Insulin For Your Cat

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Insulin For Your Cat

Here is an article that talks about insulin for your cat. Interestingly it mentions that insulin pills are not recommended for cats as it appears that they can cause further damage to the pancreas and liver, so are no longer prescribed by vets. Cats are generally given a slow acting insulin such as Lantus, which is the same as that prescribed to humans. However cats metabolize quicker than humans so will need a different regimen.

It is critical to follow your vet’s instructions regarding dosage of insulin and how to time them with your cat’s feeding schedule. Typically vets will recommend that your cat’s insulin doses be timed to correspond within an hour of when your cat eats. However, I know it can be difficult, especially in a multi-cat household, to control exactly when and how much your cat eats! Allowing day-long “free grazing” may be fine for your diabetic cat provided you know for a fact that your cat IS eating, as insulin injections not balanced by eating enough can lead to critically low blood sugar and possible hypoglycemic incidents (something I will talk about in a later article: what they are, how to know when your cat may be experiencing one and how to treat it rapidly.)

Vets today will typically prescribe an initial insulin dosage and regime based on the “Start Low Go Slow” approach. That is, they will start your cat on a very low, minimal dose at first. After a week or two at that dose, you’ll need to bring your cat back to the vet so they can perform a serial blood glucose curve  from the time of your cat’s first morning dose to the time of her next scheduled dose. This allows the vet to observe when your cat’s peak and low glucose points are occurring between doses, and if those peaks and lows are in the healthy range for cats. Based on those results, the vet may recommend a gradual dosage increase or decrease, and another check-up visit in a few weeks after that.”

One thing not mentioned above is that you should buy a home blood sugar tester so you can test your cats blood sugar at home as infrequent testing at the vets may not be enough to get an idea of how the cat is progressing. However the author does later on say:-

“I will talk later about the benefits of performing home glucose testing on your cat instead of just relying on occasional vet visits, but one thing that is crucial to remember is that you should NOT attempt to adjust your cat’s insulin dosage on your own, no matter what! If you don’t think your cat is doing well on insulin, talk to your vet about your concerns or if your cat may need a dosage adjustment, don’t take matters into your own hands. And if you’re not happy with your particular vet, consider taking your pet to see someone else. Changing insulin doses too quickly, too frequently, can make it impossible to regulate your pet’s disease properly and can lead to situations such as a Somogyi Rebound effect”.

Insulin for your cat is necessary in the early stages to help normalise blood sugar levels but if insulin treatment is carried out together with a radical change in diet we hope to see remission which is a stronger reason to have home testing to ensure that the correct insulin is being given.

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