Being diagnosed with canine diabetes and suffering with blindness hasn’t stopped thirteen-year-old Collie-cross, Shadow, from Glasgow, from living life to the full thanks to ongoing life-saving treatment from the city’s PDSA vets.
Loyal Shadow, who lives up to his name because he rarely leaves the side of his owner, Helen Bryce (75), was first diagnosed three-years-ago.
Unable to afford the ongoing, life-saving treatment Shadow required, Helen contacted PDSA and was able to register Shadow for treatment at the charity’s Glasgow East PetAid hospital. Shadow was put on insulin to control his blood sugar levels, which Helen now gives him twice a day. She also brings him into PDSA every month to collect his medication and for blood tests and general check-ups.
Canine Diabetes Can't Halt Shadow
Sadly, in September 2008, Shadow developed complications and his blood sugar levels caused cataracts to develop in his eyes. Over the next five months he slowly lost his sight and is now blind in both eyes.
Helen from Croftfoot, Glasgow, was initially devastated at the diagnosis. “I thought that was the end. But the vet explained he would be fine with the right treatment.
“Shadow and I have been together for over 12 years. He was still just a puppy when we brought him home from a local rescue centre. He was quite timid and scared of men at first – even my late husband. The rescue centre told us he’d probably been mistreated. But he eventually learned to trust us both and we soon became inseparable, that’s why my husband named him Shadow, because that’s exactly what he acts like – my shadow.”
Diabetes in Dogs: No Reason for Dispair
PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Dermot Mullen, says: “There is no reason why diabetic pets can’t live full, long and happy lives. Looking after a diabetic pet takes a lot of commitment from an owner as they play a vital role in their ongoing treatment at home as well as bringing them in for regular checks.”
Canine Diabetes Side Effects
Dermot continues: “Blindness is a common side-affect of diabetes. But most pets cope incredibly well with losing their sight and continue their life as they did before; Shadow is no exception.”
Helen adds: “Shadow has adapted very well since losing his sight. We still enjoy our daily walks together and he loves playing with his toys. Sometimes, when I talk to him, he leans his head to the side and looks straight at me, as though he can really see me.
“He loves visiting PDSA and especially looks forward to seeing Dermot, who has been great and taught me how to inject Shadow’s insulin. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without PDSA’s help and support.”
PDSA provides free veterinary treatment for the pets of eligible owners in need. For further information about PDSA PetAid services please call 0800 731 2502 or visit www.pdsa.org.uk
Treatment For Diabetes in Dogs
Diabetes – Treatment Options For Your Diabetic Dog
If your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes, early treatment by your veterinarian will help prevent further complications from this disease. Your pet may be saved from the painful experience of nerve damage as well as avoiding blindness. Conventional treatments will go a long way to keeping your dog healthy.
Depending upon your dog’s needs, insulin injections will be given one to two times daily. The amount of insulin used for each dose and how often these doses are given will depend upon your veterinarian. Some dogs will be able to take tablets instead of being given shots.
Insulin doses are typically given in smaller amounts at the start of treatment so that the blood sugar levels can slowly stabilize. Under extreme circumstances this may require your dog to be treated in the hospital for a few days. If his diabetes is more stable, then your dog may receive outpatient treatment.
During this period, your dog’s blood sugar will be monitored every hour in order to determine the exact dose of insulin he will need on a regular basis. Once the correct measurement of insulin has been reached, your veterinarian will instruct you to monitor your dog by testing his urine and/or blood.
Proper Diet and Diabetes in Dogs
With diabetes, there is nothing more important to increase your dog’s life expectancy than with a strict diet. In fact, it is so important to your dog to eat accordingly when he has this disease, that there is a chance that his diabetes can go into full remission just from the change of diet alone.
You should be feeding your diabetic dog meals that are high in fiber and low to moderate and carbohydrates. Now is the time to start cooking your dog’s meals from the home with meats and other raw ingredients.
Before you decide what to feed him, it would be wise to consult with a holistic veterinarian who has education on nutrition. Your goal should be to utilize food as “medication” so that hopefully one day your dog can stop taking “official” medication.