Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a disease that affects the body's ability to utilize glucose (sugar).  DM is charaterized by an elevated blood glucose level, glucose in the urine, and clinical signs ranging from increased thirst, urination, and hunger to lethargy, inappetance, weight loss, and neurolgical changes in more severe disease.  Left untreated, DM can progress to a potentially fatal condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.  
The beta cells of the pancreas normally produce insulin.  Insulin is a hormone that is necessary for glucose present in the bloodstream to enter the cells of the body where it can be utilized as an energy source.  Diabetes occurs when the body either does not produce enough insulin or has a decreased response to the insulin that is present.  Therefore, diabetic animals often need insulin supplimentation to lead a normal healthy life.

**Your veterinarian or veterinary technician will show you the proper technique for giving insulin injections**
See How to Handle Insulin and Give Insulin Injections for a refresher.

Storage and handling:
  • Store insulin with the vial upright in the refrigerator.  Do not freeze.
  • Protect from light.
  • Mix by gently rolling back and forth between the palms of your hands.  Do Not Shake.
  • Do not pre-load syringes.  Draw up a fresh syringe each for each time you give the injection.  Insulin can bind to the plastic of the syringe altering the amount administered.

Feeding:
  • Always feed before giving insulin.  If your pet is not eating DO NOT GIVE INSULIN as this may cause a serious and potentially dangerous drop in blood sugar.
  • Keep karo syrup, pancake syrup, or honey on hand at all times.  If, after giving insulin, you notice weakness, staggering, or seizures this may be an insulin overdose.  Give your pet the syrup by rubbing a small amount on the gums or giving it by mouth if possible in order to help raise the blood sugar.  CALL THE VETERINARY CLINIC IMMEDIATELY!
  • Please feed your pet a good quality diet with balanced nutrition.  Canned or "wet" foods are preferred because they contain fewer carbohydrates than dry foods.  Your vet may prescribe specific food specially formulated for diabetics.
  • Feed the pet at the same time twice a day.
  • Avoid or limit extra treats.  Make sure treats are appropriate for diabetic animals if you do give them to your pet.
  • Feed enough food to maintain your dog's weight.

Exercise:
  • Regular exercise is important but avoid long periods of sustained activity.

Reevaluation of your pet:
  • After beginning insulin therapy, your pet will need to be reevaluated regularly until the proper dose of insulin is established.  This can take some time in certain individuals.  Usually pets are rechecked 1-2 weeks after initiating insulin therapy.  Your veterinarian will want to check your pet's blood glucose and adjust the dose as necessary.
  • As the proper dose of insulin is established, the symptoms your pet was experiencing prior to treatment should subside.
  • After your pet has been on insulin for a number of weeks, your vet may check a fructosamine level to determine if blood glucose has been regulated well over a long period of time.


*Please call the clinic if you have any questions or concerns - (973) 764-3630*

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347 Rt 94
Vernon, NJ 07462

(973) 764-3630
Small Animal & Exotic Medicine and Surgery