Pet Stress Blood Glucose

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Now just what is Eric’s blog entry about this week? Let’s see: Pet. Stress. Blood glucose? What is that?

It means that last night I was up much later than I would have preferred because of meal decisions I made after a long night at the emergency veterinary clinic.


Let’s go back to last Saturday night. For the previous couple of days, our labradoodle Ellie had been dealing with some pretty bad gastrointestinal issues. Late Saturday night (early Sunday morning, actually), she vomited, which worried us to the point that at 2 AM we decided it was time to go to the emergency animal clinic.

After three hours at the clinic, gastroenteritis was the diagnosis.

Oh, and as an aside, while at the clinic on early Sunday morning, a couple brought in their old shepherd mix — wheeled him in on a gurney — because they the dog’s time had finally arrived. He was lethargic, unresponsive. The vet tech wheeled him to the back, and not 15 minutes later the dog click-clacks across the floor to greet his owners. His blood glucose had dropped to 34 mg/dl. Hypoglycemia.

But back to Ellie…

A bland diet, very short walks, and taking it easy. That was Sunday through Wednesday.

Then, after four days of nary a bowel movement coupled with minimal water intake, Wednesday night Ellie vomited again. Three times in the course of about ten minutes.

This was after our normal vet clinic closed, so after phoning the emergency vet to see if we should bring her in immediately or wait until morning for our regular vet, we decided to head back again to the emergency clinic.

Two-and-a-half hours of a very stressful evening later, x-rays showed Ellie had a lot of gas buildup, some of which was in her duodenum, which could be an indicator of a mild case of pancreatitis. I know, right: that pancreas seems to be an issue in quite a lot of things surrounding my life these days!

After another subcutaneous fluid injection — and if you’ve never seen a liter of fluid that’s been pushed beneath the skin of a dog’s back, well, let’s say it turns a labradoodle into a cameldoodle for about five hours — and after some more medicine, 10 PM rolled around and it was time to head home.

Kathryn and I had yet to eat dinner. Prior to the emergency clinic visit, I’d planned on cooking some lean turkey feta burgers, and possibly having some rice or couscous with that. Good for me. Delicious. Yep.

Post-emergency clinic visit, all bets were off and we both wanted comfort food — fast food — our health concerns be damned. On the way home we stopped by a place whose name begins with taco and ends with bell, and in my moment of weakness (I was actually sick to my stomach because of worry about Ellie), I ordered more than I should have. Then, once home, I bolused for that more than I should have ordered, which meant that even though I’d become full two thirds of the way into my meal, I needed to finish because, as you know, you can’t pull out the insulin you’ve given.

Ninety minutes or so later, when I wanted (needed) to go to bed, my blood glucose was 115 mg/dl. Not bad, but not great when there were still about 6 units of insulin on board (IOB). After weighing the options, and thinking about the fat in the food and how those carbs were still being acted on by the insulin, I decided to force myself to remain awake another 45 minutes or so (spent reading Game of Thrones) and then check again. Upon recheck, I learned I’d dropped to 90 mg/dl. But because the IOB had decreased to less than two units at this point, I decided that some yogurt and a bit of juice would bump me up into the safe-to-sleep range. Which it must have, because I woke up this morning, and I’m writing this blog entry this morning. The dog slept through the night.

And Kathryn is working from home today to keep an eye on poor Ellie, who will get a regular vet visit Saturday, during which we’ll probably have them check for pancreatitis.

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