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November 5th, 2009 [6 Comments]

FDA Warning about Vetsulin (r)

by | Category: Feline Health

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Just a few days ago, the FDA issues an alert about Vetsulin®, a type of insulin created for cats (and dogs). We have quite a few diabetics at Tabby’s Place. Most of them use glargine, but two of them were on Vetsulin. I suspect some of you have diabetic cats, so I wanted to make sure you knew of this, in case any of your cats are using
Vetsulin.

The problem with the insulin is that the product does not have consistent amounts of cystalline zinc. It is the zinc that gives the insulin its “timed release” action. This poses a potentially dangerous situation, since the length of time over which the inslin is active is crucial. If the time is too short, hyperglycemia occurs (which is dangerous over long periods of time).

Even worse, if the insulin acts for too long, then hypoglycemia can occur. Hypoglycemia is very
dangerous and can lead to death very quickly.

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We started using Vetsulin for our diabetics that were well-regulated, because it is significantly cheaper than glargine.

We go through a lot of insulin each day. But we have now become worried enough that our vet has advised us to switch all the cats to glargine, to be safe.
(Note: if you decide to change insulin types, you must consult with your vet. This is not something you can just
jump into on your own.)

As a side note, another advantage of switching is that we now only have to deal with one klind of insulin syringe. You see, Vetsulin uses U-40 syringes, while virtually all other insulin types use U-100 syringes. You have to be careful to use the proper syringe, as a U-40 ‘unit’ 2.5 times greater than a U-100 ‘unit.’ A mistake could be fatal. The two kinds of syringes are only distinguishable bv looking closely. We’ll be glad to relegate the U-40 syringes to the storage room.


6 Responses to “FDA Warning about Vetsulin (r)”

  1. Karen says:

    Fellow bloggers — let’s all band together and make sure Tabby’s Place can afford this special medicine for all the diabetic fuzzies!!!!!!!!!! Thank you, Jonathan, for this very important information!

    • fredhetz says:

      After agreeing with Karen’s message, the first thought I had was how a rock band should be named, “The Diabetic Fuzzies!”

  2. Jo says:

    Havok is on PZI from BCP Veterinary. He’s been on it for 5 years now and doing well. I also use the U-100 syringes.

    Thanks for the information.

    • Jonathan says:

      We used to use PZI at Tabby’s Place. But we used U-40 syringes. I wasn’t aware that it could be dosed for U-100 syringes (though it only takes a matehmatical calculation to do ther translation).

      I’m glad to hear that Havok is doing well. We have a soft spot for diabetics 🙂

    • Jo says:

      Jonathan, if I’m not mistaken, there are two types of PZI. One is from BCP Pharmacy and one, I think, called Vetsulin.

      A friend of mine is using a different insulin and I asked her for the name. I’ll pass it on to you. Though Lantus works pretty well, it’s always better to have another option, just in case.

    • Jo says:

      The insulin my friend is using is called Levemir. I’m not sure if available here, she lives in Canada.

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