In early May, we found out my little chihuahua, Toodles, was diabetic. We have to check her sugar twice a day (6:30 am and pm) and, if it’s less than 200, give her an insulin injection. Most of the time, her sugar is well over 200 so she gets an injection.
I can’t see well enough to do it, but for Toodles, checking her sugar is not a problem. The stick inside of her ear doesn’t appear to hurt, and the double beep indicating the test is complete means time to eat. The injection comes after she eats.
Giving her the injections takes two people. The injection itself takes two hands — one to pull up the skin while the other inserts the needle and pushes the plunger. To keep her from jumping and making things worse, the second person holds her.
After a few days, she started hiding under a bed after she ate. Closing all the bedroom doors solved that problem. A few days later, she turned into Kujo at injection time and bit us both. She didn’t draw blood, but seeing my sweet little girl crazed with fear was upsetting.
I dread injections as much as she does. I cradle her head against my chest while my ex gives the injection. Until we started giving her a treat afterward, she snarled the whole time. She still snarls at the beginning — just to let us know she hates the injections.
Meanwhile, things have returned to something more like normal for my ex. By the end of July, he’s moving back into his condo. I’m happy for him, but am stressed out about how I’ll give Toodles her injections by myself.
We switched roles. He holds her while I give the injection. I can’t see well enough to do the sugar checks, but can manage the injections. The trick is figuring out how to get her to sit still without someone holding her.
Yes, I have friends — including my ex — who would come by every day to help. That’s really not feasible. If it were just a few days, a couple of weeks, or even a month or two, I’d try, but for the foreseeable future is more than I could ask of anyone.
Last week, I cried my eyes out in the vet’s office as I explained my dilemma. He said her reaction was unusual, and that stressing her (and me) out twice a day was counterproductive. That was a huge relief, as I’d been afraid putting her in some kind of doggy straitjacket and pinning her down twice a day for the rest of her life or putting her down were my only options.
If I stop giving the injections — one option we talked about — she could live for another two or three years. Complications would likely require frequent trips to the vet. She’d also become more and more likely to pee in the house.
Foregoing treatment is a last resort, but better than putting her to sleep. The vet is going to bet back with me after he consults with an expert in canine diabetes. I’m hoping they come up with better options.