Zeke, a 15 Year Old Diabetic Dog

Zeke, a 15 Year Old Diabetic Dog
Zeke is believed to be a Puggle

Zeke the Diabetic Dog Passes Away

With great sadness we announce that Zeke has passed away on August 26, 2012.    Zeke had had a couple seizures in the night and was in quite bad shape.   Unfortunately I was out of town on a short vacation.  My husband took him him to a veterinarian who felt that the only option would be to put him to sleep.   Zeke would have been 16 years old in a few months on Dec. 1.   He lived a good long life and was a very loyal friend who I will miss for the rest of my life.  

Zeke had been diagnosed with dog diabetes in July 2007 but we were able to manage it ok with help from the veterinarian and with the right pet meds.  At the time I thought it was a death sentence for him but it turned out not to be.

In March of 2012 Zeke was diagnosed with canine kidney disease.  His symptoms included excessive drinking and urinating and very dilute urine that looked almost like water.    Zeke lived for about 6 months with the kidney disease. It was often difficult to get him to eat although I could usually find something that he would eat at least some of.

Shortly after being diagnosed with kidney disease Zeke had some other type of event occur that involved lots of circling for about an hour, followed by loss of eyesight in his one remaining good eye.  Our veterinary opthamalogist determined that the retina had detached in that eye for an unknown reason.  Zeke had cataract surgery in January 2008 and I was thankful that he regained eyesight for an additional 4 years.  Zeke lived his last 6 months in blindness.  It took him a month or two to adapt to the blindness.  For the first month he felt most comfortable hanging out in the bedroom.  After that he gradually resumed his normal habits of walking around the yard sniffing, laying under the desk in the home office, and laying on the rug in the family room.  

Zeke had been receiving 400 units of sub-cutaneous fluids at home daily and was pretty good up to the end, just a week prior to his death I had taken him for a walk.  Because of his age I only took him on half the usual walk, when it was time to turn around he kept pulling to continue on and it took me a few minutes to convince him to turn around.  So I didn't think he felt to bad at that time.  

Goodbye Zeke.  You have been a good friend and I will miss you.

Zeke Has Kidney Disease

Last Tuesday Zeke decided to stop eating and was being very finicky with food. I took him to his veterinarian who did blood work and an x-ray of his abdomen.  The X-ray was normal but Zekes bloodwork showed that his kidney disease has worsened since the last time it was checked in mid-march. His Creatinine went from 1.9 (which was just above the normal value of 1.8 in a dog) to 3.8.  His vet suspected that the kidney disease was causing him to be nauseated and to not want to eat.  She set me up with bags of subcutaneous fluid, tubing, and needles and showed me how to give Zeke fluids at home.    Zeke perked up almost right away after the first treatment so I was glad for that as I am not ready to see Zeke go.

I seem to have no problem doing the morning treatment of fluids.  But in the evening for some reason when I stick the needle in Zekes skin he always turns around, gives me a dirty look, and then barks at me for jabbing him and the needle comes out.  I am going to talk to his vet tomorrow.  Zeke seems to be doing much better with receiving the one fluid treatment per day he is getting.  I will see what she thinks about continuing that.

Zeke the Diabetic Dog Has A Detached Retina

Zeke was diagnosed by his veterinary ophthalmologist, Dr. Easton, at Veterinary Vision in Rochester Hills, Michigan as having a detached retina in his right eye. Dr. Easton made the diatnosis by doing an ultrasound on Zekes right eye and she also did a test called a colorimeter.  After doing the tests she thought that his vitreous had just deteriorated and caused the retina to detach.   Dr. Easton prescribed Prednison eye drops for his right eye and said that getting the inflammation out of the eye might help the eye to heal but it was doubtful that he would get much vision back in the eye.   

