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Dog Diabetes – Koby's Story

Updated on November 2, 2014
SheilaSchnauzies profile image

SheilaSchnauzies is a Miniature Schnauzer rescuer, writer, crochet designer, gardener, crafter, wife, mom & friend living in Omaha, NE.

Koby "Moo-Moo" Schnauzer Lost Battle Against Diabetes, Blindness

Koby was an 11-year-old Miniature Schnauzer living in my Miniature Schnauzer Rescue & Sanctuary, Sheila's Schnauzies. He was with me since his owner gave him up in 2007 along with his brother, Whizzer. He was diagnosed in 2011 with very severe diabetes, almost immediately went totally blind, and fought to regain weight with special diet, insulin injections, and his vet's care. He wanted to share his story with you because he felt the world needs to be more aware of doggie Diabetes and how dangerous it can be.

Koby was the sweetest personality of a dog I have just about ever known, and I've been rescuing Miniature Schnauzers since 2000. I nicknamed him "Moo-Moo" instantly not only because he is a Parti (multi-colored) Schnauzer, but also because he didn't bark - he mooed like a cow!! He didn't ever demand anything, or have ANY bad behaviors. He simply wanted to be loved, and that he was. My heart broke every time I watched him struggle with his new blindness, and when I picked him up and felt nothing but skin and bones. I worked night and day to get weight back on this boy. They told me it would take a long time. But as long as he was happy, wagging his tail a lot, enjoying his food, loving to have attention, exploring the yard and not being in any apparent pain, I refused to give up on him.

Koby was one brave kid, struggling to find his way. I'll let him tell his own story!

Help Your Blind Dog!

Dog Tag Art Custom Pet ID Tag for Dogs - I'm Blind - Large - 1.25 inch
Dog Tag Art Custom Pet ID Tag for Dogs - I'm Blind - Large - 1.25 inch

It's helpful for people who may interact with your dog to let them know up-front with this visual reminder that he/she is blind.

 

Hi, I'm Koby!

I'm A Miniature Schnauzer With Diabetes

Koby here, or "Koby-Moo" as my rescue mom calls me! She says I look like a little Holstein cow with my Parti coloring. Did you know Schnauzers can be lots of different colors? I guess that makes me special. I have very silky hair, unlike most Schnauzers. Hmmm... probably something to do with my breeding. Anyway, that doesn't matter. I'm just happy to be me. Here I am in the picture with my rescue brothers: Sparky (behind), now at Rainbow Bridge; and Harry (under) now in his forever home in Kansas City.

I came to live at Sheila's Schnauzies Miniature Schnauzer Rescue in 2007 when my mom no longer wanted me and my brother, Whizzer, for personal reasons. I came down to her farm in southeast Missouri the first time to board for a couple of months while my mom was traveling. Then after I went back home to Washington state, my mom soon shipped Whizzer and me back down to the farm on a very long truck ride across the country. I was really glad to see my rescue mom Sheila at the end when I got there! Not sure where I was going to end up.

I had a nice time living there on the farm with my rescue mom Sheila and her family. The other rescue doggies were nice to me. The main ones who were there to stay a long time were Monty, Bailey, Harry, Whizzer, Sue-Sue and me. Scrappy Jack was the Boss Dog since he was there before anyone else. He was Mom's baby before she knew about rescue.

When I first got to Sheila's, I was very overweight from eating peanut butter for snacks. I weighed over 30 pounds! For a schnauzer that's an awful lot. I gradually lost a lot of weight and stabilized around 25 pounds. I was perfection!! Mom Sheila said when I lost enough that she could see my tail, she almost cried because she was so proud of me!

Everything was fine and happy, and last year we moved back to Omaha when our rescue dad got transferred back. I was just fine until this spring, when I started losing a lot of weight.

My mom had her hip replaced in March, so we were a little late getting our Spring haircuts. My people uncle John told mom he thought I was getting skinny. Mom gave me a haircut right away so she could see exactly how I was, and she was really shocked. She took me right away to see Dr. Ray, my vet. My blood sugar test was 498 fasting, and that made my mom very sad because it meant I have severe Diabetes. Mom is diabetic too, and so is my Dad. Dr. Ray said I have to have insulin shots twice a day and eat special food.

