Vet Talk

Doctor, You Aren’t Listening to Me... What if I Do Nothing?

Consider what responsibilities you’re willing to take on and what you’re not

November 11, 2013 (published)

A month ago my sister wanted to know if her Jack Russell Terrier could be sick because he was drinking and peeing all the time. I told her he needed to go to the vet; he could have a simple urinary tract infection or he could have more going on. Inside my head, I was screaming “diabetes” as polyuria/polydipsia (drinks a lot and pees a lot), or PU/PD as medical types call it, is a hallmark for diabetes mellitus in dogs, cats, and people. In dogs, diabetes mellitus rarely responds to dietary changes - unlike some people and some cats - and almost always requires twice daily insulin injections to control the disease.

Having seen clients react to a diagnosis of diabetes, I wondered how my sister and her husband would react if they had to take care of this chronic condition that requires significant planning and scheduling. It’s not for every owner: while it’s not expensive, it requires insulin injections every 12 hours, 7 days a week for the rest of the pet’s life, with no time off for good behavior. It requires considerable commitment, which can be particularly difficult for people like my sister and her husband who work outside the home and can’t drop everything to give a pet medication at the appropriate times. I wondered what they would choose to do if their dog did have diabetes rather than a urinary tract infection.

Receiving a diagnosis of a chronic disease can be difficult to wrap your mind around. During my years in practice, I noticed that there are some pretty universal questions most clients ask.

  1. “What are my options and what will happen if I do nothing?” When I hear this, I translate this into:
    a. How will the disease progress? Will this be a disease that progresses quickly or is it going to be something that is a nagging problem for years to come?
    b. How long does my animal have to live if I don’t treat?
  2. This question is usually quickly followed by “Is my animal in pain?” or “Will my animal be in pain?”
  3. The third question on their minds is usually “How expensive is it going to be to treat?” This is a valid question since most of us are not independently wealthy, and money has to be considered.
  4. “What will my time commitment be?” Some chronic conditions only require that medication be given once a day. Some, like inflammatory bowel disease require a lot of testing and veterinary appointments in the beginning but smooth out for the most part once the condition is regulated. However, feeding a dog or cat with megaesophagus requires three to four 20-minute feedings a day, followed by 30 minutes of sitting upright. Dogs paralyzed by a disk extrusion need a cart to get around and must have their bladders manually expressed two or three times a day. For some people, that kind of time, effort, and scheduling is not a problem; for others it is.
  5. "How am I going to give an injection/pill to Fluffy? He would hate that and then hate me for doing it." We have to remember, not every pet is amenable to being treated, even if it is supposed to be for their own good.
  6. And last, but not least, “How will I know it is time to consider euthanasia?” or “Will my pet die peacefully in his sleep?”

All of these questions are valid and should be asked by every client facing a pet’s chronic illness in order to help make an informed decision. The answers to these questions, along with the decision to treat or not treat, has led to many disagreements between owners and their veterinarians as well as disagreements amongst owners and their families. This decision is personal and never an easy one to make.

Depending on our life stage, we can be in different places financially and emotionally. When I am talking to a client across the examination table, I have to remember that I am not just talking to this person, but to everyone else in this person's life: kids, spouses, parents, bosses who expect them to be at work on time, as well as other household pets. In most cases, they have more caretaking duties than just the animal on the table in front of us. I have to remember that I am only seeing one small part of their daily life. I don’t know if this owner is taking care of small kids, a spouse with cancer, elderly parents or working two jobs to keep the bills paid. Personal history can be a factor too. Did this client take on a chronic disease in a previous pet only to find that the stress eventually caused them to resent that pet? After all, animals are supposed to bring joy to our lives, not cause stress and resentment. No one wants to start resenting their once-beloved pet! And in the case of the pet who fights treatment at every turn, no one wants their pet to start shying away from them!

If you are faced with a decision about treating a chronic disease, take the time to ask your veterinarian these questions and really think about the answers. Except in an emergency, you usually have time to consider what responsibilities you’re willing to take on and what you’re not. Talk about it with your family and your veterinarian; make the decision based on your time, energy, money, and wherewithal to live with an animal with a chronic disease. Know what you are capable of emotionally, financially, and with the time you have available. Do not discount the emotional difficulty that can occur unexpectedly; many people believe they can handle it, but later feel like they’re drowning when they find their lives being dictated by the needs of this pet or see themselves running up bills that will take away money from their children’s college funds.

Believe me, it is okay not to treat your pet as long as you don’t allow him to suffer. My sister and brother-in-law decided not to treat Buzz, who was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus. To quote my brother-in-law, “We will love him and enjoy him while we have him.” And that is okay! Don’t let anyone – including your veterinarian - tell you otherwise. Just because veterinary medicine can provide a treatment does not mean it’s the right choice for you and this pet.


September 16, 2023

Thank you so much for this article! I had just read another article by a vet on another site which was very insulting to those who cannot deal with the commitment of caring for a diabetic cat. I left a comment saying that the writer has no idea what people are dealing with besides the sick pet. I am possibly facing this with a cat, and I am not able to be consistent with a schedule for giving the shots. Thank you for understanding that loving our pets doesn't mean being able to turn our whole lives upside down to do it.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
July 12, 2012

I am so very glad that this article has given you peace. It gave me peace to write it. Willow was lucky to have you, as you were lucky to have her. She will always be with you in your hearts. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Take care.

October 12, 2023

This post has given me and my family so much peace   We had to put our sweet 7 year old Great Pyrenees  down last night due to diabetes. She was severely crashing and close to death. In our hearts, my husband and I knew it was time for us to say goodbye to her. At first our vet only gave us the option of starting treatment immediately to see if we could pull her through the immediate pain and suffering she was dealing with. Through many tears and a deep discussion and seeing the terrible distress our Willow was in, we knew we needed to let her go peacefully. As we discussed our feelings with the vet further, her attitude changed completely. At first she was quite judge mental and told us the we should be willing to change our lives for our dog, but we explained that we both work full time and travel a great deal to be with our adult children. We also have a child still at home and we travel to her sports events.

I want to add to this discussion that it was the best decision for us to be honest with our sweet Willow and let her pass. Putting her through treatments that would likely be painful and difficult due to her advanced diabetes would be selfish on our part and unfair to her. Changing our lives to treat her 24/7 would be unfair to our children as we would miss many important events in their lives. We live  way out in the country and don’t have access to a doggy day care so all of the care would have to be offered by my husband and I.

I am a prayerful person and I feel a great deal of peace this morning knowing that we made the right choice for our family. Offering ongoing treatment, opting to do no treatment or euthanasia are all options that should be respected and made individually for the betterment of the family and when I write family I am including the pet. Willow was and will continue to be a part of our family and I’m so thankful for our vet who allowed her to move forward peacefully from her broken and battered body. Willow has no pain anymore and that brings me solice.


Ashford is 17 years and has been part of our family since birth. He has been diagnosed as idiopathic since we pulled him inside from the barn when we moved to the suburbs. He has had his right eye removed due to infection following a lens removal. He has become blind after the removal of the left eye lens also daily eye drops to the remaining eye. We are unable to keep him inside as he refused to use his litter box and continually pacses the floor in front of the door waiting to make his move when the door opens. We stopped the fight and allowed him to back to the outdoors where he is believe it or not at his best.  So with a short rundown of what we are dealing with. The weather has become cold and he only leaves his heated kitty house to eat and relive himself, with an occasional stroll. He only grooms his face, I brush when I can and I am wondering if it is time to help him cross over. I do not want to move too quickly, but I am unable to feel good about his situation. The last visit to his vet everything check out as it should for a senior cat. I just don't know what I should do.

Thanks for any advice you are able to offer.


Sad Cat Mom


Kristin C Moyer
October 22, 2022

Thank you for this article and the comments. I adopted a pair of bonded Siamese cats 7 years ago, found in a field with a colony of feral cats. The male cat is very sociable and has bonded with me; the female cat Bee has limited vision, is very fearful, and after 7 years still runs out of a room when I enter. She does jump on my bed in the early morning if her brother is there, and cuddles with him and purrs, but never jumps on my lap. The world is a fearful place for Bee, and catching her to brush her or to take her to the vet's is like planning a military campaign. Twice she has had a skin outbreak that required several weeks of applying cream daily, and I managed to do that, with difficulty--but that was just a quick swipe, did not require picking her up. Last week she was diagnosed with diabetes. I am switching both cats to wet food FF pate only (they like it and have been getting it) and backing off the dry kibble, will omit entirely. I have read diet change can help diabetes. I am not willing to put this poor frightened cat through daily/twice daily shots (I could do it if I confined her to a bathroom permanently, where I could catch her, but what kind of life would that be for her?) I am an 80 widow, live alone, two bad knees. I have decided to keep her as comfortable as I can, let her sleep in the sun on the living room floor with her brother on these winter days, and when she starts to decline, have her euthanized at home. My former vet retired recently--I think she would understand my decision, having known me for 20 years; I doubt that the new vets will understand.

October 9, 2022

I took my 16 year old dog to the vet to get a urinalysis because his urine had a slight pink tint to it. The vet took him to the back to obtain a urine sample using a catheter and without my knowledge or consent, my dog was sedated in order to obtain a  sample more easily. Due to his heart condition he could not be given certain types or kinds of sedatives and the drug that was given to him was one of the drugs his body could not tolerate. I was told that I could either euthanize him or take him home and watch him have a painful unpleasant death due to cardiac arrest and hypoxia. I chose euthanasia  and have had an extremely hard time coming to terms with my decision. Unfortunately hindsight has allowed me to think of more options than the two that were presented to me that day and I will always regret giving him up so easily. I also wish I had never taken him to that particular vet and will never take another pet to that clinic.

Nazanin Soroush
September 12, 2022

I wanted to know if anyone here w w the cat owner of Blood sugar of 400 used any other method other than insulin to bring the bs down

July 21, 2022

I didn’t do tests as my vet said it wouldn’t make a difference if the lump was benign or malignant because it was in his throat so hard to treat. He died 3 months later and I feel awful for not fighting harder for him. What if it was benign and he died from something else we weren’t treating? I’m also annoyed at my vet for saying she wouldn’t do the tests. She made it all seem so terminal that there wasn’t much point but she could have been wrong.

July 11, 2022

I wanted to write to say thank you for this article and everyone’s comments.  It helped a great deal when my sweet 9-year-old tuxedo cat was diagnosed was diabetes a little over four months ago.  I took her to the hospital because she was going to the bathroom a lot, not eating, drinking more than usual, sitting and sleeping in odd places, and being extremely lethargic.  I didn’t know anything about caring for a pet with diabetes, but I quickly learned what an undertaking it is and the implications of the diagnosis.  I was devastated and overwhelmed with figuring out what to do.  I read this article over and over again and every single comment that had been posted to that point.  I didn’t think at first that not treating my cat and putting her to sleep when the time came was a legitimate option, but this article reassured me that it is and that thoughtful, caring pet owners can choose that difficult route.  After learning about a local no-kill animal adoption organization that has placed diabetic cats before, I chose to surrender my cat to them.  It was painful and I felt very guilty, but I did not think I could take care of her properly on my own.  After several months, a kind soul did adopt her, but my cat did not survive the transition – she soon crashed and again had to be taken to the hospital, where they had to put her to sleep.  From what I understand, her diabetes would have been hard to manage no matter what.  She was a great companion -- sweet, chatty, and playful.  I’ll miss her.  Thanks again.

July 10, 2022

We had to put down our 13 year old mini schnauzer Frito this week. It was gut wrenching to arrive at this decision but I know it was the right thing to do for him and for us. Frito already had health concerns ( heart issues and complete deafness) when he was diagnosed with Diabetes two months ago. I used to work as a diabetes educator and was confident that I would be able to care for a diabetic pet. Unfortunately, we never could regulate Friot‘s blood sugars despite doing everything right and many trips to the vet. The blood sugars stayed in the high 500-600 range and as we increased the insulin, he would experience frequent and random severe lows. He would bounce from high to low and back again. He felt ill most of the time and when he became blind over a weekend, it became a real challenge since he was already deaf. Caring for him was hard. Having to work around the schedule of vet trips, timed meals and insulin shots was difficult to due work and other obligations, I felt that I could not really leave him alone due to the severe lows.He hated the injections. He also became incontinent but would not leave the doggie diaper on. We went out of town for a weekend and the pet sitter could not cope. Who would blame her? It was difficult! He was suffering and so were we, watching him be so ill. I am sad, but at peace with our decision.

Dev Howard
June 28, 2022

I just don't know what to do. My intact dog, 9.5 yrs, was diagnosed w/diabetes during a heat cycle.Vets said start the insulin. BUT it may not work or be difficult to regulate because she’s intact. Hormones all over the place causes too many fluctuations. Highs and lows that can be life threatening. Highs cause cataracts. BUT so does insulin highs. Lows cause HYPO which could lead to death. Again, difficult to keep Blood sugar levels near normal because she’s intact especially during heat cycle. Vets say spay her. BUT there could be complications because of her breathing issue. There’s a 50/50 chance the diabetes could go into remission. Or that it will help at all. Add her age as another risk.I"m not risking that. Either way, it’s an ending of misery for her, progressive symptoms, painful pokes multi times a day especially not knowing if it's working because of her hormones. Will i just be prolonging the inevitable. I know my dog. She will be so sad. Already she's looking at me as i poke her like what did i do wrong. If she can't see me, she'll get super depressed. I feel like i just can't win with this. I love her. She is everything to me. No kids. But i just don't want to prolong the suffering. Please help. I'm a good person. I am so in love with her enough to let her go.

Rebecca M.
June 13, 2022

My 16 year old kitty Ziggy was diagnosed with diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease at the same time almost 5 years ago. We've had a terrible time regulating everything. He gets insulin shots twice a day and sometimes it's controlled. Most of the time it's not. We're not able to feed him low carb foods due to his IBD and so he gets a Rx diet that's good for GI. It seems like there is always something wrong. His IBD flares are causing terrible chronic diarrhea. Most of the time he doesn't make it to the box because he is so weak. He was very lethargic today, was having trouble walking, pooed on the floor, and I took him in for an emergency vet visit. His blood work came back fine, except his glucose is really high, which is concerning because he's on 4 units twice a day. He's lost 1.5 lbs in the 3 months since the insulin increase and the vet thinks it's because his diarrhea isn't allowing his body to absorb any nutrients from his food, and that he might be becoming insulin resistant. That could also be contributing to his lethargy and weakness. She said we could try raising his insulin, but I don't want to put him through the glucose curves anymore. He gets so stressed out and hates having his blood taken. She said we could try steroids to help with the IBD and get a handle on the diarrhea but that will most likely cause issues with how his body processes the insulin. He's so happy sometimes. Slow and tired, but happy. He talks to me a lot and cuddles on my lap. Those are the good days that make these bad days so hard to bear. The days where he sleeps all day and can hardly make it to the next room to eat, or the litter box. The days I hardly see him because he's curled up in his 7 year old girl's bedroom, the only place he gets comfortable anymore. I don't want to lose him. I've had him since he was 12 weeks old and I would be so lost without him. I feel like the worst person for not wanting to put him through any more trials. I feel like I'm giving up on him by not giving these things a try, but I am so exhausted and I want him not to suffer anymore. The vet will be calling in the morning to let me know how he did overnight and I'm dreading the decision I will most likely have to make.

Claudia Cashman
April 9, 2022

We had Benny and Kramer, named by us, arrive on our deck 12 years ago.  Terrified and starving .    I fed them and they stuck around.  Cats have always found me so this was no big deal.   Who ever sees homeless orange tabby cats anywhere?  I never had. Sadly Benny developed the herpes virus in one of his eyes and had to be euthanized.   Kramer and I mourned that loss for six months.    At that point three more kitties found their way to our home and one of them was a large orange and white kitty who Kramer was CERTAIN was Benny!  He was in love instantly.  They became inseparable, sleeping together wrapped up in each others arms just like Benny and Kramer had.   This went on for 7 years. Then we found out Kramer had FIV.    He didn’t fight with my other three kitties so I didn’t worry about it.   He developed an ulcer on the cornea of an eye that was tough to treat because he was difficult to  give meds to.    A month went by and that eye started to enlarge.  It turned out to be glaucoma but it was moving very quickly.   He had started coming into the house but would hide to sleep.   Had not much interest in the other cats anymore.   I knew.    And I’d made an agreement with him years ago that he needed to let me know when he was sick, in pain, needed help.  He did.  So the vet came to examine him she assured us Kramer was living in pain and he did not have a good prognosis.   He was completely blind in the eye and deaf in one ear.    I held him while he was sedated and he made soft little sounds as I talked with him.    My heart is so broken.   He is buried in our woods right next to his brother Benny……together again❤️❤️That whole era of life is over now.   The ten years of Benny and Kramer. I could have chosen to keep him alive and force him to take meds every day .  But I did what was best for this sweet boy.

Dawn Morris
February 10, 2022

My cat is getting old she has anxiety hides sulks  I ask the bet about gabapentin they looked at me like I was crazy they said that's a human med not for animals, but of course they reseduled gabapentin back afew yrs ago maybe before they did vets did give it to cats and dogs but they don't do it no more

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
January 24, 2022

Daphne, You did the right thing. You did the right thing both for you and Natalie. You showed her real love by letting her go when you knew she was ill and the path forward was not right for either of you. Please show yourself some compassion, I am sure that Natalie did so. Take care.

January 23, 2022

First I want to thank every person for your story. Some name me cry. But I've been crying since yesterday afternoon When I got home from the vet after putting my jack russell down due to diabetes. She was in ketosis. High 400's. I did not notice her weight lose that much. I was glad because she was overweight. I was so busy trying to heal from 3 hip surgeries I had to have in 2021. One in May. One in July. And one just 1 month ago. I finally realized there was a big problem when she started drinking so very much water and peeing and peeing. She also wouldnt eat but a little bit every other day. Then she would vomit that up. More mess to clean up. I hated myself for resenting her. And I hated myself for not taking her to the vet sooner. I hated myself for not noticing any problem until it got so bad. I'm not supposed to bend over at all per my surgeon but I had to clean up the constant peeing. I wasn't resting like he told me to. I'm 66 years old. I'm not healing like I should. I began telling God "I can't do this anymore." I'm tired and in pain when I don't rest. And so  tired from cleaning up pee. My baby was a very demanding dog. She wanted all of me. All my time and attention. When you're sick or have had surgery you want to be left alone. Natalie would never let me out of her sight. I began to feel smothered. Why? I never felt that way before. I asked myself what is wrong with me?" She's my baby and I love her. She's always been right by my side. It never bothered me before. Why now? I had many big changes happen in 2021 in my life. The death of my mom. Moving into her house that she left to me. And more. And I'm getting older.I had her 9 and a half years. I rescued her off a porch when the people moved out and just left her. I live alone and have very little family who care about me. She was my constant companion and my best friend. She loved me so much. And what did I do? I put her down. I feel so guilty and I don't like myself right now. It feels so strange not having her here. But I want to be honest. I began recenting her. Because of the pee and my not being able to rest in order to heal. I knew that the treatment would include money and even more of my time. And I had a cat with the same condition. I treated her with 2 shots a day. She knew what I was doing when I would get her needle ready. She and I both dreaded it. I would praise her for being so brave. But she kept losing weight and she was also peeing everywhere. I didn't want Natalie to go through that. And I don't know if I was able to go through it again with my dog either. The question I will always ask myself is did I do it because I knew she would suffer? And I knew in my heart she would not get better as I didn't notice it in time. And it was a life long disease. Or did I put her down to make my life easier? I pray it's the first question. If not, please forgive me God and Natalie for being selfish. You were the sweetest and most loveable dog in the world to me. You showed me what real love is. And loyalty. And companionship.  All good things. And the biggest question of all. Did I do the right thing?

December 13, 20121

The comment about treatment availability not equaling a mandate to treat really resounded, approximately 12 year old outside cat (have had him 10 years) developed diabetes this fall, possibly caused or exacerbated by steroid medication for mouth issues. Since then, I have spent almost $600 trying to get him into remission using Rx food and metformin. It seemed to be working a couple weeks ago when his glucose came down from 414 to 199 but when he recently went back, it was at 378 (in am before eating & med). I have always kept him up to date on his shots & got his teeth removed when that was needed. I care about him & don't want him to suffer but am at a crossroads of deciding whether to treat with insulin or let nature take its course or euthanize. I don't like any of these choices for either of us. I am semi retired & while I could afford the cost of medicine for a while, that's not what I've been saving for. I feel like a terrible person if I do either of the latter things & a fool if I continue to pump money into an animal that could get hit by a car tomorrow. I have 2 other (inside) cats & a dog, keg aline a husband, to consider. I feel terrible about this...

November 12, 2021

Adding my thanks to you and to most of the commenters for the thoughtful and nonjudgmental stories. My 17 year old calico girl Gretta (aka queen of the house) was diagnosed with diabetes a little over a year ago. She was also diagnosed with severe arthritis and lumbar sacral spondylitis at the same time.  My amazing vet laid everything out for me, over the phone thanks to COVID, and never once judged me for deciding not to treat. She supported our decision to do our best to manage with food and give lots of love for as long as we have. She is on cosequin for the arthritis which has helped so much. She’s still a sweet old lady kitty and loves us and loves snuggles on her own terms. She has never slowed down on the excessive drinking and urinating and has lost so much weight. The last few days she’s been eating much more slowly, leaving food in the bowl overnight which she’s never done before.  She still scores high enough on the quality of life scale that I don’t think it’s time yet, but I’m worried that the time is coming soon. We love our girl and will miss her terribly.

August 31, 2021

I found so much of this article (particularly the comments) very comforting. So I am adding my story here. In October of 2020, our 9 year old miniature schnauzer had a sudden and very severe attack of pancreatitis. We had taken her to an emergency vet who very kindly squeezed us into the schedule. At the time, we had been coming off of months of unemployment after losing our server industry jobs to COVID pandemic closures. Our funds were impossibly tight. Thankfully, the universe blessed us with an Angel of a doctor who gave us a deal and even a few treatments for free. She was hospitalized for three nights with IV fluids and fully recovered. We switched her diet to low fat, cooked all of her meals (something we had done for years), and supplemented with daily probiotics and digestive enzymes. We suspected Cushings Disease- and also gave her CBD to help keep her calm. For 10 months she lived a happy a healthy life filled with lots of backyard sunshine, trips to the park, and cuddles in bed. She was carefree, happy, and always full of smooches. In August of 2021, she started to show signs of diabetes: drinking excessively, sweet breath smell, weight loss. I had a mini schnauzer in the past diagnosed with diabetes and recognized these signs quickly. Plus with the damage from the pancreatitis attack- it all made sense. We had scheduled a vet appointment at our regular vet, however, due to COVID they were backed up for months and other vets were not taking on new clients. Then one Monday, she began vomiting here and there. She would eat a few meals and seem okay and then the next day would be lethargic and uninteresting in food. By Friday, my husband got home from work and texted me "she's not good. She getting worse". I came home and she gave me a lackluster greeting, drank some more water, and then just laid by her water bowl. We knew then we had to get her seen. While we were trying to find an ER vet that would take her at 7PM on a Friday night- she just laid on her side on the bathroom floor. The only one we could find was 45 minutes away so we packed up and took her. Because of COVID- we had to wait in our car and there were very serious cases being triaged before us. We waited for nearly three hours! She laid in her bed in the backseat. I sat next to her. Her labored breathing switched to panting and back to labored breathing. Her back legs were losing mobility. She was crashing HARD. I knew she was dying and her body was shutting down. I just held her paw and told her what a good dog she had been and we loved her so much. Her breathing got worse and worse. Finally, I called and they came out to get her. I thought maybe she'd walk in- but she just collapsed on the pavement. The vet tech carefully scooped her up and took her inspire. The vet called and told us it was very serious- that she may die. He said he would run some tests but to be prepared. I begged him that if she looked like she was going to pass to call us so we could be by her side. Ten minutes later- they called and say to hurry she was passing. We ran inside - she was on a breathing machine...I think. Lots of tubes, a flash of a machine, beeping. It was all a blur. They said "she's dying". Through streams of tears, we lay our faces next to her on the cold stainless table, whispering to her she was loved and it was okay to let go. She had been the very best girl and thank you for her love. The vet suggested euthanasia- I looked to see a syringe of purple fluid next to her IV. I asked to take her to the car so she could pass in our arms in peace- somewhere not so scary and unfamiliar. So her spirit could pass without fear.  The vet unhooked her and my husband picked her up and right then- she took her last breath in his arms. This all happened in a span of 60 seconds. But one thing was sure: she had waited for us. I collapsed to the ground in tears. How was this possible? How did this happened? She was just here woo-ing and demanding her walkie days earlier. The vet said it's likely she had died of Diabetic Ketoacitosis. And after doing lots of research- I would agree. I am writing this story here today to say: maybe our girl blessed us. As difficult as it is to accept her suddenly passing- we never knew she was so sick. She lived a perfect 10 months of happiness. We told her every day how much we loved her, we put down our phones and stopped scrolling when she asked (sorry, demanded) to be pet or held. We knew how precious every moment was. I have no regrets on how we spent the last 10 months with her: fully alive. We never had to deal with daily painful pokes, expensive vet appointments, progressive symptoms, or the emotional dread of knowing one day all of those things were just a road leading towards death regardless.  Even if she had been diagnosed three weeks earlier- ultimately it would have only meant an ending of misery for her, and for us. Instead we loved her and fed her well and kept her happy. And she LIVED until it was her time died. She left on her own terms. With us by her side- letting her soul transition in love. Sometimes that is the better choice. She lived such a beautiful and full life. And gave us the greatest gift of unconditional love. We will honor her life by continuing to live each moment to the fullest. I wish you reading this- whatever choice is right for you and your beloved - bring you peace.

August 7, 2021

Our rescue cat, Samwell is approximately 7 yrs. old and we love him very much.  It has been one medical issue after another with him.  He has eosinophilic keratitis in both eyes requiring eye drops and sometimes more during a flare-up, for a while it was frequent vomiting and upon urinalysis and blood work we found out he is FIV+ and had crystals in his urine.   (The FIV didn't show up when the rescue tested him) He was put on a prescription urinary diet and I noticed soon after his water intake increased and his urine output doubled.  I was told the increased output was from the food which I did read on the bag.  So upon a urine re-check it showed sugar and blood work was done last week.  In the few days between the blood draw and getting the results I saw him worsening, wobbly gait, lying down most of the time, just not himself at all.  He was diagnosed with diabetes and started on insulin.  It's the fourth day and he is a little perkier but the leg weakness doesn't seem better.  I am hoping it isn't permanent. This is the short version of his journey with us, there is more I could say but it's not necessary. Sam is the most mellow, sweetest cat who has tolerated all the poking, prodding, pills, eye drops and tests without becoming aggressive. Being a retired nurse I am comfortable doing his insulin shots but not so sure about pricking his ear or paw for blood checks. That may push him too far. My husband is Samwell's favorite human, they have a special bond. We are hoping Samwell will improve and have a decent quality of life with us for years to come but if not we will not let him suffer needlessly. Reading all the other stories here I know we are not alone in feeling sad or guilty or stressed.  You seem like such an understanding and caring veterinarian.

Maria Lariviere
July 29, 2021

I’m sorry but somebody said that it’s not that expensive but it’s super expensive and I can’t afford it for my baby and I need help

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
July 26, 2021

Terry, 4 years of managing a diabetic is dedication and my hat is off to you. From your description, it does not sound like either you or your dog are enjoying life right now, what with refusing to eat and just standing and staring. Your life has changed over the 4 years as well with needing to care for an aging spouse.  It is ok to let go. It is not easy, but it is ok. Please take care and know I am thinking of you.

July 26, 2021

Thank you for comments.  Our dog has suffered with diabetes over 4 years.  I’ve been willing and able to control until now.  He’s wetting his neck; throwing up and starting to refuse to eat so I can give shot.  Stands a lot staring at me.  I love the guy, who also has blood disorder; however, I’m having a meltdown and stressing about him and my life.  I also care for an aging spouse.  We’ve adjusted his insulin frequently.  I’m sad; however, I feel desperate.

June 15, 2021

Our 13-year old cat (we've had him for over 12 years) was diagnosed with diabetes back in March 2021.  We have begun the insulin treatment, but things didn't improve, and his condition deteriorated so badly.  He went from 15-16 lbs to 10 lbs.  We took him back to the vet for examination, and he was found to have DKA (so basically his condition got worse).  He spent the weekend at ER pet clinic, and following Monday at the vet to get treatment.  Sadly, he's still not eating / drinking. We love him so much, and don't want to let go.  However, seeing him suffer like this tears my heart (he used to be an active / talkative cat, and he's very attached to us; now, he just lays down there resting).  We took him home yesterday because we no longer want him to stay in unfamiliar places (hostpials), we want him to spend his last days with us, the loved ones.  We will most likely put him to sleep so he can leave all the pains / discomfort behind.  I love him so much... he'll always be my cat, and i know one day i will see him again...

May 4, 2021

My cat Dexter is 8 years old. When he was rescued he was really sick and it took joining banfield's monthly program to be able to afford all of the initial care he needed to get him healthy.  Fast forward 6 years and he was diagnosed with non f i v f e l v generic autoimmune disease. This affected him in many ways with a rotation of symptoms from month to month. It started out with blisters all over his face nail bed infections that were extremely painful for him.  The latest symptom is his entire mouth becoming inflamed so that he drools and has trouble eating.  I saved up the money to take him to a different vet for a complete battery of test including x-rays and dental exam.  They came back and said that he had just a small amount of charter on his teeth so the problem with his mouth was not tooth-related.  I missed mentioning that he has been taking a shot of steroids about once every 6 weeks to keep everything under control.  This was a drop off appointment for all of the blood work and test to be done.  Does that called me and told me that Dexter had diabetes and he would need insulin twice a day and need to come back in two weeks for a curve test to adjust his dosage.  I did the insulin twice a day for two weeks and then I started researching and ran across feline That's when I found out about home monitoring and I've been doing all kinds of torturing of poking his ears not to mention the insulin shots that he hates. The bounces in his insulin levels have left him a loaf hiding behind a chair most the time. He's no longer himself. At least with the steroid shots he had about 4 weeks without symptoms with exception of him peeing everywhere.  I'm taking him back to the vet on Friday to look into getting him on a more expensive insulin while at the same time noticing that he's beginning to drool which means his autoimmune disease is kicking in and he needs that steroid shot that he's not going to be able to have anymore.  I am struggling so hard with my decision but this is not living for him.  He sees me as a torturer and not his mom anymore. I found him hiding at the highest place in the house up on a shelf so that nobody could get to him today and it just breaks my heart.  He's only 8 years old.  I feel like I'm failing him no matter what choice I make.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
April 30, 2021

I am sorry to hear about the troubles that your family and Ajax are going through. You are correct, there is no reason to surrender Ajax, it would not be fair to him, as he has been with you for a long time. You are his people. In reading your description of the situation, I would say that none of you are happy and enjoying life right now, most especially Ajax. His butt is raw and red and he is weak and no longer clean. He no longer plays. My opinion is that your husband is correct, it is time to let Ajax go.  It is the kindest option for all of you, especially Ajax. Will it be easy? Definitely not! As your husband suggested, a house-call service will make this less traumatic for all of you. I suggest marking the calendar every day, either Ajax good days or Ajax bad days.  When the bad days outnumber the good days, it is time. You have done your best with treating Ajax, you have given it your all. Be kind to Ajax and yourselves. You, your husband, and baby are important, too! I wish you the best.  Please let us know how things go.

Anna Barry
April 30, 2021

Our cat Ajax was diagnosed with diabetes in January. He had been pooping outside the litter box after our first child was born. We thought it was behavioral. But he got the diagnosis at the vet. We immediately began an insulin regimen and wet food only. But the pooping outside the box turned quickly to diarrhea. He hasn't been moving a lot. He doesn't scratch or play. He and our other cat used to wrestle but not anymore. We gave up the wet food because he was pooping 10+ times a day on the floor. We have 5 litter boxes downstairs. We have tried different kinds of litter, different box heights, different placement. We tried the pheromone diffuser. We sequestered him to the basement because he was getting poop on his paws and belly and getting it on our floor in the house and on our couches. We have put him on Xanax, and it didn't do anything. He was taking it 3 times a day but that caused his hind legs to be especially weak. So now he only takes it twice a day just like his insulin. We have taken him back to the vet and they increased his insulin to 4 units but in the car ride home, he peed and pooped all over the carrier and on himself. His butt is perpetually dirty even though we have given him a bath, wipe him down with baby wipes, use paper towels. Now his butt is raw/red and still stained with poop. He still drinks a ton of water and pees a lot. We have him on a special dry food, too, that is prescription and costs a lot. He doesn't clean himself anymore. My husband, who adopted the cat years ago, is ready to put Ajax down via an at-home euthanasia service. I feel guilty that I haven't done more. We have the blood glucose test and haven't used it, but I feel hopeless about even trying. It seems like we have done everything and we just keep sinking time and money and emotional well-being into this cat. Not to mention we have a 7  month old baby. Even though I stay at home and my husband works from home, we can't keep up with all the cleaning. Our vet suggested surrendering him, but who would want a 10 year-old, diabetic cat who poops on the floor and himself all day?? I am so conflicted about putting him down because he's a gentle giant and so loving and not quite near the end but getting there.... I appreciate everyone's posts. They definitely help.

