Protect Your Animals Eyes! Make Glucometers Standard Practice for Diabetic Animals

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I cannot see you Mommy, when you cuddle me so near.  
And yet I know you love me, it's in the words I hear.
I cannot see you Daddy, when you hold me by your side
But still I know you love me when you tell me so with pride.
I cannot see to run and play out in the sun so bright
For here inside my tiny head it's always dark as night.
I cannot see the treats you give when I am extra good
But I can wag my tail in Thanks just like a good dog should.
"She cannot see. The dog’s no good" is what some folks might say
"She can't be trained, she'll never learn, She must be put away." 
But not you, Mom and Daddy, You know that it's alright
Because I love you just as much as any dog with sight.
You took me in, you gave me love and we will never part
Because I'm blind with just my eyes, I see you in my heart.

— Sherrill Wardrip


To avoid the dangers associated with DIABETES, just like humans, it is imperative that animal owners have a glucometer on hand to test their animals blood glucose levels especially when they begin treatment for their animals. LETS ENFORCE IT AS STANDARD PRACTICE. It is the only clear way to determine what your animals blood glucose level is at any given moment! Managing them at home will most likely reduce the chances of hyperglycemia and will be less expensive. 

Unregulated glucose levels which may be caused by the administration of insulin may cause blindness to occur from cataract formation.  My animal was very healthy before he started human insulin.  He completely declined with administration.  I found myself racing against time to save his life and his vision! He went blind.  He should have been started on FDA approved animal insulin; insulin that is more compatible with his natural biology. This is a violation of the FDA guidelines. 

*****************Please consider including the following in the Fairness to Pet Owners Act:**************************
1. Unless it is a life threatening emergency (an event that merits immediate resolution) it is a federal offense to prescribe pet owners medication prior to diagnostic results being verified and evaluated in the context of a complete clinical picture once a pet owner has agreed to said testing and the animal has completed the exam, blood draw, x-rays etc. (results are in pending status).

ex. My dog was started on antibiotics before his urinalysis was returned after I told the VCA doctor that he was not symptomatic of Diabetes; she was jumping to conclusions.  My dog not having a bladder infection was a part of a clinical picture.  He also had signs that indicated pancreatitis that she didn't address and a low thyroid reading ( a test that was contraindicated by insulin administration).  Insulin resistant conditions should have been addressed before insulin administration since he was not symptomatic. She started him on human insulin which is against the FDA regulations. She also did not research the tic diseases that he supposedly had and was treated for( one of which it turns out he doesn't even have a titer for, the other one that he had as a puppy was later checked and he had an elevated titer and was treated although he was not afforded the best test available to him which may have determined otherwise because it can differentiate between new and old infections and vaccines(Cornel Withheld that information from us when we paid them for an evaluation so that we could switch to Vetsulin).



Since issues related to Laryngeal Paralysis can be impacted by the nervous system it is very important not to disrupt the delicate balance of your animals biology or you may induce this condition.  In addition discernment of the issues can be complicated and costly.  Fortunately, my dog did not have the typical signs of this condition which was documented just a few days before he started medications. 

My dog was recognized as a Catahoula Leopard his whole life until he went to VCA who then claimed that he was part Laborador (Labs of course are prone to Laryngeal Paralysis). 

It was unethical to start him on human insulin and immoral to keep him on it when it was very obvious that it didn't agree with him.  Its unfair to pet owners to not give them the chance to try with the best tools(glucose meter vs urine strips) and medication (FDA approved animal insulin) that is available.  It's deceptive for doctors to not educate pet owners especially when there are laws in place!  What good are laws and ethics if they are not utilized and enforced?

I was told to use Urine Testing initially.  Urine testing is important to use in order to check for ketones but it is not the most effective way to assess blood sugar levels.  VCA's information page at the time did not clarify methods of assessment tools.  It has since been minimally updated.  It also did not mention a variety of insulins to choose from. I was warned that my dog could become very ill if I didn't start treatment with insulin when in fact treatment may have been avoided by management of other issues.

