What is Insulin?
Insulin is used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus in multiple species including cats and dogs. It comes in various forms and strengths with corresponding syringes for each strength.
Who is it for?
Insulin is for multiple species including cats and dogs.
What are the benefits?
||Provides the hormone Insulin for the treatment of diabetes mellitus
||Allows blood sugar (glucose) to be properly utilized by the body
||Injectable Insulin available in multiple strengths (concentration)
Insulins are used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus to aid in maintaining a normal glucose level. Insulin is responsible for the proper usage of glucose by cells in the body. It is given by subcutaneous injection. Purchase Insulin syringes separately. Multiple types of Insulin exist, so make sure you match the right type of syringe to your Insulin. Insulin needs refrigeration.
Vetsulin and ProZinc requires U-40 syringes.
Humulin-N and Lantus require U-100 syringes.
How does Insulin work?
Injectable Insulin treats diabetes mellitus by providing a source of the hormone, Insulin when the body produces inadequate amounts. Insulin is necessary for glucose (blood sugar) to be able to enter the cells of the body and be used for energy.
Is there a generic equivalent available?
How is it given?
Insulin is a liquid given by injection. Your veterinarian and staff will show you how to properly handle, measure, and give Insulin to your dog or cat. For detailed instructions, see our Patient Information Sheet. Always follow the dosage instructions provided by your veterinarian. If you have difficulty giving the medication, contact your veterinarian. This medication should only be given to the pet for whom it was prescribed.
What results can I expect?
Insulin will not cure diabetes, but will help bring the glucose to more normal levels. It usually needs to be given once or twice daily to maintain the proper glucose levels. Be sure to follow your veterinarian's directions on how much and when to give the Insulin. The diet and exercise of a pet taking Insulin must be regulated, as well.
What form(s) does it come in?
Insulin is available in an injectable liquid.
Common Drug Name
What should I discuss with my veterinarian while considering Insulin?
Talk to your veterinarian about what type of outcome is expected. Have your veterinarian explain the other treatment options that may be available to treat your pet's condition. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet's exercise and diet.
The amount of Insulin needed by an animal is directly affected by the diet and energy output of the animal. A dog who jogs several miles with his owner each day will have much different Insulin needs than a dog who is basically a "couch potato." When regulating a pet on Insulin, it is important that the pet receive approximately the same amount of exercise each day.
Diet is another factor that greatly influences Insulin requirements. The pet should receive the same food each day and be fed the same amount at the same time each day. Generally the pet is fed twice a day before she receives her Insulin. You will need to eliminate treats according to your veterinarian's directions.
Tell your veterinarian if your dog has Cushing's disease (hyperadrenocorticism), thyroid disease, cancer, or may be pregnant or may be used for breeding.
Notify your veterinarian of any other medications or supplements your pet is taking. Also if your pet has had any reactions to previous medications.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose by more than two to three hours, contact your veterinarian to determine if you should still give it. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to the regular schedule. Do not give two doses at once.
What is the most important information I should know?
- It will take some time (weeks) and multiple laboratory tests to determine the best Insulin dose for your pet.
- Insulin must be given every day at specific times, probably for the life of the pet. Always follow your veterinarian's directions as to type, amount, and when to give the Insulin.
- Insulin must be handled properly (refrigerated, not shaken, etc).
- There is a proper technique for administering Insulin to a pet that must be followed.
- The type of Insulin and Insulin syringe that are used should not be changed unless under guidance by the veterinarian.
- The type and amount of food and when it is fed must be consistent.
- The type and amount of exercise must be consistent.
- Your pet will need to be carefully monitored at home on a daily basis; when to seek veterinary advice and return for rechecks will depend on what signs the pet may be showing.
- Insulin requirements often change over time and the dose of Insulin may need periodic adjustments based upon laboratory testing.
- Emergency conditions of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can be seen if too much Insulin is given in relation to food intake. You should be aware of when this could occur, the signs of the condition, and how to manage it.
- A blood sugar level that is too high is better than one that is too low.
- Diseases or procedures the pet may have in the future (e.g., surgery, teeth cleaning) may need to be managed differently because of diabetes.
Who should not take it?
This medication should only be given to the pet for whom it was prescribed. If your pet is not eating, contact your veterinarian before giving Insulin.
What side effects may be seen when taking Insulin?
May see hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level) with signs such as weakness, lethargy, shaking, seizures, or coma. Hypoglycemic cats may simply be inactive. May also see hyperglycemia (too much sugar in the blood) where the body increases the blood sugar level. Signs may include increased thirst and urination, vomiting, change in gait, or weakness.
How is it stored?
Insulin comes in a glass vial with a rubber stopper. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations as to the storage of Insulin. Do not use the Insulin beyond its expiration date. Keep out of reach of children and pets.
What should I do if I know of or suspect there has been an overdose?
If you know or suspect your pet has had an overdose, contact your veterinarian immediately.
What should I avoid when giving my pet Insulin?
Notify your veterinarian of any other medications, including vitamins and supplements, your pet is taking while your pet is receiving Insulin. Increased risk of low blood sugar may occur if used with anabolic steroids, beta-blockers, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, phenylbutazone, sulfinpyrasone, tetracycline, or salicylates like aspirin. Increased risk of high blood sugar may occur if used with glucocorticoids, thyroid medications, dobutamine, epinephrine, estrogen/ progesterone combinations, or diuretics. Hypoglycemic agents such as glipizide may help lower Insulin requirements, as may chromium picolinate. Use care when starting treatment for thyroid disorders in a diabetic animal, as Insulin needs may change. Changes in potassium levels may occur when using Insulin along with heart medications and/or diuretics.
Where is more information available?
Ask your veterinarian, consult with one of our pharmacists at 1-800-447-3021, or see the
Patient Information Sheet on this medication.