The Tragedy Of Tommy Boy
My Tommy Boy has his angel wings... Tommy Boy Tommy Boy, my little macho tabby cat, was born in the palms of my hands to a stray mother cat, Maryann, whom I had taken off the street. Four litters of Maryann’s kittens had grown up feral in the street, and come to a variety of awful fates. A nice lady down the block was feeding them, but she was elderly and unable to TNR. The day I saw Mary pregnant for the fourth time in three years, I said, “OK lady, that’s enough. You’re coming with me.” I grabbed her, took her in over her great protests, and she had her babies, 7 of them, in my home with my husband and myself as midwives. Breaking the cycle, Tommy Boy and his siblings began life in safety and love, in a home instead of the street. Tommy Boy wasn’t a runt but he was the last born. I could always distinguish him from his brothers and sisters, who were all identical tabbies, by the white tip on the end of his tail. As Tommy Boy grew up, I also recognized him by his vanguard personality. He was the first to do everything; the first to open his eyes, the first to walk, the first to climb out of his baby bed at only two weeks old. He was the first to seek out human company, and the first to try to climb the virtual Everest (to him at 4” long) of our bed. At approximately three weeks old, Tommy Boy started coming clear across the apartment to sit on my foot as I worked. That pretty much cemented his status as a member of our family, and when all the other kittens got adopted to new families, Tommy Boy stayed. Tommy Boy had a long, mostly happy life. But the point of my article is not to write Tommy Boy’s life story, only the end of it, which broke my heart and was entirely unnecessary, so that other guardians of diabetic pets can learn from my mistake. Tommy Continue reading >>
Pet Health Info
Heartworms With the advent of Daylight Savings Time, it's time to remember that heartworm season is with us. Heartworms are parasites that infect the heart, lungs, blood vessels, and other organs and can cause serious disease (and even death) of our pets. Heartworms are long, slender worms that are carried by mosquitoes. They infect dogs, cats, ferrets, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and occasionally even people. In coastal areas sea lions and seals have been diagnosed with the disease. These worms damage the lining of arteries in the lungs and other organs causing a number of serious problems. Regrettably, some cases are fatal and all cases are serious. Heartworm disease occurs in almost every part of the U.S. , including New Mexico . Fortunately, the disease is almost completely preventable. Preventive treatment is safe, effective, and much less expensive than attempting to treat an already infected pet. A blood test is the simplest way to check for the disease, since most animals only show symptoms after the disease is quite advanced. The disease appears quite differently in dogs than in cats, but in general, the longer the disease is present, the more damage has occurred. Prevention is easy. Dogs less than 6 months of age may be safely started on the preventive medication. Dogs 6 months of age or older should have a simple blood test to ensure that they are not currently infected (and in need of treatment), after which they may begin the preventive medication. There are a number of preventive medicines available. We recommend Interceptor in our practice due to its high level of safety and efficacy. The important thing is to ensure that your dog is on a sound preventive program. You may only rarely notice the mosquitoes in your area, but they are around. Remember, it only Continue reading >>
Do-it-yourself Animal Euthanasia
Last year, toward the end of August, I made one of the most difficult decisions in my life. I decided to put Annabelle, our 14-year-old family dog, to sleep. Her later years, as they are for many of us, had not been kind. She had lost some of her sight and hearing, much of her appetite and most of her control over her bodily functions — invariably, she’d pee on me every morning as I carried her down the back stairs of my third-floor apartment. All the glucosamine and chondroitin in the world couldn’t help her bend her hind legs, and it hurt just to watch her walk, stiffly dragging her nails on the ground. I knew it was time. We took her for one last walk around Saratoga Springs, letting her lead the way. Fed her an entire pack of hotdogs. The people at Upstate Animal Medical Center couldn’t have been more compassionate, even crying with us as Annabelle’s breathing slowed, then ceased. Her last day, I suppose, went as well as could be expected, even as it remains one of the saddest experiences of my life. So I can’t imagine why anyone would want the added burden of euthanizing their pet themselves. From an article in USA Today: “It’s not something people should do,” he warns. “There’s a reason veterinarians go to college for eight years.” Anyone without that training doesn’t understand “there’s nuance and many details to consider” when putting an animal down peacefully, including age, size, condition and other matters. Furthermore, untrained people “have no secondary systems to fall back on” if something unexpected happens. (A quick Google search brought up these pretty detailed instructions for building a CO2 chamber for euthanizing a small pet: Small animal euthanasia at home.) I can understand why owners might prefer their pets to d Continue reading >>
