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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 pm 
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Artisan Hunter
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So a couple of months ago my mini schnauzer pup who just turned 9 was diagnosed with diabetes. We have to give him insulin twice a day and are still trying to get it under control as it's still a bit on the high side. This past Wednesday night we noticed he seemed to be having trouble seeing and by this morning his eyes have turned completely white. We saw the vet who assured us that most dogs with diabetes will develop cataracts and it can onset very quickly like it did in my little guy. It is treatable with surgery, but that costs $4000 which I do not even come close to having. She assured me that he can still live a happy and healthy life with the vision loss, but it will take him some time to adjust. He seems to be improving and we watch him closely, but he keeps running into things and even tried to jump on the nightstand when he mistook it for the bed. Needless to say I feel pretty bad that I cannot do more for him and was wondering if any of you have ever had to deal with this and if you found anything that helped your pup aside from surgery?

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2/23/15 - updated post later in the thread
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Last edited by Rhapture on Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:20 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Blindness....
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:33 pm 
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I work at a clinic, and I have a diabetic kitty myself. Recently one of our clients had the same issue as you. Unfortunately, surgery was the only option to restore sight, and his case was successful. Pets can adjust to sight loss, so all you can do from that standpoint is help him with navigation. Don't move furniture around, and don't leave things out of place (example: clothes or a box or something on the floor when it's not supposed to be there) because they can be trip hazards. Adjustment will take some time, obviously, and look out for obstacles such as stairs.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Blindness....
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:01 pm 
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Thanks Dewclaw. I just wanted to update to say he is getting much better with his navigation and is not bumping into things nearly as much. Sadly we will have to move in a month or two which will mean he will have to learn a whole new layout. I have been thinking of leashing him to our other dog though and letting her guide him around for a couple of days until he learns the layout of the new place. Have you heard of anyone trying this before?

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Blindness....
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:04 pm 
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It's not unheard of for a dog to guide another that can't see, but I've never heard of leashing them to encourage it. The danger of that might be the leash will get tangled and the blind one may be injured. it might be best to isolate him to a single room until he learns the layout, then let him gradually move into new areas.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Blindness....
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:02 am 
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That's sad it costs so much :( Cataract surgery is extremely simple (well, compared to most surgeries!). The Fred Hollows Foundation performs it on people in third world countries at the cost of something like a few dollars a person. Still, vets need to make a living.

I hope the little guy is doing ok anyway. Most importantly I hope his diabetes is under control, because that could be worse for his well-being than blindness. I'm glad you caught it.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Blindness....
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:03 am 
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My fiance's old dog was blind (little fat chihuhua (sp?)) and she coped ok. They're hearing kicks in and they can remember the layout of the house and stuff.

Maybe just soften sharp corners like coffee tables and such and let them bump around till they learn everything. I think thats what they did for kirstie and she was ok :) Hope puppy is happy soon!

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Blindness....
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 8:45 pm 
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Thanks for all of your kind thoughts. Riley is managing with the blindness better and better every day. We had to rush him to the vet yesterday morning though, when he became completely lethargic. The vet had us bump up his insulin dosage after monitoring him for the day and finding his blood sugar was higher than where we are comfortable with it being. He will be going back in next week to see if it needs further adjustment, so keep your fingers crossed for us that it is back under control.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Blindness....
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:35 pm 
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Sorry to hear about your dog. :( hope he gets better soon and everything becomes more stable for the two of you. As far as blindness goes, I can only echo what others are saying. Soften sharp corners, give him time to learn the layout of a house and maybe spend some time leading him around new rooms to help him out. My dad had a blind, nearly deaf dog with only three legs and that dog was incredibly smart and agile. lived a long and happy life despite his many handicaps. :) I also recall a story of a blind pitbull not only navigating around a man's house with little trouble, but also saving the owner when the house caught on fire. So it takes time for them to gain confidence and adjust but with their great sense of smell and hearing they can still get around.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet Blindness....
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:36 am 
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Well the last 24 hours has been rough. Riley was acting very weak yesterday morning. He threw up all of his breakfast and then after I left for work he ate a bunch of grass and drank a bunch of water which he threw up. Soon after that he would only walk a few steps before collapsing. I left work and rushed him into the vet because they were worried his blood sugar might have spiked or dropped drastically. It was actually the best it has been so far and was finally in a comfortable range for the vet (yay for some good news!). They did an x-ray and ran more blood work on him to find that his liver is enlarged and some of the levels in it along with his pancreas were very high. He was also very dehydrated from not being able to keep any water down. They decided to admit him so they could get him started on an IV to re-hydrate him and when the pancreatitis/throwing up is cleared up he can come back home. For the liver, she said that he will now have to go on medication to get it back under control, but it is something that can be healed. I just feel so bad for him. He is on special food to keep his struvite crystals from re-forming, needs insulin for his diabetes, has gone blind and now needs liver medication. When he was laying on the vet table yesterday he was so weak, but he kept putting his little paw up on my tummy. I felt so helpless and it really hit me that he is getting older and I really don't have as much time left with him as I would like. Needless to say I have not been able to sleep much tonight and really really hope he is doing better when I call to check on him later.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:41 am 
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It's a good thing you took him in. Pancreatitis can be very dangerous. Hope he feels better soon! :(

