day she was supposed to go in for a curve test, she became dehydrated again and didn't want to eat. Again she was sent home 2 days later. 2 days after she came home, she again became lethargic, didn't want to eat and her urine had ketones. I took her to the ER for the 3rd time. She's still there. On Friday they called me and told me I needed to come because they were concerned she might not make it. She's a fighter. She's doing better and they are taking her off of the IV insulin and fluids. They are going to keep her for a few days with normal insulin injections an oral medications to monitor her. They don't want to release her and then she ends up back in the ER. This has cost me a pretty penny. I'm not rich, but i've had her since she was 8 weeks. She's 10 years old now. I wish the doctors can figure out what is causing all of this. The emotional roller coaster is taking a toll on me. I want her to be well, but they can't regulate her blood sugar, i don't know what i'm going to do.


Meg
November 14, 2015

We are also dealing with this problem.  Our beloved kitty James has been diagnosed with diabetes, and our vet is urging us to begin insulin as soon as possible in order to attempt remission.  James is 18 years old.  After such a long life, it seems sad to end it with insulin injections, blood test pricks, and possible misery for all involved.  The cost is also an issue for us.  But it's possible that after 4 months and $500 he could go into remission...we are very torn.  Should we spend the money, try the insulin, and risk some very unhappy humans and an unhappy cat? Or do we let James go, monitor his quality of life and euthanize when it is time?  How much will he suffer as the diabetes takes his course?  Right now he is only drinking and urinating a lot, he's been on low-carb canned food for years.  His last blood test at the vet was 300, and they did a glucose urinalysis as well as other tests that showed raised glucose levels.  It's hard to turn down the possibility of a couple more good years if James goes into remission...but it would only be a couple years at most anyway. He's at the end of his life.  To treat or not?


PuddysParents
November 13, 2015

This is helpful.  We have an almost 16-year old cat with diabetes, which we've been treating with insulin injections now for about 3 years.  He's starting to lose control of his bladder, and we find little brown "presents" around where he couldn't get to the litter box.  Keep us in your thoughts ... we think it might be time.


CatMom
November 10, 2015

At least I know I'm not alone in this dilemma but it doesn't make decisions any easier. My precious kitty is 16 years old with multiple health problems that amount to about $300 of medication every month. I've overdrawn on my bank account from an unexpected vet visit needed to adjust his meds. I have never been in such a dire financial situation before and there is no telling how long he will continue to live. He seems happy. That is the problem. I don't want to end his life before HE is ready to go. But I don't know for sure and I legitimately cannot keep up with the medication and vet visits at this rate. I have trimmed all the fat off my budget that I can. Short of going on a diet of ramen noodles, I can't save any more for the cat. But I still can't just give up on him. He still wants snuggles, likes his treats, and finds sun puddles to bask in. He seems content. Who am I to decide it is his time to die?


Barb
November 4, 2015

This was very helpful.  My 12 year old bichon/llasa apso was dx with DM about a year ago.  Since then she developed cataracts.  She is happy and fine and has adapted to loss of vision, insulin twice daily and (change in food-not as much).  I, on the other hand, have seen a dramatic change.  I am not able to have any social life.  I live alone so I am solely responsible for her.  I have had a great deal of other issues (lack of job security, financial challenges, moving from house to apartment) and caring for my dog has become intolerable.  She is a sweet dog, and I love her, but the stress, cost and isolation have taken its toll.  Even though I am a medical professional, I believe I have decided to stop treatment and let it run its course.  I plan to discuss this with my vet in the next couple of weeks.  Thank you.  This is the first place I have felt good about making this decision.


Kristen Stairs
November 4, 2015

Hi my almost 9 year old pug x shitzu was peeing all through the night had to let her out 2-3times a night. i brought her to our vet this past Friday they gave me meds for uti. he told me it could be diabetes but she isn't thirsty all the time or have any of the signs to go with it. She did a urine sample came back she has a infection but sugar was found in your urine 3t and told me I had to now do blood work insulin and buy special food from them. I really can't afford the vet bill.they said cause there was sugar in the urine it's a good indicator she is diabetic. But I'm not sure if I believe it as the meds are working she isn't getting up to pee in the middle of the night anymore nor have the side effect. I just don't know what to do or think. If she is a diabetic can I try just a special diet? How long will she live without insulin injections? My husband is the only one working and I can't afford another vet trip for blood work special food and insulin again? I'm so hurt she's like part of the family I don't know what to do I cry all day not knowing what to do.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
November 3, 2015

Diane, I am very sorry to hear about Chloe. Currently, Chloe is her own worst enemy.  She is not letting you give her the insulin, which makes her feel bad, therefore causing peeing all over the house and not wanting to be touched, leading her to feel bad.  The cycle is vicious.  It is also one that you most likely cannot stop. While we would like to believe that we can treat every animal we encounter, the truth is, some are just not amenable to treatment.  From your description, Chloe is one of those. Pets are supposed to be enjoyable.  Pets should have a good quality of life, while not making our quality of life poor.  Right now, none of you has a good quality of life.  There is nothing wrong with letting go.  You have tried and Chloe has not done her part.   It is not an easy decision, I know. I have lived with a diabetic dog who snapped at me twice a day for her insulin injections.  When we reached the point that neither of us was happy, I put her to sleep.  There is nothing wrong with that.  She knew I loved her, I let her go to be in peace, rather than having me poking her all of the time. I hope this helps.  You are not alone in making that kind of decision. Thinking of you.


Diane
November 3, 2015

My 10 year old cat Chloe was diagnosed with diabetes about two months ago. The vet prescribed insulin injections twice a day; however, Chloe will not let us near her to administer the shots.  She's a sweet cat but does not like to be touched, picked up, or crated to go to the vet.  Both my son and I suffered cat bites recently and had to be treated with antibiotics after trying to get her in her carrier for a vet visit (which had to be canceled because we couldn't catch her).  Meanwhile, Chloe pees on the floor outside of both litter boxes; she's even peed on me in bed.  My kids' bathroom is a danger zone, often covered in urine, and she's ruined the carpet outside the other box.  I fear that putting her to sleep is my only option, which is so upsetting because I have the insulin and syringes to help her.  Any advice you can give me is appreciated.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
October 27, 2015

Audrey, I am so sorry about your problems with Trouble.  Diabetes is not a kind disease to anyone.  And you are right, it can be quite costly to hospitalize her to get her diabetes under control, but it sounds like she either needs this or to be euthanized. My suggestion:  use the quality of life assessment in this Veterinary Partner article to help make a decision. http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=1523 Think back to when Trouble's diabetes was under control (was it ever?) and rank her quality of life before she became ill this last time.  If her quality of life was good, and you can afford to treat her in the hospital, it may well be worth hospitalizing her to get her back on track.  If her quality of life was not good before thus last illness, then it may not be worth the time and money to hospitalize her now. You need to realize of course, that it might not be possible to get her diabetes regulated.  If you decide on hospitalization I would suggest you go into it with an open mind, with the information that you might be spending time and money and still end up with a dog whose diabetes is not controlled. If you decide to euthanize Trouble, know that you are doing what is best for her, that you have made the decision with great thought, care and love.  She will know that! Please let us know how things go for you.


Audrey
October 27, 2015

I am in that exact situation, as my girl Trouble has diabetes. Trouble is now blind and has lost her appetite completely. the vet suggested putting her in the hospital to get her regulated but I opted not to as she was already is a very nervous dog and with the blindness I just didn't think it was good for her well being. But I just spoke to the vet today as I can not get her to eat and without eating I can not give her insulin. So now I am sitting and debating what to do. I either need to put her in the hospital and let them get her on track (which I am sure is going to be very costly) or let her go. I am simply heartbroken right now.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
October 21, 2015

Diana, I am so sorry that you have lost your buddy, Skeeter.  There are just some animals that steal our heart. From your description, Skeeter was his own worst enemy in being treated. Some animals just won't let it be done.  There is nothing worse than watching your friend crying in pain and trying bite you.   He was not happy, he was not going to get better and he was not going to let you treat him.  It was the right decision, letting him go from his pain. Guilt can eat you up and Skeeter would not want that for his best friend.  He would want you to remember the good times you had together, the fun and the playing.  Letting him go was a gift to him and a way to show just how deeply you loved him.  He KNOWS you loved him! Sit back and remember the good times.  Skeeter loved you and you loved him.  Keep all of that in mind as you let go of the guilt!