Diabeteic Manual For Dogs
UNDERSTANDING DIABETES There are two forms of diabetes in dogs: diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus. Diabetes insipidus is a very rare disorder that results in failure to regulate body water content. Your dog has the more common type of diabetes, diabetes mellitus. This disease is seen on a fairly regular basis, usually in dogs 7 – 9 years of age or older, many of them overweight. There is a genetic predisposition in some breeds and females are affected twice as often as males. Simply put, diabetes mellitus is a failure of the pancreas to regulate blood sugar. The pancreas is a small but vital organ that is located near the stomach. It has two significant populations of cells. One group of cells produces the enzymes necessary for proper digestion; the other group (beta cells) produces the hormone called insulin. TYPES OF INSULIN In dogs, two types of diabetes mellitus have been discovered. Both types are similar in that there is a failure to regulate blood sugar, but the basic mechanisms of disease differ somewhat between the two groups. Type I, or Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM): This results from total or near-complete destruction of the beta cells that produce insulin. This is the most common type of canine diabetes. As the name implies, dogs with this type of diabetes require insulin injections to stabilize blood sugar. Type II, or Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM): This is different because some insulin-producing cells remain. However, the amount produced is insufficient, there is a delayed response in secreting it, and the tissues of the dog’s body are relatively resistant to it. These dogs may be treated with an oral drug that stimulates the remaining functional cells to produce or release insulin in an adequate amount to normali Continue reading >>
Overdose And Toxicity In Dogs
Dealing with an Overdose and Toxicity in Dogs Care must be taken to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations regarding medication administration. Problems associated with medication in dogs include allergic reactions, overdose and toxicity. Allergic Reactions to Medications in Dogs Allergic reactions are uncommon. There is no way for your veterinarian to predict which medications your dog is allergic to so you must watch your pet carefully while on any medication, even the same medication he has received in the past. Typically medication allergic reactions develop after multiple doses of the medication. If you notice your pet has scratching or itching, facial swelling or hives, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. If you are not able to contact your veterinarian immediately, stop administering the medication unless doing so would be life threatening. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Overdose of Medications in Dogs Overdose can occur if a dog receives an excessively large dose. This may be due to each member of the family medicating the pet without knowing that he has already received his medication, the curious pet chewing the bottle and ingesting all the medication or in certain situations even when the pet is on the proper dose. A few medications can result in overdose even though you are following the prescription recommendations. There are some diseases in which the pet may no longer require that dose of medication or may no longer need the medication at all. There is no way to predict this. A good example of this situation is diabetes. Dogs may require a specific dose of insulin and do well on that dose for quite a while. Suddenly, the dose you are giving may be an overdose and the dog becomes hypoglycemic. Medications Toxicity in Dogs T Continue reading >>
Xylitol, The Deadly Sweetener Capable Of Killing Your Pet
Sickeningly Sweet Within 15 minutes it can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar, within 30 minutes it can cause seizures, within 24 hours it can cause severe liver damage, and without emergency veterinary care, irreversible brain trauma occurs and the patient dies, so deadly a couple of sticks of it can kill a small dog. What is this deadly poison? Gum. Not just ordinary gum, but sugarless gum – the kind made with Xylitol. Imagine coming home to finding your pooch on the floor, unresponsive or having a seizure. You notice he got into your sugarless gum. Big deal right? No red flags go up until the vet tells you that $1 pack of gum is going to cost you $7,000 in emergency veterinary services. That is what can happen to pet parents unaware of the danger lurking in that innocent looking pack of sugarless gum. It is so deadly that within 30 minutes a dog can die from insulin shock, if that