Managing Diabetic Dogs

Insulin therapy for the treatment of canine diabetes

Exogenous insulin is used to replace the inadequate or absent supply of insulin in diabetics.

Types of insulin and insulin analogs

Insulin preparations can be divided into three categories:

  1. Long-acting insulins and insulin analogs
    • Ultralente insulins - 100% crystalline insulin
    • PZI insulins - contains protamine and zinc
    • Insulin glargine and insulin detemir are insulin analogs that are released slowly over a period of up to 24 hours (in humans) and intended to supply a basal level of insulin.
  2. Intermediate-acting insulins
    • Lente insulins (e.g. Caninsulin) - mixtures of 30% amorphous (semilente) and 70% crystalline (ultralente) insulin in an aqueous suspension.
    • NPH insulins - contain protamine
  3. Rapid-acting insulins and insulin analogs
    • Soluble insulin: an insulin solution, intravenous administration possible
    • Semilente insulin: an insulin suspension that is readily absorbed from the injection site to provide a rapid onset of action of relatively short duration.
    • Insulin lispro, insulin aspart and insulin glulisine are insulin analogs that readily absorbed from the injection site which are used to provide a bolus of insulin for after a meal (in humans)

Due to differences in metabolism, the duration of activity of any particular insulin will vary from animal to animal.

The source of the insulin can vary. Caninsulin contains porcine insulin. Recombinant human insulins are also available.

Insulin analogs (or insulin receptor ligands) are synthetic analogs of insulin created by genetic engineering which perform the same actions as insulin in the body.

Insulin preparations

  • 40 IU = 40 units per mL(Caninsulin)
  • 100 IU = 100 units per mL (most others)

It is important to match the insulin preparation with the correct syringe or insulin pen. MSD Animal Health provides 40 IU syringes and VetPen® to allow the accurate measurement of Caninsulin doses.

Managing diabetic dogs