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Have a word for Kayenta?
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So Renee asked in our new year comic whether we were going to have a lot of comics about our wedding plans. As it turns out, we don't appear to. Instead, we are going to detail our dog's medical status in excrutiating detail. Get ready for the ride of a lifetime!

So, as we showed in the last comic, Kayenta is now officially a diabetic. Here is how it works, to my understanding: the body, be it human, dragon or doggy, is capable of breaking down both sugar and fats in order to generate the energy we require to live. This proces is regulated through a substance called insulin. Insulin is produced by the body itself, and serves to prevent fat from being used as an energy source, causing organs to favor glucose (sugar). However, in people and doggies who have diabetes, insulin is no longer created by the body in sufficient quantities, or even at all. The net effect is that the body's fat will be turned into energy, while the glucose sticks around in the blood stream, poisoning the body with its extreme quantities.

The solution to this condition is to introduce the missing insulin from the outside. Now, insulin is made by digging up pure diamonds and gold with your bare hands, grinding them to a fine dust and feeding them to albino panda bears. The dust will settle in their digestive tracts for several weeks, after which it will come out of the other side in perfect round nuggests. These nuggets are then shot through the Large Hadron Collider where they come out as a pale whitish liquid that you can then inject into your dog. As you can imagine, this goes some way to explain the price of the stuff.

Actually, insuline for dogs comes from pigs. Now, maybe these pigs live in a house of silk and mud, maybe not, but either way, the stuff is expensive. The amount that Beedoo! is injecting up there in the comic will easily cost more than a decent car. Luckily, we're not actually reuqired to inflate the dog with liquid gold. .5 ml a day will do her. :)

Now, the comic could easily have been called "Arno and Beedoo! kill the dog stone dead", because there is such a thing as too much insuline. Normally the body will produce the right amount of insuline required, but when you introduce it from the outside you can only sort of hope you've got the right amount. A shortage of insuline is not good, for the reasons explained above. Too much, however, is worse. The sugar levels in the blood will dip too low, and the dog, person or dragon may develop acute hypoglycemia - a 'hypo' - which in the worst case may lead to fainting, a coma and then death. So it's kind of a balancing act: the amount of insulin needs to be balanced against the sugar in the body. This can especially happen when the dog is active and the body produces more insulin on its own, or just before feeding time, when sugar levels are low.

So far Kayenta has gone 'into hypo' a few times. Every time it happened while she was on a walk; she starts getting 'wobbly' (this is the technical term that we use) and runs into us. We've gotten good at recognising it, and stand by with dextrose tablets to quickly raise her sugar levels. We have adapted her eating schedule accordingly: she now gets food right after her 10 A.M. morning shot (and no longer later after she has been walked), and we now feed her before her long walk in the evening. This seems to do the trick; today we actually forgot to feed her before her long walk and were immediately rewarded with a dog that went from active and happy to wobbly and clumsy in practically an instant. Dextrose to the rescue!

Overall, it's not so bad. There's a (considerable) cost involved, and it forces us to be more on top of our dog schedule, but so long as she has proper insulin levels she appears to be a healthy, happy dog who sometimes gets to eat yummy sugar tablets and who likes injection needles because they preface food and cookies. She has lost a lot of weight as all the fat in her body was being burnt away, but apparently she's actually at a good weight now. Folks, if you ever need an outrageous weight loss scheme, diabetis may be your way to go!

As for the shots, they are not so bad. I'll let Beedoo! tell you more about that.

Pump up the volume, pump up the volume, pump up the volume, dog, dog!

Kayenta really likes getting shots for some reason! She doesn't seem to mind having her skin pincher or the injection itself... usually she doesn't even flinch. She's such an easy dog!

It's probably lucky that I'm not one of those people who is intimidated by needles or blood or anything like that. (True, I look away when I have a shot or get blood drawn, but that's more to avoid expected pain and tensing up with the anticipation of the poke.) Giving Kayenta a shot means drawing the insulin out of the bottle with a syringe, grabbing a pinch of her neck skin, splitting that pinch of skin, and inserting the needle in that little divot. After that, she gets petted, praised, and given her breakfast in the morning, and a cookie at night.

Really, the hardest part of the process has been trying to keep on schedule with her shots. The vet started us out giving her her shots at 9 and 9, but I had to switch to 10 and 10 because... well, I sleep in pretty late. As it is, I get up, give the dog her shot and go back to sleep. I usually remember to set my alarm clock for the morning (and I have a tendency to wake up moments before it goes off, no matter when I set it for) buti have to wait a while until I can set it again... it's an OLD alarm clock! I'm probably lucky I don't have to wind it! Arno's alarm clock taked care of the evening alert, though it just plays the radio, and is sometimes hard to hear if we're also watching something loud on tv. Despite these hitches, we've done okay with being on time.

Now the trick is, are we going to be able to keep on schedule as we go on vacation overseas??

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