Diana
October 21, 2015

I will try to write this without breaking down again.  I had made the decision to end my buddy my PARNTER my love down a month ago my HERO SKEETER min pin of 10/5 years old. We both had a hard life together and finally are prayers were answered and just the three of us my friend also made it to move our lives across country to are Paradise Florida! Life looked so good and promising finally for us than Skeeter whom I had notice before we left Michigan started drinking lots of water and panting a lot a lot of heavy breathing and just not the same he always had a aggressive attitude but was getting worse! When we played he tried but than would get aggressive. Skeeter's drinking and urinating become worse took his to the veterinarian and that's when my life took a turn for the worse found out he had Diabetes and sugar level of 400 to 700 I cried to found out he had to have insulin twice daily and still didn't control him. I knew how devastating Diabetes is in humans I had battled it with my Husband which lost the battle, so I was willing to try with Skeeter by the second week he would not let me treat him and CRYED in pain broke my heart to him in to see the Doctor in hopes they could help me and Skeeter nipped at them I knew that moment with a DEEP CONSULTATION WITH DOCTOR AND STAFF IT WAS TIME! I left office without my Partner my Buddy it was a month ago and IM STILL IN PAIN AND GUILT and trying to read as much information on DEALING WITH LOSS AND GUILT TO HAVE TO HAD THE RESPONSIBILTY TO MAKE THE BEST DECISION For MY SKEETER!!!!!!!


Paula Sedgley
October 17, 2015

I just want to encourage people to at least try dealing with your dog's diabetes if you love the dog. My dog was 6 when he was diagnosed. He is now almost 8. He is mostly blind, and has some urinary incontinence which they have pills for that which help. I thought at first it was going to be sooo bad, all the expenses, and changes for him. After 6 mo or so , we got into a schedule and it is not nearly as bad as i had imagined. We found walmart had the best deal on insulin/and syringes. He gets a quick shot right after he eats twice a day we he has no problem with. We give him just regular dog food. He gets eye drops off the internet for uviitis protection. He has found his way around, and we take him to a place where he can run freely, dig ground squirrels, all his favorite things to do. He still seems to enjoy life, is not in pain, and sure, he's not as he was but we have all adapted, and in the end, i am glad he is still with us, even if his life will be shorter. I am sooo glad we did not just put him down. It is very scary at first but after a while it is no big deal.


Denise Robinson
October 17, 2015

Hi again, Sasha is still with us. Is still aggressive but no one else in the house has come completely to terms with euthanizing her except me. She stays by my side or is on a soft pillow if I am doing something. If I'm setting she's in my lap like now. We have all noticed that even after she has been fed and given her 3 units of insulin she acts like she is starving to death all day. She even found a way to reach our cats food and ate some before we could stop her. We have fixed that problem, but will bark and beg at the fridge where her food is kept and lay by her place mat barking constantly for food. It's so annoying and nothing not even a frozen green bean snack will stop her. She is also loosing a couple of ounces a day. Over this last week she has lost one pound. I know that isn't much but she has never lost weigh before. It's like she has developed hyperthyroidism. I had a friend that had it and almost passed away. He had to have his thyroid removed to survive. He did not have diabetes. Can hyperthyroidism go along with diabetes in Sasha? Could this be why she seems to be starving? It feels so cruel to let her feel this way. If this is what is happening I think this will make husband and son realize its time to let her go. Please help Sasha. Thank you, Denise PS I am so close to just taking her and having her euthanized and telling them afterwards and just face whatever I have to. This is killing me inside. They fuss constantly about her barking and begging.


Linda Stewart
October 16, 2015

I chose to put my 10.5 year old Shi Tzu to sleep yesterday a.m. It was a horribly painful decision. She became ill the afternoon before. Turns out she was terribly anemic and would need to do a blood transfusion to give them the cause. It took us two hours to decide. We couldn't. The cost was a factor and not wanting her to suffer was too. Today I keep wondering if we should have gone for the transfusion. She was near death already. We were told that if she had what they expected there would be meds for life and possibly more transfusions. I feel so co fused and sad. I loved her so much. We have a friend who is a vet professor who says we did the right thing. But I'm wondering how we can know since we don't know the reason she was anemic. 17 out of 30 count and blood was clotting when they withdrew blood. My heart is broken.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
October 11, 2015

Marie, I want you to know I could have written your post, as I put my 11 year old diabetic dog to sleep 2 days ago.  There is no way to know 'for sure' and it varies for everyone.  My husband and I decided that she was not enjoying life, was scared since becoming blind and no longer living; she was only existing.  It was still NOT an easy decision, but I am at peace with my decision, as I know she is no longer miserable. This document may help you, it has a quality of life scale.  I would suggest that you and everyone in your family answer the questions.   Write down the good days and the bad days, don't just rely on your memory.  Include your good days and bad days, as your enjoyment of your dog is also important.  And it can be very difficult to enjoy an animal that is unable to control their bladder and bowels any more.  They don't like the messes any more than you do. http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=1523 Please let me know what you decide and if there is anything I can do to help.


Marie
October 11, 2015

My dog is 11 years old and was diagnosed with diabetes 1 year ago. We worked through his original ketoacidosis and got him to a stable baseline. He gets his insulin injections 2x a day and has been on a chicken and dog food diet to keep him eating. While he doesn't particularly like his injections, he'll put up with them for the most part. He's been completely blind for about 8 months now and has recently been losing bowel control and occasionally bladder control. I have this nagging feeling his time is coming but how do you know for sure when it's time? He doesn't necessarily exhibit pain and he's still eating. I'm so lost with this chronic disease on when enough is enough. He wags his tail when we come home, but he mostly lays and doesn't play since he became blind. How do you know when it's time?


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
September 25, 2015

Patrice, The dog in the article was 10. Your dog is her own worst enemy.  She is not letting you treat her.  I would suggest trying some positive reinforcement with both the muzzle and the injection.  A small piece of cheese, or the canned Cheddar and Bacon squeeze cheese can be a treat that should not change her blood glucose a lot, but should give her some positive reinforcement for allowing you to do the injection and muzzle. I am sorry she is not being cooperative. Take care.


Patrice
September 24, 2015

My 4 year old puggle was diagnosed with diabetes. She will not let us give her the needle. Everyone says just give her the injection but she is terrified, throws her head back and starts to bite. We are now trying to train her to put on a muzzle so we can attempt to give her the insulin. We love her and are trying to do the best for her but it is very hard. I read the article about your family member's dog. How old was the dog they decided not to treat? I feel so guilty that I am even thinking that way.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
September 23, 2015

Sandy, There is nothing wrong with using a soft muzzle to do his injections. I do think part of your problem might be that you are no longer able to give his injections subcutaneously, it sounds like they are going IM now, which is more painful.  With the muzzle, hopefully you will be able to return to the subcutaneous route (tenting the skin), therefore giving them with less pain. It might also be that your dog is more painful as he ages and needs some pain medication which  hopefully will make him less grumpy.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
September 23, 2015

Denise, Sasha is lucky to have you has an owner.  You have cared for her through several problems, none of which can be fixed, only managed.  Diabetics frequently don't feel good and there is a definite change in personality when they don’t feel good.  I would dare to say that her aggression is not going to lessen and will probably get worse. It is hard to make the decision to euthanize, especially if not all members of your family are on the same page in making the decision. This document on euthanasia from Veterinary Partner has a Quality of Life Scale.  I would suggest that each member of your family sit down and fill it out and compare what you find.  I also suggest that everyone mark on a calendar good days and bad days, then count them up rather than relying on memory from day to day. http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=1523 From your description, I don’t think Sasha is enjoying life right now.  And neither are you.  But, you cannot just discount your family's feelings, as everyone needs to come to terms with this to help maintain some peace in the family. Let us know how this goes, and if there is anything else we can do to help.


Denise
September 23, 2015

I'll try to keep this short. Sasha is a 12yr old toy poodle. My dearest companion. Diagnosed with diabetes mellitus about 8 months ago. Started special food which hurt her stomach, to much fiber for her so now she eats just weight control can food are gets 3 units of vetsilin twice daily. She has since lost most of her sight. Started hormones for wetting and not knowing it. Her vet had us just recently increase the hormone to twice a week. Worked for a while and then stopped working so she wore a baby diaper. She hates the diaper. Our financial situation has changed drastically, her insulin, needles, hormones oh and med for arthritis in hips has added to quite a sum of money. That's not the point. I would go without for her. We began seeing changes in her personality. She has always loved everyone including small children. She has bitten me, her mommy 6 times. The other night she tore into my husbands toe. She will viciously an aggressively go for our cat Chloeanne, they have been very close playmates since the day Chloe showed up at the back door as a starving 4 pound pregnant sick kitten that I took to the vet and she got well. Sasha spends a lot of time in her bed back in our bedroom, her and Chloe sleep in the bed with us though. Sasha has never spent much time in her own bed. I think it's time to peacefully let her go, even though it will break my heart, but I feel like she is suffering. The way she looks at me when I talk to her is heartbreaking. My husband and son say I will be killing a perfectly good dog. She has been the most wonderful dog. Our vet says it's a decision only we can make. I need help. By the way, I am the one who does everything for her. Very little help from anyone else. Please tell me what you think I should do for my sweet little girl. She has never been more than 10 pounds. Vet told me toy poodles are very prone to diabetes mellitus. I can't watch her suffer. What do you think I should do. I know it is ultimately my decision as she was given to me by my old employer when she was 7weeks old. Help me please..