doesn’t kill him liver failure will probably do it. If you are fortunate enough to reach a vet in time, some dogs can be saved. Statistically though, the odds are not good. If the dog survives the poisoning, the damage done to the liver often can significantly shorten their life expectancy. Epidemic Proportions Xylitol first gained widespread attention in vet circles in 2005, when the first documented cases of poisonings jumped from 70 cases in 2004 to 170 cases in 2005. At that time, xylitol products were relatively new to the United States marketplace, but with the increase in availability and the number of other products containing xylitol, poisonings have increased significantly since that time. In 2007, when the ASPCA Poison Control Center began to tally cases involving xylitol, that year the center fielded 1,764 calls. In 2011, the call volume reached 3,045, an increase of 73 p Continue reading >>
Insulin Poisoning With Suicidal Intent
Go to: A 27-year-old paramedical personnel without any comorbidities, working as an assistant in the operation theater, was found to be drowsy and drenched in sweat with bradycardia (34 beats/min) and hypotension (80/50 mm of Hg). She was immediately shifted to ICU. She was pale and there was no cyanosis, icterus, clubbing, lymphadenopathy, or any evidence of external injury. Temperature was 99.0°F, with a respiratory rate of 20/min and cold peripheries. Pupils were bilateral 3 mm, reactive to light, and oculocephalic reflex was preserved. Deep tendon reflexes were brisk and plantars were flexor. Meningeal signs were absent. Her systemic examination was unremarkable. An electrocardiogram showed sinus bradycardia. Atropine was given intravenously and normal saline infusion started. Blood pressure remained low which prompted initiation of norepinephrine drip. Capillary blood glucose (CBG) was 35 mg/dL, hence 50 mL of 50% dextrose bolus was given and 5% dextrose infusion started. Her neurological status started deteriorating and she rapidly lapsed into coma, 90 minutes from her initial presentation. At this stage, pupils were bilateral 2 mm and nonreactive, with loss of occulocephalic reflex and dysconjugate deviation of eye. She continued to have bradycardia and hypotension. Repeat CBG was 32 mg/dL and bolus of 50 mL 50% dextrose was repeated. No history could be gathered regarding the preceding events. At this stage, in addition to malaria, encephalitis, cerebrovascular accident, exogenous insulin administration was considered as another staff detected one empty vial of insulin. Blood samples were drawn for glucose, insulin, and c-peptide. Patient had an episode of generalized tonic clonic seizure which was treated with intravenous lorazepam 4 mg. Again a bolus of 50 mL Continue reading >>
Euthanasia For Animals: What Can It Teach Us About Assisted Suicide In Humans?
INDYPULSE Euthanasia for animals: What can it teach us about assisted suicide in humans? "They wouldn't treat an animal like this." It's the common cry of supporters of voluntary euthanasia, appalled that while we are willing to put animals out of their misery without their consent, we won't do the same for humans at their own request. This was also the exact phrase uttered by the 96-year-old father of the former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger as he lay dying a slow, painful death. Putting down animals is something that commands near-universal support. Even PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), which has questioned the morality of using guide dogs, agrees that "euthanasia, performed properly, is often the most compassionate option" to "prevent the suffering of unwanted animals in the most responsible and humane way possible". And, says Dawn Murray, of the Living With Pet Bereavement support website, every consideration is now taken for the animal and its distraught owner. "In the Sixties or Seventies, you might have been expected to pass your dog to the vet, take your leave and go," she says. "But now vets are looking at helping to provide clay paw prints or hair clippings as mementoes. There is consideration for the impact on the owner in ways that would have been unheard of." Indeed, observes Murray, "probably the last one that anybody considers is the vet". Which is somewhat strange given how often vets are called upon to end the lives of our pets. Studies in Australia and the US have suggested that throughout their careers vets may have to perform euthanasia four to five times a day. For vets working in animal rescue, the number is much higher. In 2011, the RSPCA euthanised 44 per cent of the animals it took in. Following some negative reaction to the Continue reading >>
