Over the next few weeks, we will take a look at canine disabilities – both visible and invisible disabilities. There are many types of disabilities in each category. Visible disabilities can include an animal with three legs, an animal without eyes, and animal in a wheel cart. Invisible disabilities are less apparent but also can prove to be challenging such as sight and hearing impairments, Cushings disease, diabetes, chronic pain and much more.
Source: Inspire Sante.org
One of the most amazing things about animals is their resiliency and ability to accept challenges. In this article, we are going to spotlight Molly (also known as "Moo") – a spunky, beautiful nearly twelve (almost) year old Yorkie from the UK.
Molly has diabetes, pancreatitis, heart disease and chronic bronchial issues. She also has one eye (lost in 2011) and she has lost approximately 70% of her vision in her remaining eye.
We asked Molly’s Mom, Emma Trueman, how she discovered Molly Moo’s condition.
“It started at the end of 2016. So we discovered Molly had diabetes because she was drinking a lot and just wasn’t her usual self. We had taken her to the vets 4 weeks previously, and had not found the problem. But on our return trip in December, they did a blood test and that confirmed that Molly was diabetic. (See image detailing the early warning symptoms of diabetes). Unfortunately, Molly very quickly went into diabetic ketoacidosis. We nearly lost her.”
Source: Hill's Pet Nutrition
According to the Mayo Clinic, “diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when your body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones. The condition develops when your body can't produce enough insulin.” In Molly’s case, she thankfully survived the ketoacidosis! Molly and her Mom began the journey of diabetes (testing her blood glucose, careful management of food, exercise and twice daily injections) only to encounter yet another setback.
Source: Dogs Naturally Magazine
Two months after her recovery from the diabetic ketoacidosis, Molly got pancreatitis; suspected to be the result of diabetes-related damage to her pancreas.
According to the Pet Health Network, “Digestive enzymes are critical for food digestion, while insulin aids in the control of the metabolism and blood-sugar levels. Pancreatitis” means “inflammation” of the pancreas and acute means “sudden.” ...
The most common symptoms of acute pancreatitis in dogs are loss of appetite, vomiting, and abdominal pain.” For more information, follow this link:
We asked Emma about whether Molly Moo’s quality of life has changed with all of the medical challenges she faces. According to her Mom, Molly copes pretty well with everything. She has her blood glucose taken twice a day before eating and has insulin twice a day. “She is adjusting pretty well to the blindness - she doesn’t like the dark and with heart disease she isn’t as active as she once was!” Molly is on a very strict routine - she eats same amount every 12 hours (always weighed out), her blood glucose is tested before every meal, and she receives insulin with every meal. In addition, Nurse Emma runs curves at home every two weeks and monitors Molly Moo’s heart rate every night!
When asked what she has learned from Molly regarding her visible and invisible disabilities, Emma responded: “I’ve learned that Molly is one tough dog, and that the conditions she has probably affect ME more than her! I’ve learned to take one day at a time. Fourteen months ago we were told to put her to sleep and she’s still here and thriving!”
Emma went on to say: “Since her diagnosis in December 2016 it’s been quite a battle BUT I’m so happy to say she’s doing so well. Molly’s blood sugar seems more in control especially since moving her to homecooked food. Emma finds this approach (homecooked meals and supplements to be very effective for Moo; pet owners should work with their vet to determine the best feeding plan for their diabetic pet. By maintaining her diabetes, Molly Moo has avoided any additional problems, there have been no pancreatitis flare ups and is currently off of heart medications. Molly’s eyesight is still diminishing, but all in all, she’s doing well. She has successfully lost weight on a carefully managed regiment.
It is encouraging to know that if a diabetic dog’s blood glucose concentrations are well-managed and there are no additional health problems, the dog should have a normal life expectancy. Keep up the good work Emma and Molly !!
Please, take a look at the attached pictures to see more of the lovely Molly Moo. Her Mom describes her as a tenacious fighter with a huge heart !!
To learn more about canine diabetes and canine pancreatitis, please take a look at the resources below as a starting point. All pet owners are encouraged to consult with a knowledgeable vet.
Want to test your knowledge about diabetes in dogs ? Take the following quiz:
Resources - Canine Diabetes
What Causes Diabetes In Dogs? The Signs, Symptoms and What To Do About It:
Facebook page for Diabetic Dog Owners:
Diabetes in Dogs: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Them Healthy:
Pancreatitis in Dogs:
Facebook Page for Dogs with Pancreatitis:
We acknowledge with thanks Emma Trueman for the use of photographs of Molly Moo.
USA (Georgia) Editor
20th March 2018