Vicki Seidel
April 26, 2021

Putting our for baby down on Friday due to diabetes I’ve read all your comments and all I can think about is what is in the dog food that’s causing all these animals to get diabetes it’s almost like cancer for humans......

February 4, 2021

Responsibility includes prioritizing  covering necessary costs for you, your family and pets. I feel pet owners must realize that not everyone has extra income to manage a chronic illness in a pet. If a pet has a loving home for several years, and has to be euthanized due to the inability of the owner to pay for treatment- at least the pet has had a good life! If they die in a shelter because a prospective owner doesn't have  a fat bank account, in my view everyone loses. Check your Judge gene at the door.

January 16, 2021

I forgot to mention this yesterday, but u know your animal better than your vet, better than your friends and (outside your home) family, and certainly better than anyone on the internet. We KNEW our cat wouldn't enjoy the treatment (especially trying to prick her ears every day). We tried to bring another cat (a stray kitten who showed up in our back yard) into the house awhile back. Everything on the internet said it would take time, possibly even months, but they would get to know each other and be friendly, if there was peace and not any fighting you're on your way to them getting along. Well guess what? They were "friendly" right away, there were no violent outbursts, they "got along", but something just wasn't right. Our resident cats behavior had changed. She spent more time upstairs when we were downstairs (with the new cat). She didn't sit with me on the couch and get her belly rubbed for 10 minutes when I got home from work (our ritual). She didn't purr as much. The new cat tried to play with her, and u could tell she was just annoyed. When we were all in the same room together, our resident cat took to sitting in the corner in a perpetual state of alertness and not relaxation. It broke my heart! We knew it wasn't going to work. People told us to give it more time, that they weren't fighting so it was all good. That they'd get used to each other eventually. But guess what? We knew our cat! We knew that this new cat was making her life terrible. That all her habits had been uprooted not because of her, but because WE tried to bring another cat into the house for ourselves (and to rescue the new kitten). We lasted 13 days before giving the kitten to a friend of ours (who has a resident cat that DOESN'T mind a new cat friend). Was 13 days enough time? Most everyone u ask would say no, but we were the ones having the real life experience, not reading the internet about how things SHOULD be happening. So if u think your animal won't like treatment, or that you've tried and you've seen a change in them, or that they've caught on to u and have started to hide when it's shot time, there's no shame in not continuing treatment, even if treatment is "for their own good". Their life has been negatively affected by something you're dong to them, and now they're probably associating u with that negativity (the LAST thing I want in the relationship with my animal). Don't feel shame because other people's animals have handled the treatment with no problem (like our friends resident cat who likes other cats, while ours does not) while yours does not. Our cat was REALLY smart. If we both put on our coats and went over to pet her goodbye she would go behind the couch. Why? Because once or twice a year that's what we'd do before she went to the vet. Even when that's not what we were doing, the threat of that being what we were doing was still there. Now imagine an animal not liking insulin shots or glucose testing. Even when u aren't giving them the shots, a smart animal would still be on guard if u went into the room where the shots were given, or if it was around that time in the evening . Our cat acted that way because of twice yearly vet visits, imagine twice daily shots they didn't like?! It would be a perpetual state of fear and uneasiness in your house. Even if u were prolonging their life, why would u want that to be the dynamic in your household? A place and relationship that is supposed to be about 100% love and relaxation is now about fear and them equating u with negative emotions. NO THANK U!

January 15, 2021

Britt, Toughnewyear, and others who've put their cat (dog) down without treatment, your stories are helping me today. Our almost 15 year old cat who we rescued at 10 took a turn for the worse the last 2-3 weeks. She had had a UTI about 6 months ago, and we knew this was worse. We couldn't go in at the vet (stupid Covid), so u don't get to hear the vet in real time thinking about what might be wrong. She came out to the parking lot and gave us the diabetes diagnosis (and almost certainly another UTI, mixed with possible kidney issues since she was 15). We were stunned. We were prepared for medication to clear things up in a week, or a death sentence like kidney failure and to put her down, we were NOT prepared for twice daily shots of insulin, and that would be after hopefully)  getting the diabetes under control and and addressing any infections. We were kinda lucky in the sense that our vet wasn't allowing people in to euthanize (that was a complete no go for us, we NEEDED to be there if that was our decision). The vet recommended an at home euthanasia, so we had a bit more time to make our decision. My wife and are are different, she takes 10 minutes to weigh the pros and cons (mostly from the cats point of view), and makes a decision, I could take a week and still not be sure what's the right thing to do. She wanted to euthanize. Not because we weren't willing to do the shots, or testing, or vet visits, or money spent, but because at 15 years old our cat had already showed signs of slowing down and had other health issues (the previous UTI/feline herpes which has made the membrane of her left eye severely swollen and wouldn't take to any kind of eye drops or medication no matter how hard we tried). The diabetes wasn't a death sentence in her mind, it was just the straw that broke the camels back. Yes, we COULD have treated her with insulin twice daily (she despises when humans picker her up or try to contain her), and we COULD have tested her by pricking her ears, and we COULD have altered her diet (she loves her dry food and I guess that not great for diabetes?), and we COULD have gone through two weeks of vet trips and tests, and money spent, and pokes and prods, and possible roller coaster blood sugar readings that may or may not have lead to low blood sugar episodes that we may have been at home to treat or may have been at work while our cat suffered. We COULD have done all of those things, and some might even call it a cop out that we DIDN'T do those things and explore every single avenue to making our animal feel better. But we didn't. We made the choice to put her down. The mobile vet came to our house and she died in my wife's arms, just like she was supposed to. We COULD have explored treatment and put this day off 2 months, 6 months, 2 years, who knows, but in the end that day was a few days ago. I feel guilty. I feel guilty for not pushing my wife to give it more time. I feel guilty for not starting treatment and seeing what happened after 2 weeks. I feel guilty for POSSIBLY ending my animals life before it was "their time". My wife and I saw things differently, that's how human beings are. She saw suffering and the best days in the past (mixed with knowing our cat would HATE what the diabetes treatment entailed, something I agree with), and I saw the possibility of ok days in the future. Neither of us was "right" or "wrong". We will get through this together knowing we didn't 100% agree on the outcome. I do know this, I would rather have my animal die peacefully in my wife's arms today than either terribly due to some diabetic complication when we're not home and in 3 months after trying therapy and it only prolonging the inevitable. There will ALWAYS be that "what if?' in my mind that we cut her life short, but in the end, it was a wonderful, loving life, even if it was ended a bit before it absolutely had to.

December 27, 2020

I find most of this supportive, but those you being holier than thou and judgemental.. you are lucky if you have a pet who is easy to treat. My 14 year old cat was diagnosed with diabetes and I know the shots will be impossible. It's not because I am unwilling, and it isn't the expense. It takes 2 people with protective clothing just to put Advantage on the back of his neck. If he can't see your hands when you approach him for any reason, he bolts away. A slightly loud noise has him practically destroying a room trying to get out of it. Trying to give him a shot twice a day would keep him in terror and possibly be dangerous for everyone involved. People who don't care or are not willing to help their animals are not researching endlessly online to find alternatives to what they know will not work. I know it probably makes you feel better than other people to react the way you are doing, but you are not. You are causing more pain for people who are already struggling with grief over what they are going through. There are plenty of threads you can go do that on and have lots of people agreeing with you. I suggest you move your self righteous preaching over there and let the ones of us who need this advice and support get it here.

December 15, 2020

Our dog Frodo, a poodle/yorkie/Bischon blend was diagnosed with diabetes at age 11. We made the decision to give him insulin shots, one every 12 hours.  It is challenging at times(especially when we went on vacation) but worth it. After a year he developed cataracts and became hard of hearing.  But with properly monitoring his insulin levels and changing his diet to all protein he has done well.  Now just over 3 years after his diagnosis, the diabetes is finally taking its toll on him. This morning I have the very sad task of taking him to our vet to be put down. I am very thankful for the "extra" years he was with our family.  Will be greatly missed...:( 

December 12, 2020

My cat is 12. He was diagnosed with diabetes about two years ago and it was so bad he had neuropathy in his hind legs and was losing the ability to walk. After getting him on insulin, he gradually improved and is his normal self. I'm really glad I pursued treatment. But he's now starting to have health complications again and I'm not sure I can handle another round of intense care, emotionally or financially. It's been difficult keeping up with the twice a day injections and I haven't always been the best at it. Its very hard decision to have to think about making.

Sandra Norris
November 19, 2020

Thank you for this, need it now.

November 17, 2020

I don’t know what to do. I have a 10 1/2 year old cat (guessing as I don’t know how old she was when I got her). I got her when I was 8 so she’s been with me for more than half my life. She’s always had problems going to the bathroom, and has always had a little blood in her urine. About 2 months ago she got Really sick. She was vomiting white foam, peeing more blood than urine, had diarrhea, wouldn’t really eat or drink and wouldn’t really get up and if she did, she seemed to be in pain. I was going to make a vet appointment on day 4 while I was at work but got a text (along with photos and videos) from my roommates that she was eating, drinking and moving around. We were all excited. That sickness hasn’t returned. Recently she has lost a ton of weight, is eating a lot but not gaining any of it back, scratching at her ears, not playing anymore and doesn’t want anyone to really touch her except me. I finally took her to the vet and she was diagnosed with ear mites, hyperthyroidism, and a small UTI. That vet bill was $500. I have drops for the ear mites and it’s helping but I honestly can’t afford the medications for the hyperthyroidism or UTI. I have no income right now. I feel like she’s suffering in silence. She is not showing pain but isn’t like her old self. She doesn’t play anymore, she hates the other animals in the house now, she loves food but sometimes doesn’t want it even after begging for it, she is having more accidents outside the litter box and she seems overall unhappy.

November 9, 2020

Cameron, you need to call your vet and explain what you are going through. If she is not helpful, call around to other vets and see if you can get some answers. You might try a university or a rescue group who may be able to give you some ideas. If worse comes to worse, the rescue group might have the ability to take over your pet. You are in a tough place, but you need and should expect some help. I have been there myself.

Cameron McGuire
October 27, 2020

My 13 year old Teddy Bear dog was recently diagnosed with Diabetes and Pancreatitis. I am an 18 year old and took him to the vet and he has been on insulin for about a month. The vet appointment was $550. This is more than half of my paycheck. However, I wanted to do what’s best for my pup. I started giving him 2 shots of insulin a day after meals, pain medicine 2 times a day for 14 days, and eye infection medicine. He is not doing any better. He is still drinking a lot of water and peeing almost every hour. During the night, he wakes me up barking every two hours to go pee or just pees on the floor because he can no longer control it. I feel terrible because I am getting upset when it is not his fault. I’ve tried multiple different foods wet/dry and he has recently started refusing all making it hard to give him insulin. I do not know what’s right at this point and I feel terrible putting him down. However, it is very difficult to manage this and the prices of going to the vet. Someone please help and give me advice :(

Jean Maguire
October 18, 2020

I lost my 13 1/2-year-old cat, Cocoa,  yesterday, her diabetes played a role but maybe not in the usual way.  She has had diabetes for over 8 years - twice daily insulin shots.  I am sorry so many have problems with giving the shots - Cocoa rarely protested and usually didn't seem to feel them.  Testing was originally another story - When she was first diagnosed the Vet didn't mention home testing but later an associate did so on her next visit I asked about it and he said it was better to do it at least occasionally if I could.   Well, long story short, I gave up after numerous bad experiences for both her and me.   Her blood work at the Vet showed she was being managed OK so we continued that way for years.  A few months ago she experienced a low incident and I tried testing again - this time it worked and she even sometimes came to me when she knew I was getting ready.  I wrapped her in a blanket and sat beside her on a chair, talked to her the whole and usually rubbed her ear first to get the blood going.  As I had read, eventually it became easy to get the blood and only a very tiny amount was needed.  The real problem was her not eating enough - she refused her diet food and then began the fun of trying to find something she'd eat that was low carb.  Her usual eating pattern was dry food available all the time with a small serving of wet (all she wanted) in the evening.  But she was hardly eating any dry food (tried different kinds) and was only eating about one can total (2 meals) of wet.   Again, after all the years of watching her diet, I continued to give her mostly low carb which equals out to no gravy.   She liked it wet (water) and would lick the liquid off; then a refresh of the water - it could take quite a while to finish.  She was losing weight which concerned me but the Vet wanted a fasting test and I put it off - her blood sugar was all over the place - very good sometimes but then a high or low.  In the end I put off the Vet visit too long and when I took her in, she was dying - from what we'll never know.   Her Blood Work showed she was "shutting" down though her liver function seemed the worst so he did think there was a possible cancer - low red blood cell count, too, her kidneys which we had been worried about weren't "all that bad" but bottom line there was nothing that could be done.  I opted to let her live as long as she wasn't in pain - She passed in at home  about 36 hours later.  So, yes, her diabetes played a part - I should have been feeding her more of the "good" stuff - anything she'd eat - to maintain the weight and then worrying about adjusting the insulin - but if it was cancer the end results would have been the same.

Eric Swanson
October 11, 2020

Thank you for a thoughtful, well-written article on a very difficult topic. Our dog, Carlos, was diagnosed with diabetes in August. We were nervous about giving him twice-daily injections, but once the vet showed us how to do them, we figured we could handle it. The first week was extremely difficult, as Carlos hated the shots and tried to fend them off. Sometimes we managed to give him the full dose, sometimes not. After a couple of weeks, he settled down a bit and was less aggressive when I picked him up to flout him in my husband’s lap for the shot. We thought our struggles were over, but we were wrong. He started getting aggressive again last week, to the point that we wouldn’t let me pick him up fir the shot. And when I tried doing it on my own, he bit me a couple of times. I discussed the situation with my husband, and we have decided to discontinue the shots as of today.. Of course, we will continue to regulate Carlos’ diet and make sure he gets enough exercise.  

October 3, 2020

Our 11 year old lab/mix was losing weight and started with the classic signs of peeing in the house and drinking And panting excessively. It seems like it was overnight but it wasn’t I’m sure but her backbone and ribs became noticeably visible too. We took her to the vet and she was diagnosed with diabetes. Originally I thought we’d have to put her down but after talking to the vet, family and reading about it we decided to do the insulin injections, change food to high proteins, etc. After 4 months of monitoring, dosage changes to try and regulate her, bottles of antibiotics for the UTIs, eye infections, liver issues and heart murmer—it’s time. We changed insulins and still her numbers are stay high—one time in the high 390s—the best we’ve seen—usually 500-600. She’s no longer interested in walks, toys, etc. Monday will be our last day with our girl and it’s a very hard decision but it’s to the point that, to us, anyway, the treatments are just not working. I’m not ok with just letting her progressively get worse. I hope others are not spending time second guessing any decision that they have had to make. COVID has made it easy for us to be at home for the careful routine of feeding and insulin injections (which were a piece of cake) but not everyone will get a great outcome. It’s been frustrating more than anything else and, yes, it is very expensive if money is tight. I wish everyone a better experience with the treatments than our girl had. I’m not sorry we tried but in our case we would not have been wrong to have gone with our first instinct.

Kim French
September 30, 2020

My 9 1/2 yr old Boston terrior was just diagnosed two weeks ago with Diabetes. Four months he had an acute case of pancreatitis and we didn’t know if he would make it. Thankfully he and we were so relieved. This dog is seriously the best and coolest dog ever. He’s my third Boston and they have all been so different and wonderful, but this guy. Bobby, is and has been a people dog from day one. He’s so loving and friendly and anyone that meets him absolutely falls in love. He’s just love and not a mean bone in his body. True story, I went to the DMV to renew my license and the lady seen my address and said my brother lives on this road, do u know Bobby, yes I’m Bobby’s mom. Anyway so he hates the shots, like he really hates them. My 30 yr daughter has been a type 1 diabetic for 25 yrs. it was was much easier with a five yr old than this dog. He fine at first but now is on to me. He knows after eating it’s time for a shot and he hides. I have beat myself up about this. I did this with a 5 yr old child I should be able to handle this with a dog. So these last two days I’ve gave us both a break. If he’s super anxious I try but I don’t feed breakfast and I skipped today. He was used to only one feeding a day so I didn’t worry. Tonite my son helped distract him and he never knew I did it. It’s a lot and we travel a lot so this is something I have to make him get comfortable with so others can do it as well. I think with kids or dogs we want to do our best and I only hope it’s gets easier as time goes on. We sure love him and I’ll do whatever to keep him here as long as I can. Poor Bobby has hated hated 2020 as much as the rest of us.

September 25, 2020

My fur baby is 10yr old cat, we adopted him when he was about 2, he was just diagnosed with diabetes, we usually take him to the SPCA , they opened a small office right near me so it was perfect, they are so much more affordable, he needed to have a couple teeth pulled and A cleaning, my vet gave me a estimate of almost 1,000, which there’s no way I could afford, the SPCA did it for 250$ they are great. My cat was on a diet because he was over weight and was on his way to developing diabetes, recently I noticed the symptoms, excessive water consumption, excessive urination, always hungry and eating despite losing weight , his blood work came back positive for diabetes, they don’t treat diabetes at the SPCA, so they referred me to a vet they know well and is more inexpensive than most , I’m a single mom and my hours are cut due to the covid shut down, so I’m nervous about how much this will cost, however, he is our family member, he’s our baby and I will do whatever I need to, to make sure he’s treated and gets better , my daughter as well as myself would be devastated if we lost him, everyone’s situation is different, I don’t judge anyone for their decisions, but for me I have to do whatever it takes to get him better. I’m assuming he developed this Atleast a few weeks ago, and we waited like 5 days for the bloodwork , and now we have to wait another week to be seen, I hope he will be ok in the Mean time, I don’t know how long they can go for, I feel so bad, he lost a lot of weight fast but eats like a pig , he normally does not eat people food or beg for it, but he’s so hungry now,  if he sees you eating he will beg for some , I feel bad!! And I feel guilty because I always fed him when he wanted to eat, and I didn’t do a good job on his diet I guess,I don’t know a lot about it and I hope he’s not in any Pain or discomfort right now, I’m just really nervous about it all, he HAS to be ok ! He has several more years left for us to spoil and love him ! I respect everyone’s opinions and decisions they had to make with their pets, I know it wasn’t easy!

August 23, 2020

I’m a 74 year old senior on a fixed income and when my 10 year old shih tzu was diagnosed on 12/6/19 with diabetes, it came on very rapidly with blindness and excessive weight loss. I didn’t know how I was going to handle the $150+ additional cost, so I went on line and read your article. Bella take 5 doses of meds daily to control her seizures and my feeling was that I did not want to subject  her to further trauma do I made the decision not to put her on insulin. I made this decision with a lot of thought and heartache. Having said that, she has put on a little weight, she clicker trained quickly on getting around, her appetite is good and she runs and plays like normal. She goes regularly to the vet just to be sure she is still vital and happy. If she’d exhibits pain of any kind associated with the diagnosis, I will do what needs to be done. Circumstances are all different and judging another’s circumstance is unfair and hurtful. I love Bella more than anything but tough decisions are always difficult. She is still living a full and happy life!

Donna Sciarra
July 9, 2020

My eight-year-old rescue was just diagnosed with diabetes having very difficult times taking his blood carve I'm finding that the financial expense is killing me I have to figure out how to deal with this and for those of you who are going to judge me for trying to make the right decision for him you must understand I have severe health conditions and I can hardly afford my own medicines I'm looking to try to rehome him to someone that can afford treat him this saddens me how do you make the decision

June 22, 2020

We put my 16 yr old cat down this week and I am struggling to let go of the guilt. We didn’t pursue treatment for her diabetes, and her diagnosis came right before the  coronaviris  lock down. We weren’t able to work. I was high anxiety about finances. She completely stopped using the litter box the last month and it pushed me over the edge to make the phone call. I am full of guilt for not treating her.  I  was nervous about the thought of administering insulin daily and the cost of regulating her initially. She had good and bad days. Did I make the worst mistake??  What if we could have had another year or two? I am devastated

Derek Price
June 17, 2020

Thank you for posting this.  I agree with other people who have commented regarding the refreshing aspect of having a pet with a chronic condition who may need euthanasia as treatment as opposed to prolonging poor quality of life.  My diabetic dog, Chaps, is about to turn 13 this Friday.  He has been diabetic for over a year now, and while his glucose curves do the actual curve, we have yet to get him to remain within the preferred range the endocronologist desires.  On top of that, he appears to have developed inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and he has a heart murmur which could be a sign of impending if not current heart disease, per the endo.  My mother passed away in 2019 after a horrible bout with heart failure, COPD, and coronary artery disease.  During that time, I so wished we had end-of-life for humans because it was so incredibly stressful for us to watch and my mother to experience.  My boy Chaps is starting to have increased urination, drinking, and he has lost so much weight from the food he is on (Hill's® Prescription Diet® w/d® Multi-Benefit Canine).  The food has helped with the IBD, but gosh, he's wasted down which I think is causing issues with the insulin.  It's almost like a downward spiral, and I feel like things will get smooth for a bit, and then everything goes haywire.  Something else is that even having trained him to use puppy pads, it's still a chore every morning to clean up the pads, clean the floor if any misses, put down fresh pads, feed, check glucose, determine shots, monitor how he reacts, etc.  It's incredibly expensive.  The only reason I've been able to do so much is that I work from home, and COVID19 has stopped my business travel.  I absolutely sympathize for people with limited means and time because in the end, I know the decision could mean an end of their pet's life.  It's the most difficult decison, and I know losing my pets will affect me more than losing my mother.  Never let what some random stranger on the Internet say affect your caring for your pet.  Many people will go for the "Pet owner of the year award," by saying they will take care of their pet if it takes every last cent.  I do not follow that lead.

April 30, 2020

Well I have a baby that is 13 and was diagnosed with diabetes AND cushings and he is getting treated!!! And he is my foster!!! I will not give up on a furbaby no matter what,no matter how much time it takes no matter how much commitment I will fight for them until I know that they don’t have a quality of life left! And I work full time!!!

March 2, 2020

Wow, it's refreshing to see at least one perspective that isn't all about shaming people into treatment and/or high maintenance daily care NO MATTER WHAT. I took care of my very old cats in a way that would be incredibly hard for most busy people, if not downright unrealistic.  But I COULD with (relative) ease compared to anyone who works full time.  This sort of thing shouldn't be an -expectation-.  Taking the pets when you move should be.  I feel like all of the very reasonable, humane goals of the animal welfare movement took a sharp turn to crazy town, and the patients are running that asylum. 

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
February 13, 2020

Tim, I am so very sorry that you are having to go through this and that you are not getting any support from the veterinary community.  That is sad and it is wrong.  Sometimes veterinarians forget to look at the entire family, they think only about the animal. You need to find a veterinarian who can consider the quality of life for the entire family, not just your cat.  There is a network of hospice veterinarians who do this, Lap of Love.  I have personally met one of the founders of this organization and was very impressed with her down-to-earth thoughts on quality of life being important for all involved, not just the pet. They have veterinarians all over the U.S. within their network. I would suggest you contact them and see if they can help you find someone locally. Another alternative would be to talk to a friend to find a different veterinarian, one who can listen to what you are saying and how this affecting your quality of life. Ask them if they have had to go through a euthanasia with that veterinarian. Again, my heart goes out to you.  Please do not think poorly of all veterinarians, because on the whole, we are good people, even if we all have our blind spots. Please write back and let me know what you find.  I do care.

Tim Riley
February 13, 2020

I have a 14 year old female cat that I’ve Been giving insulin to for 2 years. It’s been basically hell on earth. She’s worse now and she drinks and pees all day and now she just throws up and has bad diarriah all the time. She’s miserable and My Health is declining due to the stress. I walk around feeling like crying all the time and I’m a 64 year old man that doesn’t really cry. I have 2 different vets and of course they both make me feel like a murderer if I even consider putting her to sleep. I’m so stressed that I’ve been seeing a doctor for multiple stress related stomach problems. Most of these sites are no help with many self righteous people who try to shame people. I’ve kept cats for a long time but now I’m through. I have a VERY bad opinion now of the Veteranary community and their mercenary ways.

February 7, 2020

This article came to me at a difficult time and helped me gain clarity to make a difficult decision, one that I intuitively knew but didn't want to make...putting Eddie, my 11 year old cat down due to diabetes. I did the insulin shots, the blood glucose testing, etc. and I realized I was starting to resent having to do it. I was mad at myself for feeling resentful. Eddie only gave and received pure love and he deserves only love, not resentment. What kind of momma would I be if I didn't love my boy. I don't want to let him go, but I have to. The road for both him and I isn't going to get any easier. And I love him too much to not give him anything but love.

January 7, 2020

I just wanted to thank you for this article and to thank everyone for sharing their experiences. I recently made the decision to euthanize our 12 year old cat who has been my best friend all throughout my adult life. She was very sick and when we brought her in to the emergency vet they found that she had diabetes. I had to make a decision because she was in severe pain. Immediately afterward I struggled with extreme guilt and I kept wondering what things might have been like if we'd tried the treatment. Eventually though I got past it with a lot of help from my wife and began a healthy healing process. I remembered why I made the choice I did. We had the means to treat our cat and I would've gladly given her treatment twice a day. At first it seemed like a no brainer. But the more I thought about it the more I worried about what her life would be like and whether she'd be happy. I really don't think she would've adjusted well to her new way of life and I knew that even if things went well it would be so easy for something to come up that would result in her being in pain and suffering again. Car trouble, a family emergency, or even if she happened to throw up her food shortly after we left the house. She threw up fairly often even in her younger days. There were so many factors that could put her back to suffering and she'd be trapped alone until we returned home with no way to call for help. I'm glad she died a peaceful death in mine and my wife's arms, surrounded by her loved ones rather than alone and in pain. I'll never stop missing her but I'd rather feel the pain of losing her than to have her in pain like that ever again. For anyone struggling with this situation, don't pay any mind to the judgemental comments that some people leave. You know your pet better than anyone else and only you can make the decision for them. Trust your own judgment and do what you believe is best.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
October 28, 2019

Eliza, I am sorry that you are going through this with your horse. As I stated in my article, quality of life has to be present for both you AND your horse.  It sounds to me like neither of you has good quality of life. I would suggest that you take the time to visit with another veterinarian, as there are others out there who will not make you feel guilty for deciding that it is time.

October 26, 2019

I’m going through this now. I have a horse I truly love but for seven years it’s been one health crises to the next. First a heart arrhythmia we never knew what caused it, heart looked healthy so we had her treated for it successfully. She remained relatively healthy a year and a half then started having repeated colics. We’ve done everything recommended management wise and reduced her to minimal ridden exercise. We had all sort of tests and ultrasounds and scopes done. They can’t say why. Then she had a colitis that almost killed her and was over two weeks in clinic. We didn’t complain as they said if treated she had a good chance for a normal life. We brought her home but now it’s been repeated cases of ulcers requiring an expensive 200 a week medicine. She’s not ridden anymore and we do everything recommended diet and management wise. She has as little stress as I can imagine for a horse. Same friends she had for years, goes in out, ad lib hay, always fresh water, recommended diet. Now the ulcer med wasn’t helping so we hauled her yet again to clinic for gastroscopy where they found her stomach full of tumors inside and out. I really felt it’s time to call quits. They made me feel cold because they say there’s a 30% chance they are inflammatory tumors not malignant. She has to have pain meds to eat and has bouts of colickiness due to discomfort. They want me to take her home on meds she needs three times a day to wait biopsy results and if those are negative bring her back and do it all again because the biopsy they got might not have been deep enough! I said to the vet even if it’s not malignant and inflammatory why does she have recurrent inflammatory problems when we do all we can to make her life perfect. She says we can try to reduce her stress even more as they did a study where even playing talk radio was shown to heighten horse’s stress. In this moment for a second I wanted to throttle the vet. If my horse can’t even hear a radio station without blowing up huge tumors through her stomach I’m sorry but that’s incompatible with living a normal, healthy life. That just means more episodes like this over and over until she dies or we go broke and in the meantime we can’t afford to do things to enjoy our other horse. If she could be retired unridden I’m happy to do that for her but not if she requires ongoing expensive medications and is still having episodes of not eating, losing weight, having pain, getting inflamed lesions through her stomach. I feel it’s getting ridiculous. I used to feel grateful to our vets but I’m really starting to feel a bit angry and resentful.

Riley Tim
August 7, 2019

It’s been 2 years giving my cat Insulin shots 2 times a day. I have recently retired and can’t go on trips or even overnight stuff. The cat resents me and hides and my health is deteriorating. My family won’t even speak to me cause they think I’m crazy for putting 24/7 into a cat that hates me now. Most people on these sites are judgemental. I still don’t know what to do because I can’t just let her die but it’s killing me.

Frances Horton
July 12, 2019

Our Maxie will go over the rainbow bridge today.  He has had uncontrollable diabetes and it has ravaged his body.  His kidneys are failing and he's in a lot of distress.  Maxie is a beautiful Samoyed.  He'll return home to Siberia today to run and play and welcome the snow.  We're devastated and I still can't believe that this day has come. 

May 5, 2019

my 11 year old orange male tabby has been drinking alot of water and urinating lots!!I suspect he may have diabetes, but if he does, I know for certain he would not let me inject him. I would try diet and natural approaches only, besides I couldn't afford the cost of treating a pet with diabetes.I love him and when the time came that he was not happy anymore, in pain, distressed, I would have him put down even though it would be the hardest thing for me to do.

PJ Miller
May 4, 2019

Our Westie of 13 yrs was recently diagnosed with diabetes. We spent 3 weeks trying everything that has been suggested to give her the shots. She refused other words she fought them every step of the way.  I had to chase her down to give her the shots. Two of us could not constrain her enough to give the shots. She bent needles, ; I stuck myself; she screamed; most of the time she would pull away as I was injecting so most of the insulin never got into her. We have struggled with so much guilt over this but have decided that terrorizing this poor dog twice a day was not benefiting her. For those of you who judge us and others, shame on you. Even our vet, who has treated this dog her whole life, did  not make us feel guilty; she knows this dog and we know this dog. She is the sweetest dog we have ever had; everyone loves her. I will not dishonor her by traumatizing her for my benefit. This dog was diagnosed with Addison’s disease early on on her life. We have done everything possible for her. When the time comes, we will love her enough to let her go.

April 28, 2019

Sadly I just put my 15 ( 3 mos. shy of 16 ) year old dog down 4 days ago.  He was diagnosed with Cushings disease 3 years ago at the age of 12.  I was giving him 2 pills a day for 2 and an half years and in the last 6 mos. 1 pill a day.  Spending $150.00 a month just for the medication to treat his Cushings.  The test was very expensive and he had to be retested periodically.  14 months ago he was diagnosed with diabetes. There was no question in my mind that I was going to treat him. Two shots a day of insulin.  I also took him to the vet nearly every two to three weeks for a glucose check and adjustments were made to the amount of insulin based on his numbers.  With all that I did for him I could see him declining in health over that 14 month period.  He became very thin because he hated the diabetic food so my vet decided it was better to just let him eat normal dog food instead of him literally turning into skin and bones.  His weight picked up but he developed neuropathy from the diabetes.  He would shake and his eyes would blink continuously as if he had parkinsons or some neurological disease.  I think it made him weak and he laid around a lot.  He eventually lost all of his vision and shortly after started to lose his hearing.  He was bumping into things in the house and I would have to clap my hands or yell his name to get his attention.  He still had a good appetite and still loved to go out on short walks even though I had to keep him on a leash right by me.  He used to love car rides but got to where he whined and shook in the car. I could see the decline daily.  I was afraid to leave him home alone for fear he would bump into something and it would fall on him and hurt him.  Then the day came where I took him for a short little ride to the store with me and took him out of my car and instead of walking to the house door in our garage he got lost and went right under my car and got stuck.  I had to pull him our from under my car as it was hot under there from me just driving it.  That was it.  I was done being selfish - I had been putting him through so much just so that I could keep him with me.  I had told his vet back in February after his last glucose check that I was done - no more poking him every 2 weeks, no more blood draws.  I would continue with the insulin shots until I felt it was time to let him go.  So, even though you choose to treat and spend a ton of money to keep your companion it may only buy you a few months, maybe a year as in my case.  And looking back, there was so much my poor little guy went through during that year.  My heart was and is still shattered after losing him but I'm not quite sure I would extend things as long as I did if I had it to do over again.  I'm learning that quality of life is so important.  I feel like I have so many memories of his struggles - I need to try to replace them with the memories of his younger, healthier days but it's hard because so much of his later life was spent trying to keep him alive.  Rest in peace my sweet Charlie boy.

April 12, 2019

Our dog developed a bad case of epilepsy a few years ago and we have been treating him since. At one point he was having five seizures per week. He gets medication three times a day. Unfortunately the medication makes him sedated and causes him to have very bad balance and as such has a hard time going to the bathroom without falling over. Luckily we got pet insurance right when we got him as a puppy and it has covered the majority of the costs associated with his sickness. He is a sweet, and kind dog. It has been an exhausting experience for my wife and I, and I truly believe we have PTSD because of the experience and it has take years off our lives from the stress of getting jarred awake many nights to the sound of our pup having a seizure. We have dedicated almost three years of our lives to caring for this sick pup. Now he is only five, and it is time for us to say goodbye. Even though this has been a difficult experience, we love our pup and will miss him dearly come Sunday when we say goodbye...

March 3, 2019

My sweet girl has been on insulin for almost 3 years now. It was super stressful and very rough in the beginning but we have it down to a matter of seconds now. I highly recommend looking into an auto injector if there are any issues with actually administering the injection. My girl is so spunky and refuses to be restrained at all but with the auto injector she doesn't even know shes getting a shot.

