Monday, January 10, 2011

Ketoacidosis - what?


I'm sure if you have a diabetic dog, or are diabetic yourself, you've heard of this disease.

Diabetic ketoacidosis develops when there is not enough insulin, which normally helps sugar move into cells to be used as energy. Without insulin, the body begins to breaks down fat as an alternate energy source. Breaking down fat in this way produces toxins called ketones, leading to diabetic ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis can kill. Seriously. Signs include excessive thirst (indicative of high blood sugar), frequent urination (obviously if you are drinking a lot, you will pee a lot!), nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weakness or fatigue, shortness of breath, fruity-scented breath (yes, really!), and confusion.

Buzz started throwing up Saturday night around midnight and continued for the next 12 hours. It was really frightening - at first it was his dinner, then clear fluid, then yellow fluid, then there was blood. Around noon on Sunday, he fell asleep and stayed asleep for 4 straight hours. When he woke up, we fed him a small (very small, actually) amount of his low-residue wet food with some boiled chicken and once we knew he could hold that down, we let him have some water. We had already given him some subcutaneous fluids, so he was only slightly dehydrated, but he just had this insatiable thirst that we actually had to take the water away or we were afraid his gut would explode.

We finally got in touch with the vet (why do our dogs always seem to get sick on a Sunday, the ONE day that neither of our vets work!?!) who figured out it was ketoacidosis (or maybe even a pancreatitis attack - but most likely ketoacidosis because his blood sugar has been very hard to control the past few weeks, with it being unsually high all. the. time.).

There's not much you can do for ketoacidosis. Just ride out the symptoms and try to lower the blood sugar. Let me tell you, though, controlling blood sugar in a dog who A) can't eat or will throw up and B) is not yet regulated is an impossible task.

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