Insulin Types for Diabetic Dogs

Diabetic dogs develop the disease much the same way humans do, either congenitally as in a Type I juvenile onset form or developing it later in life by acquiring a Type II adult onset form, and the latter type is the more common of the two in canines. There are two forms of canine diabetes and both are similar in that they are the result of a defect in the production of hormones in the dog's body. 

Two Forms of Canine Diabetes

The two forms of diabetes that dogs can be diagnosed with are Diabetes Insipidus; which is caused by the lack of a hormone which regulates water resorption of the kidneys and Diabetes Mellitus; which is closely related to the form of diabetes that humans can have in that it is caused by a lack of insulin which controls sugar metabolism in the body.

The Effects of Insulin

Insulin is a hormone that helps the body process glucose, a simple sugar that acts as the body's main fuel which is derived from the body's enzymes breaking down food. With Diabetes Mellitus, the disease causes the body not to produce enough insulin to do the important jobs the body needs to function correctly and regulate the amount of glucose that is produced.

There are three types of insulin that are commonly used for dogs with diabetes and they are classified by the acting effect on the animal; short-acting, intermediate and long-acting. There are also three source characterizations; pork, beef and human recombinant with pork and beef for veterinary use only. The human recombinant can be used on dogs and humans.

The type of insulin used is usually based on the dog's present condition. Short-acting insulins are for dogs who are suffering an attack and need immediate relief in a crisis. Intermediate insulins are the most common and are often prescribed for twice daily use. Long-term are also used for ongoing treatment of the disease and not for quick reaction relief.

The amount of insulin administered is measured in units that differ dependent upon the form of insulin being prescribed. The two measured units commonly used are U-40 and U-100 and there are corresponding syringes for each measurement. It is very important that the proper syringe is used for the proper units, a U-40 syringe for a U-40 dose and a U-100 syringe for the U-100 dose. Since the amount of insulin that is being given is crucial to your pet, be sure to use the proper syringe as an overdose of insulin could be extremely dangerous to your dog.

The Different Types of Insulin on the Market

Insulins such as Vetsulin, Glargine, Lantus, Detemir and Levemir are all various forms of insulin that are available for your dog, and each is prescribed based on its derivation and duration in relation to the form of diabetes that your dog has been diagnosed with. There is no one cure-all insulin and veterinarians are still performing research as to how dogs can best be treated for their diabetes with this hormone.