For all the little fuzzballs

I've always loved animals (with a fixation on horses since my first pony ride at age 3). I have always felt bad for animals that were sick. But now, if it's a newly diagnosed diabetic dog or cat in DKA.. I almost start to cry. I know, at the very least, what it's like to be polyuric, polydypsic, and polyphagic. I know what it's like to feel crappy and tired all the time.

No, I haven't experienced true DKA.. and thank God. But I feel so bad for the little furballs that wind up going through it.

They depend on their humans to take care of them. I know many pet owners are conscientious; but I wish every pet owner would try to prevent their critters from getting overweight and stop thinking that they are cute because they are pudgy. There are so many problems that can result from the obesity; from simply not living their full lifespan, to diabetes, and even orthopedic issues can be a result.

It's just not cute anymore when you realize how detrimental it is to the animal's life and health.

Awwa, I know what you mean. I hate seeing an over-fed pet, too. I was raised in a food-is-love family (hint: it's not!) and over-fed my beloved rescue doggie without really understanding what I was doing. Every time she came to me for affection I was giving her a treat. Duh.

She ended up with pancreatitis and it was 100% my fault! After her expensive stay in the vet hospital and a stern lecture from my vet I realized what I had been doing and stopped immediately.

I followed the doctor's instructions to the letter, got her back down to her best weight, walked her every day and she lived another ten years, fit as a fiddle.

It was eye-opening to realize that every time she came to me, put her head on my knee and wagged her tail, she wanted attention, pats, ear scritches, a few kind words -- she wasn't begging for treats, she was asking for love.

I once had my vet tell me that my beloved golden retriever need to go on a diet. My response was Heck doc I can't put myself on a diet much less my dog. That was then and this is now. If I and my dog had gone on a diet he would have lived a life with less pain and I would be much better off today.

You can love your pet to death. I wish I had been smarter back then.

Gary S

Thank you both for the comments. There is one patient right now that they have finally resolved his DKA, but he's still suffering from pancreatitis.

Gary- Your dog had an owner that loved them very much. I think that's the most important part.

We treat ourselves with food, why not treat our pets with food? I can't fault people for doing that- I was raised in a food-is-love type situation too.. and it's been hard to get away from that for years. I always want to snack.

But I am guilty, too- I have to admit to you guys that I am guilty of having one gigantic, very 'hangry' (hungry and angry) kitty cat. I would like for him not to wind up with a ton of problems, but every time I put him on a diet, he gets even 'hangrier'. My female spayed cat is fine, my beagles are fine, and heck, my horses are fine. But I can't do anything with this cat. I realize he will probably have diabetes one day, and boy, how angry he will be then.

In fact, having such a food addicted angry cat has really made me appreciate how hard it is for an owner to get a cat to lose weight!

I know it's hard to tell a "hangry" pet "no", but just remember that you're showing him the very BEST kind of love when you do. Some animals (and some people) are really feeling hunger when we're not REALLY needing food, due to genetics, hormone imbalances, etc. Maybe the kind of food is stimulating cravings? Perhaps getting him on something equivalent to a no-cereal-grain (no carb) diet would help? It's a bit more expensive, but getting him off of all kibble or fillers and onto organ meats, muscle meats, meat-fat and maybe some eggs would help him stop craving to overeat? You can find recipes on-line.

Then again, my sister had a dog who was the runt of the litter and I swear that doggie had an eating disorder. No matter how much she ate she always acted like she was starving to death. She was the worst food-thief I've ever met: climbing up on bookshelves or counters to get at even a speck of food left on a plate or a quarter-inch of coffee-milk in the bottom of a cup. She acted like she was going to die if you were cooking in the kitchen and not giving her scraps -- which we never did but sometimes the kids were guilty of encouraging her behind our backs. God help you if you left a tied-shut garbage bag on the floor for ten seconds with your back turned -- she'd have it ripped open before you could yell "no!".

None of her litter-mates behaved that way, nor her mamma-dog or any other dog in the family. She was unique.

