Please meet Catherina Pinnaro, MD/Pediatric Endocrinology and Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa Health Care. And please meet her neighbor’s (Shannon Christensen) pup, 13-year-old Truman who has lived with Type 1 diabetes for 2 years. He uses DIY Loop and even has his own Nightscout account (free DIY app for tracking all devices and data in one place). What an amazing story!!!
“I’m a peds endo and couldn’t stand how bad his control was on NPH so we hooked him up with expired (Omnipod) pods and all the gear. He’s had diabetes for 2-ish years and living his best life. He even has his own Nightscout account, to monitor his blood glucose and insulin management. We are so grateful to this community because he was miserable before … and his spunk returned once we tamed his diabetes.”
When he has closed loop running, we use temp basal only, and his basals total about 10 units a day. I had to rewrite a little code because doggie BGs are not the same as humans. I needed to raise the correction ranges higher than the default loop allowed. I’m using regular insulin because of cost (and because he mostly eats protein), and had to change the code to reflect the kinetics of this too. His vet orders the supplies and helps with the food change and the suggested targets. I tweak the rest.
He seized frequently when on NPH despite frequent glucose curves at the vet. We are grateful his vet also is willing to help him with this (her personal experience with T1d has been beneficial). I would never pretend to be an expert in animals but am glad to be able to help with the day-to-day of devices and computers. Glad to say my man, Truman, has had no severe lows since. But definitely don’t recommend doing this without the help of a veterinarian.
Truman’s a pretty good boy. We do have him wear what I call “tactical gear” aka a vest with pockets over his cgm/pump if he is going after it but really after the first few days, he left it alone. He does sometimes shake on his back, so side placement has been better. Here’s Truman in his vest hanging with my husband. We moved the pod lower so he didn’t rub it but I think the cgm is under it. His phone and orange link (when he’s on Eros) live in the pockets because he likes to go out the doggie door. Connectivity issues sometimes occur at night when he isn’t wearing it and he decides to wander the house.”
Just more fabulous photo ops and videos with Loopin’ Truman!!!
Do you remember seeing a koala bear wearing a CGM a few years back? Here’s the story … also so amazing!!!
In June 2018, the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute and San Diego Zoo formed a first-of-its-kind collaboration to provide Quincy, a koala, with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) designed for humans to help manage his diabetes. Quincy soon became well known for being one of only a few koalas that have been diagnosed and treated for diabetes.
“Working with Quincy allowed us to extend our digital technology into an entirely new population,” said Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD, corporate vice president for the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute, who was part of this effort. In a Los Angeles Times article, Dr. Philis-Tsimikas noted that working with Quincy was similar to working with people who can’t talk or explain how they’re feeling, such as a very young child or a person who is unconscious due to severe hypoglycemia.
The CGM transmitted real-time information about Quincy’s blood glucose levels to a smartphone app and sent alerts before Quincy’s blood glucose level became dangerously high or low. Caretakers were able to monitor Quincy’s blood glucose data and adjust his insulin and diet to manage his diabetes.
Just as CGMs make managing diabetes easier for people, the CGM made managing diabetes easier for Quincy and his caretakers. According to a press release from the San Diego Zoo, before Quincy received the CGM, zoo staff had to prick Quincy’s skin several times a day to test his blood glucose. With the CGM, caretakers could see Quincy’s blood glucose level without disturbing him.
UPDATE: Sadly, in late 2018, Quincy developed pneumonia. According to NBC 7 San Diego, despite comprehensive medical treatment, Quincy’s health declined and veterinarians had to make the difficult decision to euthanize this beloved koala, who had become a mascot of sorts for many people living with diabetes.
“Human doctors can provide a wealth of expertise for conditions in which they have specialized and know incredible details about newer therapies, technologies, and effects for diseases that occur only rarely in animals,” said Dr. Philis-Tsimikas. “Hopefully our experience with Quincy provided new approaches to the Zoo, not only for marsupials but for other species that may develop diabetes and need ongoing therapy for the future.”