Sandy
September 22, 2015

My Italian Greyhound 15 yrs old has Cushings and diabetes. He has started reacting with growls and baring his teeth when time for his injection. He is also blind. He is fairly stable, still does his thing, has mapped the house, the yard, gets on and off beds and couches. But I am scared he is going to bite. He hasn't yet but he has hit my hand with his mouth. Would a soft muzzle be OK? As it is now I have to hope he is asleep or catch him unaware before I run out of time to give his injection. I can no longer tent the skin so I aim for the fatty neck or side of his hips. As he starts jumping around I often don't get all of it in. I tried the inflatable cone but he uses those long IG legs to paw it off. Appreciate any help. I have tried absolutely everything. When I have someone to hold him I can get it in but I'm worried he will bite them. I  live alone and very seldom have someone to help. Thank you in advance.


Ossie
September 22, 2015

My dog Sara, was diagnosed with diabetes in 2011 when I got her from my parents, undulin twice a day 9mm. I retired 2013, she developed eye problems, had to go to an Opthamologist, she had glaucoma and wham, lost an eye thank God I'm healthy and got a payout from my company when I retired. Quickly I went through about $4000. 00. I'm currently treating Sara's good eye with 5 meds, 4 times a day and insulin twice a day. She might lose her one eye but I'm doing all I can to save it. I don't have kids, just 2 dogs and 2 cats oh and a husband, luckily everyone else is healthy.


Elizabeth Percy
September 14, 2015

Just to give a hopeful note to anyone new to doggie diabetes like me. Now I have to say that I am in a good place to do this being retired and a bit of a home bird anyways and this is no criticism of anyone who chooses not to commit to it. But I just wanted to say this need not be too bad. My labrador aged 12 has recently been diagnosed diabetic and I elected to give the insulin. First couple of injections I was terrified but after that I began to notice the change in Max, firstly he took the insulin well and as a labrador will eat anything so no food problems. Cabbage for a little treat works well. Then he started to sleep well again and not need help up the stairs so that made my life a little bit easier to compensate. Can't go out at 8pm so I have become a 'lady who lunches'lol. Now as I said it was easy for me but just to say if anyone is not sure whether to do it, then it is not all bad.


Michelle
August 26, 2015

In humans, this is Type 1 Diabetes, wherein the beta cells of the pancreas are destroyed... this means no more insulin. You need insulin to break down all carbohydrates, which means you need insulin in order to to eat. Letting your dog die from lack of insulin would be insanely cruel. It is a long and painful death in which the body is starving, and so eats itself, until you are dehydrated skin and bones, chronically vomiting, with unquenchable thirst. I nearly died from T1D thirty years ago. If you don't want to treat your dog (and I certainly don't blame you, it's hell) please employ humane euthanasia.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
August 24, 2015

Elaine, No, you are definitely not alone!  It is never easy to decide not to treat.  KC was one of those animals who was his own worst enemy when it came to trying to help him. It is not like diabetes is a disease you can cure, you can only manage it and live with it forever, and it sounds like KC was not going to allow any management. Know that he is in a better place, feeling good, no more diabetes or hyperthyroidism.  He obviously knows you loved him, he followed you around to tell you so!  Not putting him through a bunch of treatment that he would have hated was a kindness, for both of you. Please take care of yourself, know that KC loved you, knew that you loved him, and that the guilt and pain will start to ease with time.


Elaine
August 24, 2015

I am so glad I came across your page. As I sit here writing this message, I am crying like I have ever before. It has been 4 days since I had to make the choice to put my best friend to sleep, KC my 11 year old cat. Everything happened so fast and I am still trying to make sense of it all. He had hyper thyroid, weight 18 lb, main coon cat. He started to drop, look greasy, sleep all the time and would not jump up on things anymore. 2 months of this I took him to his Vet to learn he became diabetic as well as Hyper Thyroid. We got his Thyroid balanced with Hills Cat food YD but now this Diabetic issue. Almost $1,000 later over the last 3 months at the Vets, now I was confronted with sadness, I could not afford anymore testing. Also, he would not ever allow me to give him a needle, ever. He as the boss and I have been on medication for infections when he was mad and bit me. He was the best cat you could ask for, we talked, he followed me everywhere.. He was my support and I was his buddy too ( I am 55 ). I have gone through similar things with other cats and felt this too would be another 2 year struggle with the same results, send them to heaven... I am having such a hard time, filled with guilt ( why didn t I bring him home for a couple of days and spoil him ) I worry he knew I was crying and was scared.. I have so much quilt it is eating me inside.. After reading that others have and do feel this way I now know I am not the only one....


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
August 18, 2015

Robin, I am not sure of the diet your cat is on, but it is important to have your cat on a canned food diet.  You may be able to ameliorate the diabetes with canned food alone, at least for a time. If the canned food is not enough, she will continue to drink a lot, urinate a lot and lose weight.  She runs the risk of becoming ketoacidotic, which is life threatening. I understand not wanting to treat an animal that runs from you - it is heartbreaking.  She does not understand you are trying to help her and it is breaking your heart to have her run from you.  Not all animals are treatable for all diseases, it is just a fact of life. You have to decide if it is worth it, and if it is not, when her (and your) quality of life becomes such that euthanasia is the right answer for both of you. Please let us know how things are going.


Robin G
August 18, 2015

Hi, thank you for this article.  I had a cat years ago that I had to give insulin to twice a day. I would inject her while she was eating and she never flinched.  I now have another one, but she runs and hides as soon as I open the refrigerator.  I have not been able to give her the insulin for weeks now.  I hate this as I don't want her to suffer.  But if it is so traumatic for her to get the injections, is it worth it?  Is she suffering?  How do I know?  She drinks and urinates constantly and even though she eats fine, she is losing weight.  What happens if I do nothing?  Thank you for your help.


LisaBeth
August 6, 2015

I have been checking my cat's urine with ketostix. Abby has had two negative/trace results which makes me very happy!  The change in her diet is working on her diabetes!  My Aunt told me to put a ladle or spoon under her to collect the urine. Easy!


Choo
August 30, 2015

I'm so glad I found your article.  I've been so stressed and heart broken about my cat.  He was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes three weeks ago.  I thought his excessive drinking had to do with me feeding him too much human canned tuna so I stopped feeding him that.  He stopped drinking water and everything seemed normal except when I performed the keto diastix urine test.  The results were always positively high for glucose but negative for ketones.  I took him to a holistic veterinarian and she said I had to deal with it: either put him down or give him insulin.  So I started giving him insulin shots last Friday, July 30.  He handled the first four shots well and didn't even seem to know he had been injected.  But on the 5th shot, he sat down when I gave him the injection and on the 6th shot, he cried and yelped a bit.  The 7th time (tonight), he kept moving away when I was trying to lift his skin for a shot so I gave up.  I contacted my petsitter, who sometimes has to give shots to the pets in her care and she told me that she did not enjoy giving cats shots because some of them would cry but she powered through by telling herself that it was for their own good and that was the only way they could survive.  I suppose I should do that but I cannot bear to hear my baby cry.  What should I do?  I'm giving him some herbal tinctures like Blood Sugar Gold but I don't know if they'll work.  My husband died 8 months ago and my cat has been my absolute greatest buddy through the difficult months.  I feel guilty for not forcing insulin on him and when I hear him cry, I feel guilty for forcing it on him.  Can you please advice?  I love him more than anything in the world.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
July 31, 2015

Drapes, If you leave her untreated for 14 days, she could get very sick, possibly die.  If a diabetic is hyperglycemic (has high blood sugar) for any length of time (and the length of time varies from diabetic to diabetic), they run the real risk of becoming ketoacidotic, which is life threatening and very expensive to treat. Can you find a boarding kennel that will give insulin injections?  Ask your vet if they know any pet sitters who are willing and able to give the insulin injections? I know you are in a very difficult position, it is hard to balance your needs with your cat's diabetic needs.  It is not easy, needing to be home every 12 hours, 7 days a week.


