What could be sweeter then a pet with diabetes!
Who am I?
A weekly feature in the pet diabetes email support group.
Monday, August 4, 2008

Hello, Everybody! My name is Karen Baldassarre, and I am Loki’s mom. A little Shih-Tzu came into my life as a graduation present (master’s degree) in April, 1996. She was such a tiny little scrap, and weighed only 1 ½ pounds. From the beginning, she always seemed to know that I was hers, and she was the one to select me. She was the runt of the litter, but the second out of the ‘nest’. I named her Loki after the Norse god of mischief and lies, because I was always missing one shoe whenever it was time to go to work. I think the little scrap dragged my big old shoes around just to prove she could. When I’d come home from work, she’d be so excited that she’d wag all over and just quiver from excitement.

One day in May, 2003, I was brushing 7-year-old Loki, and brushed out all of her undercoat. She had bald spots on her haunches and on her shoulders, and the rest of her outer coat was very thin. She had a few sores, and her bladder outlet was swollen. I took her to the vet, who thought she was having an allergic reaction. He prescribed Omega-3 (fish oil) capsules to put on her food and oatmeal-histamine shampoo. Although she had always been  overweight at a consistent 17 pounds, her weight had dropped to 13.2 pounds. The weight loss was good, but something to take note of.

About a month later, I was having trouble with her peeing on the carpet. When I tried to get her to stop, we had a little puddle and a trail, a little puddle and a trail, etc. It was impossible for her to stop. She also looked even thinner to me. So on June 24,2003, I took her up to the clinic to have her weighed. She now weighed 12.2 pounds. I was thinking kidney infection even the scarey c-word. Never in the world was I prepared to hear the vet tell me that Loki was diabetic with a blood glucose of 480! Looking back on things now, I wonder how we went from a diagnosis of summer allergies to diabetes and why we didn’t get initial blood or urine tests. 

When first diagnosed, Loki had a bad UTI with e-Coli and enterobacter. She was in the hospital 1 week while they got her regulated. I visited her every day in the clinic, held her in my arms with IV trailing, and rocked her. She clung so tightly to me! When she was at last ready to go home, the vet gave me some photocopies (3 pages of medical text) on canine diabetes to read. He also prescribed a diet (Purina DCO) and taught me how to give her insulin injections. Since I’m a human diabetic, I felt empowered, thinking, “We can do this!” We-l-l-l-l, I didn’t figure Loki into that equation. She had always been a very picky eater, and no way in the world was she going to touch the prescribed dry dog food! What nerve! 

End of day 1: Loki 1, Mom 0. 

I was now in a panic. I did some research on the internet on diabetes in dogs and read all about complications. I also found this wonderful support group of people at Rainbow Bridge and Diabetes Pet. The people here were very calm and reassuring. They said that most important thing was to get her to eat. They gave me some suggestions, and I gave Loki a meal of turkey hot dogs and Cheerios. Yes! She loved it! 

End of day 2: Loki 2,  Mom 1. (We both won that day.) 

Loki didn’t even hate me for the injections! She ‘tells’ me when it is time for her injections, and I truly believe she knows the insulin makes her feel better.  Looking back on things, it was easy to rationalize the changes in her behavior: she peed on the carpet because her 80-year-old granddad would forget to take her out while I was at work, and she was not very active because of arthritis and a supposed heart murmur. (She does not have a heart murmur). 

Loki has always been totally sweet and loving and a joy to my life. I regret that I didn’t know she was so sick. However, the diabetes was caught at a time when it was fairly easy to get it regulated. With the help of a group of wonderful people, Loki recently celebrated her 5th Sugarversary. She takes Thyro-tabs for low thyroid and Tramadol for arthritis. She is now almost totally blind from cataracts. However, she runs down the hall to get her favorite toy, and she explores the outside to see who has come by to visit the palm tree.

Loki lives with her two non-diabetic cats Sammy (a beige tabby) and Merlin (a black long hair) who are younger than she is. I discovered that Loki had conned Sammy into climbing into the kitchen sink to retrieve chicken scraps. She told Sammy he could eat what he wanted as long as he threw the rest onto the floor for her. They have recently been planning a trip to Scotland to visit their Auntie Connie and diabetic Cousin Buster. 

Diabetic Pet's Name: Loki

Breed: Her mother was full Shih-Tzu, dad half Shih-Tzu and half Lhasa Apso

Birth: April, 1996

When Diagnosed: June 24, 2003

Age Diagnosed: 7 years

Weight: Was overweight at 17 pounds at diagnosis. She now ranges between 12.2 and 13.5. 12.5 pounds is an ideal weight for her

Kind of Insulin and Amount Per Injection: We began with Humulin N and soon changed to Novolin N. She gets between 5.5 and 5u twice daily.

Food: Currently, Loki is eating Solid Gold Holistique Blendz with a bit of chicken broth. She gets a scant 1/2 cup twice daily. 

Do you home test? (blood, urine and/or observation) Urine test and observation.

Other Health Problems? Loki is hypothyroid and is on thyroid replacement therapy. She has major issues with arthritis. She takes 1/2 pill Tramadol twice daily for pain.

Webpage of Pet: http://www.caninediabetes.org/loki.html

Your Location: Houston, Texas
The biggest impact that diabetes care has had on us has been the necessity of adhering to a strict schedule. Because I live alone, I am the sole caretaker for Loki. This care has had an important impact that I hadn’t expected. Loki had always been my special little companion.  We did everything together, even taking out the garbage. While I struggled with the garbage can, she walked along with me and stopped by the palm tree bole to see who had recently dropped off their calling cards. After the diabetes diagnosis, We became even closer together. Loki will have a long and happy life, and I can continue to return the love she has so unselfishly given to me.

If you would like to participate in the Who am I? emails
then contact one of the moderators listed at the bottom of this email
Write an introduction, send a picture of your pet
The moderator will send you the blank questions to fill in and they will post your email for you....One will be going out every Monday Morning....This way each pet is the star for a week.
Michael will take the email and turn it into a pdf file and upload it to the file section in the yahoo group and I will turn it into an html file and put it in the who am I section of the website.

If you have missed a weekly story then click on the following url.

Judy Dick
Email:  queenie@mnsi.net

Karen Baldassarre
Email:  kbal37@comcast.net

Michael Jay Smith
Email: smithmj@clearwire.net

Bonnie Iovine
Email: biovine@comcast.net

Email: curaduk@aapt.net.au

Jane, Lee and Margo have a lot on their plates right now so the above moderators are available to do the Who am I Email? 

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