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For the Love of Dogs


Argus Leader newspaper, Jill Callison - 9/1/2009


Kameron Carlson knows how much his wife, Nancy, loves the two Italian greyhounds that share their home in southern Sioux Falls.

He loves Vinny and Leo, too.

In fact, Carlson loves the dogs so much that he became a human guinea pig while researching a way to prolong Vinny's life.

Not only was he successful, but the Carlsons' formula for treating canine diabetes has been used on half a dozen more dogs with equally promising results.

The formula now has begun the patent process. Some day Dia-Treaties could be available to assist dogs everywhere.

"It's been very, oh, like a miracle," Kameron says of the process that has restored the lithe, gray-and-white Vinny back to his old high-energy self.

Vinny now can keep up with his tan-and-white companion, the much younger Leo.

The Carlsons' first dog, a cocker spaniel who joined them shortly after their marriage 19 years ago, died about four months ago.

These dogs, particularly 10-year-old Vinny, adore Nancy, Kameron says.

In turn, the Carlsons adore Italian greyhounds.

"They're really, really ..." Nancy begins before her husband joins her in completing the sentence. "Sweet," he says.

(Another Italian greyhound owner I know describes them, in part, thusly: "delicate, lithe, gorgeous, handsome, omniscient, neurotic, weird, lovable, skittish.")

Thirst symptom

About two years ago, Vinny began drinking more water than usual. Lots more.

"We kept noticing him standing by his water bowl and drinking it until it was completely gone," the Carlsons wrote in a history of Dia-Treaties' development.

Family veterinarian Sam Lukens examined Vinny. Tests showed that Vinny is a type 1 diabetic. The dog's blood-glucose test showed a reading of 379. The normal range is 80 to 110.

Estimates indicate that one in 400 to 500 dogs becomes diabetic, mostly type 1. In cats, it happens in 1 in 200 cases. Most feline and human diabetics are type 2.

Kameron is familiar with diabetes in humans. His father, who died of a heart attack 19 years ago, was a type 2 diabetic. For years, Kameron has followed accounts of attempts to cure or control the disease.

To have it strike his dog was no less painful.

Despite twice-daily shots of insulin - at 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. - Vinny began to fail. For months, Kameron awoke at 1 a.m. to take the dog outside.

Loss of weight, vision

Vinny's weight dropped from 21 to 14 pounds.

"You could see his ribs," Kameron says.

Cataracts in both eyes, attributed to the diabetes, formed, blinding Vinny. One day, he ran off a 4-foot retaining wall, landing face first in the dirt.

"Dr. Lukens was pulling out his hair, trying to figure out what he could do because he knows how much we love this dog," Kameron says.

Vinny, Lukens says, is what is termed a brittle diabetic. His body could not maintain a consistent blood sugar level.

Answer to a prayer

One night at bedtime, Kameron said a prayer, asking for an answer to Vinny's health problems.

He awoke with a formula almost written out for him. Using the research he had gathered through his father's diabetes and easy-to-obtain ingredients, Kameron perfected the formula for Dia-Treaties.

In 24 hours, Vinny began to show improvement. Eventually, he became healthy enough for cataract surgery in Omaha. He put on weight. Puppy-like, he began to play with Leo again and race around the house.

Lukens had supervised the process from the beginning.

"I have a lot of faith in both Kameron and Nancy, in their knowledge and the research they did," he says. "There's no disputing the fact what it did for Vincent."

Tests on other dogs

Lukens asked the owners of two other dogs with diabetes whether they would be willing to try the formula. They agreed. Those dogs, too, responded favorably.

Over a two-month period, the glucose reading for one dog dropped from 260 to 73, and for the other from 242 to 91.

Vinny still receives his twice-daily insulin shots, followed by a Dia-Treatie.

Because of the patenting process, Carlson doesn't disclose the formula's ingredients. But Luken says the formula smooths out the daily fluctuations in the amount of blood sugar. It also eliminates the need for frequent urination and lowers daily water consumption.

"Diabetic patients become more bright, alert, active and more responsive and inter-active with their owners," Lukens says.

The formula also improves skin health and hair coat quality and reduces urinary tract infections.

Lukens wants to continue testing Dia-Treaties.

"This whole formula came to Kameron in the middle of the night in a dream," he says. "He feels it has a great amount of commercial potential. I think that's a possibility, but also it could be he was just given that for Vincent."

Man as guinea pig

Kameron purchased a blood-glucose monitor - one of those little instruments that takes a sample of blood from your finger - and tried the Dia-Treaties formula on himself.

While he is healthy, he, too, has had similar results in his blood-sugar levels.

Leo also takes the formula, in a smaller amount than Vinny, every day. He has allergies, and the formula has cleared up his skin.

The Carlsons currently make Dia-Treaties in their own kitchen. But should it become successful, the couple - financial planners by trade - are interested in expanding the production.

Because, they say, it's all about the dogs.

"We are humbled by all of this," they write in their history, "and we wonder if it couldn't help people as well."