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Canine Diabetic Neuropathy
08-09-2014, 05:16 AM, (This post was last modified: 08-09-2014, 05:23 AM by Swoosieque.)
Swoosieque Offline
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Canine Diabetic Neuropathy
My avatar is a photo of my two Labrador Retrievers, Buddy and Vayda who both are Type I diabetics. They are not from the same litter, as a matter of fact, Buddy was born to a litter in Arizona while Vayda was born one year later to a litter in Oklahoma, where we now reside. Both are pure bred, although we never registered them since we had no intention of breeding our dogs, we adopted them for companionship and love.

Yesterday, I took Buddy to our Vet because Buddy's back, left paw looked red and raw. At least that is how it looked to me, but, I very recently had eye surgery to close a macular hole and still have the gas bubble in my eye which restricts vision. In order to see Buddy's paw, even if I am sitting upon the floor next to him, the bubble restricts my eyesight. I will take a photo tomorrow, when I clean and re-bandage the wound.

For two days prior to bringing Buddy in to the Vet, I cleaned the paw, applied antibiotic ointment and wrapped it. A gut feeling kept nagging at me that this was more serious than just a "raw, sore paw" which both dogs occasionally suffer during allergy season. This time, Benadryl was not abating whatever symptoms were causing Buddy to chronically lick and chew at the paw.

At the Veterinarian's office, Dr. Wilson reminded me of the last conversation we had, only a few weeks ago, when I brought Buddy in for a different problem, he had talked about "neuropathy," - nerve damage caused by high blood sugar in diabetics for an extended period of time. (Diabetes in dogs has the same effects as diabetes in humans. For more information on diabetes, click here.)

I had not paid enough attention to the neuropathy portion of our discussion during my previous visit; I was more focused on the other information about kidney damage, palsy, and how Buddy probably only has a few months left to live.

Dr. Wilson joined me on the floor of his examining room where I sat with Buddy and began removing the bandaging from his paw. I had to constrain Buddy to keep him from licking the wound. I also explained to the Vet about my vision problems. I did not want him to think I was a neglectful "parent."

"I think he's chewed off some of his 'toe'," I winced as the last of the bandage fell to the floor.

"Yep," Dr. W. confirmed, "it looks like he's chewed off the entire first knuckle!"

"What can we do," I wondered out loud.

"Let's start him on antibiotics to clear up any infection that might be starting. I'm tempted to start him on steroids too, but, let me think about that a little bit more."

"I'm so afraid of this turning gangrene," I looked into Dr. Wilson's eyes, "I know diabetic people who've had legs amputated because of gangrene. I don't want that to happen to Buddy."

“Well, I would like to avoid surgery to remove what's left of that toe, because whatever he's feeling, he can't tell us if it burns, stings, itches, or how it feels, and he would likely continue chewing on the other toes even after removing this one.” Dr. W. was thinking out loud.

“But, let's try to keep him comfortable for now," Dr. W. continued, "Give him the antibiotics twice a day and the pain pills twice a day to hopefully alleviate whatever is irritating the area. Clean the area, apply the antibiotic ointment and re-bandage it only once a day, but, keep it dry. If he gets it wet by being outside, then re-bandage it. I want what's left of that bone to fall off by itself.”

Bone? Buddy chewed down and through his bone? Maybe my eyesight isn't as bad as I thought it was. “Ok, thanks Dr. Wilson.”

We will have a follow-up visit five days from now. Meanwhile, I continue to clean and bandage his paw, we sit upon the floor together. I pet him and am reminded of how frail he has become.

Diabetes is a killer. It is unkind and uncaring, ugly and painful.
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