February 22, 2019

I have been treating my 13 year old dachshund for Diabetes for 4 years. He is totally blind, loss of hearing and is scared most of the time. I have been faithful with injections 2 times a day for 4 years. I had to call my wonderful vet today to make an appointment to have him put to sleep on Tuesday.He has stopped eating, I will not force feed him as it’s too tough on him. I am told to stop the insulin if he won’t eat. He just sleeps for hours, hardly any water. My heart is broken, I know that he is suffering as he has always loved life, eating and hanging with his sister and cousin, both dachshunds. My sadness is overwhelming as I had to do this before, just another disease. I love my vet & I know that she loves Ziggy & will be very compassionate & professional. I feel guilty for doing this but I prayed on it and know it is for the best. I don’t want him to suffer and I know he will. The second year of Diabetes he got Pancreatitis & almost died, he was so sick. Almost 2, 000 later he was saved. I have had 4 serious surgeries & need to go back in for another knee surgery and this is all so trying as I live in chronic pain. I have had 3 neck surgeries and my plate is broken which causes so much nerve pain. I believe that I have tried to do right by him. I will be there with him when he takes his final breath, I am in tears as I write this. Anyone that loves their animals understands how difficult this decision is and I truly respect whatever one chooses, I chose to treat him with insulin and a lot of feedings because he was always hungry, part of the disease. God Bless all of you and my heart and prayers are with you all and my little man Ziggy. May he Rest In Peace as he goes over the rainbow bridge.

February 19, 2019

My 14 year old min pin has had diabetes for four years. Initially when diagnosed she was in full blown ketoacidosis. We could not afford the overnights at the vet as it was a few grand. Luckily, with much communication, we were allowed to take an IV bag home, and were given the opportunity to try to treat her ourselves. I am not joking when I say she did not eat for a solid month on her own (we syring fed in order to give insulin). After intensive at home treatments, with sub q fluids a few times a day, force feeding meals in order to give insulin, and going through hypoglycemic seizures while we tried to figure out how much insulin was enough, but not too much, she pulled through. Amazingly! She has had many times in the last four years when she would all of a sudden stop responding well to treatment. Sometimes I think she may have just had an upset stomach, that because of the importance of the timed meals, would spiral. Sometimes It would be her insulin dose needed upped, or lowered. There have been many times I have almost lost her, and many times that I would have to force her to eat by syringe in order to reset the cycle and give her shot. It has been emotionally, financially, mentally draining. I did not want to give up on my dog, We call her our ‘ambassador of love’ because she does not have a mean bone in her body for any creature. She is so strong willed. She tries like heck to survive these last 4 years. She wanted to live. She tries so hard to be a good girl. She takes her shots like a champ, but has cried sometimes. But never runs, or reacts aggressive. I have fought with her HARD. I did not do multiple glucose curves, because they are expensive, she would never eat with strangers, and honestly believe it would have been detrimental. They can be performed at home just as well. In the last four years, she has lost almost all of her eye sight. Her hearing is not as good. She is terribly thin. Her hair is sparse. She does not look like she did before the diabetes. I wanted to share the beginning of my story, because like comments below, around year 2 of treating her I really thought we had done the right thing to try to manage this disease. Now, I do not feel that way. If I had known then, what I know now, I would have spared her this torture. She is now so so sick, regardless of where her sugars are. But because of the diabetes, it makes everything 100x harder. The syringe feed/insulin routine is still working to stabilize her sugars, but she is not bouncing back. How many days can a oet owner do this? I think we have reached our limit together. My family thinks Im crazy. She will not even drink on her own, or hold down water at this point. She is so tiny I fear euthanasia for her. I have had a bad experience in the past, where my dog cried while the drugs were administered. At this point she is so sick, I cannot stand the thought of more pain. I grappled with shooting her, (instant, painless) but the ground is frozen and I will not even be able to bury her until spring. The whole situation has reached a crescendo that feels ridiculous and heartbreaking. I thought maybe yesterday we were going to have a bounce back, because I had kept her sugar stabilized for days while doing the syringe feedings. I woke up this morning to bile dripping from her nose. She still stands to go potty outside. So..she’s not involuntarily eliminating...but when is enough enough!? I have some really tough decisions ahead, and not much time to make them, and none of them bring good feelings. Pet owners, while you read these comments, please know any decision you make is ok. This is HARD. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. If I am unlucky enough to have another pet diagnosed with this illness, I will not be treating them. It will destroy me, but this isnt worth it. For me, or her.

February 12, 2019

I too have a dog with diabetes. I purchase his insulin at Walmart for around $30, as well as his syringes for about $15. I also purchase levothyroxin from the vet for $45 for a three month supply as he is also hypothyroid.

February 11, 2019

My soon-to-be 19yr old cat, my sweet baby, has just been diagnosed with severe, brittle diabetes. The doctor gave us several options to care for her. Because she is old, we chose euthanasia, but not now. Rosie is still walking, going up and down stairway, climbing four levels to get on the small table looking out the window, then she goes back down to the floor. She is drinking lots of water,but is very dehydrated. She sleeps all the time in different places because she needs a member of her family (us) near her. And yes, she's still weak and lethargic.  My daughter and I have been crying so much. I don't know when I should bring her to the hospital for the dreaded ..... and will she know that we are bringing her to a place to die? How do I know that she wants that? Yes, these are silly questions but I just don't know the right time to let her go.

February 9, 2019

My dog is 14 1/2 and I've had him since he was a puppy. Last Saturday he was diagnosed with diabetes. The I asked some of the questions above. I knew that he would have to have blood tests until he was regulated but I asked if there was a way around that and she said I could buy a meter and one day a week I would have to test his blood every 2 hours. I could do that. I bought a meter. Then yesterday I went to CVS to get his insulin and needles and the pharmacy tech said I want to show you this The price for the insulin was $178.00!!! the needles $36. I refused the order and left. I called the vet for alternatives. That is what the Dr. wants Zeus on. This is beyond my means. I have an appointment on Monday to learn how to administer the shots. I will be going there looking for alternatives that I as a single income person can afford. I think in my heart if the Dr. is insistent on what medication I can use then I will bring my boy home and make the remainder of his life as comfortable as I can. Anyone faced with this decision has to do what they can and I'm willing to give him the medication he needs but not at $178+ per month.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
February 4, 2019

Paul, From reading your note about Como and Sweetie, I think they do need to be seen by another veterinarian.  Drinking and peeing a lot is a sign of illness, that is for certain. Do you have a friend who can give you a ride to the veterinarian's office?  Do you have Uber or Lyft in your town?  What about a senior center that offers transportation? I also live in a small town and know that if you do not own your own vehicle it can be difficult to get around. Unfortunately, I am not sure what else I can do to help you from here.  I am sorry you are having to go through this.

Paul Breaux
January 31, 2019

I don’t if this will get a reply, but I pray someone has an answer to this. I am 66, retired, have 2 inhouse Cat companions but have no transportation. Add to that, a city of 15,000 people, and we have NO TAXI SERVICE. So to get around is difficult for me. That said, both cats are fixed, a female named Sweetie who is 10 years old and a male named Como who is a little over 7 years of age. They are strictly inhouse, and that is for their and my own protection. Them needing medical care, is very hard to get. This past Oct. 15, 2018 I had absolutely no choice but to call a vet who was the only one in a 25 miles that would. I had tried others that were said to do this, but none wanted to drive the distance. So either I called the one that is local, who has a bad manner about his work, or my two cats, stayed with their problems. I called and I regret with a passion, that it was him I settled with. He came  the day I specified, and his visit resulted in a charge of $399.82 that I paid in full that same day, and I still blame myself for being so stupid. Sweetie, the female, had started getting growths on her skin that itched like crazy, probably from some parasite she caught. Como, the male, had diarrhea, something he’s had for quite some time. Both cats have good appetites, continued to eat after the medicines were given, but Como simply is very skinny since what goes in, squirts back out. Reading from my receipt for his treatment, hr gave the EXACT SAME MEDICATIONS TO BOTH CATS, AT THE SAME DOSAGE. Both are shorthaired with her about 12 lbs. and him maybe 13 lbs. This is what they got. Como    1 Feline BRAVECTO Pur 13.8-27#*55.60 Apply entire contents of tube between shoulder blades every 12 weeks for the prevention of fleas and ticks. 10-15-181 Profender- topical feline deworm 11*24.00 Part hair and apply 1 tube directly onto skin between shoulder blades for the treatment of intestinal parasites. 10-15-181 Call75.00 10-15-181 Convenia Injection Fee35.00 10-15-1813 Convenia per lb21.45 10-15-181 Depo-Medrol 20mg/ml38.08    20.08    18.00 **  Sweetie  1 Feline BRAVECTO Pur 13.8-27#*55.60 Apply entire contents of tube between shoulder blades every 12 weeks for the prevention of fleas and ticks. 10-15-181 Profender- topical feline deworm 11*24.00 Part hair and apply 1 tube directly onto skin between shoulder blades for the treatment of intestinal parasites. 10-15-181 Convenia Injection Fee35.00 10-15-1813 Convenia per lb21.45 10-15-181 Depo-Medrol 20mg/ml38.08    20.08    18.00 ** T total charges, this invoice... 383.10 ** Total discount included:  40.16 Tax...*16.72 Total, this invoice...399.82 Your old balance... 0.00 Total payment(s) received...399.82 10-15-18 Mastercard payment   399.82       Your new balance... 0.00  These are the results: Sweetie had her skin cleared within a week. She also caught diarrhea, something I honestly don’t remember her ever having but after TWO MONTHS, it {seems} to  have returned to normal bowel habits. Como has had no positive change in his diarrhea and he’s developed a much more severe case, of creating large masses in each litter box, on a daily basis. I don’t know the name for it, nor am I certain it’s only Como causing this. That is why I enclosed the word seems, for Sweetie, because I’m not certain she’s not also contributing to this mess. When a cat urinates, the litter turns dark, and usually dries out in time. This mess, is damp all the way through, has a very powerful adhesion to the plastics of the boxes that trying to unstick it with the litter scoop leaves me afraid it’ll break trying to force it to unstick the mess. I now use a straight edge device painters use to prevent fresh paint from going on what you don’t want it to. The device unsticks the mass from the walls, but I usually have to push down very hard to get all the way down. The masses are usually 4 to 6 inches wide, made 2 or more thick, and heavy. It also uses the hell out of the fresh litter in the boxes. I always bought 2 - 20 lb. containers of Tidy Cat, each month, and always had enough. Now that the mess has started, I have a hard time even buying 4 - 20 lb. containers to make the month. As I said, they both still have appetites, but now Sweetie seems less energetic and sleeps more. She still wants to be petted and brushed, but her energy is not quite what it was. Como..., must be absolutely miserable, since he started with this mess he creates. He goes through 2 or 3 periods a day, where he goes where the litter boxes are, returns quickly and almost as quickly, returns to the litter. In 45 minutes to an hour, he’ll make perhaps 20 round trips to the litter and back. And usually, nothing comes out. It maybe he has an urge to use it, but nothing comes out. I feel so helpless for him doing that, for him looking like a YOYO, back and forth. I use a large outdoor trash can, inside and have a very thick outdoor garbage bag in it, to contain the litter. Since that type of mess is being produced, I noticed the inside of the litter bag is soaked with moisture like I had hosed it with water, and the tools I use to clean up the litter, are so dirty, it’s a mess. Couple weeks back, a lady in his office called to schedule more of the same treatment, but I told her no. I described to her what was happening, she said THEY HAD NEVER ENCOUNTERED THAT BEFORE, said she’d have the vet call me, but I knew that was CRAP. This vet DOES NOT RETURN CALLS. So I then research the products, found  CONVENIA the most likely reason for this, contacted Zoetis, they said they never heard of that, they gave me a sit. # to ID my complaint, and asked me to call the VET, TELL HIM TO CALL ZOETIS. I then filed an info complaint with the FDA and they said ZOETIS also would submit a reply for this problem. I then was stuck, contacted the makers of BRAVECTO Pur 13.8-27#, they also denied any knowledge of this type situation and gave ref. numbers for both Como and Sweetie. I then faxed the vet, instead of calling, and told him off and that ZOETIS wanted him to call them. Will he? Damned if it makes a difference if he does. A vet is the one, who sells the products they make, so ZOETIS won’t slap his hand. What I’d want to know, is just what is happening to create this problem, and what may help to stop it. His diarrhea is second to the mess he’s creating, but I don’t know how to get him help. Can anyone advise me? God Bless. Paul Breaux

Cristiano Sabchuk
January 2, 2019

My five years old dog have diabetes melitus. it's hard to do eutanasia because his age, too young. We are passing in high summertime here where I live, lots of insects, flys, worms in their skin (myiasis),  wounds do not heal because the diabetes.

January 2, 2019

I think this is lousy advice. Insulin is easy to administer and is given twice a day,  12 hours apart. So you get up in the morning, feed the dog and give the insulin. 12 hours later you feed the dog and give the insulin. Or you refuse to take care of your dog and he/she gets renal failure, is sick with super high blood sugars, vomits, has diarrhea, has to drink gallons of water every day so has to go out to urinate every hour or so. A hell of a lot easier to treat the diabetic dog!'s not chemotherapy for cancer at a cost of thousands of dollars! Its $25 peer vial of NPH.

December 15, 2018

We adopted our cat because she was so frightened and mean to people no one could touch her. After some months with our family Jasmine became happy and let us love her most of the time. Now she has diabetes and I have been giving her insulin shots for a few weeks. I have been bitten several times in the process and now she hides all the time and poops on my clothes. I am worried that the treatment is, for her, worse than the disease. I haven't seen much improvement with the insulin anyway. At this point I think it's time to let her enjoy the rest of her life without fearing us. When it comes to quality of life, I think she would choose to be left with the illness rather than live in fear of people again.

Joel Pierson
December 12, 2018

I'm in the eighth year of treating my very loved cat for diabetes. Shots twice a day and all of this has cost me a little over $10,000 Was it worth it? I have to say no. If we love our pets, spend the money to feed them appropriately. He had an additional 8 years of life because of me but, he got the disease because of my ignorance.  Today I'm about to go to the vet because of some serious looking complications. I expect to return home with my cat's body. Tanque 2000-2018

Heather Cullen
November 6, 2018

My cat was diabetic April 2017 to April 2018, and went into remission. About a month ago, he fell out of remission. I am trying to get him back into remission, and if it doesn't work, I will figure out what is best for our lives. Meanwhile, he has always been very vocal. I want to teach him to be quieter (particularly before meal times), but I'm not sure how to do this since blood sugar is so affected by food. If I give him no-carb treats for being quiet, won't that still affect his blood sugar? How do I train a diabetic cat?

November 2, 2018

Wow!  I guess many of you would not treat your kids if they got diabetes!  The truth seems to be that many of you justify not treating/euthanizing your pet because of the inconvenience to you.  our family has had 11 dogs though out my life.  five of them developed diabetes.  All of them lived a full, healthy life on insulin.  We just adopted another dog with diabetes because it's owners were going to kill it.  If you are unwilling/unable to accept ALL of the responsibilities that come with getting a dog or cat, Don't.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
October 30, 2018

Timothy, I am very sorry you are in this position with your cat and with a veterinarian who is not hearing what you are saying. Every veterinarian cannot connect with every client, every day.  It might be that your veterinarian was having a bad day, it might be that they cannot see where you are coming from on any day.  Regardless, I think it is worth finding a veterinarian who can listen and hear what you are saying about you, your cat and treating the diabetes. You did not mention any specifics, but maybe some new eyes on the problem or problems can help you figure out what is best for you and your cat. Your quality of life counts just as much, if not more, than that of your cat!  Having owned two diabetic dogs, as well as cared for a friend's diabetic dog for 10 months, I know how trying and tiring it is.  There is no one right answer for everyone, as each of us has different lives, different stresses in our lives.

Timothy D Riley
October 28, 2018

You people who are so judgemental should contact me and you can take over then or SHUT UP

Timothy D Riley
October 28, 2018

I have this diabetic cat and its been about 9 months and its killing me. I asked my vet what if we didn't give her the insulin and he tried to make me feel like a monster and he snarled "Well then we should just put her to sleep right now' I'm at the end of my rope.

October 26, 2018

You shouldn't have a dog if you cannot give him the care he/she needs when he has an illness.  You don't just let him die because you cannot take care of him.  You are the kind of people who shouldn't have a pet.

September 21, 2018

I disagree with this. With treatment they will likely suffer less and possibly get better. Would you let your kid go without treatment and enjoy them till they die?

September 9, 2018

Thank you for this article. My 14 year old husky mix was diagnosed with Diabetes Melitis 5 days ago. He has had arthritis in his hips for 4 or 5 years now so I didn't know that anything else was wrong when he started having more trouble getting up. He has NEVER had trouble holding his bladder through the night until a few weeks ago. He started wining all night and wanted to go outside very couple hours. I knew something was wrong so I brought him to the vet and that was 5 days ago. At that point he could still get up and walk although it was limited and painful. We have it setup to start insulin in 2 days but I fear the pain and stress it will cause to bring him back in for that. Yesterday and today he hasn't even tried to get up. I don't know what to do. I don't know if treating him will just cause him more pain and stress for the last little bit he is here or if he may actually get better. so am trying yo learn more about his condition but it's all very confusing. How long can it take to change his conditon? If the insulin doesn't help quickly I'm afraid he doesn't have much time left. I dont knoq what to do. All of the stories here have been helpful but I am still so conflicted and confused .

Florida Mo
August 30, 2018

There are coupons online that can lower the cost for Novolin N.  You can use short needles with Novolin N.  The longer more painful needles are used for Vetsulin.  I inject the dog while he is eating.  The insulin retail cost was $150 at CVS and they accepted an online coupon and the cost was only $24.01. All you need is a RX from your vet.  The manufacturers put these coupons out to help people without insurance and this applies to dog owners too. This is our second dog on insulin.  We treat him like we would treat our kids.

Janet Miller
July 20, 2018

We just found out our dog has diabetes.  We bought some drops on line and Everytime I feed him I put the amount of drops per weight.  I cook veg and boil chicken.  Brown rice and sometimes throw in an egg.  He is doing great right now but if he gets worse then will have him put down. Two other of our dogs had diabetes and I will never ever give shots again.  These little guys don't deserve shots twice a day.

July 11, 2018

Thank you so much !!! I am struggling with this tonight.

Stacy Earegood
July 3, 2018

My 9 year old yellow lab, was diagnosed in February. I’ve been to multiple vets, discussing a way to go. She’s got high numbers a lot. Started out with Vetsulin now on an NPH cause the other was not working so well with her. They think she’s insulin resistant but half the time not telling me all the information. One vet that looked at her in December and waited until April after she became more resistant to tell me she’s got some dental issues that could be causing the problems. Another said that if we attempt to do the dental work with her numbers the way they are she might die. They don’t tell me about the signs I need to look for. She has had eyesight issues since she was a pup, they are getting worse. I can tell this because of her behavior. She gets glucose curves regularly. We are still trying to figure out how much is needed. Just recently changed dog food still going through the transition. My concern right now are her legs, lately they have been more wably when she attempts to stand. Yesterday they were twitchy a little bit. I don’t know what to do. The next option is a specialist. Any one else seeing these issues with their diabetic dog?

June 27, 2018

My dog has diabetic since 2 months I started with 2 insulin per day. Now I found Brown Rice, Pearl Barley, Millet, Quinoa boiled with Boneless chicken is helping my dog instead feeding the expensive meal. Now I give 1 insulin shot per day and see how it goes but I won't ignore and be blind I take her to vet every week for blood test.

Brandy Riley
June 20, 2018

Unfortunately, I lost my terrier to diabetes almost 3 years ago and now my Bichon has it. I will not make the same mistake of waiting too long this time.  My terrier went blind (he adjusted to that quick enough) but he also lost a dramatic amount of body weight.  Because he was still eating, wagging his tale and giving me love, I ignored all the signs in front of me and replaced reality with an unfounded hope.  Finally, when there was no longer an option, I had the vet come to my house  to put him down.  By this point, he veins had collapsed. I won't give you the details but it was, without a doubt, the worst experience of my life.  YOU know your dog better than anyone.  When it is time, sometimes letting them go is the most loving thing you can do for them. The time is NEVER going to feel right.  You will always having lingering doubts.  When you love your pet so much, saying goodbye will always feel wrong.  But because you love them, you can't let them suffer.  I'm sorry for everyone who has to go through this.  It sucks..

June 15, 2018

Please advise me here- I have a beloved dad hind female. She is 10 years old almost 11. She has had diabetes for two years. She is on 20 units insulin in the morning and 20 units insulin at night. That’s a massive 40 units a day!! She still pees enormous volumes indoors day and night. She is almost completely blinde too. She eats ravenously at every opportunity and seems cheerful but she is getting no better and the insulin is making no difference. It’s frustrating and heartbreaking and really exhausting. Any advice please?

June 14, 2018

I lost my beloved Iggy the cat 8 years ago to kidney cancer.  After discussing with my vet, we opted to keep him comfortable and forgo chemo.  The chemo could have given him more time on this earth, but he was a very difficult cat to treat.  He had to be sedated every vet visit.  I specifically asked my vet what she would do if he was her cat and she honestly said she would not put him through it.  He might live longer, but he'd be miserable with the numerous vet visits, subcutaneous fluids, etc...  As hard as it was to see him go, I never doubted I made the right decision for him. In contrast, I was able to give his brother sub-q fluids for the last nine months of his life and he remained a happy kitty up until his last day. My current cat was just diagnosed with diabetes this week.  I'm not panicking yet (well, maybe a little panic).He's been on long term steroids for asthma so we're going to see what happens to his BG as we gradually lighten his dosage.  I'm also changing his food.  If I do end up having to give him insulin and monitor his blood sugar, I'm willing to try.  But he's also a cat who will not tolerate handling.  If I think that his quality of life is suffering, I would consider not treating him.  Bottom line, it's about what's best for the individual pet..

May 30, 2018

This article and other comments have put my mind at peace.  We have a 6 year old Rottie who is 150lbs (not fat...mostly muscle).  He was diagnosed with diabetes about 1 month ago.  At first he was taking his shots like a champ, however now he will not let anyone get near him with the needle.  Doesn't matter if we give him treats, pet him, distract him....nothing works.  He has since started nipping at people who touch him because he thinks they are going to give him a shot.  This included my 4 year old neice.  Diabetes has unfortunately changed him and his loving, laid back personality into a dog who is agitated, irritable and just looks miserable.  He truly was a gentle giant until we started his treatment for diabetes.  We have chosen to euthanize him this weekend as his quality of life is suffering and we cant have an animal of his size nipping at people....especially young kids.  Not to add, he will not allow us to treat him and an animal his size is very difficult to hold still....especially when Im alone.   Not all animals are like the other and not all respond to treatment like the next.  It has been an agonizing decision for our family, but we know it is best for him and our family.  It has been an amazing 6 years with you my friend.  I know we have given you an amazing 6 years too.  Until we meet again!!

Nancy Farley
May 21, 2018

My dog Sadie (half Chihuahua - half mutt) was diagnosed with diabetes two months ago. She is nine years old. I am able to afford her care and now she is taking one shot a day.  She reacts so violently when it is time for a shot.  It takes my husband or daughter holding her head to keep her from biting me. She fights it and sometimes the needle comes out before all the insulin goes in.  We have tried a muzzle, but that just seems to make her worse. I'm at my wits end.  I love this little dog so much but the resentment is building.  Any suggestions?

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
April 19, 2018

Dear Abby, Kudos to you for making it work for you and your dog.  I am glad you are in a place physically, emotionally, and financially to be able to provide the care for your dog.  Everyone wishes they could have the same, but we do not all have the same luxury. While rehoming your pet is one way to approach the difficulties that a chronic, lifelong illness imposes, for most people and pets it's unacceptable. Being rehomed is stressful for pets - particularly cats and unregulated diabetics - and stress from abandonment negatively impacts blood sugar levels.  The number of homes available to take on a pet with a chronic illness is way smaller than the number of chronically ill pets. Any person who habitually tries to change another’s mind by using guilt will fail; guilt does not change people's minds.  Might I suggest that we all stand back and look at one another’s decisions from their point of view.  In other words, walk a mile in each other’s moccasins before making judgements, realizing that we might never agree, but we can learn to understand each other, to recognize that we are all different. I wish you continued good luck with your dog.

April 18, 2018

OMG please...if you cannot give your dog care find it another home ! Diabetes can be managed and the dog can live a full life if managed. Supplies can be bought online cheaper then  from the vet. There are people who foster and adopt diabetic animals. I have heard a few ladies on a support group say they only adopt diabetic dogs etc.. and have more than one they care for. I cannot imagine putting a pet down when their illness can be managed. I am so glad I love my dog and value him more than that. I wouldn't have got a dog if I wasn't willing to do everything I could for them.Please people if your social life is that important don't get a pet as they do get sick eventually you know ?? Everytime a pet gets sick you  would euthanize them because it might interfere with your life ? What if it was your child that was sick ? A pet is a family member ! I am low income and manage best I can and make sacrifices for my dog out of love.  I am doing it on $780 a month to live on per month. I get my supplies online and do most things myself. I join support groups to get help and direction on what to do in situations. Unless my dog is terminally ill and suffering I am doing all I can to keep him happy and alive ! I refuse to let him down ! I made a commitment when i got him and I will fulfil it ! I feel sad for your dogs and cats that they ended up with you people ! Seriously you don't even try to find them another home ! if you cannot even afford a few supplies and your time don't get a pet !!! Judgemental my rear...truthful more like it. You are upset with me out of guilt alone ! I hit the guilt button. .

February 20, 2018

I just had to put my diabetic cat to sleep. This article is making me feel less bad about my decision. He was diagnosed at 3 years old and we never had a remission period. We tried for years to manage his condition...2 shots a day, expensive food and glucose curves. Vet gave me a hard time for not being able to home test his blood sugar but he was a black cat and I couldn't see the spot to poke him in his ear. He took to shots well but if we wanted to take a vacation we only had one family member we could ask to watch him since he was shy of strangers. We tried our best but we couldn't manage it anymore after 8 years. I wish the vet would have been more honest about the expenses and time requirements and wouldn't have been so hard on us despite our efforts to manage his condition. If I was running low on syringes or insulin and asked for a refill to buy us time between expensive glucose curves they would only give us a week or so...never took our finances into consideration

February 9, 2018

I have just read the article and found it interesting as my staffie cross was diagnosed with diabetes almost a month ago. Firstly I thought she had a eye infection and had been at the vets and got some ointment, at the same time she just seemed fairly  quiet not her usual self. This was over the Christmas time and I kept my eye on her and noticed that she had started to drink large amounts of water she was still always ready for her walks and after Christmas I was preparing to go back to the vets. In the new year she had a peeing accident in the house that was completely out of character and I knew things were not right when the weekend came she pee wee d in the house overnight so I got a urine sample and took her to the vets. That morning she had a urine sample done a blood test and something else and the vet confirmed she had a lot of sugar in the urine and she was diabetic. It was a lot to take in and to be honest I went to the vet looking for help not to leave my animal untreated so I was told she could be put on insulin twice a day and go back to the vets for blood tests. I did not think twice about the treatment as I knew I had enough money for the vet that day and so went ahead with treatment basically because I love the silly dog and the thought of her being at the end of her life had not even entered my head. She is only 8 years old which is not too old quite honestly  So I began the insulin shots which were easy to do (perhaps because I have worked in the hospital and have had experience working around syringes) so that did not bother me too much. It is a commitment as the shots are twice a day morning and evening for seven days a week as the evening one is at 8p.m. after feeding I generally cannot be bothered going out again after that. On the plus side the insulin seems to be working well with my dog and she has regained her energy and no wet floors which were quite difficult to deal with as it was not a little pee it was a large substantial amount which after too long would have caused too much of a smell. My dog had a larger blood test a few days ago the vet said things are okay they could be slightly better but just keep the treatment up. I got a prescription from the vet to order my own insulin as it worked out much cheaper that way as the prices at the vets were more than I can afford so that is manageable. Sadly I never had the dog spayed and the vet is suggesting to do it quite soon which is more money I can possibly do it in a few weeks as I now have my daughters birthday coming up and the two grand-childrens birthdays in one month both the same week. I have not asked the vet how long my pet may have in this life maybe I need to do that and yet because she seems so well at the moment I do not want to think about her death. After reading many of the comments I think everyone is so brave with their pets after all we can only look after them as they give so much back to our lives.

February 3, 2018

The funny thing is I have the opposite problem. I have frequently run into Vets who refuse to listen and I have to fight to get proper treatments. I had a kitten with a upper respiratory infects. Like normal, they started her on Clavamox but that had no effect. I went back to vet after two weeks, told them it had no effect and and guess what, they put her on Clavamox.(Switched Vets, after trying couple more treatments, the vet did a nasal flush as decided she just as some kind of structural problem.) I have two dogs now, both proper weight, both walked and hour each day. Both fed Natures Recipe. The Vet I am at now, I took one dog (age 8) in with a growth that was growing bigger near her eye and two irregular dark growths that had appeared rather suddenly on her belly. The vet tried to write the bellys one off as "dirty skin tags." My dogs live in an apartment which, because of the cat, I keep pretty clean. I had to fight to have them all removed and biopsied. I went this morning with my eldest dog, 12. She has had several lipomas for a few years. More keep appearing. And she has what looks like a swelling on the inside of her leg/groin area. I bring her once a year for bloodwork and have them aspirated. I had her x-rayed once to make sure nothing was growing inside. The vet I got this morning refused to aspirate them, told me "Vets only catch cancer when it's too late anyway" (Gee, maybe because you refuse to investigate and treat when it's early enough to save them) and I should consider myself lucky because 12 is really old for a 55 lbs mixed breed who is showing no signs of any age-related degeneration beyond these lipomas. These are the fourth and fifth dogs I have owned as an adult. I lost two to cancer that blindsided me, so yes. I fully admit I am paranoid. I acknowledge that. And I have also fostered several dogs. This is not my first rodeo. Yet I am condescended to and have to fight to get them proper care because apparently I am just a stupid owner and why should they listen to me?

January 26, 2018

Wow! Thank you for this article. Yesterday my eleven-year-old Siamese was euthanized due to multiple organ failure, brought on my ketoacidosis. In October 2017, I realized the water bowl was nearly empty every evening. I assumed it was the two year old bulldog, and I just kept refilling it and even put another bowl in my bedroom. After a short while, I realized it was Fidget, the cat, drinking all the water. Then, I found huge spots of urine in the basement—unmistakable smell of cat urine. I took him to the vet, and he was diagnosed with diabetes. I was overwhelmed by the required testing the vet said he would need, the repeating weekly trips to the vet, and then the home treatment plan. It wasn’t so much the shots that scared me as much as the glucose testing she said I would have to do twice per day. “How can I stab my kitty two time a day? He won’t understand why I’m hurting him.” I decided that I was going to just try the prescription food rather than put us both through testing and injections. Well, the change was practically immediate. Once I switched him from dry cat food to the prescription wet stuff, he lost a healthy amount of weight (He was a little chunky.) and was so happy to get wet food. That stuff is very expensive, but I researched and learned many brands, such as Friskies and 9-Lives have more protein and fewer carbs than the expensive brands. Do a search and you will find those. You have to be careful about which type and flavor. They are NOT all the same. I even found some 100% salmon treats that he loved. Then the holiday season kicked off with Thanksgiving through Christmas, and he was doing just fine—except that he continued to lose weight. He was energetic, playful and no more incessant thirst. I visited my mother for a week in early January, and my sister watched him and said he was doing great. I came home on January 16, and it seemed like he was better than ever. On Monday, January 22, I noticed that he didn’t eat his morning salmon treats and then didn’t finish his dinner—a first. On Tuesday, he didn’t touch his food. By Wednesday morning, he still wouldn’t eat and I realized he had had no water at all. I brought him to the vet. He was extremely dehydrated so they gave him fluids, anti-nausea, and an appetite stimulant. I took him home and no change, except all he wanted to do was sit by  his water bowl and spent the next 15 hours going from one water bowl the other. Fifteen hours of that. I tried everything to get him to drink, and after I put in ice cubes and touched the water to his mouth he took a few sips. Thursday morning, he was walking, but when I picked him up, he was just limp. We were at the vet’s by 8:15 am, and after blood and urine tests, not only was his glucose over 600 but blood work showed multiple organ distress. The vet said that it was possible to save him but a long shot (my words). The cost would have been upwards of $700, but I had never seen an animal so sick as Fidget was. His mouth had even fallen open, I assume to help him breathe. Even if he came back from that, what quality of life would he have had after all that? Plus, they found an extremely elevated white count and very low body temp. Ugh! I made the ultimate decision and sobbed through the paperwork and payment parts. His circulation was so bad, they had use an IV and it took quite a while to affect his heart. This all happened two months after his diagnosis. Just two months. Now, who knows how long diabetes had been ravaging his body before that. Cats are so stoic! Maybe if it hadn’t been right in the middle of the holiday craziness, I would have noticed more subtle signs. For example, he did start sitting next to the water bowl much of the time about two weeks ago. I thought it was odd but have since learned it’s an indicator of either kidney failure or diabetic crisis. How could we know that?! Also, although he was hanging out with the dog and me, he stopped wanting to wrestle with the dog and would cower whenever the dog approached him. I just figured he wasn’t in the mood or something since he was acting ok otherwise. HERE’S THE POINT I WANT TO SHARE: In two short months after diagnosis, my cat went from chubby to svelte to skeletal, yet he seemed pretty normal otherwise. The devastating diabetic crisis came so fast.  Ironically, my sister and I had just come up with a plan for her to help me with his blood testing and insulin, but it was too late. If you make the decision not to treat with insulin, or you are struggling to decide, just know that cats instinctively will do everything to hide their sickness until you’ll pretty much have to choice but euthanize or spend hundreds of dollars with likely the same result. I’ll forever question how I handled things for my sweet, kooky Fidget and never dreamed he would get so sick so fast. The truth is, we always wonder if we make the right decisions for our beloved pets. Ignore the haters. If you love your animals, it’s always the right decision for that moment in time or season of your life.

