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J.C. Hardin, DVM
Blood glucose levels can be higher in a hospital setting than at home due to stress. Pets usually have more ideal glucose control once they get home. You can monitor your pet's glucose at home if you'd like to order an Alphatrak unit ($174). Urine glucose/ketone strips are helpful to tell if a recheck by a vet is needed (especiallly if ketones are positive) but should never be used to adjust the insulin dose. The urine strips are usually available 'over the counter' from any pharmacy Be sure not to give insulin if your pet is not eating. Loss of appetite or vomiting are reasons to get to a vet without delay. Rock the insulin bottle gently before drawing up the insulin. Do not shake the bottle vigorously as this can destroy the proteins. Keep the insulin refrigerated. Use the proper insulin syringe for the type of insulin being given. Use only U-40 syringes with U-40 insulin- do not use U-100 syringes. Likewise use only U-100 syringes for U-100 insulin. Prep the top of the bottle with some rubbing alcohol and allow it to dry. Prep a small area on your pet's skin with rubbing alcohol prior to injection. Pull back on the plunger a little before injecting the insulin beneath the skin. Do not give the insulin if blood draws back in the syringe when you aspirate. Low blood sugar can cause seizures. If your pet seems weak, you can apply Karo Syrup to the gums before heading to a vet clinic. Do not put your fingers in your pet's mouth during a seizure. Never give 'extra insulin' if your pet seems weak. Always have a blood sugar level checked first. Keep syringes/needles out of children's reach. Use great care when handling syringes/needles to prevent injury. Discard used syringes/needles in a 'sharps' container. Generally, return in 7 days for a blood glucose curve. This is more accurate than a fructosamine level for determining if your pet needs a dose increase, but a fructosamine level can be run as a 'second best option' if you prefer. Feed only m/d (cats) or w/d (dogs), (or other prescription diet for diabetes the doctor might recommend) from now on. Keep it available at all times. Keep fresh water available at all times as well. There are many causes for diabetes mellitus, including Cushing's disease, chronic pancreatitis, acromegaly, and others. Your pet may need periodic adjustments in their insulin dose, as determined by glucose curves. A change in insulin type will be needed if insulin resistance is ever suspected. Vetsulin, as with other types of insulin, may be hard to get at times due to manufacturer issues. Glargine insulin may need to be substituted if this occurs. Seek further care without delay if you have any concerns about your pet.