Drapes
July 31, 2015

My 14 yr old part siamese was diagnosed with diabetes 5 months ago.  In Oct she was overweight at 15lbs and in Feb at diagnosis weighed 9 lbs.  She is stable now @ 12lbs on special diet and 2 shots/day.  I have to go out of town for 14 days and cannot afford to leave her at our vet and cannot find a sitter who will attempt the shots.  What will happen if she doesn't get her insulin for 14 days?


Ann Maidment
July 30, 2015

Our vet does not agree with our decision to euthanize a treasured cat (to us) due to a behavior issue. Our cat had anxiety for unknown reasons. Previously she had been a very well adjusted cat. We did lab work and had her thyroid tested. She had regular vet care always. Her last "episode" happened on the night of July 3 and my husband and I reluctantly decided we couldn't continue with this going on. It was a danger to us, our other cats physically and emotionally. We are riddled with guilt  wondering if we euthanized prematurely, should have tried more drugs, etc. But after a month of barricaded windows, wondering when the next outburst would happen, would I need stitches again due to her being scared and scaring the other cats…we decided that that night we had to euthanize. We feel such disapproval from the staff at the clinic that we're considering changing clinics. The outward deportment is acceptable but their underlying attitude is making us feel like we're being kicked while we're down. I tried to talk to our vet about his anger but he has not responded to that request. I'm old and I know when someone is livid even while conducting themselves correctly. This happened almost a month ago and there is not a day when my husband and I have not cried. Perhaps we made a decision too soon and perhaps we made a timely decision. I wish I understood the clinic's freezing out. We have been good customers for 9 years. I realize you do not have the full story as it would be quite lengthy. Thank you.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
July 29, 2015

Lindsay, To answer your question, yes, it is ok to euthanize a puppy that has a disease that you cannot cure and is hard/expensive/time consuming to treat. Not knowing anything about the testing that has been done on your puppy, I would want to get a second opinion on what could be going on, as diabetes insipidus is a pretty rare disease to begin with and even more rare in puppies.  There are many other conditions, treatable conditions, that can make your puppy drink and pee a lot. If it turns out your puppy does have diabetes insipidus, then it would not be wrong to euthanize him, but it would not hurt to look for a home for him, as long as you have fully disclosed his problems to any potential owners.


Lindsay
July 29, 2015

The doctor suspects that our puppy has diabetes insipidous. After careful consideration, my husband and I have decided if the vet determines this, we will not be able to care for the dog. Although we could technically afford the treatment, I am about to start grad school, we want to start a family, and we are trying to get ahead financially for OUR future. As insensitive as this sounds, can you choose to put a pet down if you choose not to treat their illness. He is not in a house that he can just roam and drink and pee all day and we are not compromising our own future for an animal that we have had for a month. I would like to find him a home, but it is unlikely because few people have the time and money to provide like that for a dog that is 11 weeks old! I love animals, and I don't want him to suffer, but I have to choose my own family over him. Is Euthanasia an option?


LisaBeth
July 29, 2015

My cat, Abby, was just diagnosed with diabetes. She is 10 and a rescue. I am trying to control her with food changes.  The cost of insulin is SO out of control.  I love her, but can't justify the cost.  As long as she is happy and not suffering, we are both happy. When the time comes, I will do the humane thing.  Thank you for this site!


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
July 27, 2015

Yvonne, I am so sorry to hear of your difficulties with your dog.  While we all believe that we should be able to treat every animal, but it is not so.  Some patients are their own worst enemy when being treated for their disease.  Your dog sounds like he is one of those. He has lost half of his body weight, so the diabetes is not controlled and he feels ill. He is biting and upset twice a day and neither you, the dog or your husband are enjoying any of this.  If this were a temporary situation, if there was a cure in sight,  I would say to stick with it. But we all know, diabetes has no cure and there is no end in sight, only more twice a day injections with an upset biting dog. Sometimes the kindest thing we can do for our pets is to euthanize, so they are no longer sick, scared and biting.  He is not happy and he does not feel good; euthanasia is the best option.  You have tried to treat him, so it is ok to let go.  I also believe he will thank you for letting him go, as you will be releasing him from this physical and mental pain. Please take care and let us know what happens.


Yvonne
July 26, 2015

We have stopped been struggling with our nine and a half year old terrier mix for six weeks now. The first half I was giving the injections and it was quite a chore he is very high strung, and for the past 5 years the only way we've been able to do his nails is to take him to the vet where they sedate him and trim his nails, at the same time checking his teeth cleaning, checking his glands etc. The end of my time giving injections was when I had a hold of the collar and had given the injection but as soon as I let go he turned and bit me and left a deep puncture wound that they couldn't even close up due to risk of infection. I was on antibiotics and a tetanus shot, and cried at the thought of not being able to give him his shots. At that point my husband had to take over. he retrofitted the tip that covers the needle to leave only enough needle sticking out so that it would only go under the skin so he could be very quick and not have to make the tent and all the other stuff necessary to do a subcutaneous injection. Our poor baby has lost half of his bodyweight, and 2 days ago we couldn't give him an injection at all because he was very dangerous.   We tried to use leather gloves and we try to put a cone collar around his neck, but he has become very scary when we tried to give him his injection, and we researched and tried every trick in the book. I certainly don't want him to go blind and I don't want him to have other pot complications. But it's getting to be a very real danger to my husband and I. Where do we go from here? That stuff!


Gail
July 14, 2015

Thank you all for your input my cat spunky  is at an overnight visit for her first glucose curve- I've already spent $600 which I charged I can't afford the meds and the vet visits- I am so glad I found this site tomorrow. I'm going to get him -change his diet and that's the best I can do- I just talked to the vet and was crying like a baby wondering if I needed to put him down, but now I see I can just give him lots of water scoop a lot of pee and let him live out his life in peace thank you


Candy
July 6, 2015

I have a 16 year old toy poodle, 9 lbs who has been on insulin for 2 years. Most the time he has been good. In feb the bottom fell out: Ketoacidosis infection etc. The little fighter survived. Now he is having eyesight problems and I think just feeling old but his insulin needs are falling. In feb. 3 units 2x daily to 1 unit 2x daily. Is this possible? We going to vet today to check him since his 2 week reduction to 1 unit 2x day. He is being picky with his eating but he's old. Can this just be is end of days or things working a little better. He is a rescue and I have been taking care of him at my house for these years in rescue so he has a normal life as possible. I love to spoil my guys.


Susan
June 30, 2015

Thank you for this article. Your list of questions is exactly what I went thru today. I took my Nino, a twelve year old Shepherd mix in because he was having trouble going up steps, and panting a lot. Xrays showed arthritis in his spine. Today I got the call about diabetes and resulting infection, either bladder or uti....it's a blur now. He seemed fine on father's day. I appreciate how you listed all the other issues with twice a day injections. I'll be keeping an eye on him until our Friday appointment, hoping he's not hurting more


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
June 24, 2015

Whitney, I am so sorry to hear about your cat Jake.   It is so hard to decide what to do for him.  I also feel your pain, I too have dropped and shattered a $100 bottle of insulin! In the simplistic version of diabetes, the animal does not make enough insulin to keep the blood glucose (sugar) going into the body's cells to be used as energy for the cell.  We give insulin, the blood glucose can be absorbed by the body's cells and used for energy.  Seems simple, doesn't it? Well, quite frankly, it is not. Not only does your veterinarian have to decide how much insulin to give, but what kind.  There are several different kinds, and that is because they don't all work in all animals (same for people).  That is why Jake ends up going in for the glucose curve bloodwork to determine if the dose and type of insulin are working for Jake.  Sometimes our first educated guess is right and sometimes it is not, leading to more days in for more bloodwork. And it is almost impossible to look at the pet in front of us and say "this one is going to be the easy/hard one". Here is a handout from Veterinary Partner on diabetes.  There are actually many of them here, because it is NOT an easy disease to treat. http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=631 There is nothing wrong with deciding that treating is not in the best interest of Jake (and you!).  If you decide not to treat, it is important to keep a calendar and mark them 'good Jake days' and 'bad Jake days'.  When the bad days outweigh the good, it is time to euthanize, for Jake's sake. I feel your pain, but I know you will make the decision that is best for you and Jake.  Take care and feel free to write back.


Whitney
June 23, 2015

It helps that I have read this. My cat, Jake 15, was diagnosed 3 wks ago. I had to save up for one week in order to pay for the insulin, he was on it for 7 days when I dropped the bottle and it shattered. I am completely stressed with the path my vet has chosen. Retest after 10 days on insulin and the next 10 days he spends the whole day at the office while they test every 2 hrs, while they determine the proper dosage. The time he was getting the insulin he didn't seem to improve at all. The time, energy, and money I have spent so far doesn't seem to help. I wonder if he is too far gone for it to make a difference with this extended plan; his numbers were in the 400's (whatever thus means).I am so battling the decision to let the disease run its course and wait for "the sign" or to treat. I don't want to put him through extra stress for the same outcome.


