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- What It Is
Injectable insulin therapy that helps you control diabetes and lets you and your dog get back to enjoying life together.
Vetsulin® (porcine insulin zinc suspension) is an injectable insulin suspension that reduces hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) in dogs with diabetes mellitus.
Vetsulin is an animal-derived insulin, so it is designed to work specifically for your pet. It has a rapid onset, and is long-lasting. It's also one of the most reasonably-priced insulins available right now for pets.
Although Vetsulin is not a cure for diabetes mellitus, it can help control or eliminate many of the clinical signs associated with diabetes and reduce the chance of developing complications, including life-threatening diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition where the body uses fatty acids as a substitute energy source for glucose.
Response to Vetsulin varies from dog to dog, but can be quite dramatic. In most dogs, improvement can be seen within a few days. However, if Vetsulin is discontinued or not given as directed, the signs of diabetes will return and life-threatening complications such as ketoacidosis may develop. Therefore, it is important to maintain therapy in a consistent manner and monitor your dog's glucose level correctly.
Starting Vetsulin therapy
After diagnosis, your veterinarian will determine the Vetsulin starting dose based on your dog's weight. Next, your veterinarian will show you how to draw insulin from the vial, administer the injection, and monitor your dog's urine glucose levels.
During the first days of management, you and your veterinarian will monitor the effects of this dose on your dog's clinical signs (water and food intake, activity, urination frequency, etc), blood glucose level, and urine glucose level in order to calibrate the insulin dose to the correct amount. This time period can vary from 1 week to 1 or 2 months. Remember that patience is the key to success.
Monitoring your dog's glucose level is an important part of the overall therapy for diabetes and can be done in 2 ways:
- Measuring the glucose level in the blood itself.
- Checking the urine for the presence of glucose.
Measuring the blood glucose level is the most accurate way to monitor your dog's therapy, and your veterinarian will do this in the clinic. Blood samples will be taken about every 2 hours to understand how well the insulin is working to bring down glucose levels in the blood. In addition, the urine can be checked for the presence of glucose. This method is not as accurate but can be performed easily at home.
Learn more about how to monitor diabetes.
For dogs of a healthy weight, the usual amount of exercise your dog receives should remain relatively unchanged. Overweight dogs should have controlled weight loss, potentially with exercise. If your dog suddenly expends a lot more energy (longer walks, excitement about visitors, etc), your dog will burn up more glucose. Too much activity can result in an extremely low blood sugar level, which may leave too little "fuel" available for the brain, to the point that your dog could even lose consciousness. If this happens, immediately administer glucose.
Spaying your female dog
If your dog has not been spayed, your veterinarian will recommend this procedure as part of the management. This is because one of the female sex hormones, called progesterone, can interfere with the normal action of insulin. In order to remove the source of progesterone, spaying female dogs diagnosed with diabetes is essential.
My dog is regulated—what's next?
Regulation or stabilization of clinical signs of diabetes often goes very well for years. It is recommended to see your veterinarian on a regular basis (2-4 times a year). On these occasions, a general examination will be performed and rechecking the blood glucose level may be advised.
Your dog may suffer occasionally from stress, infections, dental problems, or other situations that can alter his or her diabetes. At that time, your dog will again show typical signs of diabetes (drinking and urinating more, for example), indicating you should consult your veterinarian.
Living with a diabetic dog
Once your dog has been stabilized on insulin, it will most likely lead a happy, healthy life. The life expectancy of dogs properly regulated on insulin is similar to that of other healthy dogs. Good communication between you and your veterinarian and adhering to the management regimen will help keep your dog healthy.
Important Safety Information
Vetsulin should not be used in dogs or cats known to have a systemic allergy to pork or pork products. Vetsulin is contraindicated during periods of hypoglycemia. Keep out of reach of children. As with all insulin products, careful patient monitoring for hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia is essential to attain and maintain adequate glycemic control and prevent associated complications. Overdosage can result in profound hypoglycemia and death. The safety and effectiveness of Vetsulin in puppies and kittens, breeding, pregnant, and lactating dogs and cats has not been evaluated. See package insert for full information regarding contraindications, warnings, and precautions.