ralph in rv

Our experience dealing with Canine Diabetes

We are finally back on the road, heading to our summer destination, Williams, AZ.  I wanted to talk a bit about some of the things that have been going on behind the scenes.  Traveling with animals is a joy, but keeping them healthy while doing so can sometimes be a challenge.

I firmly believe that if we hadn’t been traveling that I would not have noticed Ralph’s symptoms so quickly.

dogs at carrabelle florida beach

You see, one of the things about the RV lifestyle is that we are all well aware of each other’s daily routines.  Walking the dogs three times a day, along with extra potty breaks here and there had become routine after a year on the road.

We knew what was normal.

tips on dealing with canine diabetes

And then suddenly, Ralph couldn’t hold it any more.  He was dribbling everywhere.  He had to go every 2 hours, day or night.  We were alarmed at the change.

At the time, we were in St. Petersburg, FL, so we inquired about a good vet in the area and then took him for an exam.

tips on dealing with canine diabetes

He was diagnosed with bladder stones and Diabetes.  They preformed emergency surgery to remove the stones blocking his urethra and those in his bladder.

After recovery, they put him on insulin.  Two shots a day.  And I’m the chosen one to give them to him.  Me.  The person who has never given a shot before.

But I drew short straw because neither has Dave and he doesn’t do poop, yak, or apparently shots either.

tips on dealing with canine diabetes

The vet says it’s easy!  (As he pokes Ralph with a needle numerous times while Ralph just sits there looking like he’s thinking about his next milk bone).

So that evening, with our new supply of syringes and insulin, I made my first attempt at giving Ralph his shot.  Dave held him, I grabbed a fold of skin and injected him.

Ralph screamed.

I screamed.

Ralph very nearly bit Dave.

OMG.  I don’t think we can do this!  I turned into a blubbering idiot, while Ralph hid under the table.  I didn’t want my dog to be afraid of me.  But twice a day for the rest of his life, I was going to have to do this.

I called my oldest daughter, who just happens to draw blood for a living.  She talked me through how to hold the needle and give the shot quickly.

It would take some practice.  Lots of practice.

tips on dealing with canine diabetes

I’m a night owl, and can go back to sleep in a heartbeat, so I ended up with night shift duties.  Ralph still was dribbling, was drinking tons of water, and losing weight.

Consistently for 6 weeks, Ralph had to go out every two hours.  He was now down nearly 5 pounds.  His ribs were showing.  Despite increasing the insulin dosage about every week under the vet’s direction, Ralph’s health was deteriorating.

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9 thoughts on “Our experience dealing with Canine Diabetes”

  1. Oh dear, what a terrible thing to go through. I’m so pleased there is light at the end of the tunnel and your little dog has stabilised. Good on you all for hanging in there. And may your little dog still have many happy times with you.

    1. Hi Jenny!
      Thanks so much for the kind words! We’ve had a rough few months with Ralph and are so glad to see a light at the end of the tunnel! They truly are a part of the family!

      suzy

  2. I’ve had 2 diabetic dogs over the years. The last one was a Lhasa Apso mix and she lived to 14 although she was blinded by bad cataracts the last couple of years she got around the house and yard just fine. My little ginger was a sweetheart and I still miss her.

    1. Hi Lorena!
      I’m so sorry to hear of your loss! They are truly one of the family. It sounds like ginger had a wonderful, long life with you! That is one of the things that we were glad to hear. As long as the dog is stabilized, they can live a normal lifespan. Thank you so much for commenting!

      suzy

  3. So glad things are working out! How scary that must have been. Keep us updated on how Ralph is doing. Enjoy your travels! Love your websites

    1. Hi Sue!
      Thank you so much for your kind words! It definitely has been scary. Ralph has always been so healthy and suddenly everything went wrong. The hardest part is not being able to explain to him why I have to stick him with a needle twice a day. Fortunately, he forgives me almost immediately! LOL!

      suzy

  4. I’m really glad Ralphie is better. He really gave everyone a scare. Thanks for the list of things to look for. I will definitely keep my eye on our doggies too.

  5. Have to ask, did vet teach you to check his blood sugar? It’s a skill that is useful and pretty easy. I checked outer cats blood sugar daily for years. He lived to be 17!

    1. Hi Velda!

      We have not learned how to check his blood sugar. One vet told us that we would have to get it from his gums. After the trauma of learning how to give him his shots, I’d rather the vet do that. LOL! We take him back to the local vet about once a month and have them do a check. He seems to have stabilized over the past month or two and has even put a bit of his lost weight back on.

      Glad to hear that you cat lived a long happy life!

      suzy

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