New ways to treat diabetes in cats

Our November newsletter spotlighted Pet Diabetes Month and the signs of this disease in cats.  A new form of insulin called ProZinc specifically for cats has just been licensed for use in Canada. In the past, veterinarians had to use human insulin products for dogs and cats. In Canada, we now have two insulin products licensed for use in cats: Caninsulin (Merck) and ProZinc (Boehringer Ingelheim).

Insulin treatment is almost always essential for cats diagnosed with diabetes mellitus.  Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas, which helps control and regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels. There are several different types of insulin, classified by how they are made and their duration of action in the body.  Most cats require twice daily administration of a long-acting insulin.  By using effective, long lasting insulin such as ProZinc, the chance that a cat may lose their dependence on insulin over time is increased. 

Another exciting development in insulin treatment for cats will arrive in Canada soon – the first insulin pen specifically designed for use in cats and dogs. Caninsulin VetPen is easier to use and more accurate than the traditional syringes and needles. The VetPen has been available in Europe for over a year and has proven its worth with owners of diabetic pets.

VetPenThe manufacturers of both ProZinc and Caninsulin have helpful videos and information on their website for owners of diabetic pets, including home diaries. When treating a diabetic cat with insulin, it is very important to monitor things like water intake, urine output, activity level and coat quality. This can help your veterinarian tailor the insulin dose to your cat (along with glucose testing done in clinic or at home).  

Caninsulin: http://www.caninsulin.ca/

ProZinc: http://www.prozinc.us/

Please consult your veterinarian before starting or making changes to an insulin treatment plan.  Many factors are considered when choosing an insulin type, and every cat will respond differently.

For more information on diabetes in cats, see the video series by Partners in Animal Health on Caring for Your Diabetic Cat which includes these topics:

  • Getting the diagnosis
  • How to give an insulin injection
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Monitoring
  • Recognizing and treating hypoglycemia

[Dr. Amy Lowe]

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