Abbye Update: The Hits Keep Coming

I apologize for the lack of positive posts lately. I really would like to write about less consequential or more uplifting things but life isn’t always like that. I’m sure you understand. What I do know is that this too will pass, so don’t give up!

Well, there’s no easy way to put it so I’ll just lay it out: Abbye is blind, probably as a result of diabetes. The shocking thing is how quickly it came on, although we’ve suspected a tendency toward diabetes for a couple of months, based on her weight loss and copious water consumption. The blood tests weren’t out of line, however, and so there was nothing to do but monitor her.

She apparently took a turn for the worse while we were on vacation (isn’t that how it usually happens?). She spent all day yesterday at the vet clinic where they could administer insulin and monitor her reaction, and she’s there now, to repeat the process. The good news is that she responded well and by the end of yesterday her blood sugar was in the normal range.

We don’t know if she’s got a full-blown case of diabetes, or if it’s actually a temporary condition caused by the Cushing’s Disease. Her quick response to the insulin yesterday seems to favor the latter diagnosis, in which case she could well regain normal pancreatic function and, hopefully, her eyesight.

Right now, she seems to be able to distinguish light and shadow. It’s very difficult to determine the degree of blindness in a dog, particularly when it’s in a known environment like its home. Abbye’s especially hard to read, as she’s so cautious in her movements anyway; she doesn’t play with toys or romp through the yard or the house, and so we don’t have that baseline to measure against.

However, she stumbles over curbs and steps and occasionally will turn too soon and brush a doorway before going through it. We also set up a simple obstacle course at the vet clinic yesterday and she had trouble navigating it, following the sound of my voice.

On the positive side, she seems to be feeling well, all things considered, and is still eating and drinking. Her hair is beginning to reappear, although it’ll be a long time before she’s got a full coat back.

Our primary hope is that the blindness and the diabetic indicators are temporary. We’ve had a diabetic and blind dog in the past, and it did not turn out well. Abbye deserves better.

I don’t plan on giving daily blow-by-blow updates on this, but I will let you know if anything significant happens. Thanks in advance for caring about the little dog.

11 comments

  1. YLB must be feeling pretty low about Abbye’s condition. How I hope it’s temporary! She’ll be okay even if it’s not because she has the most loving caring givers possible! Her “parents” always meet her needs in kind and helpful ways.
    Give her a gentle pat for me, if she’ll stand for it. And tell her I care and will pray for all of you!

  2. God bless Abbye, and God bless you and YLB, Eric …
    I hope for the best, of course … but I KNOW that, even where there might not be sight, there is warmth, and comfort, and love in your home, and your arms, and your hearts for this precious one …

  3. Phyllis, I think that it’s an advantage to have been through this before. And Abbye will certainly accept your pat-by-proxy; she’s a little more needy now than she used to be. I suspect she’s reassured by the presence of a familiar hand when everything else is unseeable. (Hmmm…there’s probably a devotional in there somewhere. 😉
    Jeff, as always, I appreciate your support and kind words!

  4. We do love our animals. They become so much a part of the family, don’t they?
    Abbye has certainly been fortunate to have such a caring and wonderful family; likewise, I am sure you are are the one feeling blessed.
    I get all blubbery about dogs, they are truly man’s best friend.

  5. I’ll pray for Abbye, liking dogs more than most people as I do. Animals do seem to cope better with disabilities than people especially when they are loved as Abbye is.
    Tres, The Big Gold Dog, has lost a great deal of his sharp vision too, but gets along famously, though now he prefers to spend all his free time lying in the front yard. I finally figured out that there are many more moving objects out there, which he can distinquish vs. the slow life inside.

  6. Pattie, it’s kind of hard to watch her shake her head, like she’s wondering “what’s the deal here?”
    But as Wallace correctly points out, dogs seem to be able to adjust very quickly to such changes, however dramatically. She’s probably dealing with it much better than we are.
    Our previous dog, who died of complications due to diabetes, was truly a hound from hell, the worst dog I’ve ever been around and I hope never to have another one like him. And yet I still couldn’t stand to see him suffer at the end.
    Having a pet should be a “for better or worse” proposition. I guess they’ve taken that out of most wedding vows, but it still should be part of the pet/human covenant.

  7. Oh dear…first that, then this. Poor, poor Abbye. Pets are better patients than humans, but that just makes us pity them all the more. They ask for so little in the first place. The thought of her shaking her head makes me very sad. Knowing that dogs spend most of their time sleeping and lounging might offer some comfort though? I mean, most of the photos of Abbye show her with her eyes closed anyway. 😉 I do hope she regains enough sight that she is not completely blind once the diabetes is under control, although I realize that may be asking for a miracle. I pray for peace in the Abbye household.

  8. Mac sends his love to Abbye as she enters this ‘new’ phaze of her life and hopes that she will adapt quickly.
    Rachel sends her love to you and YLB as you struggle to see her cope and understands how it can be. (Looks over at little dog and renews committment to walk him tonight so that he will keep losing those extra pounds).
    Prayers will be offered in her direction forwith.

  9. Gwynne, you do make a good point, even if you meant it in jest. Losing her sight is not as disastrous for Abbye as it would be for a sporting dog, for example. It’s just hard to get used to seeing her walk so tentatively through the house. I thank you for your prayers.
    And you, too, Rachel. Give Mac a big hug for me.

  10. Oh no!!! 🙁
    Of all the terrible things. Abbye is such a sweetheart, too!
    Now you’ll have to watch out for her whenever she goes outside, even in the back yard. Here’s hoping this is a symptom and not a permanent condition.
    If it’s not too much to ask, would you please, please give Abbye a hug for me? Tell her it’s from Mr. Freen.

  11. Mr. Freen, knowing that you’ve been one of her biggest fans, she’ll gladly accept your offering.
    As far as watching her in the backyard, that’s not going to be a problem. She’s never spent any more time than absolutely necessary out there, so our habit all along has been to wait at the door while she trots out, does her business, and trots back. She’s just a slower trotter now.

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