Kate
June 22, 2015

Thanks so much for this article! I have a 14 yr old cat, Wednesday, that I'm certain has diabetes. She has the excessive thirst and frequent urination but is eating ok and doesn't seem to be in pain. She doesn't seem as active but not unhappy. There has never really been a question for me to treat or not because she's almost feral (I found her as a kitten). Although she's ok with me, she's vicious with everyone else, including the vet. So she hasn't been in years because they couldn't even examine her. It didn't seem to make sense to put her through it just to get pinned on a table under a towel. She's an inside cat and luckily she's been super healthy her whole life! But sadly, there is no way she will tolerate me giving her shots. And strangely, as much as I love her and can't even imagine life without her without tearing up, I actually don't feel too guilty about the decision. I would feel worse putting her through the confusion and stress of attempting injections (no pain for her because it would never happen). But I am attempting to change her diet which I'm hoping will help! And as long as she doesn't seem in pain and is eating, I will love her and pet her and kiss her for as long as I can. My mother passed away in Hospice care 2 years ago. It taught me a very hard lesson that sometimes it's more compassionate to just let go. Good luck to everyone here who is struggling! Thank you for sharing your stories!


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
June 18, 2015

Heather, My heart goes out to you as you deal with the loss of your dog.  In reading your letter, I would say you are one dedicated pet owner; you helped her through a lot of illnesses.  And the bravest, most dedicated thing you did was to let her go when her quality of life was poor, which from your description, it was.  You did the best for your dog, you miss her, but know that she is in a better place, pain free.  She knows you loved her! Thankfully the sheer intensity of the pain will lessen, and your memories of her will always remain. Take care of yourself. Teri


Heather
June 17, 2015

With great sadness, I just had our English Mastiff of 6 1/2 years put down just last week. She was a rescue which made the decision even more difficult. At 6 weeks she had a hernia repair. At 5 months her skin began to split and bleed and her diet was adjusted for allergies. She wouldn't gain weight and was covered in hives 24/7. She was poked, scraped, dipped, given all over counter allergy meds, serums and injections until 2. After some serious testing, we found out she had a severe allergy to a natural occurring fungus/mold in the soil. She was placed on prednisone daily from there on out. At 4 her hip dysplasia was discovered and at 5 she could get around only by dragging a limb. At 6 she fell ill and was diagnosed with diabetes. Long story short, she could not be regulated no matter what. Her bad days far outweighed her good days and after 4 months of considering euthanasia, I followed through. Another poster mentioned that we all value our dogs differently. I can say that I have already been placed on a sedative to keep me calm because the week before and this week has been the most awful thing I have ever been through and I'm in my 40's. Making that decision made me feel like a jerk, like I gave up but I'm beginning to remember just how much she struggled. She was miserable and suffering just so I could have her here. I was more selfish letting her struggle. She slipped into Ketoacidosis once and almost did again. Her injections, glucose monitoring, skipping meals for a day or 2 and constant peeing and panting was not what my dog wanted. The day I took her she spent all day happy as a lark. She almost seemed to smile all day. Look, to each their own. I didn't have it in me to stick her one more time when it was never going to improve her quality of life. My VET said out loud that she would support any decision I made and not fault me. I'm thankful for that because when I finally decided, she told me that she worried what other medical issues would arise over the next ueat and said not "what if" it as a matter of "when." Stay strong. It has been 6 days and I'm beginning to see clearly my decision I made where I dont feel guilted so badly. I wont lie, the first 72 hours after euthanasia is devestating if you choose that path. I have to remember and be thankful that I was blessed by her for 6 years. I rescued her and she was my 3rd child. I pampered her and loved her more than I thought I could ever love a pet. She was my Best friend. I loved her too much to see her suffer.  Best of luck to anyone struggling with this decision. No decision is the wrong decision when it is yours to make.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
April 16, 2012

BeeHa, I feel your pain.  It is always a hard decision to make and having a pet that does not like car rides makes it that much more difficult. I think you have a couple of options: 1.  Find a vet who will make a house call to euthanize your cat.  She would not have to leave the house and it would be more peaceful.  Your current vet may offer this service. Some do, some don't. 2.  Talk with your vet about a sedative that you can either give orally (or by injection since you are used to doing those) that would allow her to be calm before the car ride. Personally I think option one is your best bet. I wish you luck with Jewels and your decision.


BeeHa 
April 15, 2015

Our cat Jewels is 15 years old. She was diagnosed with diabetes over a year ago.  I searched around online and found out that by feeding her Fancy Feast Classic twice a day, she would recover. I was shocked that this actually seemed to work! She lost a ton of weight, she was 17 pounds and went down to 10 pounds. We did the insulin shots until they were down to barely anything and I couldn't even tell if  I gave her the shot or not. Well, now she doesn't look very well at all and is probably only four pounds or less. It is an ordeal to get her to the vet because she hates going. She is very skittish and scared and just likes to be home. You would think we were hurting her every time we gave her that shot or put her in her cage to go to the vet. So my husband and I decided to let her live out her life and just die naturally. Well, she sure looks terrible but doesn't seem to be in pain. She eats, throws up a bunch of liquid, drinks, and pees a lot, but she still likes to get petted and meows loud for her food when it's not put out right away. So now what do I do? I don't want to take her to the vet since she hates it so much. She will more than likely be euthanized at the vet if we take her there on her last legs, so we don't want to put her through a terrible car ride. We want her to be comfortable at home. Please help with a suggestion as to how to make sure she is comfortable because I know the time is coming soon.


Elaine 
April 11, 2015

My dog of 8 years was diagnosed with diabetes this week. He also has a mast cell tumor that is steadily growing in size. I've considered euthanasia but like many others who have commented, I feel guilted by my vet. This is the second round of tumors. Unlike the first round which contained three tumors, we are not going to have the surgery for our aging furry friend. His blood work doesn't show any impact of the diabetes and mast cell tumors on his organs - even though he is experiencing increased thirst, heavy panting at night, reclusive behavior, etc. I want to euthanize now.. While I'm strong enough to be level headed about it. If I wait for the illness to take its course, making the decision to euthanize destroy me. But that's right now. Tomorrow, I'll feel the opposite. Thanks for writing an article that doesn't shame me for struggling with what so many others have felt.


Tonia Dedmon 
April 10, 2015

I am really thankful i found this web site. My precious 10 yr old male basenji was diagnosed with diabetes 2 months ago. I have been giving injections. now he acts like i am killing him with every stick. i have been in tears many mornings lately. Vet had no pointers and seemed very uninterested. i have been considering stopping treatment, with much sorrow and guilt. I have also been dealing with severe health issues of my own. This is too stressful, and i am overwhelmed.


Sue 
March 23, 2015

Thanks for this. I am sitting next to my beloved 13yo beagle who has a collapsing trachea an enlarged heart, an enlarged spleen, and fluid in/around the lungs that did not respond to antibiotics and now not responding to lasix. Her quality of life and my money are both considerations here and I think my vet gets that.


Christine Walls 
March 22, 2015

After the events of the last 3 weeks I felt it important that I add my comments to this forum - that really helped me with my sweet little dog Rico who was diagnosed with diabetes 3 weeks ago.  All the questions listed were the exact questions that I had.  We decided not to administer the insulin based on his age, yes...the cost and the fact that we didn't think we would be able to handle the huge responsibility of injections twice a day.  I too prayed that I would know when the time was right and I sure did know.  He became very weak, lethargic, lost weight and muscle mass and stopped wanting to eat., all in 3 weeks. We used baby diapers for him and that worked very well.  We also had an amazing Vet who charged us $130.00 to euthanize him.  We brought him to our farm and buried him with his bed, blanky and favourite toy doggie.  The sun came out just then!  Although I was devastated, as soon as he was down, I felt a HUGE sense of relief.  We were blessed to have him and looking back I am glad we made the decisions we did. Faith helps too!


