Diabetes in Pets
Female Blue Heeler/Border Collie


Born -
Dx Oct-2002
Oral meds N/A:N/A
Regulated Jul-2003

Regulated between and

Remission N/A-N/A
Insulin Humulin N

Niki (Nikita) Update 2009

Niki was diagnosed in October of 2002, she weighs 45 lbs, she is a Border Collie/Blue Heeler cross.

I never knew any signs of canine diabetes, looking back now that I have learned so much as of this date, I can recall some of the earlier events that took place back in late 2001-2002.

I had noticed Niki was walking with her back hunched up, we went to vet, found she was constipated, vet did an enema and a prescription, (I would bet a steroid type drug now)

Awhile after this she had started leaking urine, small spots on the floor, I took her to the vet, tests negative for high glucose (my pet was very active) the vet then prescribed Detrol for urinary incontinence, now I can wonder why being she was only 5 yrs at the time.

We go along for a year, with giving her the Detrol medicine, she starts to leak more urine, you could see a small puddle of urine from where she was laying on the kitchen floor, really heavy noticeable panting and a medicinal smell to her breath.

I go to another vet who diagnosed her with canine diabetes October 2002 she never needed to be on the Detrol.


Niki 2009

The vet had started her out on Purina DCO dogfood 2 Cups with an insulin starting dose of NPH Insulin 4 units AM 3 units PM, as each week went by we went to the vet, who did one blood draw, the blood glucose was high, the vet increases dose to 6 units AM 4 units PM, this continued everyweek for about 8 weeks until the vet had Niki up to 18 units AM and 14 units PM, a few days later Niki went into shock, she had a seizure where her body started jerking all over, I gave her syrup followed by some food, the vet told me not to give evening insulin and to feed her, the next day at the vet her blood glucose was at 70, the insulin was still working from all the units she had been giving over the previous weeks. ( A bulid up of Insulin)

Her dose was then decreased to 12 units AM 10 units PM, time went by and the blood glucose was still in the 300's, still some urine leakage and heavy panting.

After some time she developed an ear infection stemming from high blood glucose as the ears make a warm environment for yeast to grow, the vet had applied a liquid to inside her ears, sent me home with a bottle of this and a rinse also, her ear infection cleared up.

Time went by and she had another ear infection, this time I caught it and used the ear medicine I had from the vet.

By this time it was 2003 I searched for answers, I found a new vet who wanted Niki on 11 units AM and 11 units PM of NPH insulin and to switch to Eukenuba Weight Control food bought at the vet.

Time goes by Niki's blood glucose is still in the 300's.


Niki 2003

I then learn I can test Niki's blood glucose myself using a pet blood glucose meter, now I have some information and a picture of how Niki's body is processing food and insulin.

I decide to take Niki's health in my own hands, I had enough of advise from the vets, what they were telling me to do was not working with Niki. I had to get a handle on this myself, it was my dogs life.

I started to decrease the Purina DCO food and added chopped broccoli or chopped green beans to her diet, also some cooked turkey or chicken, her blood glucose is finally coming down.

I had found her blood glucose would drop at 2-3 hours and I needed to give her a small treat before the drop, which at that time was a 1/2 of a soda cracker.

What was happening was Niki had been prescribed too much insulin, the first vet had never done a blood glucose curve on Niki and based her adjustments of insulin by only one blood draw each week. That is something I cannot figure about the vet to this day, was she unaware of doing a blood glucose curve, did my Niki have to go into shock to get her insulin dose decreased, this could have all been avoided. If I would not have been home that day I really don't know if Niki would be alive. At the vet the day after her seizure and the reading of 70 the vet had said "now we have a starting point" what was this? put my pet thru shock to figure this out. That is what I think was the vets reasoning here.

It took some time after July 2003 to find a diet and insulin dose that would work for Niki, we still used broccoli and green beans with her dogfoods, I had tried the expensive ones such as Evo, Canidae, some I had to have shipped to me. I finally found the Nutro brand and Nutro Light and Nutro Senior were the ones that worked for us along with adding the vegetables and turkey to her food. I never had a problem with getting Niki to eat.

She has had curves done, I've been told by vets her insulin seems to quit working after 7 hours I have learned the insulin does not quit working, the food and insulin need to match

Niki has been diabetic for over 6 yrs now. When diagnosed I was scared, I cried, as time went by I learned about this disease, research all you can, if I would not have done my research on this disease my Niki would not be here with me today. Niki has been blind for almost 3 yrs now, I never saw the blindness coming until she jumped up on a deck she thought was our front steps, she has adapted well, she is active, she plays soccer now, her hearing is much sharper, she can jump in and out of my truck, I cannot believe how well a dog can handle blindness, could we say that of we humans who could once see, and our doggies can't even talk. She is truly a miracle

Niki had lost weight over the past summer of 2008, I needed to increase her food and insulin a bit, she has gained her weight back.

Her current diet is 1/2 C of Orijen Dry, 1/3 C cooked ground turkey, 2/3 C chopped raw broccoli and 1/6 C Brown Rice.

In my studies of this disease with Border Collies and Heelers they tend to use less insulin than other dogs, it could be how their bodies metabolize the food and insulin, Niki has always been active, she is blind now but that does not stop her from playing and running room to room for going for walks and going for rides in the car.

Niki will be 12 years old this August 2009 and has been a diabetic half of her life.

One thing to consider about Insulin is double check your vet when changing an insulin, with Vetsulin the dose will be higher with different syringes U40's when you switch to NPH the dose will be lower or a more conservative dose with different syringes U100's. I have seen some problems with this switch in some of the pets, Vetsulin and NPH are different insulins they do not work the same. Keep an eye on your pet and learn to test your pets blood glucose with a meter especially if your vet keeps increasing the insulin dose.

With diabetes and ear infections I have found trimming some of the fur around Niki's ears near the front and trimming some of the hair on the insides of her ears has helped, this lets some air into the ears,she has not had an ear infection since 2004, I always check her ears and clean them and never let any hair I trim fall into her ears.

Exercise will affect your pets blood glucose, exercise is excellent but keep in mind it will lower the blood glucose some, testing with a blood glucose meter will help you out with your daily routine of walks etc. Once you monitor these readings after a walk or exercise you can adjust their treats to increase the blood glucose. This does not need to be done daily after every walk etc., just until your are familiar with your pets glucose readings and are comfortable managing your pets diabetes.

I belong to the K9 diabetes board and Pets with Diabetes Board, if you need any answers for canine diabetes please join us. Tell them Dolly and Niki sent you.

k9diabetes.com and The Pets with Diabetes board.

Info contact :dollyandniki @live.com

Updated March 23, 2009