Lynette Chia rescued Cody the Singapore Special when he was 2 months young. Rehomed but returned due to his health condition, Cody is now back in Lynette’s life.
“I started volunteering with dog welfare group SOSD in 2012. Cody was initially adopted but at about 6 months, we found out he has diabetes. His adopters could not cope with the amount of care needed to control his illness. Cody was eventually returned to the shelter.” ~ Lynette
“Cody was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus on his pre-anaesthetic blood tests at his regular vets, who started him on insulin therapy. He was referred to me at 1 year 3 months, when adequate control was not achieved & he developed ketoacidosis as a consequence. He was severely dehydrated & had profuse vomiting & diarrhea at the time of presentation.” ~ Dr Nathalee Prakash, Mount Pleasant Veterinary Centre (Gelenggang)
In the body, glucose levels are controlled by insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. Insulin facilitates movement of glucose in the blood into respective cells to be stored or used.
In diabetes mellitus (DM), there can be either:
- a deficiency in insulin production by the pancreas (type 1)
- a resistance of the cells to the effects of insulin (type 2)
“Cody is actually easy to care for if his diabetes is under control. However when he gets sick, a lot of time is needed to take him for vet reviews to make sure his condition does not worsen.” ~ Lynette
Juvenile diabetes typically arises from insufficient insulin production and can be accompanied by other pancreatic enzyme deficiencies.
The inability of glucose to enter and be used by cells results in dramatic weight loss. The glucose that remains in the blood stream gets filtered into urine and causes increased drinking and urination. The high glucose levels may result in liver disease, cataract formation and an immunocompromised state.
In situations where DM is poorly controlled, or complicated by other disease, the metabolic derangements further escalates, resulting in ketoacidosis, which can be life threatening.
Ketoacidosis: When the body is unable to burn glucose for energy, it starts to break down fat cells which produces fatty acids. These fatty acids are converted to ketones. High levels of ketones can lead to diabetic coma or death. Symptoms include weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal breath.
“Cody needed to a home environment to get better. We found a foster home but he again was returned because the fosterers could not cope. I felt Cody’s chance of finding a home is slim. So I decided to take him home & care for him.” ~ Lynette
Symptoms of diabetes
- excessive thirst (polydipsia)
- increased urination (polyuria)
- increased food consumption (polyphagia) but maintains or loses weight
- cloudy eyes (diabetic cataracts)
tests for diabetes
- Blood test to detect increased blood glucose level
- Urinalysis to measure presence of glucose and ketones (urine from healthy dogs does not contain any glucose)
Cody’s ketoacidosis was corrected & he is currently being managed with insulin injections twice a day. When diabetes is not regulated, it is usually due to insulin not administered properly. Have your vet demonstrate & then observe you injecting the insulin to make sure you are doing it correctly.
Cody improved in body condition from 11.6 kg at the time of presentation to a current 14.8 kg.
“The current aims are to fine-tune Cody’s insulin dose, after which he would only require revisits 2 to 3 times a year. Ongoing monitoring for management of infections (e.g. urinary tract infections) has also been advised.” ~ Dr Nathalee Prakash
For patients living with diabetes, consistent, unchanging and constant are keywords to remember for lifestyle, diet and treatment.
Ideally, a diabetic dog should be fed the same type of food, same amount, at the same time each day. A regular schedule of 2 meals a day will help minimise fluctuations in blood glucose so that the amount of insulin needed remains the same. Once the diabetes is properly regulated, dogs like Cody can live relatively normal lives.
“Fostering Cody has been a joy despite the tiredness on some days. Caring for him teaches us to manage our time better & having to inject him makes us more gung-ho.” ~ Lynette
“Cody has changed us all for the better. My family & housemate have been very supportive & helpful. We grew closer as a family & are ecstatic when Cody gets well!”
Cody watching TV with Lynette’s other foster dog Bloch!
“Volunteering is a commitment to the dogs. We need to make it a part of our lifestyle in order to sustain the long run. To me, the joy & love the dogs give us in return makes everything worth it.” ~ Lynette