The special food part is really great because Mom puts warm water in it to make gravy and I get to eat it all myself away from the other doggies! Ladybug always stays right by me hoping I will drop a bite! But hey, she's just a little kid so it's ok. I don't mind.

I get pretty messy eating my food and getting in and out of my pool outside, so now I get a special bath with Wen once a week with a nice massage. Mom says Wen is the best thing in the world for my hair, even if it's made for people. Mom says the guy who makes it, Chaz Dean, uses it on his dogs. My coat is shiny and beautiful and sooo soft. I used to have really long furnishings and beard, but mom cut them short so I would have less grooming to put up with while I'm sick. That made her really sad. But hey Mom, it'll grow back when I get better!

(Here is a picture of me with the other rescue doggies down at the farm in 2009).

My Dog is Blind: But Lives Life to the Full!
My Dog is Blind: But Lives Life to the Full!

An encouraging read for owners of blind dogs.

 

Koby's Progress Update, 11-10-11 - He is Fabulous!!

I'm so proud of Koby! He has totally regained to a good weight, around 22 lbs. He is doing so much better finding his way! He can zoom across the kitchen to the back door. Now and then he overshoots but I try to be right there to divert him before he crashes. Most of the time he remembers to slow down though. He can find me anywhere in the house or yard now. Even without my talking to him to "help."

The vet had us adjust his insulin upward until his excess drinking slowed down. He has been on the same insulin dose now for several weeks and is apparently doing very well on it.

Koby did get very sick briefly, two days after I came home from my hip replacement surgery on October 10. He had caught what Ladybug had. He went down very rapidly and got to the point of not eating, drinking or walking within a day. I spent about 10 hours one day feeding him liquefied food with an eyedropper every 15 minutes. He almost magically turned around, and by the next day was back to eating on his own. It took him a few days to get totally back to normal but he is definitely fine now!

If you make up your mind to get something done, you can find a way! After being sick, Koby was in bad need of a bath. I am not able to walk without a walker yet, and at the time of this photo I was only about 6 days postop! So I made up a little bed on the seat of my walker, placed Koby on it, and wheeled him where I needed him to go! He was so good for me and it all worked out perfectly. He was so much more clean and comfortable afterward! Sweet boy.

My dog went blind - Now WHAT?!
My dog went blind - Now WHAT?!

Help for owners of newly blind dogs.

 

Update, Christmas 2011

Koby checks out the new "doggie bed" - I bought the furkids a giant floor pillow and so far everyone except SueSue has checked it out and given it the Schnauzer Seal of Approval! He is doing quite well, everything is stable and he's a happy boy. We've been very cold here, which is why he hasn't had a haircut recently!

Innovet Pet Products Tracerz Scent Guides for Blind Pets
Innovet Pet Products Tracerz Scent Guides for Blind Pets

Help your blind dog learn to find his/her way around!

 

You Say...

Have You Had A Dog With Diabetes Or Blindness?

Koby's News

9/9/11 - Koby continues to add a little fat padding here and there, it's not a lot but very noticeable. I wish it were faster, but it will take a lot of time. He is doing great, VERY happy lately, and getting to be a real expert at getting around especially out in the yard!

9/1/11 - Koby is gaining weight by the day now! He is filing back out everywhere. It's so gradual but obvious. I am THRILLED! He is also pottying a lot less and I believe he is drinking less as well. All of that is some very good news!

8/29/11 - Just noticed this morning, there has been no "Lake Koby" in the bedtime playpen for three if not four days... YAY!! This means Koby's water intake is going down, which is a sign we are getting nearer the proper insulin dosage!

8/27/11 - Took Koby to the vet yesterday for his second glucose tolerance test - he never went below 500, which is a very bad thing... so the vet increased his insulin again to 14 units. The plan is to keep adding two units gradually until he stops the excessive drinking, then test again.

The very GOOD news is that the new food is working - Koby has regained to 15 pounds!!! I was pretty sure he had because I was feeling little fat deposits here and there, and I am so glad!!! He WOLFS this Purina OM, absolutely seems to love it. He just finished his breakfast and says hello to everybody:) "Mooooo....."

8/24/11 - The other day I picked up more food at the vet's for Koby. The vet asked if he was still drinking a lot - oh yes. He decided to up his insulin to 10 units twice a day, so we have been doing that since Monday. I swear he is getting a little bit of subcutaneous fat back again - I can feel it in the spot where I inject him between his shoulders! I hope I'm right. He seems a bit friskier on the higher dose of insulin, that's a good thing. He sure is enjoying all the extra attention he is getting! We have been playing "Where's Mommy" a lot. I go off a ways, call him once, and he comes and finds me! It's pretty amazing, he's getting very good at it, indoors and out! I love this little boy so much.

8/20/11 - Koby had a big day yesterday! He had his bath, his haircut, his new eye soothing medicine (his eyes are so dry we are using a lubricating ointment in them) AND saw the vet yesterday. It was not good news. We were attempting to do the serial blood sugar test. When the doctor gave the first injection, Koby pegged the limit of the blood sugar meter at 500+. That was the end of the test! Koby also has lost another 3 pounds he couldn't afford to lose, taking him to just 12.5 pounds. This is a dog who weighed 26 pounds in April 2010, a perfect weight for him.

Changes in plans - Dr. Ray increased Koby's insulin to 8 units twice a day. I asked him if we could try canned food because Koby is so picky about the dry food. He HAS to eat!!! So we are trying Purina OM canned. We are rechecking his blood sugar next week.

Good news, Koby LOVES the new food! I have never seen him "wolf" food like... well, a dog! You know, how they act when they get steak? Yeah. He wolfed his whole bowl of food in about a minute last night! It did my heart good! He had a couple of his Blue Buffalo chicken liver treats, which the doctor approved. Happy boy! If I can get the weight going in the right direction, we CAN get him back. Then it's a matter of getting his insulin to the proper dose. Come on boy, we can do this!!! Here is a picture of Koby this morning eating his new food. Wolfed it again!

Husband Ron and I were talking about Koby's new food this morning before he left to play golf. When he heard his new food is $2 a can, he said he'd contribute whatever he wins today toward enough cans to get Koby by till payday! Awww. That was nice.

Koby's Extra News Update! - 08/23/11

I just have to sneak in a quick "midnight edition" report! This evening when I was sitting on the patio with the furkids, Koby came up to visit me and actually JUMPED UP on the side of my chair to get petted! Wow... being blind, that took some courage! It also took more energy, which apparently he has! This new prescription food and the higher dose of insulin are doing him visible worlds of good! I am SURE tonight he has more fat developing on his back, his head and rear! Last week there was a whole tendon just sticking up exposed right under the skin; today you can barely see/feel it! Oh, I am praying this is real success for him!

Koby Photo Update 10-2-11

WOW Look At Him Grow!

Koby has regained a lot of his weight lost! I weighed him the other night and he was up to 20 pounds! (He had lost down to 12.5 pounds). This is a true gift and I am just gratified to see him doing so well! I don't think we are quite to the right insulin dosage, we are still adjusting it every few days - but such an improvement! You go, Koby!

Koby's Big Adventure, 9-20-11

Koby Visits Mommy At The Hospital!!

(from 9-20-11) I'm in the hospital right now, just had surgery this afternoon to have a defective port removed. My husband and son were nervous about giving Koby his insulin shot, so I just told him to bring Koby to me! So here's the picture of me and Koby hanging out for awhile at my car in the parking lot! Did my heart a world of good, Koby got his medication, and with any luck I'll be home in time for his morning shot. My nurse had asked where I was going on my walk and she got a good laugh when I showed her the pic.

You Can Help Our Furkids Right Now!

Without Costing You A Dime!

Monty is one of the senior boys at Sheila's Schnauzies MIniature Schnauzer Rescue. He has been here 7 years! Monty and the other Schnauzer boys here are all in need of dentals and soon, vax time. If you just click this link, http://www.igive.com/Schnauzies, do the quick free sign-up and click on just one store, iGive will give our rescue $5 dollars! Doesn't cost you a dime and we need your help. Please pass this info to all your friends who love animals too! We can do this!!

Use your special joinLink:

http://www.iGive.com/Schnauzies

And please pass this on to all YOUR Schnauzer friends, and ask them to help too!

Thank you SO much, I know we can count on our Squidoo friends! God bless, -Sheila

Here I Am On The Farm In 2009

 

And Here I Am Now in 08/11

After Losing From 26 to 15 Pounds

If your dog has excessive thirst, weight loss or gain, or a change in appetite, please see your vet!

Me Before I Got Sick, With My Friends!

Harry, Koby & Monty

My blood sugar test was 498 fasting, and that made my mom very sad because it meant I have severe Diabetes.

Caring For Blind Dogs

My Experiences

I have had the experience of caring for blind dogs four times now, counting Koby. My first was my very first rescue, Casey Anne, who went gradually blind in very old age (13+). She was very brave and had time to adjust to her blindness very gradually, so it didn't seem as traumatic. The same was true of little Sarah, she went blind in very old age also. Despite that, she was placed in a wonderful forever home and managed to learn a very tricky full flight of stairs from the deck to the back yard below! The third was a heartbreaker - my own Sparky Lynn, who developed Cushing's Disease at age eight. He developed Diabetes as a complication of the Cushing's treatment, and within three weeks went totally blind. He was absolutely scared to death but still so brave. My sweet boy passed away despite all treatment in March 2008. And now of course... Koby. I would consider his blindness very sudden, although I don't know for sure - just going on behavioral signs that developed pretty quickly. Koby is doing amazingly well coping with his new world! At first it was heartbreaking to watch him take his tentative steps around, walking into things frequently. Now, just a few weeks later it is really encouraging to watch him! He and I are learning together. When he's about to hit something and I say "Whoopsie" he will stop, turn slightly then continue. I've learned he's timid about walking in the house through the back door. If I touch the back of his neck, he'll walk right in.

We've been playing a game I call "Where's Mommy" a lot. I'll go off a ways, call his name once, and he will come and find me - then I make a big deal of it. He's getting faster at it all the time! The other day when we went to the vet, I tried putting him on a leash to walk out to the car with me. He walked better on the leash with far less hesitation! I was really surprised.

We have a lot more to learn together, and learn we will.

Koby & Whizzer

I wonder if they miss one another... I hate splitting up dogs who have been together forever. Maybe they could have play dates sometme!

Help Koby's Rescue Friends Through Your Online Shopping!

 

What Do YOU Think? - About Treatment of Diabetic Senior Dogs

I want people to really think about this issue, because it could happen to their older dog! The poll answers are suggestions real people actually gave me about Koby when he was diagnosed. Obviously, I went for the first one!

If I had a senior (8+) dog diagnosed with Diabetes, I would:

See results

Koby's Extra-Special Treatment

I thought about how Koby's four other senses are becoming more sensitive, and I've tried to focus on those. I make sure he gets a good bath frequently on a stable rubber mat in the sink, nice smelling shampoo, massage with rubber shampoo brush that he loves-you almost hear him "oohh" and "ahh!"

The Most Important Thing

Don't give up! Things looked pretty hopeless for Koby at first. After treatment, he enjoyed several really good months with us. It just takes belief, hard work, and love. (And a great vet too!)

Koby Loses His Brave Battle. - He's safe and happy at Rainbow Bridge Now.

This was Koby's last photo before he passed away.

On January 26, 2012, Koby woke up not feeling well. His ears were bothering him. I called the vet and made an appointment for later in the day. For hours I held Koby and comforted him with warm compresses on his ears. I laid him down to rest for a while so I could get dressed for the day. When I returned he was unconscious. I did everything I could to stimulate him back to consciousness. I noticed it was time for his insulin and gave it to him. He immediately went into seizures. Those were still continuing 20 minutes later when we arrived at the vet's. She gave him medication to stop the seizures. But every time she allowed him to wake up through the afternoon his seizures started right back up. She said the combination of high temp, low blood sugar (he had an insulin reaction), and the extended seizures were too much for his little brain. The decision was made to let him go and he went to sleep in my arms. This photo was taken right before that. I could have let Koby go months earlier when he was diagnosed and went blind. But I don't regret one minute of the close time we had, because he was happy. He loved his special food and learned to expertly maneuver around the yard and house. He was afraid of nothing. He loved being held and petted. And I loved him. Goodbye, my sweet.

