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Ask Dr Scott Nimmo Your Own Question
Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Small Animal Veterinarian.
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18901
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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my dog who has diabetes still has very high glucose levels.

Customer Question

my dog who has diabetes still has very high glucose levels. I give him vetsulin twice a day with his meals. He''s on w/d. He''s gotten very skinny except for his belly which seems swollen. He drinks a lot. Should I increase the vetsulin? he gets 2.5 units twice daily. Thank you.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for the question,

While I cannot advise you directly in the case of a diabetic dog I can talk things over with you. When you have a diabetic dog you need to establish a close relationship with your vet as diabetic dogs need constant monitoring and you will need to ask for advice now and again.

In direct answer to your question : The insulin levels should only be raised when you know the blood sugar levels are high on a constant basis because you have run a blood test or checked the dog's urine glucose levels. If you have some means of measuring the blood or urine glucose levels on a daily basis you could safely raise the insulin dose by a unit a day until it came within the normal range.

As you know diabetes is a disease of constants, there are three factors to consider two of which ideally should be kept constant.

1. Food which raises blood sugar - Feed the same amount of the same food at the same time each day.

2. Exercise which burns blood sugar - Try to keep your dogs walks etc. for the same distance at the same time each day.

3. Insulin which burns blood sugar - you vary this depending on the blood or urine sugar levels plus an estimate of other factors such as how much your dog is drinking or how active he is.

The dangers with diabetes are :

1. Hyperglycaemia { too much blood sugar } one day of a high blood sugar will not make much difference if that happens it is no big deal. Problems come with month upon month of unremitting high blood sugar which leads to secondary changes such as blindness and liver damage.

2. Hypoglycaemia { too little blood sugar } you will have been warned about this already, the dog may become sleepy, staggery and incoordinated, and have little tremors. This is treated by giving the dog a sweet biscuit or sugar by mouth. If this does not work get to the vet quick. This will happen if you give too much insulin.

Two suggestions here, one is to get a little note book and record the times, and the insulin dosage, and the meals, and whether the dog is drinking a lot etc. Also you can show it to the vet when he does his checks, I always insisted my clients kept records like this, it is a big help.

Suggestion two is to get some urine glucose dip stick tests from the chemist. Your vet most likely checks things out via a blood test which is more accurate than the sticks. The sticks are not bad though and they will at least give you some indication of how things are going on a daily basis. Some of my clients check the urine glucose levels each day just before the give the insulin injection for that day but just after the dog has eaten.

If I can advise you further get back in touch.

Scott Nimmo BVMS
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
thanks so much, it was very helpful... have increased his insulin, this morning the strip turned dark brown again, and has ever since he's been diagnosed. Don't know if it's the strip or the pee which I try to collect haphazardly and don't really get a good go, but it's concerning enough that I'm scheduled to see the vet next week. Thank you.
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 8 years ago.
Hello again,

Collect a small amount of urine with a clean saucer and test it that way. Collect the urine in the morning before you give the insulin but inject the insulin after the dog has eaten.

My clients increase the insulin by one unit per day until the strip changes from brown to blue or green { depending on the strip } That then will be the daily insulin dose provided the exercise and food are constant. Of course you keep checking it every day as fluctuations will occur.

If the strip is brown increase the insulin if it is too blue or green reduce it.

A good tip is to cut the urine test strips length wise into as many smaller strips as you can with a pair of sharp scissors. They will still be OK to check the urine with, it will save you some money !



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