Toodles was diagnosed with diabetes in May. Insulin injections twice a day are the only treatment option. Because she turns into mini-Kujo, it takes two people to give her an injection. My last Diabetic Doggy post (July 11) revolved around figuring out a way to give her the injections after my ex moved back into his condo at the end of July.
The veterinarian checked with an internal medicine specialist at the UGA Vet School. Oral medications are available, but have not been successful with dogs. He could put a port on her back (a surgical procedure), but they get blocked up easily and dogs don’t tolerate them very well.
A pen, like an EpiPen, is another option. At first, this sounded like the way to go. But when I read up on it and watched several videos, I changed my mind. The needle has to stay in for five seconds — about twice as long as it takes to give the injection.
My ex, bless his heart, came to my house at 6:30 twice a day to help me with the injections. If he has to work in the evening, another friend comes over to help me. Both live close by, and I’m extremely grateful for the help, but coming over twice a day for the foreseeable future is impractical — not to mention horribly inconvenient.
I checked with my vet to see about bringing her in for two minutes when nobody was available to help me. He said it wasn’t feasible, which kind of pissed me off, but he’s right. His office isn’t open at 6:30 am or pm and even if he was agreeable, changing the time for her injections would only help half the time.
The UGA Small Animal Hospital is less than a mile from my house. I popped in one afternoon and explained my situation. The receptionist thought something could be worked out with home visits by student volunteers. She took my contact info and said she’d get back with me. Unfortunately, the program was discontinued because of liability issues. She suggested a pet sitter.
I contacted dozens of pet sitters (check out Rover.com if you’re in need). Only one was willing to help, but she’d only come three times a week and wanted $100 a month. Diabetic supplies cost a small fortune. I decided to hold off while I kept exploring my options.
Two weeks ago, my ex took Toodles while I went to a conference in South Georgia for two nights. Given my vision issues, I rode down with a coworker on Wednesday. We’d been at the conference less than two hours when the ex texted me that he’d been admitted to the hospital and was about to have surgery for a spider bite he got a couple of weeks earlier that had become infected.
Fortunately, I keep a key hidden outside (the ex does not) and the dogs (his and mine) were at my house. I couldn’t reach the guys who help me with injections when my ex can’t, but called around and found a friend willing to walk, feed, and water them that evening.
My injection helpers called me back later that evening and promised to look after the dogs until I got back to Athens. I finally found a ride back late Thursday. The ex was still in the hospital, but my friend agreed to help me until he got out.
He came over at 6:30 the next morning and mentioned that his partner had been out of commission all week with back problems. In other words, he’d been giving Toodles injection without any help. He puts her on the kitchen counter and she didn’t put up any fight at all.
He came back that evening, just in case I needed help and to check her sugar. Reading the results isn’t the issue — seeing the tiny drop of blood is the problem. Anyway, I gave her the injection without any problem and have been doing so ever since.
Toodles fought me a little bit the first day or two, but I stayed strong. A couple of times, I may have squirted the insulin on her rather than in her, but I’m getting better with practice. I get someone to come over and check her sugar every two or three days.
My ex stayed in the hospital for nine days and had surgery three times. He’s staying with me while he recovers. He’s weak, but doing well and will be good as new in a few weeks.
Since Toodles was diagnosed, worrying about how to give her the injections has stressed me out. I’ve shed many tears and feared what would happen. Being able to handle it all by myself is a HUGE relief. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers.