Sunday, January 11, 2009

Picky eater

Hobbes won't eat. His diabetes is giving him indigestion.

This is bad for a diabetic dog. In order to get insulin, they must have eaten a full meal. Diabetic dogs get fed twice a day, no snacks, each meal to be followed by a shot. Food makes blood sugar go up, insulin makes it come down, so you give the shot after you've made the sugar go up. Dogs apparently (and I'm still learning here, bear with me) have more spikes in their blood sugar throughout the day, so there isn't as much blood sugar testing as there is with humans.

Hobbes is still dumping ketones in his urine, which means his diabetes isn't under control. He's not in "full blown ketoacidosis" but I'm not clear where the dividing line is. I've asked about sub-q fluids and the vet says not yet. She also says that sub-q's don't really flush the ketones and that we should rely on getting the insulin to take effect.? (This seems fishy.) He's not at danger levels. Let's tempt his appetite a little more, and then we can increase the insulin safely without throwing him into a low-blood sugar episode. Yeah, but the ketones make his nauseated. I'm stuck in an endless loop and I can't get out.

Hobbes is hungry all the time. He sniffs at the cutting board whenever I'm in the kitchen. When I make him a meal, he walks towards it very slowly, sniffs, wags his tail, and then usually gently burps, tucks his tail between his legs and slinks out of the room.

Vet says that food will get him going and will settle his stomach. Vet says: try baby food. Yay! He likes veal baby food! Until the next meal, when he sniffs it and slinks out of the room.

Vet says to try Hills Scientific diet A/D (which has about as many forms of liver I have ever seen in one food concoction). She says they use it after surgery to tempt appetite. Yay! Hobbes wolfs down A/D. Off I go to the vet to buy more cans. Hobbes still likes it. I mix a little kibble in. He still likes it! Until the fourth meal, when he sniffs it and slinks out of the room burping.

Vet says to start him on Pepcid AC. He is probably rejecting foods that have made his stomach hurt in the past. Vet says: change all the associations. Get a whole new type of dry food. A whole new brand of canned food. Get rid of everything else, he'll probably never eat it again. Start with bland stuff and work up to the new brand. Something mild tasting. No liver. No lamb. Let me know how it goes.

The Pepcid seems to be working somewhat. However I am at a loss to figure out what I can use that is bland and tempting. Here's everything he once ate that he now walks away from after a few bites.

Chicken broth, canned.
Chicken broth, homemade
Veal baby food
Ham baby food
Beef baby food
Turkey baby food
Raw egg yolk
Raw whole egg
Scrambled egg
Scrambled egg with onion and cheese
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese and rice
Iams dry dog food
Canidae dry dog food
Canidae canned food
Canidae dry and canned food, mixed
Hills A/D
Hills A/D with Canidae kibble cleverly hidden inside mouthfuls
Chicken thighs, sauteed
Hamburger, cooked
Hamburger meatballs, homemade, including dog vitamins, bound with oatmeal and egg
Cheese, all kinds.
Pork chops, leftovers, meat only
Dog vitamins as treats

All of these things he once ate. All of these things I have resorted to feeding him by hand, mouthful by mouthful.

Then I think to myself, "He ate about one cup. That's close to a meal, right? And I know what I can feed him tomorrow."

Only to have him refuse the next day.

But he is gaining weight. So something's working. And he puts up with the shots fine. He still eats baby carrots as a treat (those have always been his favorite), and I don't want him to stop, so I've stopped handing them out after every shot. So now he's getting pricked but not always getting a treat for it. (Why won't you eat cheese, for goodness sake?)

I have another phone consult with the vet in the morning. I think we just have to increase his insulin by a unit and see what happens. And I'm ready to do sq's. I think the vet thinks I'm not. I'm not fighting with the vet, not by any means. I really like her.

But it's a strange thing to wake up in the morning planning your children's lunches and breakfasts (Does Saul get home lunch today? School lunch? Does Phebe have her snack? Do we have milk for cereal this morning?) while also trying to be creative with the dog's breakfast. (Must feed him no later than 7:30. Rice? No. Maybe pasta and broth? No. Kibble and... No. Maybe if I cook him something.)


CindyS said...

Have you tried toast with peanut butter? I've never had a dog not eat so I'm as baffled as you are.

I know he needs to eat but can you let him not eat for one day? I'm wondering if changing his food so often isn't the main reason for his upset tummy.

Emma wouldn't eat when she first got home and I was beside myself - our cat doesn't NOT eat. They gave her an appetite stimulant to get her started. Maybe they can do that for Hobbes - they don't like to resort to it but hey, if he needs to eat then a little bit of the stuff should get him going.


Suisan said...


No, he won't eat peanut butter either. I've tried *tempting* him with all sorts of things. I mix the tempting bits into his regular food in the hopes that he'll eat a little of both. So now ANYTHING that I've ever tempted him with in the past is refused.

This morning he was supposed to eat a cup of dry kibble (Actually he should be eating 1 1/2 C, but were trying for one). I pour that in the bowl while he's standing next to me wagging his tail and sniffing the counter. I tear up a half of a slice of baloney sprinkle little tiny bits over the kibble. (I know from experience he won't eat the kibble on its own, no matter how long I leave it out. He won't even eat it after exercise.)

He walks quickly to the bowl, tail wagging, sniffs, looks up at me embarrassed, and eats only the baloney.

My ninety pound dog will go the rest of the day on one slice of baloney and two baby carrots -- he begged for those when I was feeding the guinea pigs.

He's on pepcid, which is sort of working, but not really, and the vet has increased his insulin. He still has sugar in his urine, but not ketones, and his blood sugar still goes up after his morning injection.

But if he doesn't *eat*, giving him too much insulin can send him into hypoglycemia and possible coma.

No pressure there.

He's making me slowly crazy.

CindyS said...

Yep. That would do it. Can dogs get fatty liver? That's how I discovered Emma was a diabetic - she stopped eating and I guess with cats, they can get a fatty liver real fast and then they won't eat. Watch for yellow in the eyes or on his ears.

Good Luck!


sybil said...


misses you

Tanya Zimmer said...

Suisan I read your post about your fussy eater. My puppy is the exact same. Have you been able to figure anything out? Any sort of advice would be great.

Esmeralda DeArmas said...

Ahhh reading this makes me feel like I am not alone I have a 10lb min pin who is my life and he was diagonsed last august and it has been hell to balance his sugar 3 dr's later thousands in and still nothing - He is now going blind from the diabeties and one week dr says give him more insulin next week lower it I think he doesnt know what he's doing why am I even paying them. Today he tells me you can buy these strips he pees and you will know glucose but never explained said he would then got caught up with another dog and couldnt come back. Now my dog was eating the diabetic food can and dry plus hypo treats now he will not touch the food no matter what I do or give him. So i made him chicken rice green peas nothing works, he wants to live off of apples and carrots two things with lots of sugar. I dont know what to cook him it does feel helpless and its scary.