Friends helping friends. Collaborating and specializing in Canine Diabetes & many other topics. History I saw him walking slightly unbalanced. He didn't want to eat and he was lethargic. I made a Vet appointment fearing he was poisoned. Before leaving for the Vet’s he started vomiting. My Vet examined him then also took urine and blood. He told me that I had to take Killian to the emergency hospital. He said he had diabetes and now he is in Ketoacidosis. At that time I couldn't understand anything he said. What is Ketoacidosis? I didn't even know dogs could become diabetic! I asked if he would be OK. My Vet’s worried face did not make me feel very confident so, after 5 days at the emergency hospital, he came home against a few Dr's odds! I was handed a bottle of insulin and a few needles. I was shown to make the "tent" on his skin and to insert the needle in that tent. Killian’s Mom I think it’s important to point out here that I hate needles! I can’t even look if someone is getting a needle. I left the emergency hospital in tears because the only thing I really knew was I was going to kill my dog. If his life depended on me to give him needles daily there was no way I could possibly do this. Still I was so happy to have my man back home with me. I called on a neighbor who was a nurse and for the first two weeks she gave him his shots. Killian was on human insulin at the EH. But once home my Vet put him on Vetsulin. I was thrilled because it was going to be a 1 shot a day needle instead of 2. I tried to do the shot myself but I chickened out each time. Then one day my neighbour, who worked a double at the hospital, was nowhere to be found to do the shot. It was an hour past his normal shot time and he wasn't looking too great: he looked sluggish. I knew I had Continue reading >>
How To Euthanize A Dog Or Cat: Don't Try This At Home
Twice in as many weeks I’ve been asked whether I would authorize the at-home euthanasia of a pet…with a household stash of controlled drugs. Both individuals asking are in the human medical profession. That’s why I’m guessing their query emerged out of (1) an expectation that a house call option was not available; and (2) an understanding that these things can be done at home by someone who knows what they’re doing. While wrong on number one (several vets in my area make themselves available for at-home euthanasias, including myself), they’d be right on number two — by referencing number one. Some things are best left to the healthcare providers who do it on a regular basis. Though it is indeed possible to usher your pet from this world on an overdose of oral barbiturates or expired oxycodone prescribed for your last surgery, you won’t catch me recommending it if someone asks me how to euthanize a dog or cat at home — even to my good friends (in fact, one of those asking about this possibility was a human doc and a friend). And it’s not just the legal angle here that makes me a naysayer when it comes to DIY home euthanasias — nor the money thing (in case you think me mercenary enough to protect my profession and its precious euthanasia income stream). What makes me nervous are the possibilities… Imagine what would happen if things didn’t go just right. Let’s say your cat refuses to take more than six of the pills and you’ve somehow calculated that twenty would be a sufficient dose. Let’s say he then has a hard time breathing and you can’t for the life of you get more into him now that he’s so stressed. That’s a nightmare scenario. Or how about the dog who throws up her load of (how many?) pills while you’re sitting around waiting Continue reading >>
Canine Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes mellitus is a disease involving the pancreas. The pancreas is a small organ that lies near the stomach. It has two basic functions: (1) to produce digestive enzymes, and (2) to produce insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels. Diabetes mellitus occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to control the dog's blood glucose levels. As a result, the blood glucose can become very high. Diabetic dogs require regular injections of insulin to control their blood glucose levels. Without it diabetes mellitus can be fatal. This disease is relatively common in dogs. It is most often seen in middle-aged or older dogs. A congenital form of diabetes occurs in puppies, but it is very uncommon. What are the signs of diabetes mellitus? The four classic signs of diabetes mellitus in dogs are these: ravenous appetite weight loss (despite a good appetite and plenty of food) drinking larger than normal amounts of water increased urine production These signs are all caused by low insulin and high glucose levels in the bloodstream. Glucose is a key energy source for all types of cells. However, insulin is needed in order for the glucose to be able to enter the cells from the bloodstream. (Insulin has been described as the "gatekeeper," opening the gate so that glucose can enter the cell.) When there is insufficient insulin, the cells are deprived of glucose. The body must therefore use its fat stores and muscle protein as energy sources. This process causes the dog to eat more to replenish its depleted tissues. Despite the ravenous appetite, the dog still loses weight. Increased water intake and urine production are a direct result of the high blood glucose levels. The body tries to lower the blood glucose by excreting some glu Continue reading >>
How Much Does Dog Diabetes Cost To Manage?