January 22, 2018

My dog Mischa, I have had since she was 8 weeks old, she is going to turn 9 in three days. She had been increasing her water intake and peeing non-stop, I would take her outside, she would pee twice, I would come back inside the house disappear into the bedroom for 15 minutes and come back out to find she peed in the livingroom, it was very uncharacteristic. I went to the vet and they did a number of tests. I thought it was just a UTI or a kidney infection. They said they would call be back the next day with the results. They called. The vet said it was a severe case of diabetes that had been around for quite a while. It was already affecting different parts of her body, and if I wanted her well I needed to bring her in now and hospitalize her for the next 3-4 days while they worked to stabilize her. How could this happen? We had been doing yearly checkups and no one had said anything. I felt awful, how could I have done this to my baby? Aside from the water intake and peeing, there were no other signs, she was still herself, still so happy and excited to see me when I came home from work. How could this happen? When the vet began to explain the various treatments Mischa would need, my heart dropped to my gut. When they spoke of how many days she would be in the hospital, my throat closed, and I had to force myself how much it would cost. It would have been a minimum of two thousand dollars. A minimum, she reiterated. It didn't end there, we started talking about the blood tests and the injections for the insulin Mischa would need several times a day. I asked her how I would get that and how much that would be. She said it would be expensive with the dose my dog would need. I felt my throat close up at that point knowing there was no way I was going to be able to save my baby. It's true, there really is no telling if your baby is in pain or how long they have to live, but the more the vet explained the treatments, the more I wondered how Mischa would handle the needles and the blood tests on a daily basis. I scoffed, wondering if this was my attempt at justifying myself. It didn't matter I still feel awful. No, not everyone has the financially opportunities to save their loved ones. That doesn't make us awful owners or bad people. The vet said we could keep her at home and to just love on her and that's what I intend to do. Right now, considering the fact that the doctor wants her hospitalized, Mischa is still eating normally, and other than the intake of water and increase in pee, is acting like herself. I will love on her until she begins exhibiting symptoms that will tell me it is her time.

Timothy Riley
January 17, 2018

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM You say it's ok to put an animal down but if you read through here you can see that some people are VERY JUDGEMENTAL!!! And my vet gets mad when I evend bring up the question of cost or the NO LIFE that results in 24/7 Cat treatment. I love my girl but she already gets Turbuteral twice a day for asthma and already resents me for it. Until Vets start charging rates that an ordinary person can afford I'm done with Pet ownership. This is why millions of animals are put down every year. You have to be very well off to afford vet bills nowadays.[Editor's note: This comment was edited to remove abusive language in compliance with the VetzInsight comments policy]

Timothy Riley
January 17, 2018

You should all stop with the "Giving insulin shots are no big deal" first of all its the NEVER ABLE TO GO ANYWHERE OR DO ANYTHING that's the problem. And of course its the blood tests that you ALSO HAVE TO do twice a day or its a waste of time. Most cats won't sallow this and after about a week their ears are destroyed. Do this for 5 years?[Editor's Note: This comment was edited to remove inappropriate language]

Timothy Riley
January 17, 2018

Any vet who won't put a cat down atr the owners request for diabetes should treat the pet for free or lose their licence

Timothy Riley
January 17, 2018

Its not the insulin shots but the home blood tests that are nearly impossible to live with and without the miserable tests twice a day you may as well do nothing.

Kyra Russell
January 6, 2018

I have a 5 yo Min pin who was diagnosed with diabetes last year. It is a very strange case because she cannot get insulin twice daily or she will crash.  So when she her BGC they recommended me giving her 1 unit once a day after a meal. I had been doing that but noticed she started to crash again. I cannot afford to take her to the vet and do the curves or regular check ups so I feed her good food and give her plenty of water. I decreased her dose down to a 1/2 unit but still seeing that she tends to have more symptoms. She seems to get overheated at night after getting her dose. And that is only once daily at 1/2 unit. So I had been contemplating on just stopping. I will let her live out her days with love and continue caring for her as I always have prior to her diagnosis. This article is helpful in making this decision. I love my lil Mocha and I make sure she is fed has plenty of water and does exercise. I will keep on loving her and enjoy the days we do have. Could be years or months. But whatever the case may be I will keep on loving her.

January 4, 2018

Dr. Teri, I really appreciate your taking the time to reply to the comments posted here. I seem to be redundant in saying this page is God sent! I rescued my little Zhuhai, nearly frozen solid, when I was driving home from the airport upon  returning from Zhuhai , China. I wrapped her in an electric blanket and fed her chicken broth,etc from a syringe , until she was able to stand and eat on her own. She's a a little white terrier , now about 14-16 years old. Diagnosed with Diabetes in November. I feel so bad for her, she's always starving, I'm going through what many of the commenters are. Frequent Vet visits, trying to adjust levels. She has lost 3 lbs, so skinny now. She basically sleeps all of the time, unless she is eating.  I don't mind the cost, or the scheduled injections because i do have a pet sitter that comes , if needed . But I don't want to continue putting her through all of the testing, anymore. We have had a wonderful life together and I know it won't be easy to let her go. I, like many of the wonderful people who have commented, I just don't want her to continue to decline. She's such a good girl, never complains, very compliant, so she hid how sick she really was , back in November. I felt horrible when I got the Vet report, UTI, Diabetes, etc. I have been spending extra time with her, combing her, talking to her, letting her know that it's ok if she wants to go, but I guess it's not going to be that simple, I will need to make the decision. She's just become so frail and skin and bones, aside from her belly. I came home today and she wasn't in the house, she had went out the doggie door to potty and I freaked out! I have fenced property, but I worry that she's so fragile she is going fall, or worse and that would be unbearable. Especially with the cold temps. That event pretty much pushed me to go ahead and move forward , without much delay. Thank you for being so kind and generous with your time.

January 4, 2018

AND cats with diabetes don't need expensive special vet food!...just low carb - Friskies pate  (not gravy!)

January 4, 2018

Daily insulin shots take literally seconds to do. My cat doesn't even notice he is getting one. Much easier than watching an animal get sick IMO. The day to day life with diabetes if fine if managed.

January 2, 2018

After reading several of the comments, I feel better about the decision not to treat the dog who had to be left in our care by our son several years ago. We now consider him our pet. We asked our son what to do about the little guy, but he does not want to add to our burden by having us give daily insulin shots, etc. The dog only recently displayed the symptoms, but who is also nearing the end of his natural lifespan.  We have decided to just feed him good food for as long as he is able to eat, and when it seems that he is failing, it will be me who takes him to the vet for his final visit. The guys just can't go down that road again.  This little guy will be our last pet, I think.

December 27, 2017

I agree that giving insulin twice a day is not for everyone and we all do what we can for our furbabies. There are many factors that go into the health decisions we make but please don't think an insulin-dependent dog will automatically suffer. My minipoo gets two insulin shots a day. He still jumps around every morning and afternoon wanting his walk, his energy level is normal. I just want people to know their dog will not suffer just because they are insulin dependent. But, I make no judgments about anyone else's decisions.

November 24, 2017

What a wonderful article and so well written.  I have a decision to make and all these questions listed entered my mind.  Though I can financial and time wise provide treatment for my pet - the emotional endurance is a high factor as I have been through hell the last 30 years of my life - and just now things are just beginning to settle down.  Im at a place where i feel like "I just cant go through anymore".  Thank you for allowing my emotional state to be a factor in my decision not to treat. My pet wont be in any pain - he'll just pee a lot - but I'm home all day and he's got access to an open door constantly.  Thank you!

November 22, 2017

I am so grateful for this article.  My 6 year old Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix was just diagnosed with Diabetes & possible Cushings.  This is after she has been on meds for allergies & other ailments.  My vet only kept pushing the needed treatment not the "What if I don't do Anything" I was trying to say.  I haven't however been able to find anything on what to expect.  What signs do I keep an eye on to know when it is time and avoid suffering.  What the life expectancy after diagnosis without any treatment?

November 13, 2017

Dianne don't do that I gave my cat insulin for 1 month he is now in remission 3 years later still no insulin find someone who follows the tight regulation protocol. [Editor's note: A Facebook group recommendation was redacted from this comment to comply with VetzInsight policies.]

October 12, 2017

I've just left my much loved cat at the vet this morning for a check and blood work.  He is showing the classic symptoms of diabetes. He showed up at my door 7 years ago when he followed my other cat home.  He was in rough shape and bore the scars of some kind of trauma. He was desperately fearful of all men, even a male voice on the radio or tv. He was snuggly and loving with me at all times and slept on the pillow every night until a couple of weeks ago. He became a completely different cat - meek, timid, scared of everything and isolated himself to a corner of the back deck, never wanting to come inside.  I have been through treating a diabetic cat before. 2 years ago I lost another beloved cat to diabetic seizure. He had been on twice daily insulin with a modified diet that he hated. As he lost muscle mass, it became harder to find a spot to give him the injection and he would cry because the insulin was cold. He was no longer able to physically do any of his normal cat activities. I believe he became depressed.  I have decided that if my cat has diabetes I would rather put him to sleep than treat him with insulin and watch him live a life so different than he was living. I want to do what is best for him, not what is best for me. I love my cat and will not allow him to suffer.

October 4, 2017

Thank you so much for this article. We just adopted a 10 month old kitten a couple of weeks ago, and I have begun to detect a strange smell coming from the litter box that I can only describe as acetone-like. My heart is filled with dread at the likelihood that this new kitty has diabetes. She is sweet-natured but extremely wild and doesn't like to be handled under the best of circumstances. It took both me and my 220-lb. husband to subdue her enough to swaddle her in towels  just to give her dewormer when we brought her home. Nail clipping involves a muzzle and a straitjacket-like grooming bag thing. We've had five cats over the past 27 years and never needed to resort to these tactics, and now this. The thought that she might require shots for the rest of her life (which has barely begun) is enough to drive us both to despair. We just euthanized our beloved 15 year old cat a few months ago, and we suffered along with her and her inflammatory bowel disease for over a decade until she was clearly not enjoying life anymore. We have a 13 year old cat who went through radioiodine therapy for hyperthyroidism earlier in the year. In other words--we are not people who would neglect an animal or euthanize one for our convenience,  but I don't know if we're prepared to take on this burden of both work and expense so early in this cat's life. We both work outside the home, and with a child in college, we don't have the kind of disposable income that can deal with a third pet with health problems. We thought that we were adopting a cat with a clean bill of health and a number of years ahead of us before dealing with chronic issues, and we just feel absolutely overwhelmed by this. Anyway, this article gives us something to help us ground our conversation about what to do for this cat, and I thank you for it.

Beck Tillett
September 28, 2017

mos was a question I have been afraid to ask.  Our 13 year old orange tabby was diagnosed with diabetes 9 months ago.  Never have we had a consistent normal curve.  WE no longer take him to the vet weekly or biweekly. We have done 5 24 hour curves and it is very difficult...he is either too high or too low.  It is heartbreaking that he hasn't had a better outcome.  Last curve his numbers were between 400 and 550.

September 17, 2017

Thank you everyone for your stories i am struggling so hard i adopted a sweet little blue nose pit her name is pebbles she was my daughters and she had gotten her into a rescue due to her medical conditions. At the time i feel in love with her it was thought if she got spayed her sugar levesl would drop to normal due to being in a false pregnancy. We do not know her back story the one we were told by the former own is not true at all. She was doing so good taking her shots 2xs a day then one night she just lost it and did not want it. Ive tried training. e collars soft muzzles etc Nothing works she will fight you left and right not to take that shot. She will move those eyes side to side if she thinks its time for a shot. At this point we are lucky to get one in once a day. She is a very happy lovable girl at this point her appetite is good and she does have accidents maybe once a week. I do watch her diet like a hawk her treats are veggies, or chicken. We have tried every method read, heard of, told to us. and still she HATES THEM. i sit and wonder is she trying to say.. Just love me and when it is my time i will go. I am so struggling i love her to pieces and want to help her , i want her to have a good life. She plays with her brother and sister, smiles when she does. But i just am so lost. Is there any tips anyone has to get her to accept her shot. I dread the day i see in those eyes. it's time for me to leave you you did your job and i will be watching over you.

September 13, 2017

Hello everyone. Just happen to come here this morning because my wife and i are fighting about how my dog has taken over my life because of diabetes. My dog has been a diabetic for almost a year and a half. he just didn't become a diabetic out of nowhere, he first had cancer of the third eye lid, I did bring my dog to another vet to have that surgery done, but my first vet took a tooth out thinking he had an infection, and put him on so much prednesone he became a diabetic. The routine is brutal, you have ne life at all, but what is better, not having the dog, or say I wasn't my life back. he is 10 now. and Blind to. just remember, when you get a pet, it is your job to keep him going. my dog gave me 9 good years, this is the least I can do for ho,  don't give up . keep trying.

September 8, 2017

Thank you for writing this. I needed to hear that. I have 6 labs and the older one might be getting the start of diabetes and I know we will not have the money to put her on insulin. there are to many other things going on in our life. you made my mind more at ease because I am afraid of what people might say. I need to do what is best for our family. thank you

Debbie Furnish
July 31, 2017

I had a Basenji that was diagnosis the diabetics in 2009. We treated him for several year until recently with wander off diabetes took his eye site. I found that Walmart/SAM you can purchase insulin 24.00 and syringe 12.50. they are the cheapest. Don't let the cost of this disease keep you from loving your pet. Yes, it is a commitment to give your pet the care they needed but it does not need to be a deathwatches. i loved my dog and would do it all over again for 5 more minutes to be with him. He was 14 years old.

Chandra Jackson
July 17, 2017

July 15,2017 we took I dog to the vet because she was loosing weight so fast in a they tested her and call us and told us she has diabetes and she was suffering..she had loss five pounds in a week cause we just had took her to get her shots two weeks before .but following that we notice a lot of weight loss she wouldn't eat ,bark she just drunk a lot of water urinate a lot.she stop eating so he call us and told us she was a biabetic real bad and that she was suffering and that we could of took her to the animal hospital for fluids and to get her glucose levels up but she would of had to stay in the hospital for a few days but there was no guarantee that she would of survive those two days cause she was so I'll and it would of cost us 2,000 to stay in the hospital for a few days but he told us the best thing for her was to have her put to sleep so we had her put to sleep cause she was suffering so bad but it hurt so much and all we been doing is crying but we know she is at peace now but wonder was we wrong for having her put to sleep but we didn't want her to keep suffering...she was only 9yrs.old.

Linda P
July 15, 2017

It is such a relief to read this article and all the comments!  I am very much an animal lover, currently have 5 rescue cats and a dog.  To me they are family.  In the past year and a half, 3 of my animals started having major medical issues.  I ended up having to put one of the cats to sleep in February.  Nearly broke my heart.  My dog was diagnosed with pancreatitis, cushing's, then diabetes this past year, one right after the other.  It has been a roller coaster ride of living at the vet, incredible bills, sleeping on the couch as he had to go out frequently during the night.  He is finally stabilized and doing well.  I now have another cat with heart issues, that they think now has diabetes.  This is after 2 pet e.r. visits, and 2 regular recent vet visits.  I literally want to cry.  It has so helped to read these comments.  Thank you!  TIP for Diabetic Dog: my dog hated the shots until I started giving him a cold green bean (low fat treats dogs seem to love) after each shot.  Now he comes in and waits for his shot, knowing he will get a treat!

Susann Basta
July 5, 2017

Found out today my cat has at very least diabetes. My son keeps him, as I stay with my elderly mother , who does not like cats in her house. Cant trust my son. I work some 12 hour shifts, I cant keep him here. I am 66 years old on fixed income. Putting him down is unthinkable. I am at a loss , really.What do I say to family and friends who say - put Stu down - you cannot take care of him.

Anne D
June 26, 2017

Walmart has the cheapest price for insulin.  Our dog needs 9 mm twice a day, the cost of the insulin and syringes are $30 a month. It would be kinder to put a pet down rather than to let him suffer a long death by diabetes.  Even with seriously ill and suffering pets, many vet will not do this.  We had to search for a vet to put down our ill cat.  However, we use that vet now for our two dogs and cat.  The relationship between a vet and a pet owner should be a partnership.

Sue M
June 21, 2017

I stumbled upon this article as I was searching for some sort of advice on what to do about my 11 year old  chocolate lab. As tears are streaming down my face I am faced with the difficult decision on what to do. He was diagnosed with diabetes back in Oct 2016. After many visits to the vet to get his blood sugar regulated and adjusted plus 2 er visits, I have spent well over 8000.00 dollars in the past 8 months. He has arthritis  especially bad on his rear legs , has had knee surgery 5 years ago which also contributed to him not being able to excercise as well as he has in the past. As of right now he can barley make it 3 houses down the road a  very slow pace without being in significant pain. He is on  insulin 18 units 2 times per day and 300 MG of gabapentin 2times a day. This weekend he could not walk well at all so I brought him back to DR and his motor skills are very slow which indicated to her that he is starting to have neurological issues maybe because of the arthritis or something else. I chose not to have MRI done as I will not treat him for cancer due to his age and condition. Vet suggested steroids to help with inflammation so she gave him an initial shot and then pills 2 times per day. It may affect his diabetes and will also increase his thirst and appetite. It has been two days but while it seemed like a miracle in terms of his ability to walks it has come as a cost, due to high volume of water intake he was up the entire night panting and having to go outside as well as had an accident in the house. I just dont know what to do. I have tried as much as I feel is right to do and I love him to death but it makes me so sad to see him in this condition. It is literally breaking my heart but I know that his quality of life is going drastically downhill and the medicine seems to help but then the side effects may not be worth it. Struggling with the decision!

Jessica Joseph
June 16, 2017

Yesterday, My 9 year old Siberian Husky was diagnosed with Diabetes. In addition to this most of her other blood work was off the charts! The vet is confident that she has at least Cushings and a thyroid problem on top of the diabetes but we need to regulate the diabetes before adding additional treatment. My husband and I are in the middle of trying to start a family and I am not sure that we are going to be capable of dealing with her condition. In addition to all her problems she has arthritis in her hips and last summer her right hip seized. Gracie was my Husbands dog before we were married, so the attachment to her is great for him. I have seen the downward slope this diagnosis will take as my childhood pet had diabetes that turned into him becoming blind, with a liver and heart condition. We have decided not to treat our dog, not just for financial reasons, but I do not want her to suffer! I am still not sure that this is the right decision. For now, we are going to try and keep her comfortable. Its hard to ask your self, are you keeping the dog alive for her or for you. In this case, I think it would only be for us.

June 15, 2017

I have a mixed breed dog, Cookie, that we rescued as a puppy.  She and her sister are wonderful pets.  Cookie is especially sweet and loving.  She was diagnosed with diabetes almost 3 years ago.  I think for the most part we.have handled the treatment well but our vet just did a blood test on her and wants me to go up on her shot amounts to 15 and 14 from 14/13. For the first time since the diagnosis I am truly wondering if continued treatment is the right thing to do.  The cost of her insulin is around $150 per vial and the syringes are $20 per box.  We are a middle class family with decent incomes but we have three kids to put through college eventually and all kinds of regular household expenses.  Also, I have not been caring for the other dog with updated shots, vet wellness visits, etc. because of the cost to treat Cookie.  This is very tough.  In addition to the fact that I care for her I also don't want my kids to think I give up on things when times are tough.   I just don't know what to do.

June 14, 2017

My 8 year old female cat was recently diagnosed with diabetes. I asked the vet to give me some time to think about what to do next. She is recommending insulin treatments and prescription cat food. I love my cat dearly she truly is a member of my little family. However as a single parent scraping by I am just not certain I can afford the expensive treatment plan. (About 250 a month). I'm not a "quitter" by nature but realistically I just can't afford it. I've had to remove carpet in various spots of my house because she goes wherever she wants now. I'm afraid the vet will refuse to put her down because of her age. I know I will feel guilty in the end but there really is no win win in this situation.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
June 7, 2017

Dana, My heart goes out to you.  It is hard to fight your dog to get medication in every day, twice a day, 7 days a week, with no time off for good behavior! There are times when our animals will not let us do everything we can to treat their illness and that is out of our control. I recently had to put one of my cats to sleep, he was very ill with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease).  I could not treat him. I had never been able to give that cat any medication, liquid or pills, and I am a professional at giving meds! It is how I made my living! I understand the feelings of guilt, I still get them about my cat.  Then, I sit back and remember that he would not let me medicate him, that it was not my lack of desire treat him that led us down that path.  And I know that letting him go, since he was so ill, was the right thing for both of us. I wish you luck.  Please take care of you as well as your dog!

June 6, 2017

My 16 year old Chihuahua/Jack Russel mix has chronic heart disease. She can not take tablets or have them shoved down her throat due to collapsing trachea. The vet has her heart meds compounded into a liquid. The cost is about $ I'm senior on SS. She has gotten to where she won't eat when I put the liquid in her food. She tries to bite me if I try to squirt it in her mouth. I struggle with this twice a day for about 45 minutes each time trying in vain to get her to eat. Other than this heart disease she is perky and healthy. I have come to the point where I am considering stopping treatment. I just don't want to fight this anymore but the guilt is overwhelming.

May 24, 2017

I just lost my 13 yr old min pin 2 days ago. She was blind and had lost so much weight from being diabetic. She hated the insulin shots. I tried everything from giving a treat to physically holding her down. Each time it got worse and worse. After 7 months of shots, I knew it was time to stop. She was tired, I was tired. So she was with me for a week. I made her as comfortable as I could. The last night I stayed up and watched her sleep. Checking her often to see if she was still there. On Sunday around noon, she was panting a little. Then without a sound she was gone. I will miss her but I'm happy she is in a better place now, and no more shots.

May 18, 2017

My dad's 13+ year old large black lab also has diabetes and is going blind. For those who say the insulin is inexpensive, that is relative to the dog's size. It's true, the insulin is $25 per bottle, but this dog is large and is taking 45 units a day. The insulin only lasts about 2-3 weeks. You also need to purchase syringes at $10 per 100 and, the vet wants to do blood tests every couple of months to make sure he is not getting too much insulin. All of this adds up quickly. The vet has to come to the house because the dog is too difficult to travel with. In the four months since the dog was diagnosed we've spent well over $600.  My dad is 86 years old and cannot give the dog the injections. I have to do it. So twice a day I go to my dad's house to inject his dog. The dog, which is very easy going, does not like it and tries to snap at me. I work two jobs and have a family too. This is a huge burden, I have to arrange my schedule around the injections. I feel this is only drawing out the inevitable. Think long and hard before you commit to insulin injections, it is a huge commitment.

May 13, 2017

I'm scheduled to take a 7- day trip n about 2 weeks and I'm really stressing out about leaving my blind, diabetic dog.  He has had diabetes for about 2 yrs and receives 2 shots a day.  Because of his blindness I want him to stay in his home and I have arranged for someone to visit the house twice a day to feed, play and inject him.  I'm worried he will not eat for her so she will be able to give him his shot.  He is very attached to me.  I know he will eat eventually but will be happy to see her and may not eat until she leaves.  What happens if he doesn't get his injection? Any suggestions?

May 9, 2017

I just found out 15 days ago that buddy had diabetes. After two weeks of insulin twice a day except two times that he tried to bite me he went back for follow up and his blood sugar was only higher. That same day he bit me giving him insulin. First time in 13 years he had ever done that. Later that evening .. time for insulin shots.. I got full frontal 'teethery'. I was looking at a entirely different animal then the one I knew for 13 years. Snarling at me with glaring eyes like he truly wanted to tear me apart... All because he didn't like getting a shot. That day was yesterday. The day I made the decision. I don't know how long we have... Days? maybe weeks?. Please don't be judgemental. I could easily say that crazy is rather the person that dresses fheirt pet up in humans clothes or carries them around in a purse and puts bonnets and booties in them... But to each their own. My dog will be euthanized and he lived 13 years so far. Every day was a blessing until he turned into chip over a tiny shot. Good luck everyone with whatever decision you make.. remember its YOUR decision. Your pet needs you to make it because they can't. Not every person is the same and not every pet is the same so don't cookie cut everyone into your mold. Not fair.

Pet Person
May 5, 2017

I love my animals and treat them well.  They have good homes, but they are not on the same level as my family members.  BUT I too feel the same anxiety, stress and guilt over appropriate treatment for my furry family members.  I have no great answer for all of you dealing with this (I am too), but I can tell you that one of my greatest regrets in my life is that I kept my sweet and loyal German Shepherd alive too long.  I couldn't see (didn't want to see) how old and feeble she had become.  When I look at pictures of her I'm alarmed at how old and miserable she looked.  I pray I will be smarter with my sweet heeler, but I'm afraid my attachment to her may dull my senses.  Now that I've written this, I think it's time to let her go.

April 29, 2017

Thank you for this article and for all the stories - it is a great comfort to read and share in these experiences. If you will allow me the catharsis of sharing my story, it would be a relief and may help me to regain some clarity... I live in Mexico and have 4 rescued dogs. 3 of them are approaching / already into their golden years. The baby of the pack, Noni, is just 4 years old. She found her way to my land as a pup (her Mama was a nervous wreck who wouldn't let me get close to her on the street other than to leave food at a distance while she barked after me even in her last days, and her Papa – now one of my other 3 - was the head of the street pack who I adopted months before her after he was hit by a car and left to die with horribly infected leg wounds as well as TVT picked up from Noni’s mother). Noni has always had nervous / anxiety issues, although she's always been a sweet and playful (if princessy) girl. We avoided the vet's suggestion of long term sedative-type medication when she used to eat her own arm raw and spent months wearing a satellite dish collar. Well around 5 months ago she started drinking lots of water and peeing all over the floor at night. We treated her for a urinary infection (which she had had in the past) to no avail and eventually tests showed she had diabetes, but our vet felt (and still seems to feel) that we found out in time for her to live a “normal” life on insulin. The last 13 weeks have been so intense as she has gone between too much and too little insulin, with her extreme reactions on both ends of the scale: severe separation anxiety / panting / trembling / crying / peeing / uncontrollable fear / not eating when the insulin is too high, and falling around / walking into things (she actually ran headlong into a tree once) / unable to stand unsupported, when it is too low. At this point it seems 12/13 units is too low a dose and 14 is too high. She grudgingly allows me to inject her every 12 hours, but I have to literally drag her out of her little cave under the kitchen units to do so, and only in a small area of her scruff because she shrieks with sensitivity anywhere else on her torso. She usually has to be persuaded to eat afterwards. I have tried taking her to a local trainer, with whom we have tried all sorts of things, but she seems to get less responsive every time (she is not interested in any of the positive rewards we try to offer), and is less and less interested in playing (perhaps because I tried to use it as reward for letting me inject her), which seemed to be her only remaining enjoyment. At this point I am exhausted. The other dogs just seem to ignore / accept her, but every day her anxiety seems to be getting worse. She is waking me up during the night clawing at the door (last night she even clawed the plaster off the wall) because she doesn’t want me to leave her, but when I’m with her she doesn’t calm down either. She now has to be dragged inside for me to be able to leave the house, and last night all I could do was to cage her (I sat up with her, covered her in lavender oil, tried rescue remedy, tried holding and soothing her, tried being strict and firm with her – nothing would snap her out of it). I feel like she feels that her body is not working properly and the inability to control herself freaks her out even more on a downward anxiety spiral. She is very sensitive. I am at the end of my tether and feeling like the quality of life is now seriously in question (both hers and mine), and the other dogs (while they generally ignore and accept her) are beginning to resent the extra attention / meal she grudgingly receives. Even if anyone else would be willing to inject her (which so far, no one has actually come to try, although a few friends – I have no family here-  have said they will be willing to have a go), I couldn’t ask anyone to deal with her anxiety attacks that I don’t even know how to deal with myself. I am starting to consider the prospect of euthanasia (even the word is hard to type). I am asking myself if she would survive in the wild without insulin, and suspecting she would go the same way her mother did (in hindsight perhaps she had diabetes too), and whether there is any chance of improvement in behaviour / humour, or if she’s too stubbornly anxious. I can’t continue down this road for much longer without seeing at least some sign of her appreciating life. But she is otherwise so young and healthy, I don’t know if I could live with the “what ifs” of putting her to sleep. But is it right that a pig or cow should have to give their lives for her to have their insulin when she doesn’t respond positively to it anyway?! (Have I understood correctly where insulin comes from?!) Is there any herbal alternative to try? A friend suggested that putting stevia in her water could help to heal her pancreas, but I struggle to understand the logic of the condition and fear to try things out as a result. How long do I keep on down this road? Is it the absurd human fear of death that is driving me crazy? I know ultimately I am the only one who can answer that question, but it is a great relief to be able to share with those of you who have similar experiences. I am also very aware, especially reading back over this, that Noni is reflecting back to me aspects of myself and my own behaviour (the victim / martyr role) which I still have to continue to work on in my self. I am fascinated by the symbolic significance of the diabetes (the desperate need for the sweetness of life but the inability to absorb / receive it), reflected so obviously in her personality (as well as my own, if I’m brutally honest with myself), and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my mother’s dog when I was growing up also had diabetes (seriously… what are the chances?!). I feel like I’m in a sort of purgatory of understanding but not being able to heal her.  But approaching the peak here. Something’s gotta give… Thank you for letting me share, and blessings to you all and your furry loves (on this side and the other) on your journeys.

April 26, 2017

When my maltipoo was diagnosed with diabetes, his blood sugar was over 600. Should he have stayed at the vet until it was better regulated or been sent home for us to begin insulin injections? This was the day before we were leaving for a vacation and I told the vet he would be with a boarder while we were gone.

April 8, 2017

Thank you so much for this article. My 4 year old Yorkie was just diagnosed with diabetes and I have been struggling emotionally to figure out what to do. If money were no object than I would definitely treat her with insulin. But, my husband and I are seniors on a limited income. We have our own health/medical issues to contend with. I love my little Yorkie so much and I hate to see her suffer.

April 6, 2017

My 17 year old dog was diagnosed with diabetes today. I am honestly wondering if we should just let him decline due to his age or try to chase down some more time with him trying to control his insulin. Nobody wants to let go of a beloved pet but am trying to be logical in our decision.

March 26, 2017

My Maltese was diagnosed  just over 2 1/2 years ago. She had full-blown diabetes by the time I got her to the vet. She has shots twice a day. She receives the human form of insulin. Which can be used for both dogs and cats it is not very expensive. $24 for a tube. Which last me about   Four months . I was very very worried about giving her shots in the beginning because I could not imagine having to put that needle into my sweet little fluff ball. But over time it became easier and easier and now right after she eats we sit on the floor and I give it to her and I give her a little teeny bit of shredded carrots. And she doesn't mind now.   She has developed cataracts in is almost blind, she has seizures fairly often. But I will continue to give her the insulin. She otherwise leads a very healthy happy life. But for the people who are struggling with whether or not to treat the dog. I would say please treat them. If they do not get the insulin I feel like they are struggling. Their body shakes it makes him feel very very bad and they walk around very sluggish and lethargic. I think it is a slow painful thing to have to live with. If you are financially unable or your time does not allow you which I cannot imagine because all you have  to do is give them a shot when you get up in the morning and give them a shot at dinner time or whatever time you set when you are at your house. That to me is fairly easy. But I would most certainly not allow the animal to live with diabetes the choice is either treat them or put them down. It is not fair to let them struggle through the disease which could take years! While I would never compare an animal to a human. I love my animals! And if that means that I have to give up a little time, to schedule shots which take two seconds. And if I have to give up a little outside activities, eating out, be able to afford it. Then for me that is exactly what I'm going to do!

March 24, 2017

Re: Kelley February 9, 2017 I am in the same boat, except that I resent the cat.  It was never "my cat".  Someone dumped him on me, and I've been out thousands in vet bills and insulin.  He's thirteen years old now.  I can't do it anymore.  We can't take vacations, (not that we can afford "real vacations" to begin with), we have to schedule every single thing around these injections, and this cat is a thug.  He eats the dog's food seconds after he's had his own food, drinks a ton of water, and pukes all over the house, and I spend so much time cleaning up his messes, (including the enormously increased output in the litter box and vomit in every corner of the home), that I feel too stressed out to do the sort of housecleaning I was once able to do on an everyday basis.  I am depressed.  I worry that putting him down means I am an a-hole.  But I'm so, so tired, and he's such a sonufabetch, I just can't stand him, and I wake up every single day wishing he were already dead. I know you don't feel the same about your cat as I do this one, but my point is that, love or not, there's only SO much we can be expected to do.  I don't even love this cat, and I'm out thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of sleep.  I understand.  I want to put this cat down, but I have a hard time finding a "good reason" to do that when he can still find ways to bust my butt everyday.  He's still kicking while destroying my will to EVER care for another cat like this again.   Resentment is heavy.   You don't sound resentful. It just sounds heavy for you, and I hope you can find the peace you need soon.  As the original article said, "It's okay not to treat as long as you don't allow your pet to suffer."  We shouldn't suffer too much either, you know?

