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Information for owners of Canine's with Diabetes Mellitus 

Your Care Kit

       
I am often asked about the costs associated with newly diagnosed animals. There really is no simple answer to this. It depends on many things... your pet's size, the amount of insulin they require, costs of supplies in your area, how many trips to the vet you have to make, other health problems you may encounter, and so on. 

Listed below are some supplies that you must have to properly care for your pet, and some that are nice to have. Check with local pharmacies in your area for the best prices on diabetic supplies. 

Must have: Nice to have:
Glucose Test Strips for Urine
Ask your veterinarian or pharmacist which brand is right for you (you will be using the same strips used by humans). You will use the test strips to check whether Glucose is still spilling into the urine. This is a simple procedure (after obtaining the urine sample!) in which you dip a chemically treated strip into your pets urine. You then compare the color of the strip to a chart supplied on the bottle to find out how much glucose the urine contains. 
You may not want to use the test strips once your pet is close to being regulated, as the strips only indicate when your pet's Glucose levels are still high. They will not tell you if he/she is getting too low. Once your test strips read negative, you may want to switch to a Blood Glucose Meter
 
Insulin
Use only the Insulin prescribed by your veterinarian. Do not change the dosage or schedule without first consulting your veterinarian. If you have never given an Insulin injection, do not attempt to do so without proper instruction from your pet's health care professional. There is a special technique for drawing insulin and giving the injections. For proper absorption of the insulin, you must become familar with this process. For more information, visit our insulin page. 
Insulin Syringes
There are syringes made especially for injecting insulin. Consult your veterinarian or your pharmacist for the proper gauge syringe to use on your pet. Reusing your syringes may result in contamination or infection. 
White Corn Syrup (or other veterinary approved glucose source)
Always keep this on hand in case your pet has a hypoglycemic episode. If you travel or leave your pet with a sitter, always make sure you have some on hand. Ask your vet about the proper amount to give your pet when it is necessary. 
Sharps Container
You will need a sharps container to store your used needles. Make sure you know your communities guidelines for disposing of the container when it is full. Sometimes an empty (properly labeled) 2 liter soda bottle or milk jug will work. Ask your pharmacist or veterinarian about proper disposal of used syringes. 
Proper food prescribed by your veterinarian
Do not stray from the feeding schedule provided by your veterinarian. Always feed your pet the proper foods, and do not allow any deviations. If your pet is accustomed to treats, ask your vet about treats that are allowed in the diet. 
Medical Alert Tag
Most of the companies that manufacture pet tags, offer a medical alert tag. In case of an accident, or your pet getting lost, this alerts the finder of the medical condition. It contains the number of your veterinarian so the finder can contact them. It is a good idea to denote on the tag that the owner will pay all medical expenses. This will let the finder know they are not obligated to pay the medical bills for the animal, ensuring your pet gets the proper medical attention. 
Proper Medical Care (from a veterinarian)
Until your pet is regulated and you can confidently care for your pet without much intervention, frequent trips to the vet will be necessary. Just like human diabetes, your pet will require constant monitoring to insure its health. Use of a Blood Glucose Meter will aid in this, as well as cut down on a few trips to the vet. This will not, however, eliminate the need to visit your vet altogether. The decision of frequency of visits should be made between you and your vet. There is no "standard" as each pets medical needs are different. With diabetes also comes a greater risk of other complications. You may want to increase the number of complete check-ups your pet recieves each year. 
 
Pet sitter with knowledge of Diabetes
If you have to leave your pet for a long period of time, make sure you have a care taker who can give injections and recognize the symptoms of Hypoglycemia. Some pet sitting services offer this knowledge... as well as diabetic friends or family. Make sure you leave the sitter with phone numbers to get in contact with your veterinarian. Your best choice is to leave your pet at the veterinary clinic, or at the home of a qualified employee of your veterinarian. 
Puppy Housebreaking Pads or Depends Pads
(If your pet is urinating frequently) 
Puppy Housebreaking Pads are scented to attract dogs to use them. They can be substituted with Depends Pads, which are much cheaper. If your dog will not use the Depends, try putting a couple of drops of their urine on the pad. 
Or Custom Design Diapers
 Pictures of Diapers & Description 
Large Syringe (without needle)
A large syringe is helpful in administering corn syrup to your pet. You can find these at large animal and livestock supply stores (maybe even at your veterinarians office). Storage of the syrup in the syringe may cause the syringe to stick and not work properly. Keep the syringe attached to the corn syrup bottle with a rubber band and pour the syrup in when it is necessary. This method makes it easier to control the amount of syrup given, as well as enabling you to squirt it into the cheek pouch instead of trying to spoon or pour it in. The syrup does not have to be swallowed. 
Insulin Travel Pack
These packs are very handy for transporting insulin. They contain a freezer pack to keep the insulin cool. I would recommend using one of these when you travel with your pet, or when you make a trip to the Pharmacy to pick up more insulin. 
       
Blood Glucose Meter
Blood Glucose Meters are used to check your pet's blood glucose levels. You will use the same meter for your pet as for humans, but beware. Some meters require large samples of blood, which may be difficult to obtain from your pet. I chose the Bayer Glucometer Elite for Sissy. It requires the smallest sample size, and the test strip actually draws the blood into it instead of having to apply a carefully placed drop on the strip itself. Blood meters are an expensive item, so make your choice wisely. If you buy a cheaper meter, and it proves too difficult to use with your pet, you cannot return it for a refund. Also keep in mind the cost of the test strips for the meter when making your choice. Read the instructions carefully, and make sure your meter is properly calibrated with each new box of strips. I discovered that even if my meter beeped to let me know I had obtained enough blood for the test, it was not necessarily true! If I did not have the sample area completely filled, it would give a lower reading. So, the moral of the story.... do not trust the meter to know "when to say when". If you get a reading that doesn't seem right, try it again! 
From Margo:
"For pets I recommend the Freestyle but be sure to use the animal validated strips, not the human strips that you buy at your local pharmacy"
This meter requires the least amount of blood which is a very important fact to consider. You can buy the strips from www.animaldiabetes.com
       
Lancing Device and/or Lancets
These normally come with your Blood Glucose Meter purchase. You may be able to use the lancing device to prick the skin, depending on how thick the skin is. The only one I ever found that would work for Sissy was a SoftClix lancing device. Most pet owners just use the lancets themselves; manually poking the area very quickly. Be careful not to injure your pet by sticking them too hard or deep. Consult your veterinarian for the best method for your pet. 
       
Insulin Protector/Case
These are small, hard cases made to encase one insulin bottle. They are helpful in protecting the insulin bottle from breaking if dropped. 
       
Spare Bottle of Insulin
It is always handy to have a spare bottle on hand. This keeps you from searching for an all night pharmacy if you break a bottle or run out. 
       
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The information on this site is general, and should not be used as a substitute
for advice from your veterinarian. Questions concerning your pet's health 
should be directed to your pet's health care provider.