Oftentimes, I am amazed at how diligent the parents of diabetic pets are. Not only are you on top of your pet’s diabetes management, but you’re all so willing and wanting to learn more to keep your pets as happy and healthy as possible. Below are two exchanges I’ve recently had from pet owners that are clearly on top of what their diabetic pets need. Have a read. Maybe there is something you can grab from our interaction on fructosamine testing & feeding schedules and apply to how you are managing your sweetie!

I have a cat that is diabetic that I have not been able to regulate on insulin. We have tried Vetsulin, Prozinc and now he is on Novolin N and I still cannot get him regulated. He eats a very high protein food, some dry and some wet. He is on five units in the morning and 5 units at night. I work for a veterinarian and she doesn’t seem to think it’s a problem. Whenever we do his fructosamine test it always shows that he still is not regulated. I was wondering if you had any suggestions.

Answer: Well, to start, I’d get him off of dry food altogether. Dry food is by its very nature higher in carbs than canned food. My favorite of the canned foods is Purina DM as it only has 4% carbs. However, cats get a vote regarding what they will eat. There is a pet food composition chart on the Internet (readily Google-able) and you can compare carb contents of most of the commercial cat foods on the market. We want the carb content less than 10 percent, the lower the better for diabetic cats.

Next, I don’t run many fructosamine levels. The fructosamine test is awfully expensive and doesn’t give us as much information as a glucose curve. Rather, I prefer owners run blood glucose curves at home. If you are unable to run curves at home then fructosamine levels can be of assistance. Curves in a vet clinic are often less accurate than home testing because pets may have stress hyperglycemia in a clinic environment. A curve means testing every 2 hours from one injection until the next injection 12 hours later. If the blood glucose drops below 150 mg/dl, do it hourly until it rises again. This way we don’t miss where it bottoms out.

Curves tell us 2 things:

  1. How low does the blood glucose go? This nadir determines if we should increase or decrease the dosage
  2. how long does the insulin last for your pet? This can vary between pets and insulins.

Do you do home glucose testing? It is not only more accurate to check the blood glucose at home, it is much more affordable!

In general, Vetsulin and NPH don’t last very long in cats. PZI and glargine are the traditional choices for cats, but Levemir is gaining popularity. All 3 of these insulins are longer lasting than Vetsulin and NPH for most cats. Feeding a low carb diet with a longer acting insulin is our best chance to get a cat into remission. 5 units is a bit high for the average cat, but I’m guessing if you get rid of the dry food your vet might be able to lower the dosage.

After just now reading the article to give injections to my diabetic dog at meal time, I wonder how do I change time to fit with my schedule? My vet started shots yesterday at 11:00 and 11:00. Her usual feeding times feeding times are 9:00 and 9:00. My vet was adamant not to give injections before 12 hours interval was up.

Answer: When we adjust the time we do it gradually. Since your dog’s injection schedule was originally started at 11AM and 11PM, consider the next day doing it at 10AM and 10PM. Then the next day, shift to 9AM and 9PM. I would also check the blood glucose before the “shorted” interval as you might give a smidge less insulin for that dosage.

It sounds like you have a newly diagnosed diabetic. We have lots of archived diabetic pet articles here. I’ve been writing simple to understand (well, that’s my goal) for ADWDiabetes for 6 years now. A couple of things I’d love for you to do: get a blood glucose meter that is calibrated for animals and do your own blood glucose curves at home. This will save you a fortune and provide more accurate results for your vet to adjust the insulin dosage as needed.

Let me know if I can help you further. Education is key to a well-regulated diabetic pet!

Have a question or comment? Post below or email me at joi.suttondvm@adwdiabetes.com. I always enjoy hearing from my readers!

NOTE: Consult your veterinarian first to make sure my recommendations fit your pets special health needs.

Dr . Joi Sutton

Dr . Joi Sutton

Dr. Joi Sutton is a 1993 graduate from Oregon State University. She has practiced both in emergency medicine and general practice. Dr. Sutton has done extensive international volunteer work though Veterinary Ventures, a nonprofit organization that takes teams of veterinarians to undeveloped countries for humane medical care. She also runs a small animal practice in South Florida.
Dr . Joi Sutton