Fran 
March 21, 2015

I feel so sad, I guess I have made a mistake by having 3 beautiful dogs that are my family, but I can no longer avoid the high cost of veterinary care because of unforeseen problems in our lives....job loss, forced retirement, human illness, the list goes on.  I can't seem to visit the vet even for routine annual health visits (which I have done regularly for each dog without fail)for less than $100-$200.  I can manage that but one little illness is now enough to put us without groceries. I just had to come up with over $400 to have a broken nail with an exposed quick taken care of.  Second time in one year.  Last year it was a $2100 surgery for another dog.  If one ever has a serious illness there will be no choice but euthanasia, but how can you even consider that for such a simple problem as a toenail? and you can't just let them suffer?  Vets will say "oh, you can pay with care credit" but there comes a point where charging medical care for your pet becomes irresponsible.  I just don't know what to do any more other than watch over them like a hawk and pray for their wellness, I can't just give them away now that they are reaching their senior years :(


Annette Murrow 
March 17, 2015

Thank you I read your article and it has helped me to make a hard decision for a 14 year old dog that has been my close friend. I do not want her time left being hurt with shots and taking blood test so I have decided to make her life easy as long as she is not in   pain we will spend her time together.


Marial 
March 15, 2015

Wow, such stories and I'm so sorry for all in concern. I have my own story and hope it does some good for someone and their pet. My son and I are co-owners of a dog who is a diabetic that was diagnosed close to 2 yrs. ago. Yes, my dog peed a lot and drank gallons of water as well as fell into a tired all the time slump. When I figured something was wrong, I researched symptoms and came up with diabetes. Next we went to the vet and was properly diagnosed. [Editor's note: A sentence referencing specific product and store names was deleted in accordance with the VetzInsight anti-commercial policy.] Anyway, I've worked in the medical field most of my adult life and had given plenty of injections to humans. I got used to giving injections to my dog and there is absolutely no pain if it's done right. My dog caught on quickly that in the morning he goes out to do his business and by a certain time he eats, drinks and immediately gets his injection followed by two small treats. His food is measure out and he eats twice a day always at the same time. So for him, this is all second nature by now and he's totally into the swing of it and does fine. He's nosey and likes to turn his head to watch me inject him, lol...he's really good about it all probably because his treats are the best part of it. Learn well in how to give the injection, become confident in doing so and everyone will be fine. We purchase his kibble from a high-end pet supply but it's the best for him and his needs. He also has an autoimmune disease and he takes a pill 3 times a week as prescribed for life. He's happy, full of life, a real trooper and a great companion. We love him, know how to care for him and have decided to commit ourselves to his issues and try not to let his issues run our lives into the ground. If you take control of your dog or cats situation and determine that their issue will become a small part of your day, then it works. The money can be tough but use all supplies sparingly and be careful to shop around for the best prices. We don't constantly check his urine but make sure he goes to the vet when something comes up that we know is not part of his normal healthy daily routine. Good luck everyone. Everyone also has their limitations financially, emotionally, physically and not all of us value our pets the same. We've been careful in all of our decisions having weighed everything out and considered our lives too. It has to work for everyone involved in order to lessen the stress that these situations can put on you.


C.J. 
March 14, 2015

My 12 year old beloved Noah was just diagnosed yesterday and I have been up all night!!! I love he and his 15 year old sister Chloe more than life itself! my vet asked me to come in today to show me how to stick Noah and I just can't do it! I wanted to be a nurse but I can't deal so I've decided to just let Noah be and pray I know when to have him euthanasied. I'm glad I found this site as I too suffer from the guilt of not having the wherewithal I need to give Noah a better life.


Melissa 
March 10, 2015

Thank you. My baby Parker (cat) who is just shy of 10yrs old was diagnosed with FD a week ago, and I thought I could do this, and then the signs of the illness just started compounding.  He has a serious gum disease that also needs to be treated and he has never responded well to medication, not even flea drops. He has started to become angry, depressed and just isn't enjoying life. I looked at his sweet face and asked myself "How can I expect my beloved companion to venture down such a long road of suffering and treatments knowing he doesn't respond well?" It is so hard to say goodbye and watch the hours tick by. The day to day stress with little signs of improvement is taking its toll on my family and my health. The success stories of others makes you happy yet fills you with guilt.  I am so great full to have found a post showing the other side of pet owners who truly love their pet and would love nothing more then to be able to see them through this, but at what cost.  Not all pets respond the same and not all owners can go through this lifelong commitment.  I will miss him, and know in my heart I did right by him.  He is a good boy and doesn't deserve to suffer...its too hard either way.  So thank you again.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
March 5, 2015

Cathy, My heart goes out to you, losing your kitty Gus!  Please try to let go of the guilt, as Gus is in a better place.  You made the right decision for both of you and that is important.  He knows how very much you loved him. I am so glad that the vet came to your house to euthanize, it is truly an amazing service that some vets can offer.  It is more peaceful for both you and your cat. Take care. Thinking of you from Wyoming.


Cathy 
March 5, 2015

Dr. Teri:  Thanks so much for your comments, they really helped. Gus was put to sleep on Feb. 27th and of course it was heartbreaking! I couldn't even bring myself to take him to the Vet, so I had the Vet come to my home.  He was given something to sedate him, before the lethal injection. But, I was there with him as he passed and as hard as it has been, since he has been gone I can see with the litter boxes just how much he was going and he had to be miserable to some degree! I have to say that treating him for 40 days was not easy and he didn't really seem to improve at all.  I appreciate what people who decide to treat a cat that is diabetic go thru.  I just couldn't see putting him through it anymore.  Again, thanks for the article and comments.  I do feel some guilt, but in my heart I know I did the right thing for him.


Vivette 
February 28, 2015

My cat is about 21 YO. He has been grossing me out for about the last 2 years with his litter box habits and overall old cat smell. He does not appear sick and still eats and drinks a lot. However, as a meticulously neat person, his habits are gross and I am really beginning to resent him. I feel guilty thinking about euthanasia since he does not seem sick-just gross. Not sure what to do but am tired of coming home to pieces of poop here and there.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
January 26, 2015

Cathy, If Gus is vomiting, he sure does not feel good.  Is it pain like a broken bone type of pain?  No, but more like having the flu would be for us.  Nausea is not something most would care to live with forever, so his quality of life is probably not very good right now. There is nothing wrong with not treating, you really have to do what is best for Gus AND you!  Your quality of life counts too! From your description of Gus vomiting, losing 5 pounds and sleeping a lot, it might very well be time to euthanize him, and truly, that is ok!  Diabetes is not an easy disease, if it were we would not have doctors who specialize in treating diabetes, both human and animal. Gus is lucky to have you as an owner, as it is clear that you do care about him! Good luck and let me know what you decide.


Cathy 
January 26, 2015

Dr. Teri:  Can you tell me the answer to the question that you say owners ask, about are the in pain? I have been told by others that they are not, but if I decide not to treat anymore, is the right thing to put them to sleep right away or will they have some "good" life left.  Gus, my cat, has lost 5 lbs (which he needed to lose weight), drinks a lot, he eats pretty good and he lays around sleeping a lot.  So, if you don't treat is there a "time" when you just know?  Are there other signs of distress?  I have been giving insulin shots for 9 days now, but he's been sick (vomiting) and I've missed with the shot once, stuck myself once and didn't get the shot in on time.  I don't want Gus to suffer.  Other websites practically make you feel worthless if you don't treat you cat!  And Gus is not going to be replaced.  No animal can be replaced when you have suffered a loss!!  But, I just need to know about the pain and quality of life issue.  So far you are the only one that has been totally honest.  Thank you!


Cathy 
January 23, 2015

Thank you Dr. Teri for your comment back to me.  Gus and I have done the insulin every 12 hours for 7 days now, but to be honest, the testing of his blood (???), the vet also said nothing about.  And now I am wondering after reading more about the expense of strips.  Then the possibility of urine testing as well, is causing me more stress than you can imagine! But, the decision to stop seems like a cop out on my part.  Honestly, I just want to cry!  He has been pretty good with morning injections, but he has caught on the evening ones and runs away.  It doesn't seem to hurt him, but I also have petted him after a shot, only to find him damp...meaning I think I have  missed or not gotten it all in.  I am really beside myself in what to do.  I am going to make another vet appointment, but if I decide not to continue treatment, I know I will feel guilty, but I'm also not sure that I can do all that is required (from what I have read) either.  But, really just wanted to post back a thank you for responding.  It helps to hear from an actual Vet!!!


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
January 20, 2015

Cathy, I am so sorry to hear about your cat and the difficulties with conversing about it with your veterinarian.  I think veterinarians sometimes forget that we are talking with non-medical people in our exam room. It is not too late to decide you are not going to treat your cat.  It can be expensive and it certainly ties you down.  I euthanized my clinic cat who was diagnosed with diabetes. I could not be tied to my clinic every 12 hours, 7 days a week.  She also did not have a great quality of life when she was diagnosed, but that is not why I euthanized her. Make another appointment with your vet to discuss your concerns.  In the meanwhile, here is some good reading material. http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&C=&A=3057&SourceID= and http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=631 I wish you luck with your cat.  Please let me know how things go for you.