Tried lower carb prescription diet food as part of a study by the veterinary nutritionists we have at school- and he was worse. I'm honestly finding that, me personally, on days that I eat less than a hundred carbs, I feel hungrier and want to snack more, too. But, the cats are now on a commercial 'lower calorie' diet which seems to work. I put it out 2x a day and they nibble on it. He's a little sleeker than he used to be- and he never quite got 'morbidly obese'. He's about a 7/9, when he needs to be a 5 out of 9. Some pets come in with a body condition score of 12/9 ( or higher. think of a really fat sausage with toothpicks for legs, can barely walk down the hallway without nearly going into respiratory distress! )

I feel the biggest problem is me not being home as much as I was when I first got him. He seems very attached to me and gets pissy when I'm not here a lot, despite having another cat to annoy. I think when I graduate, this will help resolve some of the issues.

My cat is a carbaholic. It's terrible, but one of the funniest things ever because he is a large cat (ideal weight about 14 pounds) and he WILL go trash can diving. He also WILL steal doughnuts, bread, bagels, any sort of carby product out of the trash can and take off with it somewhere and nibble on it. I think this is a result of never being fed reliably by his first owner; he had to fend for himself, which is sad. So I never throw bread away until I'm ready to take the trash out, as a result! (The day he stole the doughnut, I was so worried he was going to wind up with some sort of pancreatitis from all the fat and sugar, because I could never find the leftovers. I finally found the leftovers and tossed them out, but was super thankful he had the good sense not to eat the whole thing!)

Some dogs exhibit pica- trying to eat anything and everything, and it's more of a behavioral disorder. Sounds like that is what your sister's dog had.. I can't remember if they try anti-depressants or not with them, or if it is more of a behavioral modification with them, but there are veterinary behaviorists that deal with things like that on a regular basis. As a slight aside, we call it counter surfing. Incidentally, my sister had issues with pica; she had her pituitary removed when she was 7 years old because of a tumor there (this was in the late 70s).. had to be on a lot of medications and such... just had no real control of her hunger, and would get into food all the time if she wasn't locked out of the kitchen. :(

I once had a Siamese cat named Chaucer. We bought him when he was 6 weeks old, but apparently that was too early to leave his mom, because he ate cloth (a very specific pica?). We soon learned to pick up our socks! Once we went away for a week, and our landlady (it was a duplex) came over now and again to feed and care for him. When we got home, we found several holes of 3" diameter in our bedspread. "He ate out bedspread!" I said. My landlady said, "Oh no, that was moths.". Chaucer lived a long and happy life with his long-haired kitty companion despite his cloth-lined tummy.

I should have said it’s usually behavioral, not always.

Funny what they will go after sometimes, Trudy! My golden would eat my socks too!

Our miniature schnauzer used to steal food every chance he got...from a foot long subway sandwich off the counter (don't ask me how he reached it, I have no clue!) to my daughter's hamburger when she turned to wash her hands. Unfortunately, he got pancreatitis and then bladder cancer but we still chuckle over the antics he pulled to get to people food. He was also a trashcan diver.

We now have another sweet little female mini schnauzer. Since we're empty nesters now, she's our baby. I'm such an overprotective mom with my baby that I just *knew* she had diabetes when she had a urinary infection recently. Thankfully I was wrong but I watch her like a hawk to see how much she's drinking and eating and having to go potty.

On a side note, palominovet, since you're a vet, the funniest thing I've ever seen is how they collected the urine sample from my schnauzer at the vet...with a long handle ladle! She was totally suspicious too! My hubby walked her in the grass outside the vet's office while the vet tech walked behind them. She would squat to potty and the vet tech would slide the ladle under her...she would look at him over her shoulder with a scowl on her face! :) Sweet babies.

A ladle??? That's a FANTASTIC idea! I may have to bring that up to someone in the hospital... it sure beats chasing them around with a cardboard french fry carton and having to practically be on the ground to catch it!