Pet owners worry about the cost of caring for dog diabetes. Test strips, insulin, needles and special diets cost money. Learn the average cost of managing dog diabetes and what you should expect. Mild cases of dog diabetes are treated simply by changing the dog's diet and increasing his exercise. If this alone doesn't stabilize blood sugar levels, you will need to give your dog insulin injections. Some dogs need one insulin injection per day, but larger dogs often need two doses. This will depend on the type of insulin and the size of the dog. Dietary Restrictions for Dog Diabetes Dogs must be given a diet that is high in fiber and protein. Foods should not be high in carbohydrates or high in fat. Feed your dog three times a day to keep his blood sugar levels optimized. Half an hour after your dog's first meal, administer the injection of insulin. You will need to test your dog's blood sugar levels every day to monitor insulin levels. This helps you understand when the insulin dosage needs to be altered. Cost of Dog Diabetes Testing Supplies When caring for a dog with diabetes, testing and insulin administration remains key to keeping your dog healthy. Your veterinarian will go over a plan of action with you, but there are tips you should know. You'll be testing your dog's insulin levels a minimum of once per day. The test strips usually come 50 to a box and cost upwards of $35. These strips are key in determining how much insulin is necessary. Make sure you always use the correct syringe and needle. 40 U/ml insulin needs a U-40 syringe just like 500 U/ml insulin needs a U-500 syringe. Using the wrong syringe size will lead to an improper dosage that could kill your dog. Before giving your dog the insulin, double check the expiration date. If it's past, throw it out and Continue reading >>
Doctor, You Aren’t Listening To Me... What If I Do Nothing?
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. “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 co Continue reading >>
Suicide By Insulin?
HealthDay Reporter typically saves the lives of those with diabetes, but it can also be a way for some people to kill themselves, a new review warns. People with the blood sugar disease tend to suffer higher rates of depression, the researchers explained. And suicide or suicide attempts using insulin or other diabetes medications that lower blood sugar levels may not always be an easy-to-spot attempt at self-harm, they added. "Some suicides with insulin are likely missed in people with diabetes, just as [suicide may be missed] in people without diabetes using other medications or after a car accident. Could a suicide using insulin be missed? Absolutely," said Alicia McAuliffe-Fogarty, vice president of lifestyle management at the American Diabetes Association. Insulin is a natural hormone produced by the body. Its job is to help usher the sugar from foods into the body's cells to provide fuel for those cells. But insulin is also a complex medication. People with type 1 diabetes no longer make enough insulin and must give themselves insulin to stay alive. People with type 2 diabetes don't use insulin efficiently -- this is called insulin resistance -- and eventually don't make enough insulin to keep up with the body's demands. At this point, people with type 2 diabetes also need to take insulin. Insulin can be given by multiple injections every day or via an insulin pump. Insulin pumps deliver insulin through a small tube that's inserted under the skin. The site of the insulin pump must be changed every few days. But once the tube is in, someone who uses an insulin pump only needs to push a few buttons to deliver a dose of insulin. However, getting the right amount of insulin is no easy task. Many factors affect the body's need for insulin. Exercise decreases the need. F Continue reading >>
Question And Answer – Diabetes
Dear Your own Vet, My cat was diagnosed with Diabetes mellitis yesterday. She now will not eat and is in a kind of a coma. What do I do? Please help? Kaitlyn King Dear Kaitlyn, WHAT IS DIABETES? HOW DOES DIABETES MAKE MY PET SICK? SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES IN PETS DIAGNOSIS OF DIABETES HOW IS DIABETES TREATED? WHICH PETS ARE AT RISK FOR BECOMING DIABETIC? HOW DO I GIVE INSULIN INJECTIONS TO MY PET? WHAT DO I DO IF MY PET ON INSULIN GOES INTO A COMA OR LOOKS WEAK AT HOME? GENERAL CARE OF THE DIABETIC PET Diabetes mellitis is a disease where the body cannot move sugar out of the blood into the cells where it is needed. Blood sugar sits normally between 3 and 5 mmol/l but can increase in stress situations (especially in cats) to up to 10 mmol/l and still be considered normal. Most diagnosed insulin dependent diabetics have blood sugar levels over 18 mmol/l and up to over 30 mmol/l when diagnosed. There are two forms of diabetes in animals: 1. Due to a lack or shortage of insulin.The pancreas ( a small organ lying behind the stomach) produces insulin. Disease of the pancreas such as pancreatitis can damage the pancreas. Sometimes the immune system attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas, which makes them stop working and in some cases we don’t know why the pancreas stops making insulin. Think of insulin as a taxi that drives sugar from home to work. Without insulin, sugar can’t get to work inside the cells and sits in the blood, getting higher and higher. 2. There is enough insulin but the body develops “insulin resistance.” The body no longer recognizes normal levels of insulin and thus won’t allow glucose to be moved into the cells. If the body can’t get access to the sugars it needs for energy, your pet will feel lethargic and hungry at the same time. Continue reading >>