Cathy 
January 17, 2015

I was searching the internet for answers and came across your article and have read all the comments.  I currently have 9 cats (due to people dumping them over the years when most were kittens)!  One cat got an FIV diagnosis 10 years ago and we have not treated anything and he is doing good.   He is older now and I know the day is coming but couldn't bare to put him to sleep at the time of diagnosis because he had no symptoms. Now he no longer grooms himself, but is generally still a happy cat.  Yesterday, one was diagnosed with diabetes.  The vet did not discuss anything with me except how to give insulin shots.  His first was this morning. I read the sheet that came with the insulin and found out all the things that can occur by giving him insulin.  I was shocked.  Would I have put him down at the Vet's office if I had known more, probably not, but being so shocked after reading about it this morning, I wonder now.  He seems good, but will he have a seizure, go blind, not be able to walk right, etc.  I can be here for the 2 dose a day every 12 hours, but am scared to death of what he may or may not react to!!  I wish my Vet would have done a better job of explaining.  And I also wish he would have given me time to decide whether to treat or not to treat, but he didn't.  Instead I came out with insulin, needles and a $330.00 bill.  I don't even know at this point if I can continue knowing what I know now, but I will....at least for the next 50 days (that is how long the insulin will last) or the next vet trip in 3 weeks that will be $150.00 bill.  I am unemployed and my mother is paying the expenses, not just for one, but for all 9 and me!  So confused at this point!!!


Colleen Champagne 
December 21, 2014

My 9 year old miniature pincher was diagnosed with diabetes 3 weeks ago and it's such a struggle emotionally, physically, we can't get him regulated on a diet he's on his second round of antibiotics, he's constantly urinating and drinking water, he will only eat once a day so we can only give insulin once a day and I'm feeling at my wits end he's also waking me up every hour of the night I'm so tired, I love my little guy so much but I'm emotionally drained:((


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
November 25, 2014

Jen Wow!  $15k on your cat.  That is a lot of money in anyone's book; I certainly could not afford that. There is nothing wrong with putting your cat down when you can no longer afford to treat.  Nothing wrong!  Also, given that your cat still has a blood glucose of 389, he is not well controlled, so I am betting you are also dealing with issues of his poor health. We would like to believe that diabetes is an easy disease: they need insulin, we give insulin, and everything works out okay.  Well, the truth is, it is not that simple.  It is not that simple in humans, dogs or cats.  I know this as a veterinarian who has treated many diabetics, as well as seeing the sheer volume of questions asked of our veterinary endocrinologists on VIN.  It sounds like your cat has drawn the short straw and is not easily controlled. If you have reached your financial limit, that is ok.  You have spent a lot of money and still have a poorly regulated cat.  Pulling more out of your retirement fund is not good for you and your future.  Your life is important as well and being able to take care of yourself now and in the future trumps just about everything else. Talk to your vet and lay it out that you just cannot do this any more.  Be honest with them, but firm.  It is your cat, your money and your future.  Most veterinarians are reasonable people and will understand when you have reached your limit, after all they have limits as well.  And if your veterinarian just cannot see this, ask a friend which vet they use and go see them. Take care please let me know how things go. 


Jen 
November 25, 2014

This was a helpful article for me. So far, we've spent 15k on our diabetic cat and drowning in credit card debt because of it.  I even withdrew from my 401k to take care of my cat.  His glucose is still at 389 after 4 years of insulin, vet visits, tests and proper nutrition.  I feel hopeless at this point and am spending $ from my retirement fund -- a decision I hope I will not regret.  I feel my vet looks down upon me because I'm considering euthanasia and I'm guilted out of it by her every time I mention it. I am very torn because I have never been put in the position for having to euthanize for financial reasons -- it's always because of an extreme medical emergency or the pet was so old, we just knew it was time.  This area is so gray, that a new version of  a crayon needs to be created to even give this horrible decision a name.


Carlita 
November 20, 2014

My dog Odie is 11 years old and was diagnosed with diabetes 2 years ago. We have been treating him with insulin over the last 2 years and have had to increase frequently to maintain his blood sugar curve. He now receives 38 units twice per day. Along with his diabetes he has discoid lupus on his nose, he is blind and one of his eyes recently has begun to shift and we can barely see the eyeball anymore. He also has arthritis so we can no longer take him on walks. He lies around all day and seems unhappy. I feel like his time has come because he no longer has a good quality of life, but then he still wags his tail when he hears me and I am having a hard time making the decision. I also feel like I can't make the decision to take his life. What will happen if I stop his insulin? Will he pass peacefully or will he be in pain and suffer? It is tearing me apart because he seems so sad all the time.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
November 12, 2014

Casey, I feel your pain.  Diabetes is a disease that can be easy to treat but there are a lot of cases, where it is not.  We get dozens of questions every day from veterinarians to our veterinary specialists about patients they are having a hard time getting control of the blood glucose in a diabetic animal.  Sadly, when an animal is hard to treat, it of course makes it more expensive and harder to live with.  And, sadly, there is no way to know which animal is going to be the animal that is hard to control without just trying treatment. There  has to be quality of life for you, your fiance, you children and Jerzie.  I do think that if you decide to not treat any more, you have the option of euthanizing right away or waiting until your dog does not feel well.  It is a very personal decision, one that only you and your family can make.  My sister did say she waited too long with her diabetic dog to euthanize, but making that call is ALWAYS hard.  ALWAYS! There is nothing wrong with deciding not to treat any more.  You have tried, and she is not an easy case based on what you have told me here.  Each family's right thing differs and your vet should support your decision one way or another.  Jerzie knows you have tried. Here is an article from our Veterinary Partner database on the Hard to Regulate Diabetic Dog.  Maybe you can glean something from this.  And talk to your vet. http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&C=&A=3055&SourceID=  I wish you luck and please let me know what happens.


Casey 
November 11, 2014

We have a 7 year old black lab who was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus 8 weeks ago.  We have already undergone 3 glucose curve tests, been instructed to purchase prescription dog food and have modified her insulin intake, per her vet's instructions, 5 separate times.  Sadly, she has started experiencing severe hypoglycemic attacks about 2 hours after her insulin injections.  The first attack happened on a weekend, so we were able to give her Karo syrup to get her levels stabilized, but it begs the question of what if it happens while we're away during the day at work?  In the past week and a half, she has gone from a random hypoglycemic attack here and there to having two in the evening alone the past two nights.  Each night I come home from work after picking up my daughter from school, I'm having her to go upstairs so I can check the laundry room to make sure our dog is still alive before my daughter  sees her first.  I'm battling with my fiance who is mad at the vet for not knowing how to get her levels under control, and is suggesting we stop giving her insulin altogether.  Between office visits to the vet, glucose curve tests, insulin, syringes and prescription food, we have spent over $1,500.00 in the past 8 weeks alone, with no real grasp on stabilizing her condition in the near future or knowing if we're even on the right track.  We have had to close off our second floor, so Jerzie doesn't climb upstairs while she's feeling well, then have a drop in sugar while trying to get back downstairs.  She's now been confined to the laundry room during the day just to keep her safe as she tends to wander restlessly during her hypoglycemic episodes, falling and bumping into furniture in her disoriented state.  This is a dog who has never had an accident in the home or chewed anything that didn't belong to her.  She is the perfect dog, but I'm battling with the question of what kind of life is this for her, or our family for that matter?  We have essentially become hostages in our own home because we have to make sure she eats and gets her insulin on time, and now we must monitored her up until at least 9 p.m. to make sure we can provide Karo if her levels drop again.  I want to give her every opportunity to fight this and live as much of a normal life as I can, but I'm wondering if this is our new reality.  Does this diagnosis mean we now are faced with what we've experienced in the past 8 weeks as our new schedule or is this just a breaking in period and once we're able to find the right dosage, she'll be fine? Is it more humane to stop the insulin injections or euthanize?  If we stop the insulin injections, she will develop UTIs, which is what triggered the need for the visit to the vet in the first place.  I'm truly at a loss and do not know what to do.  I feel tremendous guilt over even considering other options only 8 weeks in.  My heart is breaking for her, and I just want to do the right thing.  