My animal was not properly assessed. He was misdiagnosed with a tic disease, placed on antibiotics for a bladder infection that he didn't have and he had a low thyroid reading but was not supplemented although he was symptomatic (among other things). He had a complete break down and couldn't walk.  He was having an allergic reaction(swelling around his eyes etc. and side effects(he was given Benadryl).  I was not informed of the limitations of urine testing nor was I informed of the variety of insulin's that are available(some are FDA approved for animals and some are not).  My animal has lost his good quality of life. I had informed the doctor that he was not symptomatic of Diabetes but she insisted that because his sugar was elevated and he had sugar in his urine that he was in fact a diabetic.  Because I was  not able to defend him I complied with her diagnosis out of fear that she caused.  Once he declined I informed her that I didn't think the medication was agreeing with him.  I reminded her once again that he was not symptomatic of Diabetes.

She very quickly began removing medication ( blood pressure and antibiotics) once he had the breakdown and she ran a thyroid test(the thyroid test should have been ran before insulin administration to check for insulin resistant conditions).  Even though the reading was low she didn't supplement him. 

"Dogs and cats in the early stages of nonclinical DM appear healthy, have a stable weight, and are usually identified as a result of routine laboratory evaluation. They do not have clinical signs of DM. Stress hyperglycemia needs to be ruled out, as well as correction of any insulin-resistant disorders and discontinuation of drugs associated with impaired insulin release or sensitivity. Reassessing BG or monitoring urine glucose (UG) levels once the patient is no longer stressed at home or measuring serum fructosamine concentrations may help differentiate between stress hyperglycemia and DM, and determine if further action should be taken.
The initial evaluation of the diabetic dog and cat should:
• Assess the overall health of the pet (history including diet and concurrent medications, and a complete physical exam).
• Identify any complications that may be associated with the disease (e.g., cataracts in dogs, peripheral neuropathy in cats).
• Identify any concurrent problems often associated with the disease (e.g., urinary tract infections, pancreatitis).
• Identify any conditions that may interfere with the patient’s response to treatment (e.g., hyperthyroidism, renal disease, hyperadrenocorticism).
• Evaluate for risk factors such as obesity, pancreatitis, insulin-resistant disease, diabetogenic medications, and diestrus in female dogs."

If you don't have the good fortune of having a veterinarian that assess your animal properly by ruling out diagnosis, listening carefully and establishing the proper criteria for a condition your animal could be placed in GREAT DANGER in a short period of time IF YOU ARE NOT AN EDUCATED PET OWNER.  Pancreatitis can disrupt blood sugar levels temporarily along with other conditions.

There is the potential for a "complicated case" to evolve which may include the other elements of the endocrine system as they are all interelated (the major endocrine glands include: the adrenals, pancreas, pineal, pituitary, reproductive and thyroid glands).  They may go blind!

Senator Blumenthal please reconsider the purpose and or wording of The Fairness to Pet Owners Act as it may create a loop hole for veterinarians to escape making correct diagnosis in a timely manner which may lead to further complications and expenses. 

The Fairness to Pet Owners Act

"Directs the Federal Trade Commission to require prescribers of animal drugs to verify prescriptions and provide copies of prescriptions to pet owners, pet owner designees, and pharmacies, without the prescriber demanding payment or establishing other conditions. Applies these requirements to medication for a domesticated household animal that consumers are not allowed to purchase without a prescription.Treats a violation of this Act as an unfair or deceptive act or practice under the Federal Trade Commission Act."

As far as I know it is not necessary to have a prescription for human insulin in the state of Connecticut you only need a prescription for the syringes.  Someone should be monitoring the prescribing of insulin for off label usage in animals. This kind of practice is very deceptive.  (You do need a prescription for Vetsulin however)

In addition, please enforce the AVMA ethics "The Principles" and hold the physicians accountable for what they have done to my animal. Lastly, please make it mandatory for veterinarians to supply an owner who is instructed to start insulin shots with a blood glucose meter (right away)as it is the only accurate way to asses an animals blood sugar level in the present moment.

I paid for a urinalysis and instead of waiting for the results the doctor placed him on antibiotics that could affect management of his blood sugar.  I would like to see in the Fairness to Pet Owners Act a stimulation that states that it is a violation to start medication prior to the test results being returned and evaluated unless its an emergency circumstance.  My dog was misdiagnosed once again and it was not an emergency/acute situation.

