How to administer insulin to a cat

It can be worrisome whenever your cat is down with diabetes. However, it is not the end of the world as there are steps you can take . The administration of insulin to your cat with diabetes is a step that anyone can learn and carry out.How to administer insulin to a cat

For those who may find this surprising, cats too can have diabetes. For pet owners who suddenly discover that their beloved cat has become diabetic, it is normal to be worried and anxious. This is true especially when you know you have to administer injections of insulin to your cat. The best thing about this is that it is quite easy and stress-free to administer insulin for cats.

In this piece, you will learn all that is to the handling and storage of insulin, steps to working out an excellent injection routine. The piece also outlines the steps on how to correctly give insulin injections to a cat.

Storage and Handling of InsulinHow to administer insulin to a cat

The best way to go about this is to adhere to the storage instructions printed on the product by the manufacturer. The insulin will always come with very informative details on the best way to go about keeping and handling it. Your first step should be taking the time to read and understand these details. In a case where you do not understand any aspect of the instructions, consult your veterinary doctor.

Storing the Insulin Until When Needed

Insulin is a type of protein and if you do not store it properly, it will be destroyed. In order to prevent the degradation, insulin has to be stored under specific temperature conditions. It is most ideal to store insulin inside a refrigerator. You will know if the insulin has been damaged when the color changes. The same goes if it has been kept in a hot environment. In any of these cases, you will need to get rid of it and get a new insulin bottle.

Mixing the InsulinHow to administer insulin to a cat

Once the insulin is confirmed to be intact, the next step is to carefully roll it between both hands. Do this a couple of times to ensure there is proper mixing. Do not shake the insulin under any circumstance. This is to prevent the formation of bubbles.

Fixing the Needle

Get a neat syringe needle and detach the needle guard. Then turn the insulin container upside down. The next step is to push the needle into the rubber stopper that is used to cover the mouth of the bottle.

Filling up the SyringeHow to administer insulin to a cat

The appropriate quantity of must be used here. Pull the plunger and fill the syringe with the appropriate quantity of insulin. Do not guess the amount and if you are not sure, then reach out to your veterinary doctor for the precise quantity. Once the right amount has been established, push the plunger in so the insulin is in the bottle. Then, get the insulin inside the syringe again for the second time. The essence of this is to stop the formation of air bubbles in the syringe. Bubbles will prevent proper measurement of the dosage. Once again, check the syringe itself so you are sure of the appropriate dosage. If you are not sure, do not guess but confirm again with your vet specialist.

Storage and HandlingHow to administer insulin to a cat

With the right dosage confirmed, keep the insulin container in the refrigerator. Replace the safety cap on the syringe and then keep it in a safe place. Do not keep the syringe in areas where kids or pets can stumble upon it. A cupboard is a good location for storage. You do not need to get the syringe again until the next time an injection for the cat is needed.

Injection Routine

The injection can be done once or twice in 24 hours. It all depends on the recommendations from your vet specialist. But irrespective of the routine that is used, it is best advised that you give the insulin the same time on a daily basis. Administer the insulin injection shortly after the cat has eaten without any delay. This is to make sure that the glucose level in your cat’s blood does not plunge with devastating consequences.

Injecting the Cat

Let the cat eat first before you give the insulin. Do not administer the injection while the cat is still eating. Let the cat take its time to finish and enjoy the meal. Relax your cat by slightly massaging it before giving the injection.How to administer insulin to a cat

In a case where the cat is restless during the injection, you can get someone’s help to assist in holding the cat or give the cat some time. Let the cat be on a flat surface, ensure it is calm then proceed to inject. Pick the syringe containing the insulin, remove the safety cap and hold using the dominant hand. Using your index finger and the thumb, pinch the skin of the cat on the back or abdomen so it assumes an upside-down U shape.

Let the needle enter at 45 degrees angle, be gentle, fix your thumb on the plunger as the needle goes in. Swiftly push the plunger in using the thumb and pull out the needle without delay. Then give a proper reward to your cat – a reassuring pet or even a snack will be good.

Normally, cat feeding entails nothing more than making sure there is always food in her bowl, because cats tend to need to eat throughout the day. However, if your cat has diabetes, this isn’t going to be an option for you. Your cat will need a special diet and a special feeding schedule.

