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Of Owners and Their Pets with Diabetes Mellitus


Rainbow Bridge September 26, 2004

On December 14, 1991, I received a call from my dear friend Joan.  Her dog, Eska had just had a litter of puppies and she wanted me to stop by to see them.  How could I resist. After all, these were not just ordinary puppies and Joan is not just an ordinary lady.  You see, Eska is a wolf hybrid, part malamute, part wolf.  So is her mate, Fenrir.  I always loved Fenrir, he is big, friendly and gorgeous!  I should have known that after seeing these precious babies, I would end up owning one.  I already had my own wolf hybrid, Sitka, a tall, lanky, handsome boy.  I was starting a new job and knew I was not going to be able to take Sitka to work with me any more so thought a "friend" might be just what he would need.  Joan wanted me to have the baby that looked most like Eska.  She had the same red coloring and beautiful eyes so of course I had to name her Eski (a mini Eska).  Her personality was very dominant even as a baby.  She ruled the house the minute she arrived.  Sitka was very tolerant of her puppy antics and they soon became inseparable.  She quickly grew into a beautiful, fuzzy, full-figured girl with a real zest for life.  She was healthy, active and my best running partner.  We have had many adventures in the mountain's of Vermont. We have often run into bear's, coyotes and moose, swam in the lakes and rivers.  Her first major visit to the Vet's office ( not counting the porcupine incident) was 3 year's ago when she had to have surgery on her torn cruciate ligament.  That was quite traumatic for her and took some time to heal.  She continued to be active but the injury and age were starting to catch up with her.  Sitka had been put on Rimadyl at this time for arthritis he had developed in his spine.  The Vet felt maybe it could help Eski and her achy joints.  So in June of 2002, she started on Rimadyl, too. Within two weeks she was very, very ill and rushed to the Vet's.  She had a serious liver infection and was put on some heavy duty antibiotics.  That cleared up and of course, I took both of them off of the Rimadyl.  (My Vet says he is not sure that the two incidents were linked but I was not going to take any chances).  In August, we noticed Eski drinking a lot of water and urinating frequently.  She had never messed in the house before and now was having multiple accidents.  The Vet diagnosed her with diabetes and my heart sank.  He said it was definitely treatable but we needed to get her regulated as soon as possible.  It took many months but finally in December 2002, she seemed to be regulated.  At the same time, I had noticed Sitka had been loosing a lot of weight over the past 6 months.  He went through a battery of tests and we found a large tumor on his liver.   It was benign so the Vet and I agreed that at his age (13) we should just monitor him rather than put him through surgery.  On December 12, 2002, I decided to visit my Mother for a few days and my friend, Jeff was to watch the"kids".  Eski was doing great but when I got home on December 14 (Eski's 11th Birthday), she refused to eat. She was vomiting and there was blood in her urine.  I began to panic.  I called the Vet right away but they were all at their office Christmas party.  The Vet on call was from a different office and I had never talked to her before.  She was helpful but didn't know Eski and her history.  She thought it sounded like Eski had a urinary tract infection.  She had me force an antibiotic pill down her throat which she quickly threw up.  By the next morning, a Sunday, Eski was very weak and my regular Vet had me bring her right in.  He put her on IV fluids as she was severely dehydrated.  She was not showing much in the way of improvement by Monday morning and he told me I had to get her to Tuft's for further treatment.  An x-ray had shown a mass in her abdomin and she was not responding to his treatment.  I quickly bundled her up and took the two and a half hour trip to Tuft's where they whisked her away the minute she arrived.  She was diagnosed with severe pancreatitis, I almost lost her.  The ultra-sounds showed a large mass on her spleen that the Doctor's at Tuft's felt should be removed as soon as she was stablized.  Twelve long days at Tuft's and she was finally able to come home.  I drove out 5 times during those awful 12 days to be with her and both Sitka and I were very relieved to have her home.  With in a few days of being home, I had her out for some short walks and her appetite was slowly coming back.  That was back in January.  She has been very stable since then, gets 2 shots,  30 units each of Humilin N per day (she has been very good about her shots) and is on a very strict diet of W/D which she actually likes and home cooking.  It seems that when I was gone, she may have had too many good things to eat and that could have caused her pancreatitis (I have learned soooo much from this whole episode).  Sitka has aged a lot from this long, cold winter.  I don't know what we will do if we loose him, Eski cannot function without him!  This last year has been very stressful on all three of us.  I lost my Step-father in July and a dear friend this month, my kids are aging and watching this has been heartbreaking.  It has been a long, stressful winter and yet the three of us are still plodding along.  I figure that as long as they are eating well and still enjoy their "walkies", life is good.  Eski will have her spleen surgery this Spring.  Another trauma for her but I cannot put it off too long.  She has been through so much already. 

Margaret Dwyer

Eskie's Photo Album

Eskie, Margaret & Sitka

Sitka's Baby Picture

Eskie's Baby Picture

Tue, 28 Sep 2004 
Hi, all,

I am writing to tell you of the passing of my beautiful girl, Eski.

 I wish I could tell you she went peacefully in her sleep or that I had to
make the decision and was
there as she slowly slipped away. Unfortunately because of my
ignorance and selfishness, she died a very painful, excruciating
death all alone. I will never forgive myself, she was never meant to
go this way. I always thought that the diabetes would be what would
take her life. Saturday night she was doing fine. She had her
dinner a bit late but went to bed seemingly normal. Around 2:30
Sunday morning, she got me up and was retching. Oh, great, I
thought. She is going to get sick. I brought her outside (can't
have her throwing up on the carpet you know!) and she pooped then ran
right over to her pen. I put her in and she retched a few more
times. I went back inside to go back to bed, whenever Eski gets sick
she prefers to stay outside. I heard her get sick again and figured
we would be making another trip to the vet's in the morning. She has
had two bouts with pancreatitis and this always seems to be the way
it starts. I woke up around 7:00am and went out to check on her. I
did not see her at first but did notice some foamy spots in the pen.
I then realized what had been happening. I ran in the pen and found
her behind her house, she was dead. Her belly was like a balloon.
She died of bloat and I did nothing about it. The sight of her there
and the knowledge that she died an excruciating death all alone will
haunt me until the day I die. I am sorry to bring such bad news  but I needed
to write. I lost Sitka last year
to old age, that was painful enough but I was able to be with him.
Eski did not deserve this, she had been through so much and had been
doing quite well for a 12+ year old diabetic. I am so sorry to write
this, please all of you with dogs become aware of the signals of a twisted
stomach, she may be alive if I had driven her straight to the vet.
Now I get to live with the memory of her agonizing death.

What is Bloat?

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