Pet Diabetes Presents Stories from Around the World!
Of Owners and Their Pets with Diabetes Mellitus



In May of 1993, my husband Sal and I got our first dog and my very first pet of any kind, 
a girl Yorkie puppy named Winnie who we promptly fell in love with.  I read somewhere
that dogs live longer with a companion so one day in early September of the same year, 
Sal found an ad in the paper for a four month old male Yorkie. 
He called the number and went to take a look.

I got a phone call and I knew something wasnít right.  Sal quietly said, ďI donít know what to do,
this dog doesnít look like a Yorkie.Ē  At the same time, Max was standing right on top of Salís 
big old work boots looking at him like ďplease get me out of hereĒ.  Sal reluctantly offered the 
man less than he was asking and the man grabbed the money.  It turns out that this man was 
in the middle of a divorce and got a puppy to cheer up his small children for the summer. 

Max came home in a tiny cat carrier.  He was tall and lanky and had very dark coloring. 
His ears were packed with dirt and he was starving and hunched over.  This wasnít the 
perfect little Yorkie I wanted as a companion for Winnie, but she really liked him.  In fact, 
she latched onto his ear and pretty much tormented him those first few months.

We tried to crate train Max since we both work and this had worked out very well with Winnie.
 But Max didnít like the crate at all.  Every night, Iíd get home from work and find Max freaking
out in the crate and covered with everything you can imagine.  He absolutely needed a bath
every single night and it was pretty disgusting.  I didnít think we could keep him, I mean I
was still new to owning a pet and this was not my idea of what it should be about. 

One day I was watching Max try to play with a little blue ball, Iíll never forget how sweet
he looked with his big lanky front legs trying to hold the ball that kept slipping away 
and his puppy butt up in the air.  I started to cry and I knew I could never give him up. 
So, I put up a baby gate and kept him and Winnie in the kitchen and guess what? 
No accidents and no crate ever again for this little boy! 

I was totally in love with this oversized dark colored special Yorkie and he knew it. 
Over the years, if we have loud arguments or if Iím upset, Max is in my face giving
me kisses and he wonít stop until Iím calm.

Max was diagnosed with Diabetes 6/18/02.  We had him on humulin U, but this wasnít right
for him. We tried and tried, but werenít able to home test so we finally took him to 
a specialist hospital on 7/25/02 and he stayed there for a couple of days.  He was 
experiencing somogyi, very rapid highs and lows in his bg readings. 
He's now on N and weíre still working on getting him regulated.

We were told when Max was diagnosed that he had small cataracts.  We took him to an eye
specialist on 7/24/02 for a baseline in the hopes that, once the diabetes was regulated, we could
have the cataracts removed.   We were told that Max did not have cataracts, but Progressive
Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and that he will go blind from this gradually over the next one to two 
years.  Max also has dry eye and needs drops twice a day to control this condition.

Max went totally blind on 8/18/02, he had developed cataracts very quickly.  My heart was 
broken watching him bump into things and look so confused.  I sent out a message and got lots
of encouraging responses and advice from people who have gone through this.  It really meant 
everything to me to have loving caring people supporting us and Max.

We were finally successful at home testing on 8/20/02 ~ we tried the ear and Max slept
through the first attempt.  Itís not always easy getting blood from him, but this is the best 
spot we could find and Iím so grateful for the person who suggested it and for the home
testing instructions on   The flashlight trick really helps.

Itís been a little over two weeks since Max lost his sight and every time I start to feel too sad,
he does something to pull me out of it.  Itís like little miracles that make me smile so that I can 
put on my cheerful voice for him.  When I thought heíd never play again and found 
myself crying, I looked over and there he was chewing on his favorite fuzzy duck.

So, weíre all adjusting, but the main thing is to get Maxís diabetes under control 
so that we can keep this special boy with us for a long, long time. 

Thank you !!!

Anne, Sal, Max (dd), Winnie (ndd) and Mitchell (ndd)
Lakewood, NJ

Anne wrote a very informative email to the Rainbow List on Sun, 15 Dec 2002 
and has given permission for it to be posted here as an update on Max

I do not feel that urine testing is completely useless ~ it does show a pattern, but it should
not be used to adjust insulin dosages because it doesn't tell you exactly where Ludwig's bg levels
are at any given time. It's important to get the strips that test for glucose and ketones. 
If ketones show up, it's a problem.

I'm not an expert at this but it sounds like our dogs are pretty close in both age and weight. 
Max was turned 9 in April and was dx in June of this year.  He weighed 21 pounds before
getting sick and now weighs 15.5 pounds. We're on our 2nd internal specialist.  He got dry
eye right away and needed cyclosporin drops.  He went completely blind two months
after being dx.  He has had serious eye problems, but with the help of a very good eye vet 
we've gotten this under control.  And he's adjusted pretty well.

We could not get Max regulated on commercial dog food.  We started home cooking in
November and it's made a huge difference.  He stays awake after eating and his bg levels 
do not fluctuate as much.  I wish we had started this sooner.

Food (we make a week's worth and store in the freezer):
Max's food is per day divided in half.

1 cup cooked oatmeal
1 cup cooked carrots and green beans put through the food processor
1 hard boiled egg chopped up
1/4 can Wellness Senior wet food

Supplements (the mg's are for whole capsules or tablets):
1/4 Chromium Tablet (400 mcg) - to even out insulin duration
1/2 Cranberry Capsule (475 mg)  - to avoid Urinary Track Infections
1/4 Alpha Lipoic Acid (100 mg)     - antioxidant
1/2 Acidophilus (6 mg) - keeps good bacteria in system (like yogurt)

I mix four days worth of supplements with pure pumpkin divide evenly.