Cindy S
March 16, 2017

I went online today to find out how long a dog, when diagnosed with diabetes, has to live.  I found this site and a lot of concern. Finding other people with the same concerns as myself, I concluded that the questions could be divided into three categories: 1) support for decisions regarding "living with it" vs. euthanasia; 2) issues directly related to diabetes (glaucoma, food, urine testing etc.) and 3) insulin injections (inc. cost, store-bought / vet bought, etc.)  I have a technique for #3...I have no "magic bullet" but I DO know that, even though diabetes is a serious disease for both humans and dogs, it is NOT a "big deal" to inject insulin.  If you think you will never be able to do it, find another ADULT human, wearing heavy gloves, to hold an orange.  With your syringe filled with water (preferably with the amount of ml the vet is suggesting for your dog, and then start to give the dog (the orange) the insulin (water).  At the same time, the person holding the orange can wiggle it, pull it away, whine/scream how your DOG would sound, do several at the same time, anything that WORRIES YOU that your dog may do.  This technique was taught to me about 40 years ago by a vet at a zoo...your dog is MUCH less intimidating than a lion! The vet also told me that your dogs vet is not infallible...he/she is part of a TEAM, with the dog being at the top of the list of team members.  Someone on this site said something to the effect that ALL family members are affected when your dog is diagnosed with diabetes.  Only you know how YOUR  diabetic dog will affect or BE affected with a new baby, or 3 kids and ball practice or long work hours. And the vets office especially needs to know all of the problems YOU and YOUR FAMILY will have.  I found that writing all of the issues, including the POSITIVE things, (i.e. a responsible teen at home who can inject insulin) not just the negative and going over these issues with your vet in person.  It is ALWAYS EASIER to have a hard copy in front of you and the vet AND having a copy of that put in your file at the vets office. an “IF” : please, PLEASE talk to your vet about the KIND OF INSULIN he/she is prescribing.  Our vet wanted us to use a certain kind; I went home and spent about an hour on the internet researching the different kinds of insulin and called her the next day.  Our discussion led us to human insulin “N”, purchased at WalMart, over the counter, for approximately $23.00.  (The price varies somewhat from store to store, but not by much.  I don't know if other stores do this but WalMart actually has your dogs name and type of insulin in the computer!  I felt privileged that my dog was in a nation-wide computer! (especially when traveling!)) an "IF" : if you must use a muzzle on your dog, remember that it's only a tool for YOU!  YOU are afraid of being bitten and the dog can not only feel that fear but now has the fear of the muzzle as well... an "IF" : A blind dog or dog with glaucoma canNOT tell if you changed one little thing in his living environment.  Our house has become very "straightened" out so our blind Reni doesn't run into anything (like a vacuum not put away, a chair not pushed back to the table, etc.) to TRACY March 9, 2017: I truly feel your pain as we are going through somewhat the same thing.  I have tried several herbs to help with the arthritic pain and it seems to be "easier" on the stomach (I can tell you what they are BUT a holistic vet would be a better choice.  If you canNOT find a holistic vet, call a holistic healer/chiropractor.  They can either suggest a holistic vet or suggest something to give your dog. (They have to be careful because they are not licensed as a vet but because a lot of herbals are not ruled by the FDA, they usually have some good suggestions.)  With regard to sluggishness: his body will be "getting used to" ANY changes in diet or insulin. It usually takes weeks for just ONE change to become "normal".  I would suggest that you "do one change" for 3 weeks and then try another thing.  I cannot stress enough that writing down everything is a must. It usually takes a lot longer to write down what you did than to give him his insulin injection! TRACY March 9, 2017: Just thought of another thing...we get info on herbs and roots, home remedies, etc., from the Amish that live in our community.  You may not have Amish but perhaps there is a family member or a neighbor that have those “home remedies”.  One of our Amish friends said to try CRANBERRY on Beka's urinary tract infection.  She balks at the sourness of it so we grind up a quarter of a pill or cut the “gummy” kind into quarters and put that piece in peanut butter...after about 3 days, no blood!  Just want to make the point that there is usually someone around that has an “idea” that may help!  I also use the internet to check on what herbs, roots, etc. are good or bad for dogs.  My vet does not believe in holistic veterinary care so whenever I find something that really works, I let her know!  I think she is coming around... Sorry if a rattled on and on but the whole issue of diabetes IS a confusing one!  There is never only one way of dealing with it.  The very, VERY best thing for you and your beloved dog is this: PATIENCE !  Do not become overwhelmed, nervous, angry, anything your dog can pick up from you!  RELAX!  Pet him, hold him close and just be WILL all work out!  And probably better because HE will be calmer!  Thanks for listening and I hoped I helped someone even a little bit...

March 9, 2017

My 12 yr old was recently diagnosed with diabetes. He also has arthritis, an enlarged heart and an enlarged liver. We are trying the insulin, he had his first glucose curve and his body is not responding to the insulin. He is up to 14 units 2x a day of insulin. I am struggling with what to do. He seems sluggish still. He is on 3 different pain meds for his arthritis. While I know what I should do for him, I struggle with it. His furry sister has never been alone. I'm afraid she would die from heartbreak. My 9 year old son and my husband are equally as devastated as I am. I just don't know what to do at this point.

March 8, 2017

I have a 10 year old cat with recent diagnosis of diabetes. Change in diet worked the first few months. But his sugar is up again and I am in no way able to pay for insulin. Vet trips to regulate him and trips for when he bottoms out. And trust me they do. I don't feel any guilt because I choose not to go into debt to spend in the end what could be thousands of dollars to treat an animal. I get really upset reading that people compare not treating an animal to not treating a child or parent who needs medical care. I take excellent care of my fur babies. But this one is way over my income.

February 16, 2017

Kelley - Have you thought about switching vets? $400 for your cats insulin is ridiculous! I pay about $165 for a 6mo supply. I know at times it is hard to make that switch to a new care provider but there may be a better vet for you and your fur baby. Maybe a food change as well. I am praying for you and your kitty that you can get through this and have many more happy years together.

February 13, 2017

Michele Murphy I am in the same boat. There are one to two times a week i can not give my dog insulin. She yelps every time and jerks away. My husband does most of the shots, and she is usually fine. When he is not here I have to do them and most of the time I can't. I don't get it because I have worked in dog rescue for 14 years and have gave many shots, but i can not give my dog her insulin shot. I don't get it and am super frustrated!

February 10, 2017

I get human insulin for my dog at Walmart- about $40.  He gets 7ml 2x a day. [Editor's note: Check with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's insulin.]

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
February 9, 2017

Kelley, My heart goes out to you.  Let me see if I can help in some way. "but I see it in his eyes when he's starving but he's had all the food he's allowed for the day. He cries all night long, wakes me up 20 times a night for food, pees on every rug, laundry basket and shower drain in the apartment"  You know your cat and what I read tells me you do not think he is happy or healthy.  I would  have to agree, a cat who is happy and healthy is not crying all night long, is not peeing all over your apartment. While your motives for wanting to rehome your cat are pure, it really would not be good for your cat.  No one is going to take care of him the way you have, no one has that connection that you have.  From your description, you have done your best to take care of him, so his problems cannot be blamed on your care. "asked if we can euthanize"Euthanasia is a huge step and a decision that no one can make for you, not even your veterinarian.  They can help walk you through the decision making process, to help decide when the time is right, but they cannot and should not make the decision for you, even if you ask them to. They should only support the decision you make.  So, in an effort to help you have that conversation with your veterinarian, here are the questions I ask my clients to answer when they are wrestling with this decision. 1.      Is your cat happy?  Does he have more good days than bad? Quality of life is paramount. 2.      Are you happy?  Are you still enjoying your cat more good days than bad, or are you resenting him?  Your quality of life is paramount as well. 3.      Can you afford to continue the care of your cat?  Feeding yourself and continuing to pay  your own bills does take precedence over treating your cat, just as you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others. From reading your comments, I would say that neither you nor your cat are happy, and having two maxed out credit cards is not good for anyone. It is time to have this difficult conversation with your vet, for the peace of both you and your cat, who knows how much you love him.  You have tried very hard to take care of your cat who has an ugly disease and knowing when to quit is difficult. Please let us know how things go.

February 9, 2017

I just cry as I read the comments here. My cat is 13 and has had diabetes for 5 years. It's the most difficult and expensive thing I've ever done. He's got some sort of major illness at least once a year that requires a few nights stay in the vet, thousands of dollars, and usually a new plan of action. I give him insulin twice a day, which is human insulin; a vile costs me around $400 every 6 months. He won't let me test his sugars at home so he's usually labeled "uncontrolled diabetes". Neuropathy, kidney and bladder infections, ketoacitosis, most of his teeth extracted, all of this has added up to nearly $10,000 in just 5 years. My vet keeps saying "He's just not that sick" but I see it in his eyes when he's starving but he's had all the food he's allowed for the day. He cries all night long, wakes me up 20 times a night for food, pees on every rug, laundry basket and shower drain in the apartment... and once I'm sure I've finally had enough he crawls in my lap and purrs and cuddles... and I just cry! The guilt is overwhelming! I've begged the vet for help, asked if we can euthanize, asked if he knew of someone that would take my cat to give him better care. I've posted on Facebook boards trying to rehome him.... nothing. I'm backed into a corner. He's almost out of insulin and I have no more money to spend on him. I have two credit cards maxed out JUST FOR THE CAT. I'm so upset and frustrated. diabetes is the worst thing that's happened to me and it actually happened to my pet. I don't know what to do.

February 8, 2017

Like others, this is the first article I have come across that offers compassion to the owners of a beloved pet. There is no pleasing everyone all the time, but this is such a personal decision. My heart goes out to the people who are going into debt for care of an animal, jeopardizing their family's financial stability. This only serves as evidence for how difficult it is to make these choices. I just want to do for you what I would want others to do for me as I struggle with these calls - I affirm you and the hard decisions you must make. It is our responsibility, but it is tough both to see your sweetie struggling, to deal with it, and to determine when you are ready to let them go. God bless.

Michele Murphy
February 5, 2017

Sorry to trouble you. I haven't been able to give our dog her insulin for two days as she cries when I try to inject her. I am heartbroken and don't know what to do. I have ordered her holistic diabetes drops, which should be here tomorrow. Besides diabetes she has Cushing's and a thyroid problem. We are fosters and have had her for two years. Right now she is not eating, is very listless and sleeping. I do not feel she is suffering. Thank you, Michele

February 4, 2017

My 15 yr old cat has eaten a raw food diet, with supplements, all her life.Recently she refuses her food.The only thing she will eat now is cooked chicken without anything added.I've tried "many" different foods,from baby food to canned,& back to raw. I leave it down for 10 mins then put it in the fridge. I've waited all day thinking she'll eat when she gets really hungry,but unless I give her cooked chicken she will not eat.She acts normal,except for her change in appetite. I'm concerned in giving her only cooked chicken.

February 4, 2017

I wouldn't Put my sick child "Down". Why should I do it to my sick dog? I really Love my animal companions like children.

Shelley Lomanto
January 24, 2017

Hi,everyone.  I'm wondering if anyone has any advice or suggestions with our situation.  My 7 year old, rat terrier mix, was diagnosed with diabetes 10 months ago.  In December she developed cataracts overnight.  We've seen a specialist and she is a candidate for surgery, however we need to get her glucose regulated first.  This is where we are having problems.  She is currently on 6.5 units, twice daily of Vetsulin.  Her diet consists of Hills WD mixed with boiled chicken and green beans.  I make her treats at home by dehydrating chicken strips.  She gets NO other food.  She has been very active but with the loss of her sight, she isn't as confident.  Her numbers continue to be in the upper 600's.  Our vet has told us that it isn't unusual for it to take some time getting pets regulated but with the need for surgery sooner rather than later, I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas that we may be missing.  Also, she is VERY neurotic.  Any attempts at a glucose curve, either at home or the clinic, is useless.  We are basing our information on fructosamine testing alone.  Thanks everyone.

January 12, 2017

It has been almost three years since the diagnosis of diabetes and the posting of my story... I was struggling to find the 'sign' when was time to let go. I know it now and I hope this helps others...the pain I feel seeing her struggle is more unbearable than seeing she just exists. She, my 'mommy kitty' of 18 years (mother of a litter of 4) and almost 20 year old now, deserves the right to be without pain, the compassion of a heart that loves her, and the dignity to rest in peace. I question I may have waited too long and I hope the guilt subsides. I can't sleep tonight since tomorrow I will make the call to put her in a better place than I can offer to her frail furry body now. My heart aches, but I know I'm doing what is compassionate and what 'I' would want. I'm not sure how to grieve as this is the first and only time for me. I hope my sadness is only narcissistic in my head but my intention is very much gallant in my heart. She warmed my life, taught me patience and allowed me to dig deep into the depths of an unselfish companionship I treasure. I know the days ahead will be most challenging. Love you my 'mommy kitty' will be soon be free to jump, play, not to feel hunger or thirst again. ILU.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
December 8, 2016

Dear Dog Lover, I am not going to comment on what the veterinarian who treated your dog did or did not do, as I was not there.  But, in the interest of clarifying some medical information from your post, I submit the following. Karo syrup rubbed in the mouth is an appropriate treatment for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), but the treatment should NOT stop there.  The pet needs to then go to the veterinarian to find out why the pet is becoming hypoglycemic, as there are a myriad of causes of hypoglycemia, including insulin overdose, Somogyi effect, not eating, absorption problems.  It takes a trained veterinarian with some lab work to work through what is going on.  They should not be hypoglycemic on a regular basis, or even frequently.  It should be a very rare event. The idea of a red tag stating that the dog or cat is a diabetic is an excellent idea.  It is certainly a VERY important piece of information to relay to the veterinarian when presenting a dog with seizures. Injections do need to move around the body, not stay in one place, so that scar tissue does not build up, preventing absorption issues. Here is some more information about treating diabetes from our veterinary partner site:  And an article about using glucose curves from another of our VetzInsight authors: Thanks for writing and sharing your story.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
December 8, 2016

Tom, Diabetes is NOT a simple disease.  You need to work very closely with your veterinarian to treat your dog and your veterinarian is the best person to answer your questions since they see your dog.  I could only speculate on the myriad of causes as to what is happening with his blood sugar. Here is some more information about diabetes from our veterinary partner site and another article we wrote on diabetes and glucose curves.

December 8, 2016

My parents were telling me they thought the dog had diabetes because he began to throw up and drink lots of water and pee a lot. I took him to a vet and he had two issues. 1. he had an infection in his intestine 2. his sugar level was at 402. The doctor seemed alarmed and basically told me my dog was diabetic and had to have insulin right this minute or he might die. So we gave him insulin and something for his infection. I changed his diet of dog food to food I made which was basically rice, chicken, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce and chicken broth. The doctor prescribed 6 units of insulin. I originally added carrots but took them out when his next blood test showed his sugar was now at 680. I am now giving him 16 units a day (two 8 unit shots, morning/evening) and his blood sugar level is still in the 600's.   My question is: Why did his sugar levels go from 400 to 600+ in a weeks time and is that normal? The sugar levels are basically the same at 6 units and 16 units with very little change. Why didn't his sugar level go down if he was at the bottom of the diabetic chart (400-600+) instead of becoming full blown diabetes?

Dog Lover
December 4, 2016

My rescued pet (miniature pinscher) also got diagnosed with diabetis like 3 years ago. She  had gotten so thin and she went completely blind. She was resilient I was determined to save her. I injected her every single day low dosage insulin twice a day. She improved! She gained all her weight back. The only thing is that sometimes she would go into diabetic seizure (hypoglycemia ) the solution? Corn syrup, you rub their mouth with it until they stabilize. My dog was resilient, I have never seen a dog move her tail/butt area so quickly , she was just so happy to be alive. Unfortunately, this past week, while most of the family was gone, she went into a diabetic seizure again, my family members who found her did not know what to do so they took her to a vet and the vet was really busy and he  must not have recognized that she needed glucose immediately, he only gave her diazepam to treat her seizures, or he waited too long to check her labs and to recognize that she needed glucose immediately.  She passed away from energy starvation in her cells because she was not given immediate glucose. This is so devastating to me, I could have saved her if I was home. I should have left her corn syrup outside on top of her dog house in case of an emergency. Please if your dog is diabetic buy him/her a RED DIABETIC tag so that the vet will know right away what is going on and treat him/her for hypoglycemia ASAP. I believe they treated her for her seizures only and she was never stabilized and she was in critical condition. This has happened at my house before and I was able to save her by rubbing Corn syrup in her mouth immediately upon noticing her acting confused and scared. Don't give them  SUGAR or  HONEY BECAUSE it's not enough sugar.  My dog did not have the ketadosis?  ketones diabetis she just had the one where I needed to inject her with insulin. I would never have chosen to euthanize her. I was able to manage her diabetes. I'm just too emotional to do that and I would not want anyone to give up on their loved one/pet due to a medical condition even if it is permanent. I am not criticizing anyone, it's your own choice to make, but my dog was full of life and vibrant.  Her death was senseless and I am furious, but I was able to control her weight with daily injections, you can't skip days because that means your dog didn't eat for that one day you forget to inject them.   Injecting her became routine, so much so that even now the first thing I think about what I get up is, Time for her injection, it was definitely NOT a burden and  I would inject her near her butt area to cause less pain. The first vet I had gone to told me to inject her near her neck but that area is so sensitive that she would not let me. It would hurt her to much. She lived for 3 years and would have lived so many more years had the vet given her immediate glucose to raise her low sugar levels.

Dana Barton
November 28, 2016

I posted a comment back in August about my 15 year old dog with Diabetes.  At the time, I didn't know when or how I would know when it was time to put her down.  She was diagnosed in September 2015 and lived another year+ with twice daily insulin injections.  She eventually became very thin and blind, but despite this seemed to be very determined to live.  Eventually, though, her hips became very week and made a horrible cracking sound when she walked and she could no longer make it up and down the steps to the backyard on her own.  I was worried that one of us would put our back out or fall while carrying her up and down the stairs as she still weighed over 40 pounds.  I feel incredibly guilty for choosing the day to have a vet visit to put her down.  Even though we devoted so much time and effort to taking care of her, I still feel that it was mostly that we could no longer provide care versus her letting us know that she was finished living her life.  This just makes me feel so sad.  My family felt she was past the point, however.  Anyway, on the day, we made a special bed for her and surrounded her with love and had a home visit from the vet.  My only reassurance that day came in the form of the vet telling us that since she did not register the injection of the sedative as "pain" - didn't even flinch - she speculated that she must have other pain that was much greater.  The vet agreed to give her a large dose of the sedative so we could feel relieved that she was definitely relaxed and pain free (her tongue fell out of the side of her mouth) before the injection to stop her heart was given.  We loved her so much! She was a brave and dedicated dog, the best dog.  I hope she knew how much we loved her as she took her final breath.

November 14, 2016

My 'baby' kitty of 19 yrs+ (not sure how old, she just showed up at my door about 16/17 years ago ) has diabetes as of 2 years ago  ... I have managed to care for her for two/three yrs with insulin, special food and timely feedings (every 6 hours)and love (lots of love really)I think?. I'm finding myself sad and disengaged? I'm so tired of the amount of care, $$$, time, and patience... I really love her but feel I'm done... the cleaning up (vomit or other) every day, the food, the insulin, the worrying about if she is suffering???  My marriage- we can't go anywhere and do anything anymore. I feel I have a responsibility as owner care/taker and loving her (I do LOVE her,very much)but my life seems to be not happy anymore. She is now blind, kinda deaf, just wants to be held for 24/7 and I can't give her that(we both work long hours)... but I can't put her down for 'inconvenience' it seems so wrong. I'm sad for her and not sure what to do...I'm struggling so much.

November 13, 2016

I can't imagine not treating my pet for diabetes. If your child, or your mother or your father, had diabetes, would you not want them to receive medical treatment and isn't your pet a family member as well? Taking in and caring for   a pet is a lifetime commitment - it is NOT something you do if and when it is convenient for you.

November 7, 2016

I am so grateful for the comments I am reading on this site.  We just had our dog euthanized last week, and I am devastated and feeling extreme guilt - cant stop going over and over the last visit to the vet in my head - and wishing I could go back and do things different!  Our dog was at least 12 years old - don't have exact age - we adopted him when he was 9 years old from a rescue group, and loved him very very much.  He has pancreatitis and arthritis, but was doing well.  about a month ago, he started the excessive drinking so we had him tested and he had diabetes. The twice a day insulin shots (19 units) seemed to be working and all was well until about 2 weeks ago he went blind basically overnight.  Then he developed glaucoma in his right eye, so we had a procedure done to relieve the pressure in that eye.  The very next day, the left eye had the high pressure (very painful)so back to the ophthalmologist. She said the only choice was to have both eyes removed immediately.  This is a large Alaskan malamute with underlying health issues who was at least 12 years old, and we just couldn't imagine him adapting to this well.  The downhill slide came on so suddenly and we were forced to make a decision immediately.  The surgeon wanted to remove the eyes, and then we could see our regular vet to figure out what else was going on to bring all of this on so quickly. We could not leave him in pain, and chose to let him go.  I am curious how other people get past this.  I just keep wishing we had made the other choice...

November 1, 2016

My 8 year old dog jake has just been diagnosed with diabetes ketoacidosis, he was kept in over night, collected him today and he has to go back in the morning, I'm really not sure as a single Mum of three how I will cope with all his appointments, getting kids to school and managing to keep jake on a strict timetable, he needs twice daily insulin injections, which I'm not even sure I'll be able to do..... I certainly don't want him to suffer for the time he has left.

October 3, 2016

Thank you very much for this article. I have a 16 year old handsome boy (cat), that has been healthy up until the last few months. He has started drinking A LOT and peeing it right out. He also has other problems that I have been dealing with. He was one of two when we got him at 8 weeks, so it’s been a very long time, my entire childhood and growing into an adult and I’m having a hard to with deciding on whether to treat or not treat. We said goodbye to his brother 2 years ago after giving him the insulin and special food for two years (it didn’t help, he was also a diabetic) and I can’t see doing that to him now. My schedule has also changed over the last two years and it’s not remotely possible for me to be home every twelve hours (it’s just me, single pet mom). I feel out of options but the only thing I want to do is give him the best I can until I know it’s time, I can’t see treating him as a good option. :(

September 30, 2016

Alice, My dog Achilles was diagnosed with Diabetes also and he is 8 years old. The vet insisted we put him on the costly food and insulin.  We used the vet food for two months then read an article that Blue Buffalo was low in sugar and excellent for Diabetic dogs so we switched back to that for his food but just stopped the daily treats. His blood sugar went lower on the Blue Buffalo than on the expensive vet food. So there should be no worries as to food expense. We use the Vetsulin from the vet but you can easily buy the insulin cheap from Walmart as well as the syringes. And at 9 units 2 times a day a bottle lasts a whole month. So I do not see where these prices are astronomical and hopefully this information can help you deal with this terrible situation that you are going through. I completely understand and I hope I am not too late. But either way know in your heart that your baby knew how much you loved him. 

September 7, 2016

My 10 yr old rot/lab was diagnosed with diabetes 10 days ago.  When the vet called and said the cost of testing and getting her numbers under control with several days of keeping her was $2400.00, my first question was "is the cost worth it, she is 10?  How long will she live with the treatment?" I was told she could live another 6 or 7 years.  I was not told her insulin alone was $68.50 per WEEK, and the food would be another $200 a month.  I barely make ends meet now.  i would have made a different decision had I been given all the information, not just the cost of that visit.  Now I have my happy, fun dog back.  But
cannot afford her treatment.  I am now so upset, I will have to put her down because of money!  I wish they had given me full disclosure when I was asking questions. To put down my happy, sweet friend makes me feel like I am murdering her.  How do I get through this?

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
September 2, 2016

Sue, I am glad that the information is helpful.  That was certainly the intent.  :-).

Sue Lizzi
September 2, 2016

Thank you so much for your information, compassion, and common sense in this article. It is immensely helpful to me right now.

Dana Barton
August 24, 2016

I am offering my comment to help others consider what care might be like down the road for their diabetic pet.  Our 15-year old shepherd mix was diagnosed with Diabetes (and possibly Cushings but we opted not to test for it) almost a year ago.  Over the course of the year, she  has required more and more insulin to manage her diabetes.  We now pay approximately $200+ per month for insulin and a lot on food that is appropriate for her to eat with diabetes.  Despite the increased insulin, she still has monthly episodes (particularly when stressed, traveling or hot weather, etc.) when she will pee copious amounts indoors by surprise.  If the backdoor to our house (leads to our backyard via a staircase) is not left open around the clock, she'll often go inside.  My point is that it is hard to manage her diabetes even at 12 units insulin twice a day.  She went one day without insulin because of a snafu with the pharmacy and became blind literally overnight.  Now, a year later, I am still considering what most of the people commenting are contemplating, when is the right time for her to be put to sleep?  She still gets up and asks for food like a champ.  She still wags her tail. She still plays with her squeaky toys.  But she is always hungry and always begging to eat. I'm in debt, I have two boys in college, I have a difficult time finding dog care when my husband travels since I work full-time.  We love her to pieces and it breaks our hearts to think about putting her down. Everyone says that I will know, but I don't know.  She wouldn't be alive if we didn't give her insulin, but since we do, she's happy enough as the blind old dog she is! The only thing I know is that the insulin needs continue to increase and she continues to decline slowly. So difficult!

Michele Gaspar, DVM, DABVP (Feline Practice)
August 21, 2016

Hi, Peggy, Let's see if I can help a bit.  I know how devastating it can be to have a sick companion animal.  And, even though I am a veterinarian who is used to seeing many ill patients, having one's own ill pet can be emotionally challenging.  I've been where you are, too. I know you can do it.  Some tests for Cushing's can be skewed by other illnesses, so listen to the good advice of your veterinarian and begin to treat the diabetes.  No human was born knowing how to give insulin injections, but believe me, in a few days, you'll feel confident in your ability to treat your buddy.  I once had a client who had the use of only one arm and somehow she managed to give insulin injections to her kitty, so where there's a will, there's a way.  This might be a good time to reach out to some friends and neighbors, who might be available for support. Diabetes can be expensive to treat in the beginning, because it can take time to regulate a patient.  However, once the pet is regulated, costs typically decrease and are manageable for most clients.  Some clients even learn to do blood glucose checks at home and fax, phone or e-mail the results to their veterinarian.   There may or may not be a charge for the veterinarian's time (as it does take expertise to sort through a glucose curve), but I give this as an option to you for a discussion perhaps a little ways down the road with your dog's veterinarian. When a patient's blood sugar is high, they are lethargic and typically don't feel like doing very much.  Patients who are not treated for diabetes, or who have a consistently very high blood sugars run the risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis, so it's best to begin treatment for the diabetes as soon as possible. Have you seen this information on canine diabetes from Veterinary Partner?;_ylu=X3oDMTByOHZyb21tBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg--/RV=2/RE=1471835353/RO=10/  Veterinary Partner is a free, client-friendly site that is associated with the Veterinary Information Network (VIN).  VIN is a world-wide community for and of veterinarians,   Veterinary Partner provides reliable information that has been, well, "vetted;" so you don't fall into the trap of reading some websites that might be inaccurate or unduly alarming. I know that you feel overwhelmed now and so do reach out tomorrow to your dog's veterinarian for additional advice and counsel.  Veterinarians are compassionate people and know that in the beginning, some "hand holding" is often necessary to get clients up-to-speed with treatment. I wish you and your buddy the very best!

Peggy Arison
August 21, 2016

Please someone help me. I have been so distressed for 4 days. Making myself sick not knowing what to do. I have a 10 1/2 yr old affenpinsher that I rescued. He has been the most loving smart dog. And my best friend. I found out Tuesday that he has diabetes and another blood test shows maybe Cushing disease. That enzyme was over a thousand. The vet said it could possibly go back to normal when the diabetes is under control. I am so torn. Just 1 day at the vet was almost 500.00. I love my best friend but money is a factor. I am 61 and I am already strained financally. I have not been able to eat and my stomach is in knots over this what do I do. For the most part he seems happy at times. He always sleeps and cuddles with me but since this started I wake up and he is laying on the floor.  He never did this before.

August 18, 2016

As I type this we are two hours from letting my buddy and pal, Jesse cross the rainbow bridge.  He is an 11 yr. old cocapoo recently diagnosed with diabetes in May.  We have tried everything to get him regulated including traveling to a holistic vet after our primary told us to consider having him PTS.  We have been down a similar road when he was a pup and broke his neck, devine intervention brought us to an intern at U of Penn who thought a hail mary shot of cortizone and six weeks of not being able to stand would save him...6 weeks and a day later Jesse popped up like nothing happened and has been healthy ever since!   This time its much different....harder...  We have spent several thousands of dollars, spent hours in offices and hospitals because we love him as a child.  I would do just about anything if it would give him joy. But after he went completely blind almost overnight, starting peeing in his crate, sleeping all day and not getting up when I came home...Our boy Jesse has cease to exist as Jesse.  I have read for hours about this decision, blog after blog.  Stay with him or not?  Cremation or bury?  I've done every checklist, twice.  Who am I to say what quality of life is?  I know he can't see, play, go up steps, hear well, but every once in a while he wags his tail so I start the process all over again and wait.  They say there are signs...I wish.  The other night I thought I saw one when at 2 in the morning while letting him out he made a b-line for the street(very far away) until I commanded him to sit.  I honestly think he was making a run for the woods on the otherside to go out his own way.  Was this a sign?  I have no idea.  I have read story after story about how great blind, deaf, diabetic dogs can be happy for years.  I wish Jesse was one of them, he is not.  So in an hour and 45 minutes I will take him on his last ride.  We will be driving by the home where we got him 11 years ago almost to the day.  The advice I can give each of you facing this vet, friend or blog can make the decision...maybe they can make it easier, I don't know.  But I came to the conclusion this morning after watching Jesse and thinking back to just a few months ago...If I continue what I am doing he will live longer, maybe 6 months, a year, 2 years?  Who knows.  It will not be for him, it will be for me, my wife and my kids.  If I let him go, I am giving him the gift of peace.  I also do not fear my decision due to the folks that say this is playing god.  I artificially kept my dog alive past the time he would have survived in nature.  Wild dogs don't go blind and survive.  Wild dogs dont have diabetes and survive.  I know how much we love him, I know how much a part of our family he was...If you can say that don't fret about your decision.  I want him to leave us on a good day, not after a seisure, more bathroom issues or when he stops eating.  Jesse is under my feet right now and I will miss many of you will too.  But I love him too much to see him like this.  Say a prayer for Jesse...He was a great friend.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
August 9, 2016

Robert,  You made the best decision for your best buddy, as well as you and your family.  You listened carefully to the veterinarian, you knew your dog and how he would act being subjected to twice daily injections, as well as taking into consideration your financial commitments to your family.  That is all you can do, make the best decision with the data at hand.  I have been in your shoes (three times with my own animals), as well as many times with my patients, needing to make the decision to euthanize or treat a diabetic. There is NO one right answer.  There are just too many variables.  If any of us had a crystal ball, we would use it to look into the future of every animal presented to us to decide which scenario will play out:  1.      This patient will be easily controlled on twice daily injections, cost minimally to treat and live a good life for another 3 years.  It is worthwhile to treat.  2.      This patient is never going to be well controlled, will continue to lose weight and have several seizures due to hypoglycemia; euthanizing now is the best option for quality of life.  3.      This patient will be easily controlled, but will die from heart disease next month, so we can treat for the next month, knowing he will die shortly from heart disease. 4.      This patient will be hard to control and it will be expensive and time consuming to do so.  Treatment can continue, knowing that is expensive and you and your family will live life around your dog's diabetes. 5.      And so on and so on for many other possible scenarios. Unfortunately, NONE of us has a working crystal ball, so we make the best decision we can with the data at hand. And we all know that you made your decision with love and caring for your dog.  And he knows that!  He really, really knows that!  So, the long and short of it is, you did great and you made the right decision! I hope some part of my words help alleviate some of the pain I can feel in your letter...

August 9, 2016

5/16/16 is a day I will never forget. I brought my lab who has been my best buddy for the past 8 years. After going to the regular vet the prior month with a good checkup he started drinking and urinating a lot and then started throwing up a few week. He had lost 20 lbs in a month. The emergency vet said the dog is in the process of dying with Diabetic Ketonacidosis(DKA). I was given the options of this being a very expensive process to get back in check and very expensive and hard to manage later in the dogs life. Along with the vet telling me he had a heart murmur (needed to do an ultrasound to make sure) that my pal would not be able to take insulin. The vet then mentioned euthanasia as the other option. So her I am in the console room with my dog crying my eyes out and I called my wife and consulted with my mother. Along with some financial stuff I am trying to pay of and send my daughter to college this fall. The vet could not give me an exact idea of what my dog's quality of life would be but what I was hearing was mostly negative and all I could think about was would my dog want to go through this. I don't think that is about being a dog. I prayed to God on what I should do and kept looking at him. He looked and was feeling miserable. After consultation again with the vet and my family members, I made the final decision to let him go. I don't think that makes me a bad person (I try to convince myself of this every day).  By the way the vet talked to me, he would almost need a nurse and would never get better. This condition was covering up many other problems that I would have to deal with later. I still cry every night thinking about him hoping I did the right thing for him. I hope that does not make me a bad person. The past three months have been filled with enough guilt of What Ifs? after reading all these other post. I only had what I had to go on at the time and to me what was going on and the most likely future prognosis from the vet led me to my decision. I just don't see how my dog would have been happy being poked by needles constantly, not eating as normal, eventually going blind, having seizures, etc. I just pray every day that in my heart I hope I made the decision he would have wanted me to make.

