At the beginning of December 1999, at the age of 7 years and 3 months, Ranger
was diagnosed with diabetes. He is a male rottweiler and at the time a very
large rottweiler, weighing in at 68kg (~150 pounds). His visit to the vet came
after 3 days of abnormal drinking and urinating, so much so that he was wetting
his bed at night. A urine sample and subsequent blood tests confirmed the
The first thing that we were told was that Ranger was grossly overweight and
that this had probably been a major factor in his developing this disease. Not
only had we to cope with the initial shock and worry, but also the guilt of
allowing him to become obese. He is a rottweiler, a big powerful dog, I suppose
that was how we'd come to see him, but in reality he'd become a big, fat dog!
The first priority, apart from getting him started on insulin, was to get rid of
the excess weight. Our vet recommended Hill's canine WD, a prescription formula
food available only from the vet. I was taught how to inject him and also given
information on how and when to test his urine and how to attain the right
balance between diet, exercise and insulin.
Ranger lost weight rapidly. After a few months people who hadn't seen him for a
while couldn't believe he was the same dog.
It took a few months before we managed to stabilise him. During this time,
whilst his sugar levels were erratic he suffered from a couple of bouts of
cystitis. Having experienced this painful condition myself I knew what the poor
dog was going through. After two lots of antibiotics and medication to clear up
a fungal infection brought on by the antibiotics the condition has cleared up
and to date he has remained free of infection. More problems occurred when we
found that Ranger was becoming so hungry that he had resorted to eating the
garden, soil, grit, tiny stones, anything and everything, edible or not! This
resulted in an episode of vomiting during the early hours of one morning which
took him to the edge of hypoglycaemia. I sat up the rest of the night to keep an
eye on him. After this, we increased the amount of food by adding the biscuit
form of WD mixed in with the tinned meat.
I have to walk him with a muzzle when we're going out, something I started
reluctantly when he began to eat other dog's faeces, but being an extremely
tolerant dog he puts up with it, even though he knows he can take it off himself
when he wants to! Unfortunately this does give other dog owners, who don't know
us, the wrong impression, especially as he's a rottie, but I do explain whenever
I get the opportunity.
Ranger's daily routine has had to be arranged around my work schedule. Has to be
the same every day whether I'm working or not, no having a lie in after a late
6am: We go for our daily walk 30-45 minutes, collect urine sample 7.30am: Test
urine, inject first dose of insuvet lente, 22-30 units depending on sugar levels
7.35am: Ranger is fed straight after his injection (a good incentive to tolerate
the needle which he does very well) 1/2 tin of WD + 2 small cupfuls of WD
12 hours later at 7.30pm he receives his second dose of insulin, the same amount
as the morning dose and is fed again, the same amount as the morning. This
routine has and still is working well.
In October 2000 we took Ranger to the vet for his annual booster injection. At
this visit he weighed in at 34kg, exactly half of what he weighed almost a year
ago. The vet was concerned that he was losing too much weight. The average size
for a rottweiler ranges from 30kg to 50kg. As a male he was at the lower end and
we were told that unless we increased his food he would continue to lose weight
which would not stand him in good stead should he go into crisis.
That day we increased the amount of biscuit with his meals. This resulted in
vomiting as his stomach had got so used to having the smaller amounts. Since
then the amount has been increased very gradually. He is now putting on weight
and at present weighs 37kg, so we're getting there. Unfortunately an increase in
food means a corresponding increase in insulin. Where a bottle used to last a
month, we're now buying one every 3 weeks. I won't pretend it's easy, the
financial aspect is a worry which I'm sure will be echoed by other diabetic pet
owners. We are lucky we can manage, just. My heart goes out to owners who have
had no choice but to lose their beloved pets because of the expense.
This time last year, I didn't know if we'd see another Christmas with Ranger,
but we've come through. He's fitter than he was before, he can glide along now
instead of waddling. He's a happy dog, as healthy as he can be under the
circumstances. Don't let anyone tell you that rottie's are by nature an
aggressive breed, he is loving, patient and good humoured. Loves cuddling up on
the couch, lapping up any kisses and cuddles that come his way. We don't know
how long this can continue, or what the future holds, but we make the most of
every day with our noble, remarkable dog.
-- Contributed by Chris and Linda;
near Newcastle U.K.
Contributed January 2001
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