Yet another trip through time here at the 'Mine today. Back in 2005, I was marveling at people who care for pets with diabetes. Still am. Always will.
Is Your Pet Psychic?
(I've always loved that line.) But seriously, here's something that blew my mind: my friend has a diabetic cat. She tests its glucose levels once a day with a standard-issue BG meter, and she gives it insulin injections twice a day. She says she can tell when it's having a low because its paws splay out and it stands there looking idiotic, like a steer with Mad Cow Disease. She also says the hardest part is getting enough blood for testing through that thick hide. She has to poke the poor cat's ear, which requires a vigorous chase and wrestle. (The cat's name is also "Chaos," but that was pre-diagnosis.) Can you imagine caring for a diabetic pet?
Apparently a whole heck of a lot of people do. In fact, I must have had my head in the sand not to have noticed this; Google coughs up 1.3 Million hits for "diabetic pets"! I had no idea. Lots of sites give step-by-step instructions on how to care for your little diabetic.
I even found support group sites for harried pet owners. One of my favorites states:
"Diabetic Pets Around the World: Unite In a Common Goal to let the World Know that Diabetes in Pets is Treatable!" What passion! Where there's a cause, people will rally, ay?
But then it gets eerily familiar...
A support group called Muffin Pet Diabetes Group states:
"At first you are going to be faced with frustration, anger, exhaustion, sadness, fear, and guilt — these are all part and parcel of caring for a pet with a chronic health condition. As frustrating as it may be, the time will come when you will be able to cope with the restrictions, the pills, the new diet, the exercise regime, and all the other things that you are now faced with."
And FelineDiabetes.com says: "The initial shock and fear you feel when the vet tells you that your pet has diabetes can be overwhelming. Yet diabetes is a treatable condition and your pet can live a normal, happy, healthy life. Diabetes is NOT a death sentence!"
As noted here, we human diabetics tend to be pretty self-absorbed... If you're in the market for a companion that truly UNDERSTANDS your plight, you can adopt a diabetic pet at petdiabetes.org.
And no worries about health insurance! The California-based Veterinary Pet Insurance Co., the first and largest outfit offering pet insurance, is prepared: in the last two years, the company says, claims for diabetic pets rose by 17 percent.
BONUS UPDATE for 2009:
Read all about Feline Hypoglycemia here.