About Felines Diabetes

Feline diabetes is the most common disease of the endocrine system that your cat may suffer from. Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to properly process sugars, because it doesn’t produce sufficient quantities of insulin or is unable to use the insulin it does produce. Cats that suffer from diabetes will eat more than normal, drink much more than normal and, because if the increased thirst and drinking, will urinate much more than normal.

Diabetic Dietary Needs

Cats, being non-adaptive carnivores, should have a diet high in meats and proteins, even when healthy, just to maintain optimal health. Most cats do fairly well with a diet that is heavy in dry food or kibbles. However, dry cat food is high in carbohydrates. If your cat suffers from diabetes, carbohydrates are analogous to putting a heating pad on a bad burn. It will only make the condition worse. Some of the prescription feline diets can also be harmful because they contain large quantities of carbohydrate-laden ingredients. You also need to control how much fat your cat takes in and how much she eats, because a substance that is secreted by a type of fat cell called adipocytes makes the body more resistant to insulin. Because more cat food makers are moving from a high carbohydrate content by going grain free, they are creating a high fat content diet. No more than 10 percent of your cat’s caloric intake should be from carbohydrates.

Diabetic Cat Feeding Schedules

This is a murky area with a few different opinions from the medical community. Some vets feel you should put your cat (and yourself) on a rigid feeding and insulin schedule. What this means is that if your cat requires two insulin injections a day, you should feed your cat about an hour before and about four hours after receiving an insulin injection. There are other vets that feel that insulin should be given either immediately preceding or following feeding time. However, there is new evidence that states that free choice feeding is still optimal, you just need to control what and how much is fed, and insulin should be administered whenever necessary. The one thing that all vets agree on is that you have to be consistent in your cat’s feeding and insulin injection schedule.

Diabetes is a very serious condition that can, if not properly treated, be fatal. If you see any of the mentioned symptoms, you should take your cat to the vet and have her tested as soon as possible. If she is indeed diabetic, proper monitoring and diet can be very helpful in keeping it under control and ensuring that she has a long and happy life with you.

There’s no question: Managing diabetes in pets requires a high level of commitment. For starters, they’ll need daily injections of insulin at regular times of the day to help regulate glucose (blood sugar) levels in their body. But it’s better than the alternative: When diabetes is left untreated, poisonous compounds called ketones can make a diabetic pet very sick and may even cause death.

While controlling diabetes is a challenge, it’s not an insurmountable one. By working closely with your veterinary team, you can help your pet thrive. To help make this collaboration as successful as possible, AAHA created the Diabetes Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats.

Top 8 things you need to know about these guidelines

  1. Control is the goal. Diabetes affects pets in a similar way that it affects humans: The body cannot convert glucose into energy due to issues producing or regulating the hormone insulin. Your veterinary team will develop a management plan to keep your pet’s glucose levels in a safe range without getting too low (hypoglycemic).
  2. Your team will tailor a care plan based on the severity of the disease. When detected at the earliest stage, lifestyle changes such as diet can help stabilize your pet’s diabetes. Risk factors for diabetes include obesity, diseases (like the hormonal disorder acromegaly in cats and Cushing’s disease in dogs), and medications like steroids. Advanced cases might require treatment for complications, such as cataracts in dogs and weakened hind legs due to nerve damage in cats.
  3. Homework is required! Caring for your pet at home is an important part of diabetes management. You will be administering insulin once or twice a day, monitoring blood glucose levels on a regular basis, and handling urine. You’ll also be taking your pet to the veterinary hospital frequently for testing. Your team will provide extensive education about home care, such as storing insulin in the refrigerator and other important tips.
  4. Diet therapy is a key component. Your veterinary team will create a plan to optimize body weight with appropriate protein and carbohydrate levels, fat restriction, and calorie control. Obese cats and dogs will need to lose 1%–2% of their weight each week initially to help the insulin work more effectively.
  5. In cats, diabetic remission is a reasonable goal. Excellent home care with dietary management, obesity treatment, and monitoring can lead to a cat no longer needing insulin therapy! Unfortunately, remission seldom occurs in dogs.
  6. Hypoglycemia can be life threatening. Diabetes is a dynamic disease. Because cats can go into diabetic remission fairly suddenly, home monitoring of blood glucose is key to preventing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). On the canine side, a dog’s blood sugar can drop to dangerously low levels due to sporadic and strenuous exercise or changes in insulin administration.
  7. Dedication will save your pet’s life. Without proper treatment, your dog or cat will ultimately die. Sadly, some owners even choose to euthanize their pets because of the commitment required to manage diabetes. However, many people find the effort worthwhile and rewarding, as the animal can enjoy a high-quality life as a controlled diabetic.
  8. Communication is key. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when caring for a diabetic pet. Veterinarians and technicians understand this and want to support you as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