Terri Halstead
July 29, 2016

I've been treating my dog for over four years for diabetes. Yeah, it can be costly but he's worth it. I don't know why it seems that vets don't encourage home monitoring. And when asked I was told I would need the "dog" glucose meter, I bought it and compared it to a human meter. They were nearly identical. I purchased the meter for 15 dollars and it had a 15 dollar mail in rebate. And as others have mentioned the cheap Wal mart insulin is 25 dollars a bottle. If you wanted to treat it can definitely be done a lot cheaper if you test at home, not to mention that if you monitor the glucose, you should be able to avoid many of the complications commonly associated with diabetes. I will say it's been a lot of time and effort involved, my dog is worth it. I've also read that most dogs do okay on a good dog food, not always the prescription food the vet tries to sell. It seems to me that the vets usually don't try to help people understand that there are less expensive ways to go. And if you can give an injection, there's no reason you can't do at home glucose monitoring, it's really simple. And why if you did not treat the diabetes would you just wait and see what happens, I would imagine that would be worse then trying to provide the care they need. I hope anyone with a newly diagnosed pet that they really care for would try to find a way to treat them, don't expect the vet to try to save you money along the way. Good luck!.

Karen Lewis
July 7, 2016

This article was such a comfort to me.  We made the decision to put our 11 year old Bichon, Deuce, to sleep 4 days ago.  It's undoubtably the worse kind of decision any pet owner will have to make.  Logically our family knew that it was the right thing to do but making this type of decision still carries a huge amount of guilt.  Especially when others judge your decision.  This is a deeply personal decision because every circumstance is different and family dynamics can not be ignored. We've had Deuce from the age of 12 weeks.  He was very sweet and loyal and very, very attached to me.  Deuce followed me around the house constantly and was distressed when I left.  He had separation anxiety and was on medication to keep him somewhat calm when I was not at home. Deuce was diagnosed with diabetes about 5 years ago.  I was totally committed to taking care of Deuce and I did a good job of managing his illness up until about 6 months ago.  Deuce started to refuse food often and was increasingly picky about eating so I had to frequently change his diet just to entice him to eat.  Eating every 12 hours was imperative because of the need to provide insulin.  Changing his diet frequently, however, added to the challenge of stabilizing his glucose levels.  It was a vicious circle.  Family dynamics also changed.  Our family started traveling more. Which led to increased separation anxiety and loss of appetite.  I resorted to having a dog sitter care for Deuce at home while I traveled.  This was very expensive and often Deuce would still end up at the vet hospital because of his refusal to eat when I left home. I left Deuce last week to travel with my husband and a couple of days later, my dog sitter called explaining that Deuce would not eat and needed to see a vet for glucose monitoring.  My husband and I looked at each other and decided that enough is enough.  It was time to let Deuce go.  It feels a little selfish but the reality is that his diabetes was just too difficult to manage and our sweet little guy was becoming a major source of stress, expense and worry to our family.  I also know that his quality of life was decreasing because of the frequent hospitalizations and his loss of eyesight was becoming very obvious.  He would often loose sight of me even when I was in the same room. He was a loving source of joy for us for 11 years but as the author of this article stated, everyone's circumstances are different and when faced with this hard decision you have to weigh all factors: animal and human factors.  Our pets are important but our human family's interest must always take precedent.  Thank you for this article.

July 4, 2016

A little problem with people who judge those of us who choose not to treat.  I have had 4.  The first I committed wholeheartedly to treat.  I did the diet, the fresh water, and I chased my little boy around until he hated me twice a day to give him his insulin.  H died in less than 6 months.  The second one I took it on a less wholeheartedly.  He too was not amenable to treatment and he too died very quickly.  The third I chose not to treat but watched her closely to be sure she was not suffering.  She was constantly comforted by me and by my youngest cat in her last days and died peacefully.  I dearly love the one who is just now beginning her journey and I can tell she too will go quickly.  But she won't be given insulin shots she hates twice a day.

July 4, 2016

Hello! My 11 year old minpin was diagnosed 1 month ago with diabetes and ketoacidosis. She had been vomiting and had diarrhea for 2 days so off to the vets. They ran blood work and it was all bad. Her sugar was 680 and kidney and liver functions all bad too and yet other than the vomiting and such she seemed ok. My vet said he wouldn't blame us if we put her down then and there well no way! We asked if there was anything else they could do so they kept her overnight gave her iv fluids and insulin and a megadose shot of antibiotics. The next day they called and said she was doing better her sugar had come down to 123 so we picked her up and brought her home with two antibiotics for 14 days and also twice daily insulin shots of 3 units each time. She does not like the shots but doesn't give us a hard time. So we took her back for a 10 day recheck and her bs was now 709! Vet wasn't surprised as it can take a couple weeks to regulate but her liver and kidney functions were back to normal. He upped her dose to 5 units twice a day. So took her back in last Thursday for 10 recheck and her bs was 95! Yay! Vet was very happy and said to stay on the 5 units until her recheck at the end of July. I have not put her on any special diet. She eats grain free salmon and sweet potato canned food or grain free turkey and sweet potato canned food. She gets a third of a can twice a day and also a grain free cookie around noon to keep her steady until her next shot. I get her insulin at Walmart and I pay $25 for a 10 ml bottle which my vet said will last her 3 months if kept in the fridge and also the needles which were $11 for a 100 count box. So for $36 I can manage her diabetes for 3 months at a time depending on how much her dose fluctuates. I do not count the cost of her food because hey, ya have to eat, but it costs me 85 cents a can from my local feed store and 20 cans will last a month so I guess it just depends on what will work well for your pet. Good luck to everyone here.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
June 27, 2016

Charlene, It sounds to me like you have done a good job in managing Sassy's diabetes. As you state in your email: ". I think the time has come now that I need to let her rest no more being poked with a needle twice a day no more being confused it's time for my precious little  Sassy to go to rainbow bridge." I would not let her go for more than a day or two without insulin, as she will likely get very sick, vomiting, not eating, dehydrated.  If you believe it is time to let her go, then make the appointment to euthanize, don't make her get really sick from the side effects of uncontrolled diabetes. My thoughts are with you on this, it is never easy. I put my diabetic dog to sleep last fall when her quality of life was such that neither of us was happy.

Charlene Davis
June 26, 2016

My little dachshund was diagnosed with diabetes almost 2 years ago, right away I knew what was happening when she started drinking lots of water her mother also was diabetic, I choice to treat her she receives 6 unit's of insulin twice daily have no problem given the shots and she is such a good girl always knows when I say it's time for your shot Sassy. My poor little girl, lost her site bout a year ago so sad but other than that she has responded really well. I also work outside the home. I love this little girl more than I thought was possible . but I would never wish  this on anyone and it  is one constant job after 2 years she now is getting very confused at times and has always knew her way all around house and yard as long as I have never moved a thing and trust me I never have. I guess I just wanted to write this today and cannot help but set here with tears rolling down my face telling you if I had this to do over I never would. My own selfish heart has kept her alive knowing she would never be the same. And shame on me. I think the time has come now that I need to let her rest no more being poked with a needle twice a day no more being confused it's time for my precious little  Sassy to go to rainbow bridge. While my heart will always have a empty stop. I just need to know will she go through pain or can you please tell me what pain she will endure after shots stop? Thanks so much for listening to me my heart is breaking

Kathy Cobb
June 25, 2016

I am not going to judge everyone who does not choose treatment, but I do have a problem with the statement that "pets are supposed to bring joy." It implies that all pets are good for is the owner’s amusement. Pets are family. However, some people treat them as second-class family members. Pets give us their unconditional love, and yet, some pet care givers  “love them” as  long as it doesn’t cost them anything. I do not respect someone who resents having to take care of a sick pet. This is a fair-weather friend. Would these same people resent caring for their sick child?  For many pet care givers, our pets are our children. If we make the decision to euthanize, it is because there is little hope for a happy outcome, and we don’t want our pets to suffer. If there is a chance at a happy and extended life, we at least try to raise the funds. We at least TRY – that is the point I am making here. Diabetes is a manageable condition and not nearly expensive as most think. To decide not to give treatment because the owners don’t want to spend the money or take the time is deplorable. To just enjoy the pet as long as they have them makes it all about the owner. As long as the pet is fine, we love him. If he gets sick, we don’t treat, let him feel like crap, then euthanize. I  HAVE A MAJOR PROBLEM WITH THIS.

Elizabeth M.
June 22, 2016

This was so helpful - we just had to put our 14-year-old cat Prince to sleep today. He was diagnosed with diabetes a year ago, but he started as an outdoor cat (he sort of adopted us) and we couldn't guarantee that once we started using insulin that he wouldn't become miserable being cooped up inside after he started feeling better. This led to an additional worry that if we let him outside again, he wouldn't come back to the house consistently enough for us to give him insulin on a regular basis. We put him on the proper canned food, but he lost weight rapidly and started struggling to walk around and would make messes outside of the litter box. This morning we found that he could no longer use his hind legs and decided it was time. My mother was most involved in his care and has been feeling deeply guilty - she's constantly worried she hasn't done right by him. She also received a few judgemental comments from some of the people working at the vet's about Prince not receiving treatment. It's very frustrating that people who (while they may mean well) don't know anything about what went into my mother's decisions making her feel even worse when she's already going through something so difficult. We loved Prince and did everything we thought we could for him without making him suffer. It means so much to hear from someone who understands that these decisions can be hard very hard on owners.

June 21, 2016

My little granddog age 11 a bichon/shihtzu mix has just been diagnosed with diabetes.  I am certain she had it since last July when she had a urinary tract infection and on the blood test her glucose was elevated.  But the vet never gave us a heads up that she might be on her way to diabetes until she developed it full blown now.  Anyway, we have decided not to give her insulin treatment due to the potential for hypoglycemic episodes. Being familiar with diabetes, we felt we should try diet/exercise so we started with W/D Hills Physician food and put a little "gravy" for appeal.  She likes this. We also give her vegetables (no carrots/potatoes). At her "diagnosis" (which should have really been done last year and not until her pancreas blew out) her blood sugar was 700.  It is now 400 a few weeks later on this food.  We walk her several times a day to get the glucose moving out of her bloodstream.  She also gets B-12 shots every few weeks.  After reading up on diabetes in dogs, we felt that insulin would not be the way to go – the dog has to endure pokings and the hypoglycemia could be fatal.  So we are trying to make her as comfortable and healthy as possible to make her remaining life as good as we can.  We love her and have enjoyed her company for all her life and hope that we are blessed with at least another few months if not a year of our beloved pet.

June 20, 2016

Hi, my 13yr old yorkie has just being diagnosed with Diabetic Ketonacidosis (DKA), we took her to the vets with vomiting loss of weight, urinating a lot, drinking a lot and diarrhoea. She was very down and not her usual happy self. When her did a urine sample Ketones come up straight away and he said the treatment could be very expensive and the condition could still come back. He wanted to put her to sleep then and there and we said no not yet. He gave her an injection to settle her tummy and said bring her back in the morning. We took her back and she was smiling at him when he called her through. He noticed a good change in her overnight and has now said let's try and settle her insulin and see how we go. I am unable to find the kind of money the treatment is going to cost. God knows I wish I had the money as I've had Suki since she was 5 weeks old. She the little girl I never got as I have 2 sons. I know that without treatment this condition is not going to go away. I was wondering if anyone has any ideas how fast this will progress and how long she may have. He said yesterday that it's not inhumane to keep her alive and to try stabling her insulin. She has other small problems too that are very manageable but altogether it must be getting her down

Dr. Tony Johnson
May 28, 2016

Hi Sue, The general rule is no insulin if not eating. Is there no one nearby who does after hours care, or home euthanasia? Sounds like you need someone pretty quick. 

May 28, 2016

My 11yr old, diabetic, totally blind Yorkie stopped eating yesterday., but still drank water. Last night she started throwing up with diarrhea.  Today is worse.  I tried to give her sulcralfate, but she threw it up.  This evening it is even worse.  Her diarrhea has turned to bloody water.  Our vet is out until Tues. (being Mem. Weekend).  She doesn't seem to be in pain but very restless.  Her 'look' has told me it is that time to say goodbye.  I have stopped her insulin.  (Don't know if I should have) I don't want her to suffer but don't know if I need to wait until Tues.  No ER vet.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
May 20, 2016

Terri, Thanks for sharing your story!  It is amazing how many of us have pets that found us when we did not know we were even looking for them!  Mommy Kitty was lucky to have found you and I am sure she knows it. Knowing when it is time to euthanize is a personal journey. We all struggle with it, even veterinarians.  It is NEVER an easy decision.  This Veterinary Partner article has a Quality of Life scale that might help with some objectivity.  I know that I have recommended clients write on a calendar the good and bad days and when the bad days outnumber the good, it is probably time. Again, thank you for sharing your story, it is a heartwarming one!  Let us know how the journey continues.

May 20, 2016

Hi i have an 18 yr old cat who has been on varying amounts of caninsulin for 7 years now. i have taken the executive decision to cease his shots and to do home testing and insulin according to his needs. he has just gone for four days  without any, gradually from 4.5 units over 6months. he seems brighter, healthier coat and no signs of distress or extra water consuming or peeing. the trick? all animals are different but he now rarely eats ANY dry food and lots of fresh chicken and fish, bones and all and only low carb canned or pouches. i did have him on raw beef but it kept his weight too high. i am just about to test his bg and fingers crossed it will be in an ok range.

May 19, 2016

Thank you for the article...reading peer comments are helpful too. Our story... My 17+ yr old cat (she showed up at my door in the snow 17 years ago) my vet thought she may be 2 yrs old at the time. I was not looking for a pet (actually did not want one, as my husband and I love to travel and much less could keep a plant alive-did want commitment) But I felt sad she was in the snow...had no idea of gender. Kept it in the warm garage that winter and fed it...though maybe she would leave. I found out that April that "kitty" as we called her gave birth in the garage to 4 adorable kittens. Thus, the gender reveal, and her now birth name, we call her "Mommy Kitty" although odd we still call her this today and nothing else seemed to fit. Well after her kittens were adopted, she made her way into the house, them my bed. Ok, now I’m a pet owner I a have the "furr baby"...she was never a lap cat, liked to be pet-a little, don't like play too much, never jumped on anything (I got lucky) we were both happy. She was fun to watch. all I had to do is leave a bowl of hard food out and done. Friends and family thought we were lying all the time about having a cat since she never came out in public.  Present date...she was diagnosed with diabetes two years ago. I have been caring for her with insulin, wet cat food as recommend at timely hours, and have not slept past 6:00am in 2 years (time of 1st insulin shot) and have not been on vacation either but I'm fine, I'm honored to care for her, she would do this same, I think, cuz I love her. She is my alarm clock and wakes me each morning for a food and a well-accepted insulin shot. Now diagnosed with excessive Neuropathy, and glaucoma, I also administer Zolpline (b-12). I believe this has helped her to walk the past year in case others are wondering about the effectiveness. As I write this, I gasp, as it sounds as if I keeping her alive for me...but I'm not? I don't see her in pain and she is more affectionate than ever (oddly wants her stomach be pet ALL the time,a location I was NEVER able to touch 16 years ago). I think she also is hard of hearing since at times she does not even known I'm behind her and startles when she sees my feet. She looks depressed all the time and is home alone all day...I'm struggling with saying goodbye. Everyone tells me I will know when...and when I think that is the time she flops in-front of me rolls over and begs for affection. When done, limps back to her corner to sleep. She is happy right? I feel for everyone here who has made the hard decisions and who is challenged by it. I'm thankful for a forum that I can express my true thoughts without judgment. Maybe tomorrow I will have more clarity...I can only hope. 'Mommy kitty'...I hope I'm doing the right thing and when the day is done you will let me know somehow when the right time is...until then, see you at 6:00am.

May 17, 2016

Thank you for sharing this article.        My 11 year old half Schnauzer, Twig, is in her 4th year of Diabetes. She gets 5 units twice a day, and is almost totally blind. I use WalMart's Novalin N for around $25, and their 12/7 needles for around $15. The needles can be used several times before getting dull, I rinse and cap after use. Twig is extraordinary in that she will come to me for her injection. Occasionally she may yip, but it's not often. I have not been on vacation, or taken any trips where Twig cannot go. No, it's not easy taking care of a Diabetic dog, but, as long as she's not suffering, and I can afford it, I'll do it. I love my Twig, and I know the time will come when she must go to Rainbow Bridge, and I'm hoping it will be peaceful.

May 13, 2016

This article has helped me I found out today my beloved chihuahua was diagnosed with diabetes and ketones in her urine the starting cost to help her is more than I can afford along with the many appointments and testing insulin weeks to come  her mouth is infected and many teeth keep falling out.  She is 8yrsoldand has been with my kids and I since she was 5weeks. I can't are the thought of losing her yet I don't want to see her suffer.  This is so hard.  I wish I had all the money to help her.. My precious girl

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
May 6, 2016

Marcy, Fred is lucky to have you in his life.  After I wrote this article, my dog, who happened to be a littermate to my sister's dog in the article, came down with diabetes.  I did treat her for 6 months, but it did not go well.  All in all, she did not live any longer than her brother and she never did get used to the injections.  I probably waited a couple weeks too long to put her to sleep, but finally did so.  Enjoy Fred while you can, spoil him now and don't be afraid to let him go when it is time.  He knows you love him!

May 4, 2016

As I read this article searching for answers on what to do with the news we received today, it hits me this is what we have to do. My almost 8 yr old black pug Fred went in to have his ears checked, that's when they were able to look at his teeth. We then fine out they are in bad shape, so we make plans to get them cleaned and taken care of After all it will help him live out a fuller, healthier life. So I get a call today from the vet about Fred's pre op bloodwork. His sugar levels were over his cleaning is cancelled due to his blood sugar. The vet then launches into all we can do: testing, insulin, follow up bloodwork every 14 days and then MAYBE he can survive his cleaning and extractions. Then a lifetime of daily shots twice a day. All at a cost of course, I am not angry about the costs just sad. And guilty. I have had Fred since he was 8 weeks old, he was my deployment puppy. My husband was deploying yet again and Fred was meant to be a distraction/cuddle buddy during the long months ahead. Only my husband came back early, wounded and damaged in a way only soldiers know, Fred's job became healer, he forced my husband not to give up. So the very thought of giving up on him since we can't afford to save him breaks my heart. But with all the options laid out and reality hitting we are choosing to put him on a diabetic diet and spoil the heck out of him. I will make as memories for as long as this stupid disease allows! Fred will always be my hero! Thank you for "okaying" our choice, the guilt will consume me for a bit, my heart may heal but there will only ever be only one Fred!

April 27, 2016

Thank you so much for this article.  My vet didn't seem to entertain any option but to treat my cat. I started injections this past weekend and after a few days she was on to me... running away without eating her food. On my last attempt she ran off with the needle still in her back... fortunately it fell out right away. My husband and I are in our 60s and enjoy road trips in the summer, but our years of such travel are limited due to our ages and health conditions. I would hate to spend the next 5 years tied to our house giving our cat injections even if she was accepting of them. I would like to enjoy my cat for as long as she is as lively as she is now and would like her to continue to enjoy her life as she currently does. This article has been a godsend to me and provides some information I can share with my vet.  I hope he will accept my decision and continue to be willing to provide us with the wonderful care he has over the years with this cat, our dog and many pets before them.

April 8, 2016

I am writing this in hopes that it will help. I just had to put my beloved 12 year old westie down 4 days ago. He was diagnosed with diabetes in November of 2014. The disease is extremely hard to regulate at first, but with careful monitoring, persistence and diligence it can be done. Walmart seems to have the best prices for insulin, although this disease put me through a financial ringer for sure. My boy responded well to Humilin N which is a human insulin and it would cost me $132 every month and a half, plus special food at $32 a case, twice a month, ($64 a month). No amount of money in the world was more important than my boy (even though i couldnt afford it), so I paid it with credit cards and continued treatment month after month. When he was first diagnosed, the vet and I were still experimenting with his insulin. Within the first two weeks of diagnosis my boy went completely blind. He managed ok and I did my best to accommodate his blindness. Then he developed a nasty ear infection in both ears, taking the hearing in his right ear and some hearing in his left ear... twice a day I would flush and clean his ears, give him oral antibiotics and topical meds, his ears just seemed to get worse despite me also switching meds to see if there would be a change.... but.. there wasnt. He then developed a painful hematoma on the flap of his ear which, if drained, comes right pack in a few days. The other option was surgery and I was not going to put him through since he suffered enough. The last two days before he passed he hid from me, would not eat or drink, flinched when I touched him and showed absolutely no signs of happiness. His tail no longer wagged and I couldn't bare seeing him in any more pain.I made the appointment for euthenasia and he peacefully passed in my arms in his favorite blanket :(. Any infection a diabetic dog gets is extremely hard to cure, especially if the dog is hard to regulate. It is a burden of love to own a diabetic dog. With that being said, if they are not responding well to it or have lost their sight, hearing, or are just struggling, the best thing to do is to peacefully send them over that rainbow bridge. You pet will let you know when it's time... you'll see it.. my mind knew it but my heart didn't want to let go. I miss my baby boy so much and I would give ANYTHING to have him back in my arms again... but Im comforted in knowing his suffering is over. :(

April 3, 2016

My just-turned 10 year old large breed dog is diabetic --found out 4 months ago. We (the vet & me) can't get it under control thus far between dietary changes & insulin (now have her on 16 CCs twice daily injections). She's a fantastic patient-- she knows when to lie down for her shots, knowing I'll give her extra cuddling & diabetic treats, and she's never balked. It's just severely wearing me down --- emotionally, time & work/personal life-wise & financially. I'm a single parent (1 child in 6th grade) who works part time, just started school again & have 3 other pets (2 dogs & a cat).  On top of that my youngest dog, an approx 12-13 month old border collie/heeler/who knows what else mix just got diagnosed with Iatrogenic Cushings (he has Lymphedema caused by tick-borne illness, that I've been treating him for ever since I started fostering--& then adopting--at 6 months old) Hos medical needs are also severely limiting. My diabetic girl is my best friend, truly my favorite pet I've ever had in my 50 years of life, and we have an incredible bond, unlike any bond I've ever had with a pet. I just don't know what to do. I know she's starting to lose her eye site. I feel lost, like I don't know how much more of this I can take, and when to let her go for the right reasons.

March 14, 2016

Thank you very much for this article.

Linda Du Frane
February 24, 2016

I read every comment & I know how hard it is. I lost my husband suddenly, we didn't have any life insurance(always thought we'd get it eventually). I am now losing our home. I have 8 rescued furkids ages starting 4 yrs to 15 yrs(all indoors, & fixed). I saved them right off the street. I love them so much, they give me something to come home to. Tippy my love bug was recently diagnosed with diabetes, I am having such a hard time getting her glucose numbers down, she is always getting urinary tract infections, not eating.stiff back legs. I have made many, trips to the vet. She is on 5 units 2x a day. Right now she is not doing good again. I couldn't give her, her insulin this morning because she wouldn't eat anything. I'm at my wits end. I can't afford to go the Vet til next week. I have let so many bills go so I can take care of her. And to make matters worse my orange little man Tuffy was diagnosed with asthma last week. Thought he was going to die in my arms. He was put in a oxygen chamber, we were given Amoxi drops, Prednisolone and Theophylline. My bill was over 400.00. Now I have another cat who is throwing up and not eating. I am just about to give up. I don't want to lose my furkids, I love them all so much, we've been thru so much already. It'd hard to know where to turn any more. I do alot of praying, saying prayers for everyone here also.

Victoria Place
February 9, 2016

I adopted a very nice funny singing dog 3 years ago!!! Never found out his age!! I would say about 7 or 8 years old Yorkshire terrier. Had him 3 wonderful years, all of a sudden he started get sick and did not want to eat, drinking water like crazy, loosing weight and could hardly hold his head up. I raced him to the vet as quick as possible? The vet did some blood test, and found out he was diabetic. I tried the insulin for a month the dog became better and then he went down again!! I notice he became blind, I became shocked because the dog was confused and I became even more confused. No one told me the dog would go blind!!! What a horrible thing for this lively dog!!!! Could not play with his doggie friends anymore!!! Then he got a infection starting in a blind eye!!!!! I decided what a life for such a happy go lucky dog!!!!! So before he could go through anymore pain, I took the strong decision to put him asleep!!!!! I'm sad , but It was for the Love of the dog. Not to see him suffer!!!!!!!!!

February 9, 2016

I have a 12 year old Cairn Terrier that was just diagnosed with Diabetes and they started him on one shot a day and now 2.  He cries for water and never is able to get enough and eats a lot too!  He has to wear diapers and has lost a lot of weight! He attitude has changed too.  He is real anxious and won't lay still 5 minutes.  His stomach is also real swollen.  I have been told that Insulin is not good and I don't see that it has changed his condition one bit in fact he may be worse!!  Not sure what to do at this point!  I don't want to put him down because I love this little fella!!

February 6, 2016

For all those with diabetic cats and in a financial pickle or strain please check out this website:
They can help with insuline in some cases. They helped my cat a lot but unfortunately I found them too late and diabetes took over his body.  Please donate to their cause because they really do help diabetic cats in need. They tried to help mine so much but I found them too many months late. I lost my cat but as soon as I am financially able I am going to donate  because I am so thankful that they tried above and beyond to try to save Mr. Wiggles. I only wish my local human society had known about their nonprofit charity. I hope this helps others and their cats.

January 29, 20126

My dog (almost 11-cockapoo) had classic diabetes symptoms (urination, drinking a lot) and was diagnosed on MLK day. His blood sugar and ketones were awful. We put him on insulin, and his blood sugar and ketones remain terrible. He acts fine. His peeing/drinking is better, he is rude, annoying, barking, chasing the cats, demanding treats we have no intention of giving him in his condition, telling us what room to go in, burying things in kitty litter--in other words, he seems perfectly normal. Yet, his numbers indicate a dog that is deathly ill. Are we just in some lucky grace period before the terrible sickness sets in? And why doesn't he seem to respond to the insulin at all?

January 28, 2016

Hello! Not sure if anyone will read this post or not, but I just found out my dog has diabetes last night. She is an 11.5 year old dalmatian mix. She is currently at the emergency vet because they found a trace of ketones in her urine. She has since stabilized but will be kept there a couple more days to figure out the correct dosage of insulin she will need twice a day for the rest of her life. I have already spent over $3,300 on this and I am terrified about the cost of insulin each month, or if she should come down with other ailments, because I am having a new baby boy in less than a month - money is tight! I am not considering putting her down, but just really unsure of where to begin with the process of selecting a good enough insulin that I can afford. I am going to see her at the clinic after work today and I know the vet recommended 5 units of insulin twice a day.....any advice or help would be much appreciated from someone who has gone through this before! Thank you!

Lisa W
January 26, 2016

My dog was just diagnosed, she is not suffering perhaps uncomfortable at times, but that's the process in regulating your dog's blood sugar levels. I would not ever put a dog down as once you get their levels regulated they can continue to lead a healthy normal life-span….It truly is not that expensive to treat a dog with diabetes (maybe in the beginning until you get your dog regulated) but after that, $25 a month is so worth having my baby here with me, and seeing her happy sassy personality come back…she's getting more and more comfortable as her numbers come down, and I'm 100% committed to her…if you can't afford to treat your dog, get rid of cable?? that's more then enough a month to cover your pet…When you get a pet, you sign up and commit to them for the length of their life! I am so thankful for the help from my vet, and there is nothing I'd rather do then take care of my baby girl.

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
January 4, 2016

For those of you treating a diabetic pet with insulin, please know that it is not a good idea to change brand or dose of insulin without consulting with your veterinarian.  Dogs and cats do not respond to commercially available insulin products in the same way humans do, and they may respond differently to one brand vs. another.  Please always check with your veterinarian before making any changes!

Mary Hart
January 4, 2016

People whose dogs have Diabetes should be aware of the fact that WalMart- at least, the stores large enough to have a pharmacy- carries there own store brand of insulin- not for every single version of insulin you can buy in a pharmacy, but for most of them.  They sell this for $24.88 per bottle.

January 3, 2016

To everyone going through this i want to give my condolences i have a young pup and cant imagine that moment yet. But my mother had this situation over two years ago and i saw the damage it was causing her. You loved your dog for its entire life and your dog loved you. First off a dog is not a human they have no tv no books to read no anything. A dogs life is pleasing you and thats what your dog loves to do. Greet you at the door sleep with you and play. When the time comes that your dog loses what it loves to do it is suffering you may not see it but put yourself in your dogs shoes. Id the question is how much is this gonna cost comes up you can in no way hurt your financial standing for your pet think about it do you really think your pet would want you to do that. If money is no option then by all means but if money is tight your not a bad owner for letting your dog go peacefully with you by its side. Dont let anyone tell you that your a bad owner for not spending every dollar they are the terrible ones. You have to sit down put yourself in your dogs shoes and really think if you would want that life. Im not saying put tour love one down or not im saying really think what is best for the dog not what is best for you. If you decide to let your dog go because of money you're not teaching your children a bad lesson you're showing your children mercy and compassion, teaching them that sometimes you have to do what is best for others.

January 3, 2016

To Sunshine, We get our insulin at Walmart. We use novolin n and it is $25.00. We have 2 diabetic dogs. The bottle lasts 1 month. One of our dogs gets 13 units and the other 6 units twice a day. Maybe try Walmart.

December 22, 2015

My best friend/dog Rocco was diagnosed with diabetes last month and dropped 40 pounds in that month. His happy loving smile did fade away and it is obvious to anyone who knows my dog that he isn't feeling well. I can't afford the insulin. I looked around for insulin prices and a bottom of 100 units is $147. He needs 10 units twice a day, meaning one bottle of insulin is only going to last him 5 days. How am I supposed to pay that much every five days including the syringes? Is there any payment plan or any other way? I found your blog to be comforting. I'm going through a tough time seeing my dog the way he is. I'd do anything not to see him in this condition but I know financially, I'm just unable to pay. How can I treat him without the medicine? What can I switch his dog food too that may help keep his blood pressure down and steady? The sucky part is, I know I'm not emotionally ready to let him go. The thought of that bring a me to tears every time. Any advice from you or anyone reading this.

December 7, 2015

Hi! My 6-7 year old redbone coonhound "Trax" was diagnosed with diabetes about 4 months ago. We started giving him 6 units of Humulin 2 x a day with no change. We are now at 18 units 2 x a day and he is still holds steady between 600-700. He is eating a low glycemic diet by Nutro. My question is, is there any point to continuing the insulin if he is not going to regulate? My vet is recommending an internal specialist consult, but I just can't afford that and I'm not sure how many more glucose curves I can afford:( My poor guy is completely blind and just does not seem happy and he hates getting the injections. I know if he doesn't regulate he will end up dying, but at this point, if we stop giving the insulin, is that going to speed up the process? I mean, are we waisting our time and finances giving him the insulin if his #'s are going to stay so high? Ugh...I don't know what to do. We love him so much, but he just seems so sad:( Thanks.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
December 7, 2015

Mary, I presume that you are talking about skin tumors, and this answer really only pertains to skin tumors. Most skin tumors are treated with excision only.  In other words, most do not have any chemo or radiation types of treatments in addition to surgery.  So, if you have them removed, you have a chance that you will have cured your dog.  Also, the smaller the tumor, the bigger chance that excision is curative, and generally the cheaper the surgery.  Waiting is a bad idea. You can remove them and NOT send them for pathology, which saves money.  The downside to this is if they do not have good margins, you will not know if the tumor is cured, or what kind it is, so you won't know if it is something that comes back rapidly.  You will have no prognosis. You just need to decide if: 1.  You are ok NOT knowing the kind of tumor (i.e., will it come back quickly?) 2. You are ok NOT knowing if all of the tumor has been cut out and therefore may come back. 3.  If there is any chance you want to remove them, do it NOW before they get big! As long as you are making an informed decision, I do not see anything wrong with removing tumors without doing histopathology or any followup treatments.  It is also ok to NOT remove the tumor at all, but realize once you make this decision, it can be hard to go back, but as long as you know that, it will be ok.

December 7, 2015

My dog doesn't have diabetes, but is in a similar situation in that she has several tumors that may or may not be cancerous. The vet wants to remove them and have them sent to pathology to determine either way.  I understand this, but the problem is that  after this $700+ surgery, if I find out that they are cancerous, I am not able to pay for treatment for this. If I do nothing, there's the 50/50 percent she will not have cancer.  If she does have cancer, the tumors will come back.  Then what do I do?  Is it worth putting her through all this either way?

Wynona's Mom
November 16, 2015

My cat Wynona was diagnosed in September with Diabetes. She was put on insulin shots twice a day and switched her food to diabetic food. The Thursday before Halloween, she was lethargic, didn't want to eat and not moving. I called my vet and they told me to take her to the ER. She was there for 5 days with ketoacidosis, blood sugar off the charts and dehydrated. After the 5 days and $4K, she was home with me and her brother. The day she was supposed to go in for a curve test, she became dehydrated again and didn't want to eat. Again she was sent home 2 days later. 2 days after she came home, she again became lethargic, didn't want to eat and her urine had ketones. I took her to the ER for the 3rd time. She's still there. On Friday they called me and told me I needed to come because they were concerned she might not make it. She's a fighter. She's doing better and they are taking her off of the IV insulin and fluids. They are going to keep her for a few days with normal insulin injections an oral medications to monitor her. They don't want to release her and then she ends up back in the ER. This has cost me a pretty penny. I'm not rich, but i've had her since she was 8 weeks. She's 10 years old now. I wish the doctors can figure out what is causing all of this. The emotional roller coaster is taking a toll on me. I want her to be well, but they can't regulate her blood sugar, i don't know what i'm going to do.

