24 March 2016

Solving the drought one dog at a time

While Matt and I were recently dying, Zero decided to further diminish Southern California's dwindling water supply by drinking all of it. Due to our lack of situational awareness, we didn't realize the severity of the situation until Zero woke us up by peeing on the rug two mornings in a row. Then we started noticing the hidden puddles of pee all over the house. Clearly something was wrong with the dog and not just us.

We dragged ourselves, a very excited Reese, and a wary Zero to the vet for a visit with Zero's internal medicine doctor. Based on his symptoms of drinking and peeing twenty-seven gallons per day, she had a diagnosis in mind, which she confirmed with blood tests. His blood glucose level was 527. Like humans, dogs are supposed to have levels in the low 100s. Uhhh, fuck.

Zero officially has type 1 diabetes, also known as "dogabetes." It was most likely caused by years of taking steroids for his IBD (irritable bowel disease). Unfortunately, he needs to take his current steroids as only they successfully control his IBD.

Just for fun, he now gets twice daily insulin injections, one after each meal. Getting his dose of insulin straightened out required glucose curves and more visits to the vet than we were physically capable of at the time. He started out at four units, then it was increased to six, then again to eight. Zero seemed stable at eight, but then his urine tested positive for ketones, which are a precursor to DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis).

The vet lowered Zero's insulin dose to seven units. Guess who started drinking and peeing constantly? Hint, it wasn't Matt. The vet raised his dose, somewhat reluctantly, to 7.5 units, and he seems to have finally stabilized.

Sadly, it is very common for dogs with type 1 diabetes to develop cataracts within about six months of diagnosis. They usually require surgery to restore the dog's vision. Zero's eyes are already starting to look a bit cloudy, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

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