Medical Alert for Those Caring for a Diabetic Dog or Cat

If your four-legged family member is diabetic and the insulin product you are administering is Vetsulin®, please pay close attention.  The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine is alerting veterinarians that problems with this product are being reported. Apparently, as Vetsulin® sits in storage, the crystalline zinc crystal component (which is supposed to comprise 70% of the solution; the remaining 30% is the insulin) can increase above 70%.  This leads to a slower onset of action of the insulin and, potentially a longer duration of action both of which can result in unpredictable fluctuations in blood glucose values (values that are too high or too low). 

The manufacturer of Vetsulin®, Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health is unable to assure the FDA that each batch of their product is stable.  This company, along with the FDA have requested that veterinarians closely monitor their patients receiving Vetsulin®.  

There is absolutely no need to panic.  However, if your dog or cat is receiving this product, I strongly encourage you to discuss the following with your veterinarian: 

  1. Symptoms to be watching for that might indicate your pet’s blood glucose value is too high or too low
  2. Monitoring of blood glucose values
  3. Whether or not your pet should be transitioned to a different brand of insulin 

At the time of this writing, this problem has not been addressed on the Internet/Schering-Plough Web site (www.vetsulin.com) but I expect information will soon be forthcoming.  

For more information about Vetsulin® concerns visit www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm188752.htm.

Wishing you and your four-legged family members good health,

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller. 

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One Response to “Medical Alert for Those Caring for a Diabetic Dog or Cat”

  1. Julie Morris Says:

    Thanks for the info Nanc– I’m the “diabetic nurse” and I’m thankful for the heads up. I’ll be calling all my patients next week! Thanks!
    Jules

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