Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Costs of doggie diabetes

One thing that surprised us when we found out about Kita's diabetes is that the doctor was very clueless on the prices. We gave us prescriptions for insulin and needles and food special diabetic food but had little to no idea what any of it cost. (To be fair to our doctor, their office doesn't actually sell any of the products, but we can't be the first dog diagnosed with diabetes there.)

Anyhoo, we had to find all of this out on our own. We go to a Banfield (inside of Petsmart) vet office so we ended up signing up for their basic plus plan once we got our diagnosis. While a little worried since you MUST fulfill the year contract even if the dog is no longer alive/in your care, the yearly plan was less than the cost of the visit we were there for plus our next visit to monitor glucose levels in three weeks. Those two visits alone would have been over $500 and the plan was $479.40 and it includes office visit fees for the year, multiple labs, and a full dental cleaning plus other perks like 15% off anything not covered in the plan and all vaccines covered. The thing about the plan is that we get a lot of stuff that we will need/would have needed anyways covered for the low price. Also, I am a bit of a worry wart so I really like the idea of being able to go into the vet's office anytime without a fee. (We only get 1 full blood work a year with it but to check her glucose levels when we go in is only $17 when they checked for us).

The next thing we had to check was the medicine. Worrying about sticker shock for buying meds without insurance we were worried. The only pharmacy I could find open that late was a Wal Mart in the same shopping center as our Petsmart so I ran there. I was pleasantly surprised to find out her insulin was considered over the counter with them so no prescription was needed and it was only $25 for a 10mL bottle (which with her dosage will last roughly 2 months). The insulin needs were a little over $12 and a sharps container for used needles was $3. All of our supplies will last about 2 months and be about $40 a trip. A very reasonable price to keep her happy and healthy.

The food was something we didn't consider an added expense since she has to eat anyways and we didn't previously use store brands. We are on Hill's Science diet w/d. For a 8.5 pound bag it was about $22 and the 13 ounce cans are $1.99.We feed a mix of canned and kibbles so we need both, but also means the bag of kibbles last longer.

Long post, but the moral of the story is we are hoping this will be a resource for people since we didn't have one. Diabetes isn't a death sentence, it is very manageable.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The biggest hurdle

Will probably be making sure Kita eats two meals a day. While normally this isn't a problem, some days she just doesn't want breakfast. I don't know if it is because she snacked on kibble at night or if her constant getting up throughout the night tired her out too much and she wants to sleep in the morning, but making sure breakfast gets eaten will be one of the harder things to make sure she does.

Yesterday was our first full round of insulin injections for a day. It went well. She hardly notices the injection and once we call her over to do it she just plops down while we find a spot for the injection and gets ready. We have determined we will have to replenish our supplies about every two months for her medication which isn't bad at all. Now, to see if I can get some food in her belly.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


So last night, after a very long a very through exam, we were diagnosed with diabetes in Chiquita. They are not sure what caused it, but our doctor thinks it is mostly genetics and age. We were always told that she was a pure bred terrier, but as she ages (we got her when she was 8) we are starting to strongly believe she is part Schnauzer. And Schnauzers are susceptible to diabetes, especially with age (she will be 11 in April). We want to start this blog to help others who think that a diabetes diagnosis may be too much to handle with their dogs or to help highlight and record or journey with this battle.

First, the signs we noticed that brought her in for the blood work. Thirst. An undeniable, unquenchable thirst. She was drinking multiple bowl fulls of water a day, and naturally, having to use the bathroom more to get rid of all the water.We had a very hard time online finding anything that said this could be a sign of diabetes, however our doctor told us it was the first and commonly most overlooked sign. Kita would urinate in the house, have to go multiple times throughout the night even though she usually sleeps through the night. Long story short, it was a long week with spotty sleep and too much drinking. However, last night was our very first time with the insulin, and it worked fast. We let her out right before bed and she slept through the night and barely drank anything all night.

We will continue to update regularly to give people an idea of costs of treating diabetes in dogs as well as other stories through our journey. We found it hard to find much when we first became diagnosed last night and want to help others.