Regulation and management of diabetes in cats can be a little challenging. The most suitable and effective insulin is needed to minimize stress in both veterinarian and patients. Main forms of insulin (such as NPH, PZI, Lente, Ultralente and regular) were studied and made available in the market. However, not one of these kinds was found to be effective enough for dogs and/or cats. To know which insulin works best all boiled down to preference and experience until a new human synthetic insulin came into the picture. This analogue was called the glargine insulin. So now the question is directed to the safety and efficacy of glargine insulin for cats. So can I use glargine insulin in cats?
The ideal insulin for diabetic cats is the one that is able to achieve regulation for the longest period of time. Glargine insulin (with Lantus for a brand name) is a type of long-actin insulin that has now been made commercially available. It is however a fragile kind of insulin that calls for proper care when being handled. Its vials and cartridges must be stored at the right temperature and are often refrigerated when already open. These must not be shaken, diluted nor mixed with other kinds of insulins.
Glargine insulin has been chosen by a lot of veterinarians as their insulin of choice for many diabetic cats. Studies have shown that proper use of this kind of insulin will provide good results once combined with the diabetic cat’s proper diet. Glargine insulin is often partnered with a low-carbohydrate, high-protein wet food diet. When this is the case, studies have shown that diabetic cats are provided with the best chances of going into remission. Many of these diabetic cats have reverted, in just a matter of weeks, to a non-diabetic state. However, it is important to remember that this diabetic remission is the result of proper regulation during the earlier stages of diabetes in cats.
If you prefer to use glargine insulin in diabetic cats, it is best to give the cats two shots per day with an interval of 12 hours. This is because glargine insulin can manage to keep cats well within a non-diabetic range for as long as 12 hours. So keep in mind that these shots must not be given early. Also, unlike other insulin, glargine has a rather gentle onset. This prevents a rapid drop in blood glucose levels of diabetic cats. And like other medications considered as time-release ones, glargine build-up in a diabetic cat’s body is a prerequisite for the lowering of blood glucose levels.
Here are some other key points to remember when using glargine insulin in cats:
• The general glargine insulin dosage for felines is just a few units of gradations on an insulin syringe. With glargine insulin, dilution is out of the question since the characteristic long-activity of glargine mainly depends on a formation of tiny crystals that only occur when there is no attempt at dilution.
• Glargine insulin is made available in a Pen injector with measurements having an increment of 1 unit. Although a 10ml bottle of this kind of insulin maintains a 1-month expiry if not refrigerated, this injector is still quite expensive given that it can’t be kept refrigerated and it also expires within a month. It is recommended to keep the pen injector at room temperature in order to prevent or reduce any possible changes in the volume of insulin.
• When using glargine insulin, like any other insulin, diabetic cats must be kept under observation especially for the first 3 days after a glargine insulin shot is given. This is to properly monitor the cat’s blood sugar level; with a glucose curve check done within 1 to 2 weeks in order to assess the efficacy of the dosage and insulin type (cats given glargine insulin shots have a better chance at becoming non-diabetic. With this, it is crucial to have a weekly curve during the first 4 weeks of glargine treatment, and the samples taken only every 4 hours of 12 hours).
• Remission is rare when the cats have already been treated for longer than 2 years. Remission is only likely to occur when the pre-insulin blood glucose level is below 216mg/dL and the nadir glucose is within normal range. But for some other cats to achieve remission, a gradual reduction in dosage can be helpful before it is completely withdrawn. For more information on the proper dosage, it is best to consult with your veterinarian once the cat has been checked upon.