Treats (all three love these treats):
Frozen pure pumpkin about 1/2 tsp. each
Frozen green beans

He's on 5.5 units of N twice a day after meals

I have checked with Max's internal specialist on each change in his diet and supplements. 
I think it's very important to check with your vet before taking any advice.

Anne & Max (dd, dx 6/18/02, blind 8/18/02) & Winnie (ndd) & Mitchell (ndd)

Update - Fri, 25 Jul 2003
Max had his 10th birthday on 4/24/03 
and his one-year anniversary of being diabetic on 6/18/03.

Sal and I have learned a lot this past year about diabetes, eye problems, and nutrition for 
our pets.  Most of what weíve learned came from our rainbow friends and for this we are 
very grateful. In May, we started removing the egg yolk from Maxís food and added 
Niacin and Milk Thistle to his daily vitamins.  We are hoping that his next blood panel 
will show an improvement in his cholesterol level.

When Max was first diagnosed, he was not doing well.  I was looking for answers and 
saw Zaki on Judyís rollcall page.  Zaki is a big beautiful diabetic girl Yorkie.  I fell
in love with her face and wrote to Zakiís mom.  Carol wrote back with lots of information 
and advised me to join the mailing list.  I just got back from a wonderful trip down south 
to meet Carol and Jerry and their three sweet dogs Zaki, Pandy and Kelci. 
Along with our bond of having diabetic pets, Carol has become a true friend.

There was also a whirlwind trip in May with another friend I made on the RB list. 
Kim lost her beautiful diabetic Pom Anni suddenly in late March and my heart was
broken for her and her husband Don.  I convinced Kim to get away for a few days to
the Jersey shore and she convinced me to come back with her to Canada for a few days. 
My dogs (especially Winnie) got so spoiled by Kim!!!  Luckily I got to leave
the house and go back to Kimís while they adjusted to ďnormalĒ life again.

While I wish that Max never became diabetic, and I wish this for all our pets,
itís amazing to me to have met and developed friendships with so many people 
who love their pets as much as Sal and I love ours.  Even though I donít post 
that often on RB, but I do celebrate the happy news and cry over the sad news. 

Thanks Judy for bringing us all together!!!!

Update Mon, 18 Apr 2005 

Hi Judy,
We've changed Max's recipe and we've changed his vitamins too.
He's 16 pounds
Vitamins are 1/4 RDA of the following:
Calcium, Chromium, Cranberry, Omega-3
Acidophilus (when on an antibiotic)
Food is made in bulk and frozen, he gets 2 1/2 cups per day:

8 pounds Frozen green beans (thawed and shredded in food processor)
1 1/2 16 ounce bags Pearl Barley (cooked with 7 cups water)
5 pounds Boiled Chicken (shredded in food processor)
11 Hard boiled eggs (shredded in food processor)

Frozen Pumpkin cookies
Liver snaps (1 pound calf liver blended in food processor with 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and one egg, 
spread on cookie sheet and cooked at 350 
for 15 minutes, cooled and cut with pizza cutter)

Question from Judy:
Why did you change Max's Recipe?
We switched Max from oatmeal to barley at Jeannie's (Peter's Mom) suggestion in the fall of 2003.  We don't home test often but he seemed to stop drinking water after meals when we switched.

Max was doing great even though we moved in January 2004 and he had to learn the new house.  His fructosamine tests were below 300 for about 1.5 years.
In early April 2004, his test was around 260.  Then Winnie (his best friend of 11 years) had to leave at the end of April and he was a mess.  We had him tested in August and he was over 500.  So we increased his dosage by 1/2 a unit at a time from 6 to 7 units.  We also changed his food to more green beans and less barley and chicken.  We did a curve at 6.5 units and it seemed his couple bites of chicken at lunch messed him up.  So we switched to a couple teaspoons of pure pumpkin on a dish.  He was back in line by December with 7 units and the diet changes.

Mitchell (11 year old Maltese ndd) has seen benefits from home cooking. He's thinner.  His fur is softer.  AND his eyes don't tear as much.  Not sure if it was switching to barley or adding Omega-3, because we made these changes around the same time.

I've attached a couple of pictures of Max. 

Max on Deck 08-07-03
He's is doing fine.  When I'm home, he's with me all the time.  He plays with his fuzzy toys if I sit with him on the couch.  He'll be 12 on April 24th. He's our sweet little old man.

Max on Dec. 18, 2004

Here is one of my favorite pics of Winnie. 
It was taken just before she got sick.

Winnie on Oct. 20, 2003 - Rainbow Bridge April 29, 2004
Winnie's Rainbow Bridge Page

Chasing butterflies at the Bridge.

Update - Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 

Max turned 12 years old today.  Our sweet, oversized, almost 3 years diabetic and blind Yorkie.
Dr. Tammy came out to the house for what will be an annual visit.  To see Winnie's Cherry Blossom tree and have a nice long blether (that's a chat in Scottish).  For newbies, I visited Connie Wyse in Scotland last June and got to meet Buster.  Now there's a dog with attitude.  He's a sweetheart.

It was a wonderful day.  We have so much to be grateful for.

Happy Birthday Max!

Annie & Max (dd, dx 6/18/02) & Mitchell (ndd) & Angel Winnie

Max's Photo Album

Max, Mitchell and Winnie 

Carol & Annie
at the 
Country Club!

Annie & Kim in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

Winnie on the Deck!


Aren't I cute Mom?

Mitchell in the Leaves!

After a hard day's work - Max, Winnie & Mitchell sleeping with Daddy!

Read More Stories about Other Diabetic Pets


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