CVC Highlight: Insulin therapy for diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats: Ensuring your chances of success - Veterinary Medicine
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CVC Highlight: Insulin therapy for diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats: Ensuring your chances of success
Picking the right insulin product, initiating and maintaining appropriate dosing, and performing regular monitoring are key.



The goal of dietary management in diabetic patients is to minimize postprandial fluctuations in blood glucose concentrations and potentiate the action of insulin. In cats, obesity is one of the major contributing factors to the development of diabetes mellitus, so weight loss in these patients is a large component of therapy.

Always consider concurrent conditions before altering a pet's diet. Generally, animals receiving therapeutic diets for other conditions should not be switched to a diet that manages their diabetes. Studies support the feeding of high-carbohydrate, high-fiber diets to diabetic dogs.9 In cats, starting with a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet and transitioning to a high-fiber diet if there is poor response to the low-carbohydrate diet is a good approach.

J. Catharine Scott-Moncrieff, MA, Vet MB, MS, DACVIM, DECVIM
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
School of Veterinary Medicine
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47907


1. Scott-Moncrieff JC, Moore GE, Coe JE, et al. Characteristics of commercially manufactured compounded protamine zinc insulin. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2012: in press.

2. Nelson RW, Lynn RC, Wagner-Mann CC, et al. Protamine zinc insulin for treatment of diabetes mellitus in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218(1):38-42.

3. Nelson RW, Henley K, Cole C. Field safety and efficacy of protamine zinc recombinant human insulin for treatment of diabetes mellitus in cats. J Vet Intern Med 2009;23(4):787-793.

4. Roomp K, Rand J. Intensive blood glucose control is safe and effective in diabetic cats using home monitoring and treatment with glargine. J Feline Med Surg 2009;11(8):668-682.

5. Marshall RD, Rand JS, Morton JM. Treatment of newly diagnosed diabetic cats with glargine insulin improves diabetic control and results in higher probability of remission than protamine zinc and lente insulins. J Feline Med Surg 2009;11(8):683-689.

6. Cohen TA, Nelson RW, Kass PH, et al. Evaluation of six portable blood glucose meters for measuring blood glucose concentration in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2009;235(3):276-280.

7. Sieber-Ruckstuhl NS, Kley S, Tschuor F, et al. Remission of diabetes mellitus in cats with diabetic ketoacidosis. J Vet Intern Med 2008;22(6):1326-1332.

8. Zini E, Hafner M, Osto M, et al. Predictors of clinical remission in cats with diabetes mellitus. J Vet Intern Med 2010;24(6)1314-1321.

9. Nelson RW, Duesberg CA, Ford SL, et al. Effect of dietary insoluble fiber on control of glycemia in dogs with naturally acquired diabetes mellitus. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;212(3):380-386.


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