 Limitations of urine glucose testing
The level of glucose in the urine is not the same as the level of glucose in the blood. The urine level is just a reflection of how high the bg was, and how long it was above the renal threshold (the point where glucose spills into the urine). There will always be a difference between what shows up in the urine and what was actually in the blood, and the urine glucose levels will always lag behind the blood glucose levels.

Also, urine test strips cannot show if the blood glucose has ever gone too low. The strips are not designed to do this.

Urine testing may be a method that you can use to monitor your pet's diabetes. But keep in mind that urine testing has some serious limitations and may not work with your pet.




Supporting Information

All veterinarians are expected to adhere to a progressive code of ethical conduct known as the"Principles" . This is a great concept if it is utilized and enforced.

* Did you know that animals are considered property(similar to a car)and historically there have been few legal ramifications for malpractice. How does this translate into how owners and animals are treated?


In addition to the treatment we endured, I now find it concerning that my personal experience included an entity that predominantly influences the market and claims to be setting a standard of care(they have over 700 small animal veterinary hospitals across the United States and Canada, a nationwide clinical laboratory and diagnostic imaging company). According to one source, VCA has "1 of the 10 most over paid CEO's". In fact the CEO is also the chairman and the president of Veterinary Centers of America Antech Inc. .



Robert L. Antin, VCA Antech
Compensation: $12.1 million
Corporate profits: -13%
Stock performance: -15%
Never heard of VCA Antech? You’re not alone. This provider of “pet healthcare services” had just $1.5 billion in sales last year—a drop in the bucket compared to, say, the profitable drugstore chain CVS, which nonetheless paid its CEO $100,000 less than Antin earned. Profits fell 13 percent at VCA Antech last year, but that didn’t dissuade the company’s board from giving Antin—who holds the triple title of chairman, president, and CEO—a 536 percent raise that included $10 million in stock and a $928,000 cash bonus. His package was opposed by a leading corporate governance consultancy and by his own shareholders—58 percent rejected it in a nonbinding “say on pay” vote.

Please go to VIN NEWS to see the complete articles

"VCA's buy of Vetstreet raises worries about control of clinic data
New owner says it will not inspect clinic information

September 1, 2011
By: Jim Downing
For The VIN News Service

When VCA Antech, Inc. bought MediMedia Animal Health and its business in July for $146 million, Vetstreet's data from nearly 5,000 practices moved under the same corporate umbrella as the nation's largest chain of stand-alone veterinary hospitals.

Vetstreet provides online marketing and client-communication services for veterinary practices. When a clinic signs up, it agrees to allow Vetstreet to upload its practice database, with all the details it contains on a practice's business operations: number of patient visits, care provided, sales of pharmaceuticals and so on.

For some veterinarians, having that information in the possession of a large corporation in direct competition with private practices was too much.

" VCA Inc.: Gentle giant or takeover threat?
Views of chain veterinary hospital owner span the spectrum

July 11, 2014
By: Edie Lau
For The VIN News Service

A letter mailed this spring to 2,000 proprietors of small veterinary clinics invited them to consider merging with a neighboring hospital run by VCA Inc., the largest owner of freestanding veterinary hospitals in the United States.

“By combining your practice with a current VCA Hospital, we remove the burden of day-to-day management, helping you achieve a more balanced lifestyle while you continue to practice veterinary medicine,” the letter reads. “If retirement is what you are looking for, a merger with VCA can be your exit strategy.”

In the view of Robert Antin, president, CEO and co-founder of VCA, the letter constitutes a “smiley face” topic — a happy example of VCA supporting the veterinary community by providing financial options to its members. The solicitation, he said, is “not contentious.”

But it is.

Some veterinarians who received the letter took strong offense. One called the move “somewhat predatory.”

“It feels like a hostile takeover,” said another. “They’re taking out anybody who’s competition.”