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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:17 pm 
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I got to bring him home today. He is doing a bit better, but it will be a few days until he is back to his normal self. He is also not interested in eating his food currently, but did eat a little bit of meat I cooked for him. The vet said if he doesn't get his regular appetite back in the next day or two to let her know and we will figure out what to do from there.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:41 pm 
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Maybe the vet can show you how to give subcutaneous fluids? We did that with one of our elderly cats for a while, and it helped her feel better.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:18 pm 
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I just wanted to update this thread to let you all know that I had to put Riley to rest on Friday 1/30. I knew his years were limited after him becoming diabetic and blind, but I was not prepared for his health to suddenly turn the way it had. Wednesday morning he had thrown up in the night, but still ate in the morning. Wednesday night he got sick again and wouldn't eat. Thursday morning he seemed a bit lethargic and only ate a tiny bit of food, which he promptly threw up. I decided to take him into the vet at that point. I suspected his pancreatitis might have come back, as did the vet techs given his past history with it. When they pulled his blood though, they found it was very ichorous. At that point the vet became available to complete a physical exam and found his liver was enlarged. They did an x-ray and discovered a large tumor on his liver, and that his kidney stones had started to come back (despite him being on a specialized diet from when he got them at around the age of 5). They said that I could do surgery for the tumor, and put him on chemo if it was found to be cancer and then they would have to follow up later with surgery for the kidney stones. The kidney stone surgery alone was hard on him at age 5, I couldn't imagine what it would do to him at age 10. Considering those things along with his existing diabetes, I made the decision to make arrangements to put him to rest the following day.

It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, but I know now he is not longer in pain and I will not have to selfishly watch him suffer through surgeries and medications. I miss him terribly though, and even though it gets a bit easier with time, I still have a good cry fest every now and then. I have also found myself finding comfort in my little frostwolf ghostpup battle pet, as it's the closest model to what he looked like and the little ghost version makes me feel like my little pups spirit is by my side somehow.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:25 pm 
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I'm so sorry.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:46 am 
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God Rhapture I'm so sorry to hear that :(

It sounds like you did your absolute best for him, which unfortunately sometimes means letting go. It doesn't make it any easier though.

He was lucky to have you. It's just a shame he didn't get to spend more years with you.

*hugs*

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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:54 pm 
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I'm so sorry hun. You did the right thing, imho. If he were younger, I'd say try and save him but at ten years.....you'd maybe preserve 2 or 3 years....it wouldn't be worth all that.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:10 pm 
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I just want to say what the others have said: you did the right thing. It sounds like you know you did, too. That poor fella wouldn't have had a very good quality of life if he had gone through all that at his age. It sounds like you did everything you could, and he was very lucky to have you. :hug:

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Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:17 pm 
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Rip.:(

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Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:25 am 
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Thank you all for your sweet and kind words. It's been 4 weeks today since I had to put him to rest and I still miss him dearly. I started a shadow box for him to keep his collar, some photos and a drawing of him in. I also donated his remaining food, insulin and syringes to the vet so that they could pass it on to their rescue group. My other pup seems to be doing better and is not looking for him constantly and sleeping in his bed all the time like she was at first. People ask me if I will get another dog to keep her company, but he was the only dog she ever really liked. Other dogs tend to really stress her out so I think she's better just having human companionship given her age (8) and tolerance.

Here is my little guy back when he was in better health. He had such sweet eyes <3
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