November 14, 2015

We are also dealing with this problem.  Our beloved kitty James has been diagnosed with diabetes, and our vet is urging us to begin insulin as soon as possible in order to attempt remission.  James is 18 years old.  After such a long life, it seems sad to end it with insulin injections, blood test pricks, and possible misery for all involved.  The cost is also an issue for us.  But it's possible that after 4 months and $500 he could go into remission...we are very torn.  Should we spend the money, try the insulin, and risk some very unhappy humans and an unhappy cat? Or do we let James go, monitor his quality of life and euthanize when it is time?  How much will he suffer as the diabetes takes his course?  Right now he is only drinking and urinating a lot, he's been on low-carb canned food for years.  His last blood test at the vet was 300, and they did a glucose urinalysis as well as other tests that showed raised glucose levels.  It's hard to turn down the possibility of a couple more good years if James goes into remission...but it would only be a couple years at most anyway. He's at the end of his life.  To treat or not?

November 13, 2015

This is helpful.  We have an almost 16-year old cat with diabetes, which we've been treating with insulin injections now for about 3 years.  He's starting to lose control of his bladder, and we find little brown "presents" around where he couldn't get to the litter box.  Keep us in your thoughts ... we think it might be time.

November 10, 2015

At least I know I'm not alone in this dilemma but it doesn't make decisions any easier. My precious kitty is 16 years old with multiple health problems that amount to about $300 of medication every month. I've overdrawn on my bank account from an unexpected vet visit needed to adjust his meds. I have never been in such a dire financial situation before and there is no telling how long he will continue to live. He seems happy. That is the problem. I don't want to end his life before HE is ready to go. But I don't know for sure and I legitimately cannot keep up with the medication and vet visits at this rate. I have trimmed all the fat off my budget that I can. Short of going on a diet of ramen noodles, I can't save any more for the cat. But I still can't just give up on him. He still wants snuggles, likes his treats, and finds sun puddles to bask in. He seems content. Who am I to decide it is his time to die?

November 4, 2015

This was very helpful.  My 12 year old bichon/llasa apso was dx with DM about a year ago.  Since then she developed cataracts.  She is happy and fine and has adapted to loss of vision, insulin twice daily and (change in food-not as much).  I, on the other hand, have seen a dramatic change.  I am not able to have any social life.  I live alone so I am solely responsible for her.  I have had a great deal of other issues (lack of job security, financial challenges, moving from house to apartment) and caring for my dog has become intolerable.  She is a sweet dog, and I love her, but the stress, cost and isolation have taken its toll.  Even though I am a medical professional, I believe I have decided to stop treatment and let it run its course.  I plan to discuss this with my vet in the next couple of weeks.  Thank you.  This is the first place I have felt good about making this decision.

Kristen Stairs
November 4, 2015

Hi my almost 9 year old pug x shitzu was peeing all through the night had to let her out 2-3times a night. i brought her to our vet this past Friday they gave me meds for uti. he told me it could be diabetes but she isn't thirsty all the time or have any of the signs to go with it. She did a urine sample came back she has a infection but sugar was found in your urine 3t and told me I had to now do blood work insulin and buy special food from them. I really can't afford the vet bill.they said cause there was sugar in the urine it's a good indicator she is diabetic. But I'm not sure if I believe it as the meds are working she isn't getting up to pee in the middle of the night anymore nor have the side effect. I just don't know what to do or think. If she is a diabetic can I try just a special diet? How long will she live without insulin injections? My husband is the only one working and I can't afford another vet trip for blood work special food and insulin again? I'm so hurt she's like part of the family I don't know what to do I cry all day not knowing what to do.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
November 3, 2015

Diane, I am very sorry to hear about Chloe. Currently, Chloe is her own worst enemy.  She is not letting you give her the insulin, which makes her feel bad, therefore causing peeing all over the house and not wanting to be touched, leading her to feel bad.  The cycle is vicious.  It is also one that you most likely cannot stop. While we would like to believe that we can treat every animal we encounter, the truth is, some are just not amenable to treatment.  From your description, Chloe is one of those. Pets are supposed to be enjoyable.  Pets should have a good quality of life, while not making our quality of life poor.  Right now, none of you has a good quality of life.  There is nothing wrong with letting go.  You have tried and Chloe has not done her part.   It is not an easy decision, I know. I have lived with a diabetic dog who snapped at me twice a day for her insulin injections.  When we reached the point that neither of us was happy, I put her to sleep.  There is nothing wrong with that.  She knew I loved her, I let her go to be in peace, rather than having me poking her all of the time. I hope this helps.  You are not alone in making that kind of decision. Thinking of you.

November 3, 2015

My 10 year old cat Chloe was diagnosed with diabetes about two months ago. The vet prescribed insulin injections twice a day; however, Chloe will not let us near her to administer the shots.  She's a sweet cat but does not like to be touched, picked up, or crated to go to the vet.  Both my son and I suffered cat bites recently and had to be treated with antibiotics after trying to get her in her carrier for a vet visit (which had to be canceled because we couldn't catch her).  Meanwhile, Chloe pees on the floor outside of both litter boxes; she's even peed on me in bed.  My kids' bathroom is a danger zone, often covered in urine, and she's ruined the carpet outside the other box.  I fear that putting her to sleep is my only option, which is so upsetting because I have the insulin and syringes to help her.  Any advice you can give me is appreciated.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
October 27, 2015

Audrey, I am so sorry about your problems with Trouble.  Diabetes is not a kind disease to anyone.  And you are right, it can be quite costly to hospitalize her to get her diabetes under control, but it sounds like she either needs this or to be euthanized. My suggestion:  use the quality of life assessment in this Veterinary Partner article to help make a decision. Think back to when Trouble's diabetes was under control (was it ever?) and rank her quality of life before she became ill this last time.  If her quality of life was good, and you can afford to treat her in the hospital, it may well be worth hospitalizing her to get her back on track.  If her quality of life was not good before thus last illness, then it may not be worth the time and money to hospitalize her now. You need to realize of course, that it might not be possible to get her diabetes regulated.  If you decide on hospitalization I would suggest you go into it with an open mind, with the information that you might be spending time and money and still end up with a dog whose diabetes is not controlled. If you decide to euthanize Trouble, know that you are doing what is best for her, that you have made the decision with great thought, care and love.  She will know that! Please let us know how things go for you.

October 27, 2015

I am in that exact situation, as my girl Trouble has diabetes. Trouble is now blind and has lost her appetite completely. the vet suggested putting her in the hospital to get her regulated but I opted not to as she was already is a very nervous dog and with the blindness I just didn't think it was good for her well being. But I just spoke to the vet today as I can not get her to eat and without eating I can not give her insulin. So now I am sitting and debating what to do. I either need to put her in the hospital and let them get her on track (which I am sure is going to be very costly) or let her go. I am simply heartbroken right now.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
October 21, 2015

Diana, I am so sorry that you have lost your buddy, Skeeter.  There are just some animals that steal our heart. From your description, Skeeter was his own worst enemy in being treated. Some animals just won't let it be done.  There is nothing worse than watching your friend crying in pain and trying bite you.   He was not happy, he was not going to get better and he was not going to let you treat him.  It was the right decision, letting him go from his pain. Guilt can eat you up and Skeeter would not want that for his best friend.  He would want you to remember the good times you had together, the fun and the playing.  Letting him go was a gift to him and a way to show just how deeply you loved him.  He KNOWS you loved him! Sit back and remember the good times.  Skeeter loved you and you loved him.  Keep all of that in mind as you let go of the guilt!

October 21, 2015

I will try to write this without breaking down again.  I had made the decision to end my buddy my PARNTER my love down a month ago my HERO SKEETER min pin of 10/5 years old. We both had a hard life together and finally are prayers were answered and just the three of us my friend also made it to move our lives across country to are Paradise Florida! Life looked so good and promising finally for us than Skeeter whom I had notice before we left Michigan started drinking lots of water and panting a lot a lot of heavy breathing and just not the same he always had a aggressive attitude but was getting worse! When we played he tried but than would get aggressive. Skeeter's drinking and urinating become worse took his to the veterinarian and that's when my life took a turn for the worse found out he had Diabetes and sugar level of 400 to 700 I cried to found out he had to have insulin twice daily and still didn't control him. I knew how devastating Diabetes is in humans I had battled it with my Husband which lost the battle, so I was willing to try with Skeeter by the second week he would not let me treat him and CRYED in pain broke my heart to him in to see the Doctor in hopes they could help me and Skeeter nipped at them I knew that moment with a DEEP CONSULTATION WITH DOCTOR AND STAFF IT WAS TIME! I left office without my Partner my Buddy it was a month ago and IM STILL IN PAIN AND GUILT and trying to read as much information on DEALING WITH LOSS AND GUILT TO HAVE TO HAD THE RESPONSIBILTY TO MAKE THE BEST DECISION For MY SKEETER!!!!!!!

Paula Sedgley
October 17, 2015

I just want to encourage people to at least try dealing with your dog's diabetes if you love the dog. My dog was 6 when he was diagnosed. He is now almost 8. He is mostly blind, and has some urinary incontinence which they have pills for that which help. I thought at first it was going to be sooo bad, all the expenses, and changes for him. After 6 mo or so , we got into a schedule and it is not nearly as bad as i had imagined. We found walmart had the best deal on insulin/and syringes. He gets a quick shot right after he eats twice a day we he has no problem with. We give him just regular dog food. He gets eye drops off the internet for uviitis protection. He has found his way around, and we take him to a place where he can run freely, dig ground squirrels, all his favorite things to do. He still seems to enjoy life, is not in pain, and sure, he's not as he was but we have all adapted, and in the end, i am glad he is still with us, even if his life will be shorter. I am sooo glad we did not just put him down. It is very scary at first but after a while it is no big deal.

Denise Robinson
October 17, 2015

Hi again, Sasha is still with us. Is still aggressive but no one else in the house has come completely to terms with euthanizing her except me. She stays by my side or is on a soft pillow if I am doing something. If I'm setting she's in my lap like now. We have all noticed that even after she has been fed and given her 3 units of insulin she acts like she is starving to death all day. She even found a way to reach our cats food and ate some before we could stop her. We have fixed that problem, but will bark and beg at the fridge where her food is kept and lay by her place mat barking constantly for food. It's so annoying and nothing not even a frozen green bean snack will stop her. She is also loosing a couple of ounces a day. Over this last week she has lost one pound. I know that isn't much but she has never lost weigh before. It's like she has developed hyperthyroidism. I had a friend that had it and almost passed away. He had to have his thyroid removed to survive. He did not have diabetes. Can hyperthyroidism go along with diabetes in Sasha? Could this be why she seems to be starving? It feels so cruel to let her feel this way. If this is what is happening I think this will make husband and son realize its time to let her go. Please help Sasha. Thank you, Denise PS I am so close to just taking her and having her euthanized and telling them afterwards and just face whatever I have to. This is killing me inside. They fuss constantly about her barking and begging.

Linda Stewart
October 16, 2015

I chose to put my 10.5 year old Shi Tzu to sleep yesterday a.m. It was a horribly painful decision. She became ill the afternoon before. Turns out she was terribly anemic and would need to do a blood transfusion to give them the cause. It took us two hours to decide. We couldn't. The cost was a factor and not wanting her to suffer was too. Today I keep wondering if we should have gone for the transfusion. She was near death already. We were told that if she had what they expected there would be meds for life and possibly more transfusions. I feel so co fused and sad. I loved her so much. We have a friend who is a vet professor who says we did the right thing. But I'm wondering how we can know since we don't know the reason she was anemic. 17 out of 30 count and blood was clotting when they withdrew blood. My heart is broken.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
October 11, 2015

Marie, I want you to know I could have written your post, as I put my 11 year old diabetic dog to sleep 2 days ago.  There is no way to know 'for sure' and it varies for everyone.  My husband and I decided that she was not enjoying life, was scared since becoming blind and no longer living; she was only existing.  It was still NOT an easy decision, but I am at peace with my decision, as I know she is no longer miserable. This document may help you, it has a quality of life scale.  I would suggest that you and everyone in your family answer the questions.   Write down the good days and the bad days, don't just rely on your memory.  Include your good days and bad days, as your enjoyment of your dog is also important.  And it can be very difficult to enjoy an animal that is unable to control their bladder and bowels any more.  They don't like the messes any more than you do. Please let me know what you decide and if there is anything I can do to help.

October 11, 2015

My dog is 11 years old and was diagnosed with diabetes 1 year ago. We worked through his original ketoacidosis and got him to a stable baseline. He gets his insulin injections 2x a day and has been on a chicken and dog food diet to keep him eating. While he doesn't particularly like his injections, he'll put up with them for the most part. He's been completely blind for about 8 months now and has recently been losing bowel control and occasionally bladder control. I have this nagging feeling his time is coming but how do you know for sure when it's time? He doesn't necessarily exhibit pain and he's still eating. I'm so lost with this chronic disease on when enough is enough. He wags his tail when we come home, but he mostly lays and doesn't play since he became blind. How do you know when it's time?

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
September 25, 2015

Patrice, The dog in the article was 10. Your dog is her own worst enemy.  She is not letting you treat her.  I would suggest trying some positive reinforcement with both the muzzle and the injection.  A small piece of cheese, or the canned Cheddar and Bacon squeeze cheese can be a treat that should not change her blood glucose a lot, but should give her some positive reinforcement for allowing you to do the injection and muzzle. I am sorry she is not being cooperative. Take care.

September 24, 2015

My 4 year old puggle was diagnosed with diabetes. She will not let us give her the needle. Everyone says just give her the injection but she is terrified, throws her head back and starts to bite. We are now trying to train her to put on a muzzle so we can attempt to give her the insulin. We love her and are trying to do the best for her but it is very hard. I read the article about your family member's dog. How old was the dog they decided not to treat? I feel so guilty that I am even thinking that way.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
September 23, 2015

Sandy, There is nothing wrong with using a soft muzzle to do his injections. I do think part of your problem might be that you are no longer able to give his injections subcutaneously, it sounds like they are going IM now, which is more painful.  With the muzzle, hopefully you will be able to return to the subcutaneous route (tenting the skin), therefore giving them with less pain. It might also be that your dog is more painful as he ages and needs some pain medication which  hopefully will make him less grumpy.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
September 23, 2015

Denise, Sasha is lucky to have you has an owner.  You have cared for her through several problems, none of which can be fixed, only managed.  Diabetics frequently don't feel good and there is a definite change in personality when they don’t feel good.  I would dare to say that her aggression is not going to lessen and will probably get worse. It is hard to make the decision to euthanize, especially if not all members of your family are on the same page in making the decision. This document on euthanasia from Veterinary Partner has a Quality of Life Scale.  I would suggest that each member of your family sit down and fill it out and compare what you find.  I also suggest that everyone mark on a calendar good days and bad days, then count them up rather than relying on memory from day to day. From your description, I don’t think Sasha is enjoying life right now.  And neither are you.  But, you cannot just discount your family's feelings, as everyone needs to come to terms with this to help maintain some peace in the family. Let us know how this goes, and if there is anything else we can do to help.

September 23, 2015

I'll try to keep this short. Sasha is a 12yr old toy poodle. My dearest companion. Diagnosed with diabetes mellitus about 8 months ago. Started special food which hurt her stomach, to much fiber for her so now she eats just weight control can food are gets 3 units of vetsilin twice daily. She has since lost most of her sight. Started hormones for wetting and not knowing it. Her vet had us just recently increase the hormone to twice a week. Worked for a while and then stopped working so she wore a baby diaper. She hates the diaper. Our financial situation has changed drastically, her insulin, needles, hormones oh and med for arthritis in hips has added to quite a sum of money. That's not the point. I would go without for her. We began seeing changes in her personality. She has always loved everyone including small children. She has bitten me, her mommy 6 times. The other night she tore into my husbands toe. She will viciously an aggressively go for our cat Chloeanne, they have been very close playmates since the day Chloe showed up at the back door as a starving 4 pound pregnant sick kitten that I took to the vet and she got well. Sasha spends a lot of time in her bed back in our bedroom, her and Chloe sleep in the bed with us though. Sasha has never spent much time in her own bed. I think it's time to peacefully let her go, even though it will break my heart, but I feel like she is suffering. The way she looks at me when I talk to her is heartbreaking. My husband and son say I will be killing a perfectly good dog. She has been the most wonderful dog. Our vet says it's a decision only we can make. I need help. By the way, I am the one who does everything for her. Very little help from anyone else. Please tell me what you think I should do for my sweet little girl. She has never been more than 10 pounds. Vet told me toy poodles are very prone to diabetes mellitus. I can't watch her suffer. What do you think I should do. I know it is ultimately my decision as she was given to me by my old employer when she was 7weeks old. Help me please..

September 22, 2015

My Italian Greyhound 15 yrs old has Cushings and diabetes. He has started reacting with growls and baring his teeth when time for his injection. He is also blind. He is fairly stable, still does his thing, has mapped the house, the yard, gets on and off beds and couches. But I am scared he is going to bite. He hasn't yet but he has hit my hand with his mouth. Would a soft muzzle be OK? As it is now I have to hope he is asleep or catch him unaware before I run out of time to give his injection. I can no longer tent the skin so I aim for the fatty neck or side of his hips. As he starts jumping around I often don't get all of it in. I tried the inflatable cone but he uses those long IG legs to paw it off. Appreciate any help. I have tried absolutely everything. When I have someone to hold him I can get it in but I'm worried he will bite them. I  live alone and very seldom have someone to help. Thank you in advance.

September 22, 2015

My dog Sara, was diagnosed with diabetes in 2011 when I got her from my parents, undulin twice a day 9mm. I retired 2013, she developed eye problems, had to go to an Opthamologist, she had glaucoma and wham, lost an eye thank God I'm healthy and got a payout from my company when I retired. Quickly I went through about $4000. 00. I'm currently treating Sara's good eye with 5 meds, 4 times a day and insulin twice a day. She might lose her one eye but I'm doing all I can to save it. I don't have kids, just 2 dogs and 2 cats oh and a husband, luckily everyone else is healthy.

Elizabeth Percy
September 14, 2015

Just to give a hopeful note to anyone new to doggie diabetes like me. Now I have to say that I am in a good place to do this being retired and a bit of a home bird anyways and this is no criticism of anyone who chooses not to commit to it. But I just wanted to say this need not be too bad. My labrador aged 12 has recently been diagnosed diabetic and I elected to give the insulin. First couple of injections I was terrified but after that I began to notice the change in Max, firstly he took the insulin well and as a labrador will eat anything so no food problems. Cabbage for a little treat works well. Then he started to sleep well again and not need help up the stairs so that made my life a little bit easier to compensate. Can't go out at 8pm so I have become a 'lady who lunches'lol. Now as I said it was easy for me but just to say if anyone is not sure whether to do it, then it is not all bad.

August 26, 2015

In humans, this is Type 1 Diabetes, wherein the beta cells of the pancreas are destroyed... this means no more insulin. You need insulin to break down all carbohydrates, which means you need insulin in order to to eat. Letting your dog die from lack of insulin would be insanely cruel. It is a long and painful death in which the body is starving, and so eats itself, until you are dehydrated skin and bones, chronically vomiting, with unquenchable thirst. I nearly died from T1D thirty years ago. If you don't want to treat your dog (and I certainly don't blame you, it's hell) please employ humane euthanasia.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
August 24, 2015

Elaine, No, you are definitely not alone!  It is never easy to decide not to treat.  KC was one of those animals who was his own worst enemy when it came to trying to help him. It is not like diabetes is a disease you can cure, you can only manage it and live with it forever, and it sounds like KC was not going to allow any management. Know that he is in a better place, feeling good, no more diabetes or hyperthyroidism.  He obviously knows you loved him, he followed you around to tell you so!  Not putting him through a bunch of treatment that he would have hated was a kindness, for both of you. Please take care of yourself, know that KC loved you, knew that you loved him, and that the guilt and pain will start to ease with time.

August 24, 2015

I am so glad I came across your page. As I sit here writing this message, I am crying like I have ever before. It has been 4 days since I had to make the choice to put my best friend to sleep, KC my 11 year old cat. Everything happened so fast and I am still trying to make sense of it all. He had hyper thyroid, weight 18 lb, main coon cat. He started to drop, look greasy, sleep all the time and would not jump up on things anymore. 2 months of this I took him to his Vet to learn he became diabetic as well as Hyper Thyroid. We got his Thyroid balanced with Hills Cat food YD but now this Diabetic issue. Almost $1,000 later over the last 3 months at the Vets, now I was confronted with sadness, I could not afford anymore testing. Also, he would not ever allow me to give him a needle, ever. He as the boss and I have been on medication for infections when he was mad and bit me. He was the best cat you could ask for, we talked, he followed me everywhere.. He was my support and I was his buddy too ( I am 55 ). I have gone through similar things with other cats and felt this too would be another 2 year struggle with the same results, send them to heaven... I am having such a hard time, filled with guilt ( why didn t I bring him home for a couple of days and spoil him ) I worry he knew I was crying and was scared.. I have so much quilt it is eating me inside.. After reading that others have and do feel this way I now know I am not the only one....

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
August 18, 2015

Robin, I am not sure of the diet your cat is on, but it is important to have your cat on a canned food diet.  You may be able to ameliorate the diabetes with canned food alone, at least for a time. If the canned food is not enough, she will continue to drink a lot, urinate a lot and lose weight.  She runs the risk of becoming ketoacidotic, which is life threatening. I understand not wanting to treat an animal that runs from you - it is heartbreaking.  She does not understand you are trying to help her and it is breaking your heart to have her run from you.  Not all animals are treatable for all diseases, it is just a fact of life. You have to decide if it is worth it, and if it is not, when her (and your) quality of life becomes such that euthanasia is the right answer for both of you. Please let us know how things are going.

Robin G
August 18, 2015

Hi, thank you for this article.  I had a cat years ago that I had to give insulin to twice a day. I would inject her while she was eating and she never flinched.  I now have another one, but she runs and hides as soon as I open the refrigerator.  I have not been able to give her the insulin for weeks now.  I hate this as I don't want her to suffer.  But if it is so traumatic for her to get the injections, is it worth it?  Is she suffering?  How do I know?  She drinks and urinates constantly and even though she eats fine, she is losing weight.  What happens if I do nothing?  Thank you for your help.

August 6, 2015

I have been checking my cat's urine with ketostix. Abby has had two negative/trace results which makes me very happy!  The change in her diet is working on her diabetes!  My Aunt told me to put a ladle or spoon under her to collect the urine. Easy!

August 30, 2015

I'm so glad I found your article.  I've been so stressed and heart broken about my cat.  He was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes three weeks ago.  I thought his excessive drinking had to do with me feeding him too much human canned tuna so I stopped feeding him that.  He stopped drinking water and everything seemed normal except when I performed the keto diastix urine test.  The results were always positively high for glucose but negative for ketones.  I took him to a holistic veterinarian and she said I had to deal with it: either put him down or give him insulin.  So I started giving him insulin shots last Friday, July 30.  He handled the first four shots well and didn't even seem to know he had been injected.  But on the 5th shot, he sat down when I gave him the injection and on the 6th shot, he cried and yelped a bit.  The 7th time (tonight), he kept moving away when I was trying to lift his skin for a shot so I gave up.  I contacted my petsitter, who sometimes has to give shots to the pets in her care and she told me that she did not enjoy giving cats shots because some of them would cry but she powered through by telling herself that it was for their own good and that was the only way they could survive.  I suppose I should do that but I cannot bear to hear my baby cry.  What should I do?  I'm giving him some herbal tinctures like Blood Sugar Gold but I don't know if they'll work.  My husband died 8 months ago and my cat has been my absolute greatest buddy through the difficult months.  I feel guilty for not forcing insulin on him and when I hear him cry, I feel guilty for forcing it on him.  Can you please advice?  I love him more than anything in the world.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
July 31, 2015

Drapes, If you leave her untreated for 14 days, she could get very sick, possibly die.  If a diabetic is hyperglycemic (has high blood sugar) for any length of time (and the length of time varies from diabetic to diabetic), they run the real risk of becoming ketoacidotic, which is life threatening and very expensive to treat. Can you find a boarding kennel that will give insulin injections?  Ask your vet if they know any pet sitters who are willing and able to give the insulin injections? I know you are in a very difficult position, it is hard to balance your needs with your cat's diabetic needs.  It is not easy, needing to be home every 12 hours, 7 days a week.

July 31, 2015

My 14 yr old part siamese was diagnosed with diabetes 5 months ago.  In Oct she was overweight at 15lbs and in Feb at diagnosis weighed 9 lbs.  She is stable now @ 12lbs on special diet and 2 shots/day.  I have to go out of town for 14 days and cannot afford to leave her at our vet and cannot find a sitter who will attempt the shots.  What will happen if she doesn't get her insulin for 14 days?

Ann Maidment
July 30, 2015

Our vet does not agree with our decision to euthanize a treasured cat (to us) due to a behavior issue. Our cat had anxiety for unknown reasons. Previously she had been a very well adjusted cat. We did lab work and had her thyroid tested. She had regular vet care always. Her last "episode" happened on the night of July 3 and my husband and I reluctantly decided we couldn't continue with this going on. It was a danger to us, our other cats physically and emotionally. We are riddled with guilt  wondering if we euthanized prematurely, should have tried more drugs, etc. But after a month of barricaded windows, wondering when the next outburst would happen, would I need stitches again due to her being scared and scaring the other cats…we decided that that night we had to euthanize. We feel such disapproval from the staff at the clinic that we're considering changing clinics. The outward deportment is acceptable but their underlying attitude is making us feel like we're being kicked while we're down. I tried to talk to our vet about his anger but he has not responded to that request. I'm old and I know when someone is livid even while conducting themselves correctly. This happened almost a month ago and there is not a day when my husband and I have not cried. Perhaps we made a decision too soon and perhaps we made a timely decision. I wish I understood the clinic's freezing out. We have been good customers for 9 years. I realize you do not have the full story as it would be quite lengthy. Thank you.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
July 29, 2015

Lindsay, To answer your question, yes, it is ok to euthanize a puppy that has a disease that you cannot cure and is hard/expensive/time consuming to treat. Not knowing anything about the testing that has been done on your puppy, I would want to get a second opinion on what could be going on, as diabetes insipidus is a pretty rare disease to begin with and even more rare in puppies.  There are many other conditions, treatable conditions, that can make your puppy drink and pee a lot. If it turns out your puppy does have diabetes insipidus, then it would not be wrong to euthanize him, but it would not hurt to look for a home for him, as long as you have fully disclosed his problems to any potential owners.

July 29, 2015

The doctor suspects that our puppy has diabetes insipidous. After careful consideration, my husband and I have decided if the vet determines this, we will not be able to care for the dog. Although we could technically afford the treatment, I am about to start grad school, we want to start a family, and we are trying to get ahead financially for OUR future. As insensitive as this sounds, can you choose to put a pet down if you choose not to treat their illness. He is not in a house that he can just roam and drink and pee all day and we are not compromising our own future for an animal that we have had for a month. I would like to find him a home, but it is unlikely because few people have the time and money to provide like that for a dog that is 11 weeks old! I love animals, and I don't want him to suffer, but I have to choose my own family over him. Is Euthanasia an option?

July 29, 2015

My cat, Abby, was just diagnosed with diabetes. She is 10 and a rescue. I am trying to control her with food changes.  The cost of insulin is SO out of control.  I love her, but can't justify the cost.  As long as she is happy and not suffering, we are both happy. When the time comes, I will do the humane thing.  Thank you for this site!

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
July 27, 2015

Yvonne, I am so sorry to hear of your difficulties with your dog.  While we all believe that we should be able to treat every animal, but it is not so.  Some patients are their own worst enemy when being treated for their disease.  Your dog sounds like he is one of those. He has lost half of his body weight, so the diabetes is not controlled and he feels ill. He is biting and upset twice a day and neither you, the dog or your husband are enjoying any of this.  If this were a temporary situation, if there was a cure in sight,  I would say to stick with it. But we all know, diabetes has no cure and there is no end in sight, only more twice a day injections with an upset biting dog. Sometimes the kindest thing we can do for our pets is to euthanize, so they are no longer sick, scared and biting.  He is not happy and he does not feel good; euthanasia is the best option.  You have tried to treat him, so it is ok to let go.  I also believe he will thank you for letting him go, as you will be releasing him from this physical and mental pain. Please take care and let us know what happens.

July 26, 2015

We have stopped been struggling with our nine and a half year old terrier mix for six weeks now. The first half I was giving the injections and it was quite a chore he is very high strung, and for the past 5 years the only way we've been able to do his nails is to take him to the vet where they sedate him and trim his nails, at the same time checking his teeth cleaning, checking his glands etc. The end of my time giving injections was when I had a hold of the collar and had given the injection but as soon as I let go he turned and bit me and left a deep puncture wound that they couldn't even close up due to risk of infection. I was on antibiotics and a tetanus shot, and cried at the thought of not being able to give him his shots. At that point my husband had to take over. he retrofitted the tip that covers the needle to leave only enough needle sticking out so that it would only go under the skin so he could be very quick and not have to make the tent and all the other stuff necessary to do a subcutaneous injection. Our poor baby has lost half of his bodyweight, and 2 days ago we couldn't give him an injection at all because he was very dangerous.   We tried to use leather gloves and we try to put a cone collar around his neck, but he has become very scary when we tried to give him his injection, and we researched and tried every trick in the book. I certainly don't want him to go blind and I don't want him to have other pot complications. But it's getting to be a very real danger to my husband and I. Where do we go from here? That stuff!

July 14, 2015

Thank you all for your input my cat spunky  is at an overnight visit for her first glucose curve- I've already spent $600 which I charged I can't afford the meds and the vet visits- I am so glad I found this site tomorrow. I'm going to get him -change his diet and that's the best I can do- I just talked to the vet and was crying like a baby wondering if I needed to put him down, but now I see I can just give him lots of water scoop a lot of pee and let him live out his life in peace thank you

July 6, 2015

I have a 16 year old toy poodle, 9 lbs who has been on insulin for 2 years. Most the time he has been good. In feb the bottom fell out: Ketoacidosis infection etc. The little fighter survived. Now he is having eyesight problems and I think just feeling old but his insulin needs are falling. In feb. 3 units 2x daily to 1 unit 2x daily. Is this possible? We going to vet today to check him since his 2 week reduction to 1 unit 2x day. He is being picky with his eating but he's old. Can this just be is end of days or things working a little better. He is a rescue and I have been taking care of him at my house for these years in rescue so he has a normal life as possible. I love to spoil my guys.

June 30, 2015

Thank you for this article. Your list of questions is exactly what I went thru today. I took my Nino, a twelve year old Shepherd mix in because he was having trouble going up steps, and panting a lot. Xrays showed arthritis in his spine. Today I got the call about diabetes and resulting infection, either bladder or's a blur now. He seemed fine on father's day. I appreciate how you listed all the other issues with twice a day injections. I'll be keeping an eye on him until our Friday appointment, hoping he's not hurting more

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
June 24, 2015

Whitney, I am so sorry to hear about your cat Jake.   It is so hard to decide what to do for him.  I also feel your pain, I too have dropped and shattered a $100 bottle of insulin! In the simplistic version of diabetes, the animal does not make enough insulin to keep the blood glucose (sugar) going into the body's cells to be used as energy for the cell.  We give insulin, the blood glucose can be absorbed by the body's cells and used for energy.  Seems simple, doesn't it? Well, quite frankly, it is not. Not only does your veterinarian have to decide how much insulin to give, but what kind.  There are several different kinds, and that is because they don't all work in all animals (same for people).  That is why Jake ends up going in for the glucose curve bloodwork to determine if the dose and type of insulin are working for Jake.  Sometimes our first educated guess is right and sometimes it is not, leading to more days in for more bloodwork. And it is almost impossible to look at the pet in front of us and say "this one is going to be the easy/hard one". Here is a handout from Veterinary Partner on diabetes.  There are actually many of them here, because it is NOT an easy disease to treat. There is nothing wrong with deciding that treating is not in the best interest of Jake (and you!).  If you decide not to treat, it is important to keep a calendar and mark them 'good Jake days' and 'bad Jake days'.  When the bad days outweigh the good, it is time to euthanize, for Jake's sake. I feel your pain, but I know you will make the decision that is best for you and Jake.  Take care and feel free to write back.

June 23, 2015

It helps that I have read this. My cat, Jake 15, was diagnosed 3 wks ago. I had to save up for one week in order to pay for the insulin, he was on it for 7 days when I dropped the bottle and it shattered. I am completely stressed with the path my vet has chosen. Retest after 10 days on insulin and the next 10 days he spends the whole day at the office while they test every 2 hrs, while they determine the proper dosage. The time he was getting the insulin he didn't seem to improve at all. The time, energy, and money I have spent so far doesn't seem to help. I wonder if he is too far gone for it to make a difference with this extended plan; his numbers were in the 400's (whatever thus means).I am so battling the decision to let the disease run its course and wait for "the sign" or to treat. I don't want to put him through extra stress for the same outcome.

