One Pet Owner's Journey With Canine Diabetes

Shelby is a happy go-lucky kind of dog. The 10 to 11-year-old Terrier mix (with a wannabe Labradoodle nose) lives with his owner, Anita Arnold, and two other dogs at their home in Roanoke. But early this spring, something changed-Shelby starting urinating in the house. There could be many medical or behavioral reasons for this but his owner says there were other signs something was amiss.

“By May, Shelby had the excessive thirst, water drinking and urination and weight loss. He also was showing agitation.”

A quick blood test at the vet’s office revealed Shelby had diabetes.

Arnold says the treatment plan included two injections of Vetsulin (canine insulin) twice a day with his meals. But she had to make other changes as well.

“I cut out all treats, except Nature Logic, pure beef lung/all protein, maybe once a day. He has remained on the same food, with some fish oil at times. We keep a strict schedule on feeding times, which most dog owners do as well -- he needs to have his Vetsulin every 12 hours --- basically 7am and 5pm, or within an hour in that range. We have short walks around the front yard, and now he can venture to the fenced back yard on his own.”

While some humans with diabetes check their insulin levels by pricking their finger or some other method several times a day, Arnold monitored Shelby’s sugar levels by collecting his urine.

“Basically, I had to capture his urine using a soup spatula type spoon, then would dip in a test strip, and record a pattern /chart for the vet to determine how he was accepting and reacting to the new insulin injections. The vet reviewed the results for a couple weeks.”

The first few weeks were difficult and things went from bad to worse, Arnold admits.

“Shelby seemed to have withdrawn, depression type experience. He lost weight, his fuzzy fur and confidence. He just didn't feel well for some time, and began losing weight a few weeks before he was diagnosed.