What to ask your veterinarian about diabetes management

  • How much time and money will it take for my pet to become a controlled diabetic?
  • How often will my pet need to be re-evaluated by you in the hospital?
  • I keep an erratic schedule. How will I give my pet insulin injections at consistent times each day?
  • How can I safely help my pet lose weight?
  • How small is the needle I’ll be using to give my pet insulin injections?
  • What do I need to know about preparing and storing insulin?

  • I’m diabetic. What are the similarities and differences between my disease and my pet’s?
  • How do I monitor my pet’s blood glucose levels? Since I’m monitoring these levels, can I make adjustments in my pet’s insulin dose?

  • What are the warning signs that something is off?
  • Is it safe to “spot check” glucose levels?
  • What kind of treats or table scraps are safe to feed my pet?
  • What would be a sensible exercise regimen for my pet?
  • Will my pet still enjoy a good quality of life? Will I?

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • Why Does My Cat Need Injectable Medication?
  • Getting Started
  • Basic Equipment
  • Proper Restraint
  • Giving a Subcutaneous Injection
  • Giving an Intramuscular Injection

Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!

How to Care for Cats

  • Cats Main
  • Cat Breeds
  • Why Does My Cat.
  • Most Popular
  • Most Liked

Today on Vetstreet

How to administer insulin to a cat

Another Reason to Banish Parasites

Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…

How to administer insulin to a cat

The Best Fruits and Veggies for Dogs

Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.

How to administer insulin to a cat

Food Puzzles Are Worth the Effort

Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.

How to administer insulin to a cat

5 Ways to Care for Your Pet’s Teeth

With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.

How to administer insulin to a cat

You’ll Love This Curly-Coated Kitty

The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.

How to administer insulin to a cat

Watch the Latest Vetstreet Videos

Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.

How to administer insulin to a cat

Take Our Breed Finder Quiz

Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.

Search VetChick articles:

I can’t think of a disease that causes more owner anxiety than diabetes. Something about having to give a shot twice a day, every day, to an animal you love is very daunting. Then you do it a couple times and suddenly, it’s a breeze! I’ll also answer the common question of “how far apart/early/late can I give the insulin?”

Insulin is kept in the refrigerator. Some pens made for humans can be left out for periods of time, but for the most part, plan on refrigerating the insulin. If you have a decent drive to the pharmacy or vet office, bring a little cooler to bring the insulin home. It needs to be gently mixed before each dose. Vetsulin, an insulin made specifically for dogs and cats, can be shaken like a polaroid picture. Other insulins need to be gently inverted in a rocking motion, not shaken like orange juice.

Your veterinarian will show you how to give shots, and make sure you get some practice with saline solution while still at the clinic! When I have clients practice in front of me, I can watch the fear leave their body after 1-2 practice shots. Nobody every needs a third – they walk out confidently! It’s 90% mental/fear, and once you get over it, you’re home free.

Here’s some pointers on shot-giving (hoping to have a video soon!):

  • Choose a super special treat or snack that your pet gets ONLY during the insulin shot. That ensures a happy pet, as well as one that is distracted (eating) and moving around less. For cats, a little tuna juice tends to work well. For dogs, a thin layer of peanut butter on a plate takes some time to clean up. We want our pets to associate the injection with something positive – many of my patients remind their owner it’s shot time!
  • We generally aim for the back, between the shoulder, but insulin can be given under the skin anywhere! Try not to hit the exact same place over and over. Some owners move it in a little circle on the back, some do a 4-corners approach. Do what works for you. You basically want a spot that has skin you can easily pinch.
  • Pinch the skin with your thumb and middle finger. That leaves your index finger free. If you’re right handed, do this with your left hand. Feel the “tent” of skin that forms from your pinching. That’s where the shot goes.
  • After drawing up the insulin and getting the bubbles out, hold the syringe with your thumb and middle finger, leaving your index finger free to depress the plunger.
  • Insert the needle completely into the skin. You can part the fur if you want, if the pet is super shaggy, but not a requirement. Once the needle is in, then depress the plunger to inject the insulin. Done!
  • Remove the syringe and dispose of safely. Warning! Yes, it is a tiny, wimpy needle. And yes, the plastic cover seems rather thick. Believe me when I say that tiny needle can bend and poke through that plastic cap, poking you and making you bleed like nobody’s business. (not that I’ve done that! LOL)
  • You may use an old milk jug or coffee can to keep used syringes. They are meant for one use, no more. I love the Safe Clip – it removes the (sharp!) needle and allows you to throw the syringe in the trash!