June 22, 2015

Thanks so much for this article! I have a 14 yr old cat, Wednesday, that I'm certain has diabetes. She has the excessive thirst and frequent urination but is eating ok and doesn't seem to be in pain. She doesn't seem as active but not unhappy. There has never really been a question for me to treat or not because she's almost feral (I found her as a kitten). Although she's ok with me, she's vicious with everyone else, including the vet. So she hasn't been in years because they couldn't even examine her. It didn't seem to make sense to put her through it just to get pinned on a table under a towel. She's an inside cat and luckily she's been super healthy her whole life! But sadly, there is no way she will tolerate me giving her shots. And strangely, as much as I love her and can't even imagine life without her without tearing up, I actually don't feel too guilty about the decision. I would feel worse putting her through the confusion and stress of attempting injections (no pain for her because it would never happen). But I am attempting to change her diet which I'm hoping will help! And as long as she doesn't seem in pain and is eating, I will love her and pet her and kiss her for as long as I can. My mother passed away in Hospice care 2 years ago. It taught me a very hard lesson that sometimes it's more compassionate to just let go. Good luck to everyone here who is struggling! Thank you for sharing your stories!

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM
June 18, 2015

Heather, My heart goes out to you as you deal with the loss of your dog.  In reading your letter, I would say you are one dedicated pet owner; you helped her through a lot of illnesses.  And the bravest, most dedicated thing you did was to let her go when her quality of life was poor, which from your description, it was.  You did the best for your dog, you miss her, but know that she is in a better place, pain free.  She knows you loved her! Thankfully the sheer intensity of the pain will lessen, and your memories of her will always remain. Take care of yourself. Teri

June 17, 2015

With great sadness, I just had our English Mastiff of 6 1/2 years put down just last week. She was a rescue which made the decision even more difficult. At 6 weeks she had a hernia repair. At 5 months her skin began to split and bleed and her diet was adjusted for allergies. She wouldn't gain weight and was covered in hives 24/7. She was poked, scraped, dipped, given all over counter allergy meds, serums and injections until 2. After some serious testing, we found out she had a severe allergy to a natural occurring fungus/mold in the soil. She was placed on prednisone daily from there on out. At 4 her hip dysplasia was discovered and at 5 she could get around only by dragging a limb. At 6 she fell ill and was diagnosed with diabetes. Long story short, she could not be regulated no matter what. Her bad days far outweighed her good days and after 4 months of considering euthanasia, I followed through. Another poster mentioned that we all value our dogs differently. I can say that I have already been placed on a sedative to keep me calm because the week before and this week has been the most awful thing I have ever been through and I'm in my 40's. Making that decision made me feel like a jerk, like I gave up but I'm beginning to remember just how much she struggled. She was miserable and suffering just so I could have her here. I was more selfish letting her struggle. She slipped into Ketoacidosis once and almost did again. Her injections, glucose monitoring, skipping meals for a day or 2 and constant peeing and panting was not what my dog wanted. The day I took her she spent all day happy as a lark. She almost seemed to smile all day. Look, to each their own. I didn't have it in me to stick her one more time when it was never going to improve her quality of life. My VET said out loud that she would support any decision I made and not fault me. I'm thankful for that because when I finally decided, she told me that she worried what other medical issues would arise over the next ueat and said not "what if" it as a matter of "when." Stay strong. It has been 6 days and I'm beginning to see clearly my decision I made where I dont feel guilted so badly. I wont lie, the first 72 hours after euthanasia is devestating if you choose that path. I have to remember and be thankful that I was blessed by her for 6 years. I rescued her and she was my 3rd child. I pampered her and loved her more than I thought I could ever love a pet. She was my Best friend. I loved her too much to see her suffer.  Best of luck to anyone struggling with this decision. No decision is the wrong decision when it is yours to make.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
April 16, 2012

BeeHa, I feel your pain.  It is always a hard decision to make and having a pet that does not like car rides makes it that much more difficult. I think you have a couple of options: 1.  Find a vet who will make a house call to euthanize your cat.  She would not have to leave the house and it would be more peaceful.  Your current vet may offer this service. Some do, some don't. 2.  Talk with your vet about a sedative that you can either give orally (or by injection since you are used to doing those) that would allow her to be calm before the car ride. Personally I think option one is your best bet. I wish you luck with Jewels and your decision.

April 15, 2015

Our cat Jewels is 15 years old. She was diagnosed with diabetes over a year ago.  I searched around online and found out that by feeding her Fancy Feast Classic twice a day, she would recover. I was shocked that this actually seemed to work! She lost a ton of weight, she was 17 pounds and went down to 10 pounds. We did the insulin shots until they were down to barely anything and I couldn't even tell if  I gave her the shot or not. Well, now she doesn't look very well at all and is probably only four pounds or less. It is an ordeal to get her to the vet because she hates going. She is very skittish and scared and just likes to be home. You would think we were hurting her every time we gave her that shot or put her in her cage to go to the vet. So my husband and I decided to let her live out her life and just die naturally. Well, she sure looks terrible but doesn't seem to be in pain. She eats, throws up a bunch of liquid, drinks, and pees a lot, but she still likes to get petted and meows loud for her food when it's not put out right away. So now what do I do? I don't want to take her to the vet since she hates it so much. She will more than likely be euthanized at the vet if we take her there on her last legs, so we don't want to put her through a terrible car ride. We want her to be comfortable at home. Please help with a suggestion as to how to make sure she is comfortable because I know the time is coming soon.

April 11, 2015

My dog of 8 years was diagnosed with diabetes this week. He also has a mast cell tumor that is steadily growing in size. I've considered euthanasia but like many others who have commented, I feel guilted by my vet. This is the second round of tumors. Unlike the first round which contained three tumors, we are not going to have the surgery for our aging furry friend. His blood work doesn't show any impact of the diabetes and mast cell tumors on his organs - even though he is experiencing increased thirst, heavy panting at night, reclusive behavior, etc. I want to euthanize now.. While I'm strong enough to be level headed about it. If I wait for the illness to take its course, making the decision to euthanize destroy me. But that's right now. Tomorrow, I'll feel the opposite. Thanks for writing an article that doesn't shame me for struggling with what so many others have felt.

Tonia Dedmon 
April 10, 2015

I am really thankful i found this web site. My precious 10 yr old male basenji was diagnosed with diabetes 2 months ago. I have been giving injections. now he acts like i am killing him with every stick. i have been in tears many mornings lately. Vet had no pointers and seemed very uninterested. i have been considering stopping treatment, with much sorrow and guilt. I have also been dealing with severe health issues of my own. This is too stressful, and i am overwhelmed.

March 23, 2015

Thanks for this. I am sitting next to my beloved 13yo beagle who has a collapsing trachea an enlarged heart, an enlarged spleen, and fluid in/around the lungs that did not respond to antibiotics and now not responding to lasix. Her quality of life and my money are both considerations here and I think my vet gets that.

Christine Walls 
March 22, 2015

After the events of the last 3 weeks I felt it important that I add my comments to this forum - that really helped me with my sweet little dog Rico who was diagnosed with diabetes 3 weeks ago.  All the questions listed were the exact questions that I had.  We decided not to administer the insulin based on his age, yes...the cost and the fact that we didn't think we would be able to handle the huge responsibility of injections twice a day.  I too prayed that I would know when the time was right and I sure did know.  He became very weak, lethargic, lost weight and muscle mass and stopped wanting to eat., all in 3 weeks. We used baby diapers for him and that worked very well.  We also had an amazing Vet who charged us $130.00 to euthanize him.  We brought him to our farm and buried him with his bed, blanky and favourite toy doggie.  The sun came out just then!  Although I was devastated, as soon as he was down, I felt a HUGE sense of relief.  We were blessed to have him and looking back I am glad we made the decisions we did. Faith helps too!

March 21, 2015

I feel so sad, I guess I have made a mistake by having 3 beautiful dogs that are my family, but I can no longer avoid the high cost of veterinary care because of unforeseen problems in our lives....job loss, forced retirement, human illness, the list goes on.  I can't seem to visit the vet even for routine annual health visits (which I have done regularly for each dog without fail)for less than $100-$200.  I can manage that but one little illness is now enough to put us without groceries. I just had to come up with over $400 to have a broken nail with an exposed quick taken care of.  Second time in one year.  Last year it was a $2100 surgery for another dog.  If one ever has a serious illness there will be no choice but euthanasia, but how can you even consider that for such a simple problem as a toenail? and you can't just let them suffer?  Vets will say "oh, you can pay with care credit" but there comes a point where charging medical care for your pet becomes irresponsible.  I just don't know what to do any more other than watch over them like a hawk and pray for their wellness, I can't just give them away now that they are reaching their senior years :(

Annette Murrow 
March 17, 2015

Thank you I read your article and it has helped me to make a hard decision for a 14 year old dog that has been my close friend. I do not want her time left being hurt with shots and taking blood test so I have decided to make her life easy as long as she is not in   pain we will spend her time together.

March 15, 2015

Wow, such stories and I'm so sorry for all in concern. I have my own story and hope it does some good for someone and their pet. My son and I are co-owners of a dog who is a diabetic that was diagnosed close to 2 yrs. ago. Yes, my dog peed a lot and drank gallons of water as well as fell into a tired all the time slump. When I figured something was wrong, I researched symptoms and came up with diabetes. Next we went to the vet and was properly diagnosed. [Editor's note: A sentence referencing specific product and store names was deleted in accordance with the VetzInsight anti-commercial policy.] Anyway, I've worked in the medical field most of my adult life and had given plenty of injections to humans. I got used to giving injections to my dog and there is absolutely no pain if it's done right. My dog caught on quickly that in the morning he goes out to do his business and by a certain time he eats, drinks and immediately gets his injection followed by two small treats. His food is measure out and he eats twice a day always at the same time. So for him, this is all second nature by now and he's totally into the swing of it and does fine. He's nosey and likes to turn his head to watch me inject him, lol...he's really good about it all probably because his treats are the best part of it. Learn well in how to give the injection, become confident in doing so and everyone will be fine. We purchase his kibble from a high-end pet supply but it's the best for him and his needs. He also has an autoimmune disease and he takes a pill 3 times a week as prescribed for life. He's happy, full of life, a real trooper and a great companion. We love him, know how to care for him and have decided to commit ourselves to his issues and try not to let his issues run our lives into the ground. If you take control of your dog or cats situation and determine that their issue will become a small part of your day, then it works. The money can be tough but use all supplies sparingly and be careful to shop around for the best prices. We don't constantly check his urine but make sure he goes to the vet when something comes up that we know is not part of his normal healthy daily routine. Good luck everyone. Everyone also has their limitations financially, emotionally, physically and not all of us value our pets the same. We've been careful in all of our decisions having weighed everything out and considered our lives too. It has to work for everyone involved in order to lessen the stress that these situations can put on you.

March 14, 2015

My 12 year old beloved Noah was just diagnosed yesterday and I have been up all night!!! I love he and his 15 year old sister Chloe more than life itself! my vet asked me to come in today to show me how to stick Noah and I just can't do it! I wanted to be a nurse but I can't deal so I've decided to just let Noah be and pray I know when to have him euthanasied. I'm glad I found this site as I too suffer from the guilt of not having the wherewithal I need to give Noah a better life.

March 10, 2015

Thank you. My baby Parker (cat) who is just shy of 10yrs old was diagnosed with FD a week ago, and I thought I could do this, and then the signs of the illness just started compounding.  He has a serious gum disease that also needs to be treated and he has never responded well to medication, not even flea drops. He has started to become angry, depressed and just isn't enjoying life. I looked at his sweet face and asked myself "How can I expect my beloved companion to venture down such a long road of suffering and treatments knowing he doesn't respond well?" It is so hard to say goodbye and watch the hours tick by. The day to day stress with little signs of improvement is taking its toll on my family and my health. The success stories of others makes you happy yet fills you with guilt.  I am so great full to have found a post showing the other side of pet owners who truly love their pet and would love nothing more then to be able to see them through this, but at what cost.  Not all pets respond the same and not all owners can go through this lifelong commitment.  I will miss him, and know in my heart I did right by him.  He is a good boy and doesn't deserve to suffer...its too hard either way.  So thank you again.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
March 5, 2015

Cathy, My heart goes out to you, losing your kitty Gus!  Please try to let go of the guilt, as Gus is in a better place.  You made the right decision for both of you and that is important.  He knows how very much you loved him. I am so glad that the vet came to your house to euthanize, it is truly an amazing service that some vets can offer.  It is more peaceful for both you and your cat. Take care. Thinking of you from Wyoming.

March 5, 2015

Dr. Teri:  Thanks so much for your comments, they really helped. Gus was put to sleep on Feb. 27th and of course it was heartbreaking! I couldn't even bring myself to take him to the Vet, so I had the Vet come to my home.  He was given something to sedate him, before the lethal injection. But, I was there with him as he passed and as hard as it has been, since he has been gone I can see with the litter boxes just how much he was going and he had to be miserable to some degree! I have to say that treating him for 40 days was not easy and he didn't really seem to improve at all.  I appreciate what people who decide to treat a cat that is diabetic go thru.  I just couldn't see putting him through it anymore.  Again, thanks for the article and comments.  I do feel some guilt, but in my heart I know I did the right thing for him.

February 28, 2015

My cat is about 21 YO. He has been grossing me out for about the last 2 years with his litter box habits and overall old cat smell. He does not appear sick and still eats and drinks a lot. However, as a meticulously neat person, his habits are gross and I am really beginning to resent him. I feel guilty thinking about euthanasia since he does not seem sick-just gross. Not sure what to do but am tired of coming home to pieces of poop here and there.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
January 26, 2015

Cathy, If Gus is vomiting, he sure does not feel good.  Is it pain like a broken bone type of pain?  No, but more like having the flu would be for us.  Nausea is not something most would care to live with forever, so his quality of life is probably not very good right now. There is nothing wrong with not treating, you really have to do what is best for Gus AND you!  Your quality of life counts too! From your description of Gus vomiting, losing 5 pounds and sleeping a lot, it might very well be time to euthanize him, and truly, that is ok!  Diabetes is not an easy disease, if it were we would not have doctors who specialize in treating diabetes, both human and animal. Gus is lucky to have you as an owner, as it is clear that you do care about him! Good luck and let me know what you decide.

January 26, 2015

Dr. Teri:  Can you tell me the answer to the question that you say owners ask, about are the in pain? I have been told by others that they are not, but if I decide not to treat anymore, is the right thing to put them to sleep right away or will they have some "good" life left.  Gus, my cat, has lost 5 lbs (which he needed to lose weight), drinks a lot, he eats pretty good and he lays around sleeping a lot.  So, if you don't treat is there a "time" when you just know?  Are there other signs of distress?  I have been giving insulin shots for 9 days now, but he's been sick (vomiting) and I've missed with the shot once, stuck myself once and didn't get the shot in on time.  I don't want Gus to suffer.  Other websites practically make you feel worthless if you don't treat you cat!  And Gus is not going to be replaced.  No animal can be replaced when you have suffered a loss!!  But, I just need to know about the pain and quality of life issue.  So far you are the only one that has been totally honest.  Thank you!

January 23, 2015

Thank you Dr. Teri for your comment back to me.  Gus and I have done the insulin every 12 hours for 7 days now, but to be honest, the testing of his blood (???), the vet also said nothing about.  And now I am wondering after reading more about the expense of strips.  Then the possibility of urine testing as well, is causing me more stress than you can imagine! But, the decision to stop seems like a cop out on my part.  Honestly, I just want to cry!  He has been pretty good with morning injections, but he has caught on the evening ones and runs away.  It doesn't seem to hurt him, but I also have petted him after a shot, only to find him damp...meaning I think I have  missed or not gotten it all in.  I am really beside myself in what to do.  I am going to make another vet appointment, but if I decide not to continue treatment, I know I will feel guilty, but I'm also not sure that I can do all that is required (from what I have read) either.  But, really just wanted to post back a thank you for responding.  It helps to hear from an actual Vet!!!

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
January 20, 2015

Cathy, I am so sorry to hear about your cat and the difficulties with conversing about it with your veterinarian.  I think veterinarians sometimes forget that we are talking with non-medical people in our exam room. It is not too late to decide you are not going to treat your cat.  It can be expensive and it certainly ties you down.  I euthanized my clinic cat who was diagnosed with diabetes. I could not be tied to my clinic every 12 hours, 7 days a week.  She also did not have a great quality of life when she was diagnosed, but that is not why I euthanized her. Make another appointment with your vet to discuss your concerns.  In the meanwhile, here is some good reading material. and I wish you luck with your cat.  Please let me know how things go for you.

January 17, 2015

I was searching the internet for answers and came across your article and have read all the comments.  I currently have 9 cats (due to people dumping them over the years when most were kittens)!  One cat got an FIV diagnosis 10 years ago and we have not treated anything and he is doing good.   He is older now and I know the day is coming but couldn't bare to put him to sleep at the time of diagnosis because he had no symptoms. Now he no longer grooms himself, but is generally still a happy cat.  Yesterday, one was diagnosed with diabetes.  The vet did not discuss anything with me except how to give insulin shots.  His first was this morning. I read the sheet that came with the insulin and found out all the things that can occur by giving him insulin.  I was shocked.  Would I have put him down at the Vet's office if I had known more, probably not, but being so shocked after reading about it this morning, I wonder now.  He seems good, but will he have a seizure, go blind, not be able to walk right, etc.  I can be here for the 2 dose a day every 12 hours, but am scared to death of what he may or may not react to!!  I wish my Vet would have done a better job of explaining.  And I also wish he would have given me time to decide whether to treat or not to treat, but he didn't.  Instead I came out with insulin, needles and a $330.00 bill.  I don't even know at this point if I can continue knowing what I know now, but I least for the next 50 days (that is how long the insulin will last) or the next vet trip in 3 weeks that will be $150.00 bill.  I am unemployed and my mother is paying the expenses, not just for one, but for all 9 and me!  So confused at this point!!!

Colleen Champagne 
December 21, 2014

My 9 year old miniature pincher was diagnosed with diabetes 3 weeks ago and it's such a struggle emotionally, physically, we can't get him regulated on a diet he's on his second round of antibiotics, he's constantly urinating and drinking water, he will only eat once a day so we can only give insulin once a day and I'm feeling at my wits end he's also waking me up every hour of the night I'm so tired, I love my little guy so much but I'm emotionally drained:((

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
November 25, 2014

Jen Wow!  $15k on your cat.  That is a lot of money in anyone's book; I certainly could not afford that. There is nothing wrong with putting your cat down when you can no longer afford to treat.  Nothing wrong!  Also, given that your cat still has a blood glucose of 389, he is not well controlled, so I am betting you are also dealing with issues of his poor health. We would like to believe that diabetes is an easy disease: they need insulin, we give insulin, and everything works out okay.  Well, the truth is, it is not that simple.  It is not that simple in humans, dogs or cats.  I know this as a veterinarian who has treated many diabetics, as well as seeing the sheer volume of questions asked of our veterinary endocrinologists on VIN.  It sounds like your cat has drawn the short straw and is not easily controlled. If you have reached your financial limit, that is ok.  You have spent a lot of money and still have a poorly regulated cat.  Pulling more out of your retirement fund is not good for you and your future.  Your life is important as well and being able to take care of yourself now and in the future trumps just about everything else. Talk to your vet and lay it out that you just cannot do this any more.  Be honest with them, but firm.  It is your cat, your money and your future.  Most veterinarians are reasonable people and will understand when you have reached your limit, after all they have limits as well.  And if your veterinarian just cannot see this, ask a friend which vet they use and go see them. Take care please let me know how things go. 

November 25, 2014

This was a helpful article for me. So far, we've spent 15k on our diabetic cat and drowning in credit card debt because of it.  I even withdrew from my 401k to take care of my cat.  His glucose is still at 389 after 4 years of insulin, vet visits, tests and proper nutrition.  I feel hopeless at this point and am spending $ from my retirement fund -- a decision I hope I will not regret.  I feel my vet looks down upon me because I'm considering euthanasia and I'm guilted out of it by her every time I mention it. I am very torn because I have never been put in the position for having to euthanize for financial reasons -- it's always because of an extreme medical emergency or the pet was so old, we just knew it was time.  This area is so gray, that a new version of  a crayon needs to be created to even give this horrible decision a name.

November 20, 2014

My dog Odie is 11 years old and was diagnosed with diabetes 2 years ago. We have been treating him with insulin over the last 2 years and have had to increase frequently to maintain his blood sugar curve. He now receives 38 units twice per day. Along with his diabetes he has discoid lupus on his nose, he is blind and one of his eyes recently has begun to shift and we can barely see the eyeball anymore. He also has arthritis so we can no longer take him on walks. He lies around all day and seems unhappy. I feel like his time has come because he no longer has a good quality of life, but then he still wags his tail when he hears me and I am having a hard time making the decision. I also feel like I can't make the decision to take his life. What will happen if I stop his insulin? Will he pass peacefully or will he be in pain and suffer? It is tearing me apart because he seems so sad all the time.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
November 12, 2014

Casey, I feel your pain.  Diabetes is a disease that can be easy to treat but there are a lot of cases, where it is not.  We get dozens of questions every day from veterinarians to our veterinary specialists about patients they are having a hard time getting control of the blood glucose in a diabetic animal.  Sadly, when an animal is hard to treat, it of course makes it more expensive and harder to live with.  And, sadly, there is no way to know which animal is going to be the animal that is hard to control without just trying treatment. There  has to be quality of life for you, your fiance, you children and Jerzie.  I do think that if you decide to not treat any more, you have the option of euthanizing right away or waiting until your dog does not feel well.  It is a very personal decision, one that only you and your family can make.  My sister did say she waited too long with her diabetic dog to euthanize, but making that call is ALWAYS hard.  ALWAYS! There is nothing wrong with deciding not to treat any more.  You have tried, and she is not an easy case based on what you have told me here.  Each family's right thing differs and your vet should support your decision one way or another.  Jerzie knows you have tried. Here is an article from our Veterinary Partner database on the Hard to Regulate Diabetic Dog.  Maybe you can glean something from this.  And talk to your vet.  I wish you luck and please let me know what happens.

November 11, 2014

We have a 7 year old black lab who was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus 8 weeks ago.  We have already undergone 3 glucose curve tests, been instructed to purchase prescription dog food and have modified her insulin intake, per her vet's instructions, 5 separate times.  Sadly, she has started experiencing severe hypoglycemic attacks about 2 hours after her insulin injections.  The first attack happened on a weekend, so we were able to give her Karo syrup to get her levels stabilized, but it begs the question of what if it happens while we're away during the day at work?  In the past week and a half, she has gone from a random hypoglycemic attack here and there to having two in the evening alone the past two nights.  Each night I come home from work after picking up my daughter from school, I'm having her to go upstairs so I can check the laundry room to make sure our dog is still alive before my daughter  sees her first.  I'm battling with my fiance who is mad at the vet for not knowing how to get her levels under control, and is suggesting we stop giving her insulin altogether.  Between office visits to the vet, glucose curve tests, insulin, syringes and prescription food, we have spent over $1,500.00 in the past 8 weeks alone, with no real grasp on stabilizing her condition in the near future or knowing if we're even on the right track.  We have had to close off our second floor, so Jerzie doesn't climb upstairs while she's feeling well, then have a drop in sugar while trying to get back downstairs.  She's now been confined to the laundry room during the day just to keep her safe as she tends to wander restlessly during her hypoglycemic episodes, falling and bumping into furniture in her disoriented state.  This is a dog who has never had an accident in the home or chewed anything that didn't belong to her.  She is the perfect dog, but I'm battling with the question of what kind of life is this for her, or our family for that matter?  We have essentially become hostages in our own home because we have to make sure she eats and gets her insulin on time, and now we must monitored her up until at least 9 p.m. to make sure we can provide Karo if her levels drop again.  I want to give her every opportunity to fight this and live as much of a normal life as I can, but I'm wondering if this is our new reality.  Does this diagnosis mean we now are faced with what we've experienced in the past 8 weeks as our new schedule or is this just a breaking in period and once we're able to find the right dosage, she'll be fine? Is it more humane to stop the insulin injections or euthanize?  If we stop the insulin injections, she will develop UTIs, which is what triggered the need for the visit to the vet in the first place.  I'm truly at a loss and do not know what to do.  I feel tremendous guilt over even considering other options only 8 weeks in.  My heart is breaking for her, and I just want to do the right thing.  

September 8, 2014

I am in the unenviable position of having a relatively young dog with a chronic condition.  He is and continues to be a wonderful addition to our family,  we love him.  However he suffers from extreme allergies which result in chronic recurring ear infections and pyoderma.  While we have willingly and lovingly treated him for over 2 1/2 years, I can honestly say it is truly wearing us down.  He must eat a specific kibble which costs approximately $150 every 2-3 weeks.  He is on both an antihistamine and steroid daily.  He requires bathing several times per week (not an easy task as he weighs 90 pounds).  We have spent thousands of dollars...and I do mean thousands, trying to treat his ear/eye and skin infections.  While I love this dog, I have to ask myself if I can afford to let him bankrupt our family.  We are in an impossible position. And all possible alternatives continue to be on the table.  When we purchased him, we were fully prepared to take on the normal expenses associated with a dog, however unexpected vet bills of $300-$400 many times per year (in addition to the food) throws our family budget out the window.  I sympathize with anyone who is going through the same situation.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
August 15, 2014

Andrea, You changed her diet and since the weight came back, you got at least partial control of the diabetes.  You have gotten another year with your cat, hopefully a quality year.  I can more than understand your not being able to treat her, I have had several cats with the same "peevish" disposition.  I  completely understand! Living with your cat is supposed to be a pleasure for both of you.  From your description, it does not sound pleasant for either of you.  It might be that a trip to the vet would point out something that can be treated, but if you cannot treat, then quality of life for both you and your cat has to be considered and you may very well be at the point of euthanasia. You are very right, no one makes these decisions lightly.  No one! My heart goes out to you.  I know you will make the decision that is best for you and your cat.

August 12, 2014

I appreciate the fact that I stumbled across this article today.  There is a huge amount of guilt across the internet and in some vet offices given to parents of fur babies who struggle with the choice to treat or not to treat, or to euthanize.  This was the first article on the subject that didn't make me feel guilty about the choices I'm making. I had three cats.  One died at home in my arms - she had terrible liver cancer (it was about a week from dx to death).  Another had a tumor that I had removed twice (it came back) and he's surviving. The third I am currently struggling with.  She got the diabetes dx a little over a year ago, and I had to make the decision to not treat.  I knew I couldn't afford the shots and visits over and over again.  I knew she would hate the visits (she's not the warm/fuzzy feeling cat like my others were), and it would be impossible for me to give her shots - (a) I would need help - she's large and strong, and (b) her disposition is "peevish" at best.  If it was pills, I could do something about it.  I chose a change in diet to help.  She lost weight, and seemed to be doing better. The weight has come back.  She's now urinating and defecating anywhere besides the litter box.  I'm at my wits end.  It's a lot of stress to watching out for her, scrubbing carpets and floors every couple of hours.  I'm getting angry and I don't want to be.  She's not doing it intentionally. Is this the point I start considering euthanasia?  I don't want to.  But I also don't want to spend the rest of the time we have together (she's 15 years old already) to be angry where I'm mad and she's wary of me. These are terrible decisions to have to make, and no one makes them lightly.

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
May 16, 2014

Beau, I would say, based on your comments, that you don't believe your dog has a good quality of life right now.  When I find myself in these types of situations, I ask myself "is my dog having more good days than bad?"  When my pets tip over to the more bad days than good, that is my signal that their quality of life is poor, and the kindest thing I can do for my pet is to euthanize.  It is very hard, it is NEVER an easy decision, but it is the kindest decision.  You have my heartfelt sympathy as you travel this road with your buddy of 10 years.

May 15, 2014

Our miniature schnauzer was diagnosed with diabetes two years ago.  He's now totally blind and he has to wear a diaper to prevent him having accidents.  We've recently had to move into a new home due to school districts.  He's not doing well.  He can't find his food and is having problems walking around.  I hate this as he's been a part of our family for 10 years.  I know the next step is putting him to sleep, but I'm constantly asking myself if it's the right thing to do...

Teri Ann Oursler, DVM 
April 1, 2014

Kelsi, I am sorry you are having to go through this illness with your best friend, it is NEVER easy! Please, be at peace with your decision, as you are in the best position to know what is best for you, your family and your dog.

April 1, 2014

Thank you! I have seen four vets over the past 11 months and none of them have the understanding that you expressed here. I will spare you my whole, rambling personal experience, but in less than a year my 6 year-old best friend has gone from a healthy dog to one with diabetes mellitus, epilepsy (grand mal and focal seizures; unrelated to hypoglycemia), and cataracts rapidly progressing toward blindness. Every single vet we have seen treats me like I'm a monster for even considering not treating him. It would absolutely destroy me, but thank you for acknowledging that it is a valid (and sometimes the best) choice. It eases my heart a little to know there's at least one vet out there who understands.

Bartholomew Oliver 
January 9, 2014

A great vet once told me in these difficult situations "its impossible to make the wrong decision as long as its made with love instead of convience, selfishness or greed- even if you think later it was the wrong decision. Any decision made with love will be the right decision, regardless of the "woulda coulda shouldas".

Margaret Brown-Bury 
December 6, 2013

Great article, and very timely as well. I very recently had two new diabetes cases, both cats. In both cases I supplied the client with information to take home and consider with their families. One decided to treat, one did not. And I fully support both decisions. The understanding that not everyone can take on the task of a chronic disease is a very important part of veterinary medicine, I think. Someone commented about responsibility to care for the pet - I believe the responsibility is to provide the best care you can and prevent suffering, and that doesn't have to mean treating. Most of my clients do not chose euthanasia over treatment lightly. But for some the reality is they cannot manage thetreatment - most commonly I run into this with elderly clients who have physical limitations, but other factors can play a role. Not long ago I was a single woman living in a new city with an elderly cat. If he had diabetes, I don't know that I could have treated him. Sure, as a vet I could take him to work.... But what kind of life would that be for him? He hated car travel, refused to pee at the clinic even if I was there for 12 hours, and I work shift work and do on call, so being home for his insulin injections would have been near impossible on a regular basis. I strongly believed the responsible thing would have been to euthanize, had he developed diabetes. Skin disease is another one I have clients struggle with... It can take a lot of financial and time commitment to sort out and manage skin disease, and a lot of personal factors can play a part in that decision. It's always important to be able to try to walk in someone else's shoes. As veterinarians we have to be honest with our clients about the realities of ALL their options, including choosing not to treat. As pet owners and animal lovers we have to accept and appreciate that everyone's personal situation is unique, and not being able to choose to treat does not mean someone cares less about their pet.

Dr. Teri Ann Oursler 
November 18, 2013

Shirley, In Buzz's case, money was never the issue - the owners' schedules were the deciding factor. It is very unlikely that either of them would be at home every 12 hours every day during the work week, and insulin must be given on an exact schedule to achieve regulation. Both my sister and brother-in-law have long work days that they did not have when they got the dogs. While we veterinarians can usually bring our sick dogs to work, that's not an option for most people. Buzz will be euthanized as soon as his health is impacted. But this is my point: deciding to treat or not treat a chronically ill pet is a decision owners are allowed to make for themselves. Veterinarians aren't the ones who have to alter their schedules 24/7/365: it is a significant commitment for owners. If they feel they cannot provide the care that is required, it's better to euthanize the pet than have it suffer from recurring and life-threatening episodes.

November 16, 2013

Being unable to treat DM? I feel that should not be a choice. The dog will be blind soon and a Blind JR is so unfair to the dog. Insulin is not that expensive, If it were bone cancer that is one thing but DM? How are these parents being good examples to their children? Every dog must be microchipped and given a debit card with cash added in, every holiday for future veterinary care.

Dr. Teri Ann Oursler 
November 14, 2013

I do think that the majority of people do make the right decision.  In 19 years of practice, I never had someone put an animal down because it was easier or cheaper to get a new one.  I believe most people are good and they do the right thing.

Mary Jo 
November 14, 2013

Dr. Oursler, I agree 100% that it is a personal decision and hopefully most people do make the responsible one.  What concerns me is how often you hear  pets being treated as replaceable objects.  Dog or cat too old or sick, don't invest, just get a new one. It just saddens me to think that this is the fate of many pets. My husband & I have a Weimaraner that will be 14 years old next month. He has his share of medical issues but is certainly not suffering. He still enjoys us and life and we cherish every minute with him.  Sure we have made sacrifices, both financially and with our time but he is so worth it. Your right, it's our decision and we would not have it any other way.

Dr. Teri  Ann Oursler
November 12, 2013

Mary Jo, Thank you for your comments.  I contend that the entire article is about responsibility. The article is not about abandoning the pet, but making the very best decision possible, even though there are times that our very best is to not treat.

Mary Jo 
November 12, 2013

Very interesting article. I believe one important point was left out. Responsibility.  While I am not sitting in judgment of others, surely we are all aware that someday our pet will get sick. Shouldn't we be prepared to care for a pet that has given us their whole life. While I realize this is easier for some than others, our pets are not disposable. What are we teaching our children by not treating a beloved pet. Sacrifice is too hard -- rearranging our schedule too difficult. I am not condoning letting a pet suffer but I will say that as we accept their unconditional love, we own them our very best. Aren't they worth it?

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