How often do I need to get a new bottle of insulin?

I strongly recommend that you follow the manufacturer’s expiration dating guidelines when using insulin and discard of any unused insulin once it has reached the expiration date. The manufacturers of insulin put their products through rigorous tests to ensure that the product is effective as it is intended to be on Day 1 as it is months and years later. Like all medications, insulin will break down in time and the dating of the product is the manufacturer’s way of letting you know that the product is no longer going to be as effective as intended if used after that date.

The last thing you want to do is think that you are dosing your animal properly with insulin that has passed its expiration date. This could become very problematic for your pet.

It would be best to consult with your veterinarian if you have specific questions regarding the insulin you are using to treat your pet.

Is it important to rotate injection sites for insulin?

I do think changing injection sites is a good habit for a diabetic pet owner to adopt. Typically when I initially diagnose a pet with diabetes, clients are nervous about poking their pet at all. At the initial “injection lesson”, I don’t stress rotating injection sites as I’m usually trying to encourage confidence in simply giving injections. Pets can sense anxiety from their humans, so I initially have owners give the insulin injections at the pet’s “scruff” (over the shoulder blades and neck) where injections tend to hurt less. Have you ever noticed that vets often give injections over the scruff? We do so because it tends to hurt less when we inject there compared to other sites on the body. Mostly I’m just happy if the owner gets the injection under the skin somewhere for a newly diagnosed diabetic.

Human studies have shown variability in absorption of insulin when given in various body parts. Most humans give themselves insulin injections in their abdomen, and rotate sites between various areas of their abdomen. Since it can be awkward for a client to inject the diabetic pet in the abdomen, we typically have clients give injections at various sites along the back, rotating sides. Once a client has mastered giving an injection and feels less anxious about poking the beloved pet, I ask them to move to the back and sides. If we persist in giving injections at the scruff it is possible that the pet might form some fibrosis (thickening of the tissue) which could affect the absorption of insulin.

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