A very special gift from God...
Montauk showed up on my church doorstep one cold February morning in 2000, looking to get warm and insistent on trying to get into church. She was dirty, had no collar or tags, but otherwise seemed healthy. I took her home with me while I tried to locate owners. I did everything I could think of, but got no responses. When I took her to my vet the following week, we found a small mammary tumor. We operated immediately and she recovered quickly. The vet found she had been spayed and estimated her age at 8 - 9 years old. She became part of my household. She liked living in the house with another dog and really liked homemade dog food. She loves people, especially children who she will let do almost anything to her and she ignores my three cats. (Keeping her from digested and pre-digested cat food has been a battle of wits between the two of us.)
When she had her checkup in March 2001 (age about 9 - 10) she was up to 90 pounds from 75. I think 70 pounds would be a good weight for her. I started to limit her food and came back to check her weight about every three weeks. It began to go down slowly. This May I noticed she was drinking a lot more water (3 to 4 times as much) than my male dog and was having very frequent accidents. Because of the weight gain I suspected Cushing's or another thyroid problem, and immediately had a blood workup. Her blood glucose came back at 460 with a diagnosis of diabetes.
My vet started her on 8 units of Lente insulin twice a day at meal time. I refer to the process here as "sneaking up on the insulin level". My vet did not discuss rebounding, but when I read about it on this site, I began to appreciate the way we approached this. I do recognize that we could take this slower approach in part because I got her to the vet so early in the disease. The only symptoms were excessive drinking and urination. The vet and I discussed the homemade dog food (low fat meat, vegetables, brown rice) and decided to continue that unless we ran into problems.
I had no problem injecting insulin into her scruff. She didn't mind and my lab mix began to think he should have shots as well! I gave Montauk 8 units twice a day for about two weeks and then ran the blood glucose again. It was 370. We increased the insulin to 10 units twice a day and again tested after about 2 weeks. Morning blood glucose was at 270. Vet suggested either leave it at 10 units or increase to 11 twice a day, but she thought we had a good level. We reweighed her and her weight was down to 75 pounds. (I know weight gain is not usually a sign of diabetes, but it seems to have been in this case). I moved her up to 11 units twice a day. I found she was still drinking about double the water my male was drinking and was having nighttime accidents. I decided to raise her insulin to 12 units in the evening and 11 in the morning. That seemed to produce no change. I then went to 12 units twice a day. The water consumption dropped to closer to normal and the nighttime accidents became much more minor. It also seems like she is more playful and has more energy. I have watched for any signs of hypoglycemia, but even with the Atlanta summer heat, she has been fine.
Unfortunately she is a baby about having blood taken. I didn't know dogs could scream - not howl, not bark, scream. She did this BEFORE the needle went in, so I know this was more "acting" than pain. I plan on testing her blood glucose about every 3 - 4 months. I occasionally use urine dip sticks, but most of my monitoring is watching food and water consumption, urination, and behavior. I have been even more careful than usual to make sure she has plenty of water, but her behavior and stamina seem normal. She gets walked about a mile in the morning and before bed. She gets short walks at noon and before evening meal. She is eating about 1-1/2 cups of moist homemade food in the morning and about 2 cups in the evening. This is supplemented with occasional table scraps and dog biscuits. (Favorite Husky foods - butter, cheese, salmon, any catfood). Overall this seems to have been remarkably easy. Again I think this is because we caught this very early and because I have gotten excellent assistance from my vet. This web site has been a wonderful source of both detailed information for me and summary information for others who deal with her (my dog walker).
-- Contributed by Pamela