Treating Canine Diabetes

Treating Canine Diabetes

A blood test that measures your dog’s blood glucose level is the most common diagnostic tool, but a high glucose level does not always mean diabetes. Because other diseases sometimes raise these levels, your vet may run additional tests to rule out such causes.

Once your dog is diagnosed, her veterinarian will obtain a “serial blood glucose–concentration curve” by measuring his/ her glucose level repeatedly over many hours. The results will help the vet choose an appropriate insulin, dose and dosing schedule.

After treatment starts, your dog will need to be routinely tested to see how well the treatment is working. Most commonly, either a fructosamine test or a glycated hemoglobin test, which reveal average control over the previous one to three weeks (fructosamine) or two to four months (glycated hemoglobin) is used. In contrast, the daily blood glucose measurement is a snapshot, an indication of your dog’s glucose level at one specific moment.

Pets with type 1 diabetes are given insulin injections and may need changes in diet, and may need to lose weight. Pets with type 2 diabetes do not need insulin because they can usually be controlled with diet, weight loss, and oral medication (Glipizide).

PetTest Blood Glucose Monitoring Kit

Blood glucose monitoring will likely be an aspect of treatment. This involves lightly pricking your dog’s skin, gathering a few drops of blood and running it through a blood glucose meter. Most treatment plans also involve one or two insulin shots daily.

Which Types of Insulin Do Pets Use?

Ultimately your pet’s veterinarian will recommend the best types of insulin your pet will need. Below is a list of the more common types of insulin pets use that are diagnosed with diabetes:

1.Regular crystalline insulin, which has a rapid onset and short duration of action, perhaps only a few hours

2.Intermediate-acting insulin, such as NPH (Isophane), which has an intermediate duration of about 12 hours (Vetsulin Insulin) (ProZinc can last up to 24 hours)

3.Lente insulin, which has an intermediate duration of 12 hours, but lasts as long as 24 hours in some pets

4.Ultralente insulin, which is long-acting, usually as long as 24 hours, but it may be only as long as 12 hours in some pets. Insulin can be mixed to combine a rapid and a longer-duration product in a single bottle.

Pets use insulin made from beef, pork, a combination of beef and pork, and from human recombinant DNA. If switching a pet from animal to human insulin, the dose is lowered and the pet is re-regulated. Examples of insulins prescribed for pets are ProZinc Cat Insulin, and Vetsulin Insulin.

Insulin is injected with special syringes that are calibrated in units. The syringes have tiny needles because they are intended to deliver insulin below the skin.

Why Is Insulin Injected?

Insulin is a protein that is destroyed by stomach acid when it is swallowed. Instead, insulin is injected under the skin and is picked up by the blood and circulated throughout the body.

Are Options Other than Insulin Available for Dogs with Diabetes?

Unfortunately, other options for treating diabetes in dogs have proven to be less than successful. At one time, there was hope that the oral hyperglycemic agents that act to lower blood glucose when given by mouth would be useful in treating diabetic dogs.

 That has not proven to be the case in most instances.

Reasons Why Insulin Is the Best Treatment for Diabetic Dogs

The primary reason that insulin is the best treatment for canine diabetes is the fact that dogs with diabetes almost always suffer from insulin-dependent diabetes. This means that the cells in the pancreas that normally secrete insulin are no longer functional and the pancreas can no longer secrete insulin in quantities sufficient to regulate your diabetic dog’s blood glucose levels.

This differs from the cat because, especially early in the disease, cats may suffer from non-insulin dependent diabetes, meaning that their pancreas still retains some ability to secrete insulin. Because some insulin-secreting ability exists for these cats, oral hypoglycemic products may (or may not) be effective.

In addition to insulin treatment, if you have a dog with diabetes, you also need to take a holistic approach to manage all facets of your dog’s life in order to keep the glucose levels in check. In particular, it is extremely important to pay attention to your pet’s diet, supplements, exercise, and weight control.

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