Kelly 
September 8, 2014

I am in the unenviable position of having a relatively young dog with a chronic condition.  He is and continues to be a wonderful addition to our family,  we love him.  However he suffers from extreme allergies which result in chronic recurring ear infections and pyoderma.  While we have willingly and lovingly treated him for over 2 1/2 years, I can honestly say it is truly wearing us down.  He must eat a specific kibble which costs approximately $150 every 2-3 weeks.  He is on both an antihistamine and steroid daily.  He requires bathing several times per week (not an easy task as he weighs 90 pounds).  We have spent thousands of dollars...and I do mean thousands, trying to treat his ear/eye and skin infections.  While I love this dog, I have to ask myself if I can afford to let him bankrupt our family.  We are in an impossible position. And all possible alternatives continue to be on the table.  When we purchased him, we were fully prepared to take on the normal expenses associated with a dog, however unexpected vet bills of $300-$400 many times per year (in addition to the food) throws our family budget out the window.  I sympathize with anyone who is going through the same situation.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
August 15, 2014

Andrea, You changed her diet and since the weight came back, you got at least partial control of the diabetes.  You have gotten another year with your cat, hopefully a quality year.  I can more than understand your not being able to treat her, I have had several cats with the same "peevish" disposition.  I  completely understand! Living with your cat is supposed to be a pleasure for both of you.  From your description, it does not sound pleasant for either of you.  It might be that a trip to the vet would point out something that can be treated, but if you cannot treat, then quality of life for both you and your cat has to be considered and you may very well be at the point of euthanasia. You are very right, no one makes these decisions lightly.  No one! My heart goes out to you.  I know you will make the decision that is best for you and your cat.


Andrea 
August 12, 2014

I appreciate the fact that I stumbled across this article today.  There is a huge amount of guilt across the internet and in some vet offices given to parents of fur babies who struggle with the choice to treat or not to treat, or to euthanize.  This was the first article on the subject that didn't make me feel guilty about the choices I'm making. I had three cats.  One died at home in my arms - she had terrible liver cancer (it was about a week from dx to death).  Another had a tumor that I had removed twice (it came back) and he's surviving. The third I am currently struggling with.  She got the diabetes dx a little over a year ago, and I had to make the decision to not treat.  I knew I couldn't afford the shots and visits over and over again.  I knew she would hate the visits (she's not the warm/fuzzy feeling cat like my others were), and it would be impossible for me to give her shots - (a) I would need help - she's large and strong, and (b) her disposition is "peevish" at best.  If it was pills, I could do something about it.  I chose a change in diet to help.  She lost weight, and seemed to be doing better. The weight has come back.  She's now urinating and defecating anywhere besides the litter box.  I'm at my wits end.  It's a lot of stress to watching out for her, scrubbing carpets and floors every couple of hours.  I'm getting angry and I don't want to be.  She's not doing it intentionally. Is this the point I start considering euthanasia?  I don't want to.  But I also don't want to spend the rest of the time we have together (she's 15 years old already) to be angry where I'm mad and she's wary of me. These are terrible decisions to have to make, and no one makes them lightly.


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
May 16, 2014

Beau, I would say, based on your comments, that you don't believe your dog has a good quality of life right now.  When I find myself in these types of situations, I ask myself "is my dog having more good days than bad?"  When my pets tip over to the more bad days than good, that is my signal that their quality of life is poor, and the kindest thing I can do for my pet is to euthanize.  It is very hard, it is NEVER an easy decision, but it is the kindest decision.  You have my heartfelt sympathy as you travel this road with your buddy of 10 years.


Beau 
May 15, 2014

Our miniature schnauzer was diagnosed with diabetes two years ago.  He's now totally blind and he has to wear a diaper to prevent him having accidents.  We've recently had to move into a new home due to school districts.  He's not doing well.  He can't find his food and is having problems walking around.  I hate this as he's been a part of our family for 10 years.  I know the next step is putting him to sleep, but I'm constantly asking myself if it's the right thing to do...


Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
April 1, 2014

Kelsi, I am sorry you are having to go through this illness with your best friend, it is NEVER easy! Please, be at peace with your decision, as you are in the best position to know what is best for you, your family and your dog.


Kelsi 
April 1, 2014

Thank you! I have seen four vets over the past 11 months and none of them have the understanding that you expressed here. I will spare you my whole, rambling personal experience, but in less than a year my 6 year-old best friend has gone from a healthy dog to one with diabetes mellitus, epilepsy (grand mal and focal seizures; unrelated to hypoglycemia), and cataracts rapidly progressing toward blindness. Every single vet we have seen treats me like I'm a monster for even considering not treating him. It would absolutely destroy me, but thank you for acknowledging that it is a valid (and sometimes the best) choice. It eases my heart a little to know there's at least one vet out there who understands.


Bartholomew Oliver 
January 9, 2014

A great vet once told me in these difficult situations "its impossible to make the wrong decision as long as its made with love instead of convience, selfishness or greed- even if you think later it was the wrong decision. Any decision made with love will be the right decision, regardless of the "woulda coulda shouldas".


Margaret Brown-Bury 
December 6, 2013

Great article, and very timely as well. I very recently had two new diabetes cases, both cats. In both cases I supplied the client with information to take home and consider with their families. One decided to treat, one did not. And I fully support both decisions. The understanding that not everyone can take on the task of a chronic disease is a very important part of veterinary medicine, I think. Someone commented about responsibility to care for the pet - I believe the responsibility is to provide the best care you can and prevent suffering, and that doesn't have to mean treating. Most of my clients do not chose euthanasia over treatment lightly. But for some the reality is they cannot manage thetreatment - most commonly I run into this with elderly clients who have physical limitations, but other factors can play a role. Not long ago I was a single woman living in a new city with an elderly cat. If he had diabetes, I don't know that I could have treated him. Sure, as a vet I could take him to work.... But what kind of life would that be for him? He hated car travel, refused to pee at the clinic even if I was there for 12 hours, and I work shift work and do on call, so being home for his insulin injections would have been near impossible on a regular basis. I strongly believed the responsible thing would have been to euthanize, had he developed diabetes. Skin disease is another one I have clients struggle with... It can take a lot of financial and time commitment to sort out and manage skin disease, and a lot of personal factors can play a part in that decision. It's always important to be able to try to walk in someone else's shoes. As veterinarians we have to be honest with our clients about the realities of ALL their options, including choosing not to treat. As pet owners and animal lovers we have to accept and appreciate that everyone's personal situation is unique, and not being able to choose to treat does not mean someone cares less about their pet.


Dr. Teri Ann Oursler 
November 18, 2013

Shirley, In Buzz's case, money was never the issue - the owners' schedules were the deciding factor. It is very unlikely that either of them would be at home every 12 hours every day during the work week, and insulin must be given on an exact schedule to achieve regulation. Both my sister and brother-in-law have long work days that they did not have when they got the dogs. While we veterinarians can usually bring our sick dogs to work, that's not an option for most people. Buzz will be euthanized as soon as his health is impacted. But this is my point: deciding to treat or not treat a chronically ill pet is a decision owners are allowed to make for themselves. Veterinarians aren't the ones who have to alter their schedules 24/7/365: it is a significant commitment for owners. If they feel they cannot provide the care that is required, it's better to euthanize the pet than have it suffer from recurring and life-threatening episodes.


shirley 
November 16, 2013

Being unable to treat DM? I feel that should not be a choice. The dog will be blind soon and a Blind JR is so unfair to the dog. Insulin is not that expensive, If it were bone cancer that is one thing but DM? How are these parents being good examples to their children? Every dog must be microchipped and given a debit card with cash added in, every holiday for future veterinary care.


Dr. Teri Ann Oursler 
November 14, 2013

I do think that the majority of people do make the right decision.  In 19 years of practice, I never had someone put an animal down because it was easier or cheaper to get a new one.  I believe most people are good and they do the right thing.


Mary Jo 
November 14, 2013

Dr. Oursler, I agree 100% that it is a personal decision and hopefully most people do make the responsible one.  What concerns me is how often you hear  pets being treated as replaceable objects.  Dog or cat too old or sick, don't invest, just get a new one. It just saddens me to think that this is the fate of many pets. My husband & I have a Weimaraner that will be 14 years old next month. He has his share of medical issues but is certainly not suffering. He still enjoys us and life and we cherish every minute with him.  Sure we have made sacrifices, both financially and with our time but he is so worth it. Your right, it's our decision and we would not have it any other way.


Dr. Teri  Ann Oursler
November 12, 2013

Mary Jo, Thank you for your comments.  I contend that the entire article is about responsibility. The article is not about abandoning the pet, but making the very best decision possible, even though there are times that our very best is to not treat.


Mary Jo 
November 12, 2013

Very interesting article. I believe one important point was left out. Responsibility.  While I am not sitting in judgment of others, surely we are all aware that someday our pet will get sick. Shouldn't we be prepared to care for a pet that has given us their whole life. While I realize this is easier for some than others, our pets are not disposable. What are we teaching our children by not treating a beloved pet. Sacrifice is too hard -- rearranging our schedule too difficult. I am not condoning letting a pet suffer but I will say that as we accept their unconditional love, we own them our very best. Aren't they worth it?

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