How to administer insulin to a cat

Dogs and cats often have lots of extra skin on the back, just behind the neck.

If multiple people will be giving the shots, I suggest having a pow wow on measuring the insulin. 3 units to my eyes might look like 3.5 to yours. So, get everyone on the same page.

Pick a time (two times actually, 12 hours apart) and stick with it. Most people do 7 am/7pm or something similar. I have a client who works late and gives the insulin at midnight and noon! Do what works with your schedule. I often feed the animal first, make sure they eat, then give the insulin. Some veterinarians recommend giving the shot 30 minutes before a meal. That makes the most sense biologically, but then what if the pet doesn’t eat? You have insulin in them that you can’t get out! And now we worry about their blood sugar dropping too low. If we make sure they eat before giving the shot, that’s a non-issue.

Here’s how to handle other common questions:

  • You have 1 hour on either side of that time you chose to give the insulin shots. So if you chose 7 am/pm, then between 6 and 8 is acceptable. Obviously, giving it at 7:00 on the dot is ideal, but sometimes life gets in the way. Also, if you have to give insulin at 8 one time, do not make the next dose at 6. Try to get as close to 11-12 hours apart as you can.
  • If you have to give a shot earlier or later than that +/- 1 hour window, it’s better to skip that dose altogether. I’d rather have your pet have high blood sugar (not a huge deal) by missing an insulin shot than risk him getting too low (very bad!) by getting insulin shots too close together.
  • If you give a shot, and your pet moves, making you not so sure if it actually went in or not, don’t panic. Also, do not give another shot. Again, better to have a missed shot than to get a double dose!
  • If multiple people in the house are responsible for giving the shots, have a paper or dry erase board to check off when the shot was given, to avoid any double dosing.

How can you tell if it’s working? How do you know when to worry? Check out the rest of the Diabetes series:

Check out our podcast episode about diabetes. In an hour, we couldn’t even cover every detail, but you’ll learn and laugh with us along the way!

Search VetChick articles:

I can’t think of a disease that causes more owner anxiety than diabetes. Something about having to give a shot twice a day, every day, to an animal you love is very daunting. Then you do it a couple times and suddenly, it’s a breeze! I’ll also answer the common question of “how far apart/early/late can I give the insulin?”

Insulin is kept in the refrigerator. Some pens made for humans can be left out for periods of time, but for the most part, plan on refrigerating the insulin. If you have a decent drive to the pharmacy or vet office, bring a little cooler to bring the insulin home. It needs to be gently mixed before each dose. Vetsulin, an insulin made specifically for dogs and cats, can be shaken like a polaroid picture. Other insulins need to be gently inverted in a rocking motion, not shaken like orange juice.

Your veterinarian will show you how to give shots, and make sure you get some practice with saline solution while still at the clinic! When I have clients practice in front of me, I can watch the fear leave their body after 1-2 practice shots. Nobody every needs a third – they walk out confidently! It’s 90% mental/fear, and once you get over it, you’re home free.

Here’s some pointers on shot-giving (hoping to have a video soon!):

  • Choose a super special treat or snack that your pet gets ONLY during the insulin shot. That ensures a happy pet, as well as one that is distracted (eating) and moving around less. For cats, a little tuna juice tends to work well. For dogs, a thin layer of peanut butter on a plate takes some time to clean up. We want our pets to associate the injection with something positive – many of my patients remind their owner it’s shot time!
  • We generally aim for the back, between the shoulder, but insulin can be given under the skin anywhere! Try not to hit the exact same place over and over. Some owners move it in a little circle on the back, some do a 4-corners approach. Do what works for you. You basically want a spot that has skin you can easily pinch.
  • Pinch the skin with your thumb and middle finger. That leaves your index finger free. If you’re right handed, do this with your left hand. Feel the “tent” of skin that forms from your pinching. That’s where the shot goes.
  • After drawing up the insulin and getting the bubbles out, hold the syringe with your thumb and middle finger, leaving your index finger free to depress the plunger.
  • Insert the needle completely into the skin. You can part the fur if you want, if the pet is super shaggy, but not a requirement. Once the needle is in, then depress the plunger to inject the insulin. Done!
  • Remove the syringe and dispose of safely. Warning! Yes, it is a tiny, wimpy needle. And yes, the plastic cover seems rather thick. Believe me when I say that tiny needle can bend and poke through that plastic cap, poking you and making you bleed like nobody’s business. (not that I’ve done that! LOL)
  • You may use an old milk jug or coffee can to keep used syringes. They are meant for one use, no more. I love the Safe Clip – it removes the (sharp!) needle and allows you to throw the syringe in the trash!