Zeke had his cataract surgery done at this clinic by Dr. Ebbinger just over 4 years ago now.  Prior to the surgey Zeke was completely blind from cataracts caused most likely by his diabetes until the surgery so I am thankful that he got just over 4 extra years of vision.  Zeke has always received excellent care from both Dr. Easton and Dr. Ebbinger.  I highly recommend them if you are in Michigan and in need of a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Zeke Recovering From Being Disoriented

It has been almost a week now since Zekes incident with being disoriented occurred.  His symptoms were he was circling to the right, didn't seem to know where he was, appeared to not be able to see out of his right eye which was his only good eye, and just could not relax for an hour or so.  By the end of the week Zeke had improved somewhat but still was not normal so his vet prescribed Baytril just in case he has an inner ear infection going on.  She doubts this is the case but at this point it was worth a try.  Zeke will be visiting his veterinary phthalmologist tomorrow for an evaluation of his right eye.  Our regular vet suspects that it is something with Zekes brain such as a stroke or brain tumor.  Both are not good things.

Zeke has been sleeping a little more than usual but his attitude has been good.  He is no longer disoriented and the circling stopped after the first night.  But his eyesight is gone in the right eye.  Zeke had cataract surgery 4 years ago and his right eye has been perfect.   But when he had his episode of disorientation almost a week ago now he appeared to be able not to see. The regular vet confirmed that by shining a light in his eye and getting zero response.  

On his left eye the ophthalmologist suspected that his retina detached 2 weeks after surgery and the resulting glaucoma ruined the eye.   So if the sight in the right eye is gone this leaves Zeke a blind dog which is sad as he is still normally very mobile and enjoys running off.  I am keeping a much closer eye on him now.

Our vet is curious to know what the ophthalmologist thinks happened to Zekes right eye as it may give clues as to what happened to cause his being disoriented.    

Could Zeke Have Canine Vestibular Disorder?

On Monday morning Zeke was fine.  He took off for about a 30 minute run by himself and was fine.  I came home on Monday evening to find Zeke very disoriented, turning in circles to the right. and unable to see.  It took a couple of hours to get him to relax.   Zeke was only able to see out of his right eye and it seemed the sight in that eye was gone.  Zeke appeared to be trying to figure out where he was and I was unable to confort him at all.   We already had a vet appointment scheduled for the next day because Zeke was not eating well.  

Prior to going to the vet I did a google search on "older dog disoriented" and learned about canine vestibular disease which I was convinced that he had.  Our vet explained that canine vestibular disease shares symptoms with strokes and brain tumors.  She did a thorough exam and determined that there was no response to light in Zekes right eye.  His left eyesight had been lost a few years ago after his cataract surgery and resulting glaucoma in the left eye.

Our vet is leaning more to something going on in Zekes brain like a stroke or  brain tumor since the vestibular order being an inner ear issue would not cause Zeke to lose his vision.

While I am worried about Zeke I think he will be ok. The vet treated him with fluids, and a shot of Cerenia for nausea. She also gave us Cerenia pills to take home.  She suggested that if it was canine vestibular order most of it should resolve within 72 hours.   If it did not resolve then we could possibly consider an evaluation by a neurologiest.

Hypoglocemia in Diabetic Dogs

Zekes blood sugar continues to be low when the vet checks him.  I finally figured out the problem is that Zekes appetite is reduced lately, he is not tearing through his food like a shark like he has done in the past.  He has been finicky with food in the past but he is more finicky than usual and sometimes not finishing his food entirely like he previously.   So far the vet has not identified a reason for it.  She runs a blood panel about every 3 or 4 months and for the most part everything is normal however on the tests done in Feb. Zeke is showing slight signs of kidney damage.

With a dog with diabetes you have to be very careful to reduce their insulin if they eat less than usual.   Zekes' vet has been reduced to 10 units of NPH in the am and 10 in the evening.

Zeke the Diabetic Dog Continues to be Hypoglycemic

After Zekes hypoglocemic episode a few weeks ago our veterinarian lowered his NPH dosage to 13 units twice day.  He had previously been on 15 since January.  We  returned to his veterinarian last week to have his blood glucose checked.   It was 50 which is too low.   Incidentally it was also 50 when he was at 15 units after the major hypoglycemic incident a few weeks ago.  So she lowered his NPH dose to 11 units.  At 11 units Zeke was drinking too much water and waking me up at night to go outside. This reminded me of his early days of being diagnosed with dog diabetes when I was trying to get his blood glucose levels regulated.  So I increased his dose to 12 and he seems to be doing well  He will return to the veterinarian next week to have his blood sugar checked again.  Hopefully his blood glucose will be in a more normal range around 100 - 120.

