During the first month of insulin therapy, the veterinarian may want to evaluate your pet several times to see if its blood glucose is staying no lower than 100-150 mg/dL, and no higher than 250-300 mg/dL.
The veterinarian may check your dog’s weight and blood glucose level, and see if any symptoms of diabetes are still present.
After a consistent insulin regimen has been established, your dog should be taken to the veterinarian for check-ups every 3 to 6 months to see how well it is doing.
Poorly regulated dogs may need to be checked more often. If you notice any sign of increased drinking and urination, increased appetite or weight loss, call your veterinarian.
Although healthy dogs have a blood glucose range of 80 to 120 mg/dL, your veterinarian may prefer to keep your dog's blood glucose in a higher range, in order to avoid the possibility of a severe low blood glucose episode (hypoglycemia).
Monitoring the dog at home
You will be asked to monitor your pet at home. Note any changes in your dog's appetite, attitude, body condition, drinking habits and amount of urination. You will also need to check its urine glucose and ketone levels.
Consistently high urine glucose readings along with continued excessive urination and drinking may be a sign that the insulin dose needs to be changed. On the other hand, consistently negative urine glucose readings may mean that your dog is receiving too much insulin. In either case, call your veterinarian.
It is easier to keep track if you have a written log of your observations. You can download a Pet Owner's Log from this page. It is especially important to keep a written log if several members of the family will be caring for your pet.
Monitoring a diabetic dog
(Call your veterinarian if you observe any combination of these symptoms. Do not change your dog's insulin regimen without asking your veterinarian)
|What to look for||What it might mean|
Dog may be ill or has ketoacidosis. Call your veterinarian.
Blood glucose may be too high.
|Attitude||Daily||Lethargy, crankiness||Combined with other symptoms, can indicate ketosis, blood glucose too high or too low, or diabetic neuropathy|
Blood glucose may be too high.
Blood glucose may be too low.
|Vision||Daily||Bumps into furniture, or other signs of blindness||Dog may have cataracts. Call your veterinarian.|
|Drinking habits||Daily||Excessive drinking||Blood glucose may be too high|
|Urination habits||Daily||Excessive urination||Blood glucose may be too high. Can sometimes indicate that the insulin dose is either too large or too small.|
|Urine glucose||Daily to weekly||
More than 2
|Insulin dose needs to be changed. See your veterinarian at once.|
|Ketones in urine||Daily||Positive result||Look for other symptoms of ketoacidosis, if any. A single positive reading may be a sign that the dog is becoming ill. Call your veterinarian.|
If your dog has symptoms suggesting that its blood glucose is too high, this does not automatically mean that its insulin doses need to be increased.
What Positive Ketones Can Mean
If your dog has had negative ketone readings for some time, and then has one positive test result, what does this mean?
The first possibility is that your dog is sick in addition to the diabetes. Has your pet lost its appetite? Is it drinking less than usual? Has there been vomiting or diarrhea? Is the animal weak or lethargic? If the answer to any of these questions is YES, contact your veterinarian right away and try to have your dog seen by the veterinarian immediately. These symptoms may indicate that your pet has diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a medical emergency.
On the other hand, if the answer to all of these questions is NO and the dog seems fine, then the positive ketone result may be a sign that your pet is becoming ill for some other reason. In this case, call your veterinarian about the positive ketone result and follow the advice you are given.
If your dog seems completely healthy, is eating and active, the veterinarian may suggest that you keep the dog at home and continue to observe your pet for any new symptoms. The dog's ketone reading may be positive this time, and negative the next time you test.