Feline Diabetes – Insulin Pens for Diabetic Cats

Feline Diabetes – Insulin Pens for Diabetic Cats

feline diabetes

Photo by Alexandru Zdrobău on Unsplash

Feline diabetes, in most cases, occur in overweight cats. Giving them the right diet and encouraging them to exercise every day may be all that’s needed to control their weight. For some cats, this diet-exercise combo may do more, that is, stabilize their glucose level even without insulin. In short, it can cure feline diabetes. However most diabetic cats need regular shots of insulin aside from the right diet and exercise.

When we’re talking about the right diet for the diabetic feline, we mean low-carbohydrate, high quality protein, high fiber, wet food. Carbohydrates should compose only 10 percent of their diet. Unfortunately, dry commercial cat food usually contains 30 to 70 percent carbohydrates. If you have to use commercial cat food, it is better to choose canned cat food instead of the carbohydrate-rich dry cat food.

Insulin for Feline Diabetes

You will need a good consultation with your vet. Some vets still use NPH (generally suitable for
dogs and people) to treat feline diabetes. Felines metabolize insulin much faster than people so
NPH, which is a fast acting insulin, is actually not suitable for diabetic cats. Lente and Ultralente
(Humulin L and U) have been discontinued, so most vets prescribe veterinary PZI insulins or
insulin analogs glargine or Lantus, and detemir or Levemir for diabetic cats. Diabetic felines are
usually injected with slow-acting insulin twice a day after meals.

Insulin pens for pets are available for easier and more comfortable insulin administration.

Injection Sites

Good injection sites in cats with feline diabetes include the following: between the shoulders and in the hips or flanks and sides of the stomach. Avoid the scruff because it has few blood vessels and insulin is not absorbed well. As in people and dogs, rotate or put a couple of inches between the actual injection sites to prevent the formation of scars, nodules and lumps.

Preparation for the Injection

  • Organize and set out the supplies that you will need, including the treats that you will give your cat. Make sure the insulin is not cold but at room temperature so that your pet feels less discomfort.
  • Keep your cat and yourself calm and relaxed. If help is necessary, call your designated assistant. Sit in a comfortable position that is on level with your cat.
  • It is best to feed your cat before injecting it with insulin.

Step-by-Step Insulin Pen Injection

  • Remove the cap from the insulin pen. Check if the insulin looks okay; some types are supposed to look cloudy; others like clear water. Attach a needle carefully. Roll the pen gently between your palms or move it from side to side at least 20 times to mix the insulin.
  • Make sure the cartridge or pen is filled with insulin by priming. Hold it with the needle pointed straight up and then tap the pen gently so air bubbles rise to the top. Then do an “air shot,” that is, shoot a drop or two of insulin into the air. This removes the bubbles and ensures that your cat is getting the full insulin dose.
  • Dial the insulin dose.
  • Pinch up a fold of skin surrounding your chosen injection site. Insert the needle into the layer of fat beneath the skin at the proper angle. Make sure the needle’s bevel faces up so the injection is less painful. Make sure the needle penetrates the fatty layer, but does not reach the muscle below.
  • Let go of the fold. Press the pen’s injection button and wait until the full dose is finished. This may take a few seconds.
  • To remove the needle pull it straight up; do not twist or bend it since it will be harder and more painful to remove. You can rub or press your finger gently on the injection site for a few seconds to prevent bleeding. Praise and stroke your pet as a reward.
  • Be sure to remove the needle from the insulin pen and dispose of it as advised by the vet.

The Right Pen for Feline Diabetes

Consult your vet for the right choice of insulin pens for your pet. Whichever you choose, these pens are an accurate, convenient and comfortable way to manage feline diabetes and are more pet-friendly than syringes and bottled insulin.

Insulin Pens for Canine Diabetes

Insulin Pens for Canine Diabetes

Insulin Pens and Injection Sites


canine diabetes

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Like their human owners, dogs are not spared from diabetes, which is canine diabetes in this case. Insulin pens offer the advantages of ease, accuracy and comfort for both humans and pets. What’s more, insulin pens are safer to use than insulin bottles and syringes, especially when your diabetic dog finds injections stressful or painful and tries to struggle or escape.

These are good injection sites for dogs using insulin pens—its flank, armpit, side of the belly and side of the chest. Some include the scruff but others believe that this site is not conducive to insulin absorption. As with people, try to vary the exact injection site within the general area, such as the flank, to avoid the formation of lumps or nodules and scars. These also interfere with absorption of insulin.

Insulin Pens for Canine Diabetes

Vetsulin was the only FDA-approved insulin for dogs and cats. However the FDA stopped its production in March 2011 due to issues of  purity and stability.  Veterinarians were advised to switch to other products since production may or may not be resumed.  The remaining supplies are still being marketed and used, but owners are advised to take special precautions in such cases.