Koby in hospital 1-26-12

Koby had his first diabetic seizure today, an insulin reaction.He went unconscious and as I was working to arouse him I gave him his scheduled insulin. The seizure lasted over 15 minutes, still going on when we got to the vet's. I took the video to show the vet. He was stabilized within a few minutes but is still in very serious condition. Koby is an adorable boy who has been so brave, going totally blind instantly and having to learn his way. He is a happy boy and just wants love.

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    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
      Author

      Sheila 3 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @MochasMom: Thanks so much for your very kind comment! I'm glad you enjoyed reading about my Koby. Your doggie is very lucky to have you! I pray you will have many more years together!

    • profile image

      MochasMom 3 years ago

      You are a very special person with a big heart! You were a good doggie Mom to Koby and I am sure he was very happy to have you in his life. I have a Diabetic 10 year old Pharaoh Hound and I love him and care for him to the best of my ability. I hope he lives the best years of his life knowing that his human was always there for him, as you were for Koby. Thanks for sharing!

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
      Author

      Sheila 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      @LoriBeninger: Thank you so much for your very kind comment! I still miss my "Moo-Moo" terribly. My life was blessed for his being part of it.

    • LoriBeninger profile image

      LoriBeninger 4 years ago

      What a loving tribute to your little friend - and great information for anyone faced with his disease. He was very fortunate to have a wonderful family to help him through this. My condolences on your loss. These wonderful little creatures simply leave us too soon while giving us so much.

    • missmary1960 profile image

      missmary1960 4 years ago

      A great tribute to a beautiful pet xoxo

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Thank you for sharing this story of a brave dog. I always make sure to cherish every moment with my dog Justin. I can feel how much you loved Koby.

    • kjolley1962 profile image

      kjolley1962 4 years ago

      Thank you for this beautiful tribute to Koby! I lost my schnauzer, Merlin, to diabetes, four years ago this Christmas Eve. I still miss him so much - he loved me more than anyone in this world! Your love for Koby shines through in this lens...beautiful!

    • profile image

      moonlitta 4 years ago

      He was just lovely-and all of your efforts are admirable!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I forgot to add: Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • Retro Loco profile image

      Vicki 6 years ago from USA

      Wow, this is an awesome lens about your baby, Koby, and canine diabetes. I know what you're going through! I had a 19-year-old cat, Angel, who had diabetes, and now my baby cat, Cherub, is diabetic. Cherub was diagnosed about 6 weeks ago, and she is doing fine, in fact, this 14-year-old cat of mine has been bouncing around the house lately with more energy than I've seen in her in years!!! Cherub takes two insulin shots per day, and I put Cosequin in her food every other day and give her a fish oil pill for cats on the other days. Her meals are pretty much clockwork, and this regimen of eating on schedule and taking her meds is working great. I was so upset when I found out she was diabetic, although I highly suspected it because she had the same symptoms as my cat, Angel. I really thought it would be difficult to give Cherub her shots, but to my surprise she usually sits still, and she has no idea she's getting a shot!! She rarely flinches, but occasionally she will look at me funny when the needle sticks her. I always put her in the same spot on the kitchen counter, and I let her eat a treat while I'm giving her the shot. As long as "Pudgy Puddy" is eating, she's happy!! That was her nickname before she got her figure back. Both of my cats used to be very overweight, and we all three learned a hard lesson. I will never let another animal get overweight, because it's just too risky for their health. My heart goes out to you and little Koby. I would love an update on Koby's progress; so, he was gaining weight as of October 2. What's the little guy up to now? How is he coping with the blindness? You and Koby take care of each other!! ~Vicki & Cherub~

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 6 years ago from USA

      What wonderful things you are doing. Dogs are just some of the best people, right?! Love you story and gave you a *** SquidAngel Blessing Boost *** for a heartfelt page with great, original photos.

    • SheilaSchnauzies profile image
      Author

      Sheila 6 years ago from Omaha, NE

      Nancycarol, thank you so much for asking after Koby! He is amazing! I have been meaning to post an update but have been in the hospital 3 times in the past month and am a bit behind! I weighed him the other night and he is up to 21 pounds!! We are still not at quite the right insulin dose as he still drinks too much, but he's far safer than he was! Thanks again!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      How is Koby doing? I will be back to donate as soon as payday comes...I love that you take care and help these babies. Thanks for sharing.