Zeke Has Hypoglycemic Incident

Our diabetic dog Zeke has been doing well.  He turned 15 years old on Dec. 1 and when he was first diagnosed with dog diabetes I never dreamed that he would live to this age.  In January his vet increased his insulin to 15 units of NPH twice a day because his blood glucose test was high.  He had been doing well and I had not taken him back to the vet since early January.  Two nights ago we had a big scare.   Zeke started having some shaking, kind of like a big hiccup in his abdomen area.  These would happen 3 -4 times per minute. I thought it was strange but didn't think much of it.  Then when he jumped off my lap he landed on all fours but he could not stand and his legs buckled underneath him.

When my 15 year old German Shepherd dog died years ago his legs going out was the first indication that something was wrong.  My black lab Tiffany died in 2004 at age 13 and her legs went too and she died at the vets that evening.  So I was positive that this was the end and Zeke was dying.  I would say goodbye and he would be gone by morning.  After saying my good-byes I took him to my husband who also said his good-byes. Next I had a thought what if his blood sugar went too low so I went and got the Karo syrup.  I took a 10 ML syringe (with no needle) and put about 2ML of Karo syrup in it and shot it in Zekes mouth.  We also shot in some water to make sure the Karo went down.

Next I ran downstairs to my computer and looked up the symptoms of hypoglycemia in diabetic dogs and found Pet Diabetes Hypoglycemia.   Zeke had all of the symptoms listed (shaking, loss of balance/stability).  Next I ran back upstairs where Zeke was lying on the bed and gave him another dose of Karo and some water.  A few minutes later the shaking stopped and was acting normal.  I brought Zeke some fried chicken which he ate.   About 30 minutes later I put him on the floor and he walked perfectly.  I was so happy.  Zeke would live and he was not dying after all.

If you have not figured it out already you should always have a bottle of Karo syrup on hand if you have a diabetic pet.  This was Zekes first hypoglycemic incident and this July it will be 5 years since he was diagnosed with dog diabetes.

I took Zeke to his veterinarian the next evening to have his blood glucose level checked.  It was 50 which is low however Zeke was not having any hypoglycemic symptoms.   The vet had me lower Zekes dose of NPH to 13 units twice per day which could possibly be a little too low for him but as my vet explains it is much safer to give too little insulin than too much.

Can Diabetic Dogs Use Rimadyl?

Prior to Zekes cataract surgery he was laying around and acting depressed.  I thought it was because he had lost his eyesight.  Zeke's diabetes had made him blind due to cataracts almost immediately after he was diagnosed in July 2007.     Once Zeke had cataract surgery in January 2008 the veterinary opthamologist put him on Rimadyl to reduce swelling in his eyes.  He immediately started acting alot perkier and  I thought it was because he was so happy he got his eyesight back.  

Zeke had been on 25mg of Rimadyl twice a day.  Ten days 10 days after the surgery Zeke deveoped some stomach issues from the Rimadyl so the veterinarian took Zeke off of the Rimadyl and I noticed he was not as perky as he had been.  It was then that I realized that Zeke probably had arthritis and was benefitting from the Rimadyl.  After a few days the stomach problems resolved and we put Zeke back on 25mg once a day.  He did well on that dose and seemed perky and happy.  He has been on Rimadyl about 4 years now and is doing well.

Years ago I had an older arthritic dog that we had tried the Rimadyl on and it did not do anything at all for her.  After 3 or 4 months we discontinued it.   So every dog is different.

Zeke The Diabetic Dog Turns 15 On Dec 1, 2011

I am so happy to report that Zeke turned 15 on Dec. 1, 2011. He is really doing well overall. We recently took Zeke to his vet for a routine glucose check.   He was high at 400 so we increased his NPH to 15 frm 14. A few weeks later his vet checked his glucose level.   It was 168 and his vet was happy with it so we will keep him at 15 units and check him in another month or so.

Zeke was diagnosed in July 2007.  At the time I was very worried and thought his lifespan would be shortened.  By with the excellent veterinary care and medications he has received he is living a full and normal life by dog standards.