In the USA, Neutral Protamine Hagedorn (also known as N and NPH) is an intermediate acting insulin now used primarily for canine diabetes. It is usually given twice daily at meal time. NPH can control glucose level for a period ranging from 8-14 hours and is generally effective and affordable. Many vets have also been trying the long-acting insulin Detemir or Levemir. It is particularly suitable for dogs that need insulin more potent than NPH; one unit of Levemir is equal to 4 units of NPH. It is usually best to inject a diabetic dog with insulin twice a day after meals for better glucose control.

Regular insulin injections using insulin pens are not the only lifestyle change for diabetic pets. Many diabetic dogs gain weight and have to slim down. Aside from insulin therapy, feeding them with high fiber, low carbohydrate and quality protein food  and regular exercise help to control their weight and glucose level.


Preparations for Insulin Injection

  • Prepare the insulin pens and other supplies you’ll need to administer insulin, including some treats that you’ll “bribe” your dog with. Be sure that the insulin is at room temperature so your pet will experience less discomfort.
  • Keep your pet in a relaxed and calm state. If necessary, employ the assistance of a family member that the dog is familiar with.
  • Be sure that your dog has been properly fed before administering its insulin.

Step-by-Step Injection Using Insulin Pens

  • Uncap the insulin pen. Ensure that the insulin looks all right. Some types have a cloudy appearance, while others are crystalline clear. Carefully attach a pen needle. Mix the insulin well by lightly rolling the pen between your palms, or moving it from side to side about 20 times.
  • Be sure the pen cartridge is properly primed. Hold the pen with the needle pointing straight up, and lightly tap the pen to make the air bubbles inside rise to the top. Then make an “air shot” (releasing a drop or two of insulin into the air) which eliminates air bubbles and ensures your diabetic dog gets a full dose of insulin.
  • Dial the required dose of insulin.
  • Pinch up a fold of skin near the actual injection spot. Stick the needle into the fatty layer underneath the skin at the correct angle. Angle the needle that its bevel faces up to make the injection less painful. Make sure the needle doesn’t hit the muscle underneath. Inject it  just deep enough to penetrate the layer of fat.
  • Release the skin fold. Press the insulin pen’s injection button and wait a few seconds until the full dose is administered.
  • When you take out the needle, be careful it doesn’t twist or bend since it may cause some discomfort on your pet. Just pull it straight up. Press your finger gently on the injection site and rub lightly for a few seconds to inhibit bleeding. Praise and reward your dog with a treat afterwards.
  • Detach the needle from insulin pens after each use and dispose of them per your vet’s advice.

Always remember that your veterinarian is still your best source of advice regarding the choice and usage of insulin pens for your diabetic dog.

Insulin Pens for Diabetic Pets

Insulin Pens for Diabetic Pets

insulin pens for diabetic petsInsulin pens for diabetic pets are made more available, thus concerned owners are now provided a quicker, more convenient and accurate way to administer insulin to their furry friends.

Finding out that your cherished pet is suffering from diabetes can deal a devastating blow. However, with the help of insulin pens and modern diabetes management methods, combined with the proper diet and exercise, your pet can live a good and happy life.

All mammals with pancreas can suffer from diabetes. That includes you, your pet dog or pet cat or even pet pig. Just like people, your pet can either produce too little insulin or cannot utilize the insulin that it is able to produce. Some female pets even develop diabetes when pregnant. In fact about one out of every 500 dogs and cats develop diabetes.

Symptoms of Pet Diabetes


Have your pet checked by the vet if it pees and drinks more frequently than usual, loses weight
despite a good appetite, sleeps a lot and seems to be always tired. These are the common
symptoms of diabetes for both cats and dogs. Cats also develop weak and wobbly legs and their appetite becomes three times stronger that normal. Fortunately a simple blood test is all that’s needed to confirm if your pet is diabetic or not.

The Benefits of Insulin Pens for Diabetic Pets


You need to talk to the vet about lifestyle changes—diet, exercise and medication—for diabetic
pets. A diabetic pet usually needs insulin shots to keep its blood glucose stable and prevent it
from seesawing up or down. Very high glucose levels or hyperglycemia can damage tissues,
nerves and even organs such as kidneys and pancreas. Very low glucose levels or hypoglycemia can lead to insulin shock and even death.

Why Choose Insulin Pens for Diabetic Pets?


It is important to discuss what kind and how much insulin your pet needs, where you should
inject the insulin and how to do it with the least amount of risk and maximum benefit to your
pet and you. The advantages of insulin pens for diabetic pets are true for both people and pets—ease, comfort
and accuracy. Insulin pens are also safer to use than a syringe and insulin vial, especially when
your pet finds injections painful or frightening and tries to resist or escape.

Don’t put down a pet just because it has diabetes. Your diabetic pet can have a good life, with you by its side, if it gets the right food, regular exercise and correct medication. And you, you can continue to enjoy its company, loyalty and unconditional love.


Your vet is the best source of advice on the type of insulin pens for diabetic pets that’s right for diabetes management.