The reactions illustrate the perceived threat VCA poses to a segment of independent, small-hospital owners in the face of the company’s continual growth. In 27 years, VCA has expanded from a single hospital in Los Angeles to 608 hospitals across North America. It owns one of the two biggest diagnostic laboratories in the country; a digital medical equipment company; and a practice-communications and marketing business. It also is one of the three largest investors in VetSource, a pharmaceutical distributor. "

"CA Antech prevails in breach-of-contract suits
Laboratory services provider continues suing veterinarians

May 1, 2014

By: Edie Lau
For The VIN News Service

One of the largest providers of veterinary diagnostic laboratory services in the United States is winning suits against clinics and clinic owners who sought to cancel extended service contracts with the company before their terms were up.VCA Antech has since 2011 sued at least 21 veterinary businesses for breach of contract, court records show. Two cases ended with court decisions affirming VCA Antech’s legal arguments and resulted in awards to Antech of about $183,000 and $63,000, respectively. VCA won a third case by default when the defendant did not respond to the complaint or appear in court.Eleven cases settled out of court. Terms of the settlements are not publicly recorded. Seven cases are ongoing."

“… You have to be absolutely clear of your rights under the contract,” said Zanotti, who with his clinic co-owner, the late Dr. Jonathan “Jed” Diehl, had committed their Massachusetts business Winchester Veterinary Group to providing Antech with $360,000 in business over five years.

Even though Jed and I had what we believed to be a clear understanding of our contract, Antech had a vastly different interpretation of those terms,” Zanotti said in a written response to questions. “That difference ended up being extremely costly for us.”

The VIN News Service

"VCA: Why This Pet-Care Provider Is Seeing New Highs In Market "


The AVMA DOES NOT support this bill, they think it is an administrative burden. click on link below


Animal based insulin's have been used safely and effectively for over 70 years although some animals and people may have better results with other kinds. Vetsulin is the only FDA approved insulin for dogs that I am aware of; it should have been prescribed before a human insulin.  When my dog responded with swelling around his eyes, a drunken gate, difficulty breathing and extreme hind end weakness along with a low thyroid test that was taken after his decline the VCA veterinarian should have immediately switched him to Vetsulin. I was not even informed that it existed and she contraindicated the thyroid test by performing it after insulin administration.  In addition, he was initially being seen for a condition unrelated to diabetes but potentially related to his thyroid which they never officially diagnosed him with but tried to later attribute his newly acquired adverse reactions to the medication administration to when another doctor that week wrote in his clinical notes that my dog was not showing the typical signs of the initial suspected condition which may have been creating a decline in his energy level/ stamina.  The diabetes was discovered inadvertently when they completed his pre-anesthetic blood panel for the first doctors test that required sedation.   My dog never even had that test because I was referred to the internist for possible diabetes and my dog had such a drastic decline that he was unable to complete the test.  She did not rule out the tic disease at that time.  My primary doctor at the time should have completed a geriatric blood panel instead of sending me to VCA on a non-emergency basis.  He also should have completed a tic titer/snap test panel.  

My dogs last geriatric blood panel showed a healthy animal whose thyroid level was in therapeutic range and a very well regulated glucose reading.  Luckily he did not have highs and lows that weren't predictable. Once I learned his natural response to food and insulin I could easily manage him with snacks and injections; this is partly why I believe that while he was regulated, the human insulin just did not agree with his biology.  He never recovered.  He once again did not show the tic disease that they claimed he had (from what I understand once you have a tic disease you will always have a titer.....this is why he showed a titer for Lyme... he had Lyme as a puppy and had the vaccine and was treated and showed know symptoms of the disease.) Had Cornell University informed me of their specialized Lyme test when I shared his blood work with them it would've clarified the status of the disease but instead they redirected me to a previous doctor who had ruled out the other tic disease that he was aggressively treated for.  Once again a failure to inform, a violation of the "Principles".  My dog was defecating and urinating in their office, something he has never done before.  Heartless.

What's most puzzling to me is why the doctors resisted changing his insulin to Vetsulin and why they didn't want to research the tic disease.  To me it doesn't seem so complicated.  A tic disease can effect glucose regulation.  It is not unheard of for a person or animal to suffer adverse effects of medication.


Please note that I am not a medical doctor. 

Please consult with professionals and research scholarly, credible documentation to become a more educated pet owner before making wellness choices pertaining to your pet.  Be proactive so that you are more prepared if circumstances arise and don't rush into making a decision if your animal is not in crisis.

















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