Posted by: SueTony | 2004/01/14

15 yr Burmese male cat diagnosed with severe diabetes

Suggested twice daily injections of protophane for life. This is very costly,especially via the 'pen'. Are there less expensive (e.g. 'generic' ) options/methods to treat? The cat shows no unusual symptoms except frequent drinking.

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Our expert says:
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Human insulins like Protaphane and Ultratard can be very effective and very cost effective if administered by insulin syringe. If you work carefully, and keep the syringe in the fridge, we reuse the same syringe for about a week. The needle and syringe must not be flushed or cleaned with anything. We find in our practice that the average cat will use 1-4 units of Ultratard twice a day, equal to about 0.02-0.08 millilitre per day. A vial of insulin contains 10 millilitres, so it will allow treatment for 4-6 months per vial. It can therefore be very cost-effective. You need to be very careful though, when you measure the insulin with the syringe. If you use the half millilitre syringes, we find it quite accurate enough. Never use the last few drops of insulin in a big vial, as the concentration becomes very variable. Rather discard and get a fresh vial. The treatment of diabetes in cats with insulin can be very rewarding and very successful, although some monitoring from time to time is necessary.

Good luck!

Dr Malan van Zyl
Veterinary Specialist Physician
Cape Town

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