How to administer insulin to a cat

Dogs and cats often have lots of extra skin on the back, just behind the neck.

If multiple people will be giving the shots, I suggest having a pow wow on measuring the insulin. 3 units to my eyes might look like 3.5 to yours. So, get everyone on the same page.

Pick a time (two times actually, 12 hours apart) and stick with it. Most people do 7 am/7pm or something similar. I have a client who works late and gives the insulin at midnight and noon! Do what works with your schedule. I often feed the animal first, make sure they eat, then give the insulin. Some veterinarians recommend giving the shot 30 minutes before a meal. That makes the most sense biologically, but then what if the pet doesn’t eat? You have insulin in them that you can’t get out! And now we worry about their blood sugar dropping too low. If we make sure they eat before giving the shot, that’s a non-issue.

Here’s how to handle other common questions:

  • You have 1 hour on either side of that time you chose to give the insulin shots. So if you chose 7 am/pm, then between 6 and 8 is acceptable. Obviously, giving it at 7:00 on the dot is ideal, but sometimes life gets in the way. Also, if you have to give insulin at 8 one time, do not make the next dose at 6. Try to get as close to 11-12 hours apart as you can.
  • If you have to give a shot earlier or later than that +/- 1 hour window, it’s better to skip that dose altogether. I’d rather have your pet have high blood sugar (not a huge deal) by missing an insulin shot than risk him getting too low (very bad!) by getting insulin shots too close together.
  • If you give a shot, and your pet moves, making you not so sure if it actually went in or not, don’t panic. Also, do not give another shot. Again, better to have a missed shot than to get a double dose!
  • If multiple people in the house are responsible for giving the shots, have a paper or dry erase board to check off when the shot was given, to avoid any double dosing.

How can you tell if it’s working? How do you know when to worry? Check out the rest of the Diabetes series:

Check out our podcast episode about diabetes. In an hour, we couldn’t even cover every detail, but you’ll learn and laugh with us along the way!

If you have a cat with diabetes then there are a few things that you need to know about giving your cat insulin. Giving your cat insulin injections is easy when you learn the three main steps of administering insulin: insulin storage and preparation, preparing the injection, and giving the injection. Once you have completed this article you will be ready to give your cat insulin with minimal discomfort to you and your cat.

Cat Insulin Storage and Preparation

  • Although insulin can be stored at room temperature for up to 30 days, it maintains its potency best when stored in the refrigerator.
  • Insulin should never be shaken, as shaking causes air bubbles, which can make insulin difficult to draw up accurately and may cause the insulin to form clumps.

Preparing the Injection

1. Remove the insulin from the refrigerator a few minutes before drawing up the injection to allow it to warm slightly. Cold insulin is more uncomfortable for your cat. 2. Mix the insulin by gently rolling the bottle between your palms. Clear insulin does not need to be mixed. 3. Cleanse the top of the insulin bottle with alcohol and remove the cap from the syringe. 4. Never substitute another type of syringe to give the insulin, as you will very likely obtain the wrong dose, which could be fatal to your cat. 5. Draw up an amount of air into the empty syringe equal to the required insulin dose. Inject the air into the bottle of insulin and invert. 6. Fill the syringe with the required insulin dose, lining up the markings on the syringe with the top of the plunger. If you get air bubbles larger than the size of a pin, push the insulin back into the bottle try again. Now you are ready to give your cat the injection.

