This is a story of mediocre Crockpot chili and a fabulous, courageous Yorkie.
First, the chili.
This isn't my chili (it's a stock photo, courtesy of Shutterstock). Mine looked more like spaghetti sauce. I don't know what went wrong. It was edible, just not a great recipe. This time, I used a ready-made "chili seasoning" packet, rather than my usual "add every herb and spice in the cabinet" approach--not stellar chili, either, but tonight's fare was just . . . bland, with too many beans.
In my defense, we've had a pet emergency. I'd thought a Crockpot would be the best alternative; the meal could cook itself, and I could tend to my ill Yorkie (more later).
I won't give the recipe. It's unworthy.
Anyway, Bandwidth refrigerated the Weird Chili, and tonight we're having chili dogs.
We've had a frightening emergency.
I'm owned by three Yorkies: Murphy, Mister, and Zap. On December 21, 2002, the twin boys were born in my living room: Zap and Mister.
The camera-shy Zap was the inspiration for the flop-eared Yorkie, also named "Zap," in my fifth novel, Mermaids in the Basement.
His nickname is the Velcro dog. Zap is always right by my ankles. He follows my every step.
This past weekend, Zap started to exhibit unusual-for-him symptoms: excessive thirst, increased appetite, and increased urination. I'm an RN, married to an MD, so naturally we thought of diabetes (or Cushings, etc). In theory, I know about these disorders, but when it comes to a furchild, forget it. I'm a blubbering, crying, can't-remember-doodly, hand-wringing wimp. But my husband knows plenty about illness. He's not a vet (and all the vet offices were closed that night), but he said we needed to push fluids, that Zap was getting dehydrated. Plus, Dr. G suspected the Yorkie was in mild DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis).
It was scary times. In an odd way, the thirst is a biological response to the rising acid in the blood. And urination helps rid the body of these acids. But dehydration is a risk.
We called the 24-hour emergency vet hospital, and the doctor said we didn't need to bring Zap as long as he was eating food and drinking water. He was. But things quickly changed. At midnight, he was still in the drinking water-urinating cycle. We think his electrolytes got out of balance. He stopped drinking (but would still eat bits of boiled chicken--that shows the toughness of a Yorkie. They love their food, and so do I).
We stayed up all night, hydrating him (we used a small syringe, only 1/2 cc at a time, squirting the normal saline solution into the lower part of his cheek, taking care that he didn't get choked). Within a few hours, Zap had turned the corner and was out of immediate danger. Even at his sickest, my faithful Zap wouldn't let me out of his sight.
An hour ago, we returned from an appointment with our vet. He nailed the diagnosis with a blood glucose test and administered 2 units of Insulin. Zap--sweet little, flop-eared Zap--has diabetes. From now on, he will need Insulin injections twice a day, every 12 hours. We will be monitoring his glucose levels, too. He has a vet appointment next week, so we can see if the 2 units will be enough.
Because I'm a nurse, you'd think I wouldn't be squeamish about giving subcutaneous injections, but oh! I'm a coward. I am determined to overcome this irrational fear. My vet said I will need to rotate the injection sites, and the scruff of the neck has the least amount of pain receptors.
I will be making dog food and dog treats. My vet thought this was a good idea, too. There are some vets who will push low-fat/diabetic dog food that they sell, but not my vet. He's the best. He said to use common sense when it comes to recipes on websites and to familiarize myself with foods that are high on the glycemic index. Zap will need 4 small meals a day. Also, he must eat before he receives his daily injections.
I found an excellent recipe for diabetic dog biscuits.
Diabetic Doggie Cookies
(adapted from Petdiabetes.com)
3 c. uncooked oatmeal
1 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 T chopped parsley
2 egg yolks
1 t baking soda
1 clove garlic, minced* (I'm not adding this until I can investigate further.)
Mix ingredients. Roll out. Using a cookie cutter, cut dough into shapes. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Cool. Seal in a plastic bag and refrigerate.
After studying the carbohydrates in dog food, I'm putting all of the Yorkies on the homemade diet. If anyone out there has a diabetic pooch, I'd love to hear from you. My vet said to make Zap brown rice (as opposed to white), but only in small quantities. This is scary territory. But with a great vet and motivated fur-parents, I'm hoping Zap will pull through.
I'm making the dog biscuits (and a chicken/grated veggie recipe) today.
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