Giving the Injection

1. Always give insulin after your cat has eaten to prevent low blood sugar. 2. Start the injection process by petting your cat. Use a calm and matter-of-fact demeanor. Making the injection process pleasant for your cat is vital to success. 3. Pull up the skin on the back of the neck between the shoulder blades, using the thumb and index finger of your non-dominant hand, forming a tent of skin. Slightly roll the skin over the top of your index finger to make the skin taught. This makes the needle easier to insert and the injection will be more comfortable for your cat. Make sure that you never inject into the same spot repeatedly. 4. Hold the syringe by the barrel between the thumb and middle finger of the dominant hand, keeping your index finger close to, but not on the plunger. 5. Keeping the syringe almost horizontal, quickly push the needle under the skin. Move the index finger to the end of the plunger and depress it quickly. 6. Remove the syringe and dispose of it in a puncture proof container. 7. Rub the injection area gently to help disperse the medicine. Finding wet fur means that some of the insulin spilled or the needle went completely through the skin. Do not give your cat more insulin as it is difficult to tell how much was spilled and your cat could develop low blood sugar from too much insulin. 8. Reward your cat by giving a treat or by petting.

There’s no question: Managing diabetes in pets requires a high level of commitment. For starters, they’ll need daily injections of insulin at regular times of the day to help regulate glucose (blood sugar) levels in their body. But it’s better than the alternative: When diabetes is left untreated, poisonous compounds called ketones can make a diabetic pet very sick and may even cause death.

While controlling diabetes is a challenge, it’s not an insurmountable one. By working closely with your veterinary team, you can help your pet thrive. To help make this collaboration as successful as possible, AAHA created the Diabetes Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats.

Top 8 things you need to know about these guidelines

  1. Control is the goal. Diabetes affects pets in a similar way that it affects humans: The body cannot convert glucose into energy due to issues producing or regulating the hormone insulin. Your veterinary team will develop a management plan to keep your pet’s glucose levels in a safe range without getting too low (hypoglycemic).
  2. Your team will tailor a care plan based on the severity of the disease. When detected at the earliest stage, lifestyle changes such as diet can help stabilize your pet’s diabetes. Risk factors for diabetes include obesity, diseases (like the hormonal disorder acromegaly in cats and Cushing’s disease in dogs), and medications like steroids. Advanced cases might require treatment for complications, such as cataracts in dogs and weakened hind legs due to nerve damage in cats.
  3. Homework is required! Caring for your pet at home is an important part of diabetes management. You will be administering insulin once or twice a day, monitoring blood glucose levels on a regular basis, and handling urine. You’ll also be taking your pet to the veterinary hospital frequently for testing. Your team will provide extensive education about home care, such as storing insulin in the refrigerator and other important tips.
  4. Diet therapy is a key component. Your veterinary team will create a plan to optimize body weight with appropriate protein and carbohydrate levels, fat restriction, and calorie control. Obese cats and dogs will need to lose 1%–2% of their weight each week initially to help the insulin work more effectively.
  5. In cats, diabetic remission is a reasonable goal. Excellent home care with dietary management, obesity treatment, and monitoring can lead to a cat no longer needing insulin therapy! Unfortunately, remission seldom occurs in dogs.
  6. Hypoglycemia can be life threatening. Diabetes is a dynamic disease. Because cats can go into diabetic remission fairly suddenly, home monitoring of blood glucose is key to preventing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). On the canine side, a dog’s blood sugar can drop to dangerously low levels due to sporadic and strenuous exercise or changes in insulin administration.
  7. Dedication will save your pet’s life. Without proper treatment, your dog or cat will ultimately die. Sadly, some owners even choose to euthanize their pets because of the commitment required to manage diabetes. However, many people find the effort worthwhile and rewarding, as the animal can enjoy a high-quality life as a controlled diabetic.
  8. Communication is key. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when caring for a diabetic pet. Veterinarians and technicians understand this and want to support you as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

What to ask your veterinarian about diabetes management

  • How much time and money will it take for my pet to become a controlled diabetic?
  • How often will my pet need to be re-evaluated by you in the hospital?
  • I keep an erratic schedule. How will I give my pet insulin injections at consistent times each day?
  • How can I safely help my pet lose weight?
  • How small is the needle I’ll be using to give my pet insulin injections?
  • What do I need to know about preparing and storing insulin?

  • I’m diabetic. What are the similarities and differences between my disease and my pet’s?
  • How do I monitor my pet’s blood glucose levels? Since I’m monitoring these levels, can I make adjustments in my pet’s insulin dose?

  • What are the warning signs that something is off?
  • Is it safe to “spot check” glucose levels?
  • What kind of treats or table scraps are safe to feed my pet?
  • What would be a sensible exercise regimen for my pet?
  • Will my pet still enjoy a good quality of life? Will I?