Caring For A Pet With Diabetes
So Your Pet Has Diabetes… Now What?
When your cat or dog is diagnosed with diabetes, you may worry that everything is going to change. Will daily insulin shots mess up your schedule – and your relationship with your pet?
As it turns out, your pet’s diagnosis marks the start of good things to come. Insulin shots will stabilize your pet’s blood sugar levels and relieve their symptoms. Your pet can live a long, healthy life with diabetes, and you may be surprised at how quickly you settle into a routine with their home care.
Get Confident About Giving Your Pet Insulin Shots
If you’ve never given anyone an injection before, giving daily insulin shots may seem scary. You can practice on a stuffed animal to get faster and more confident – in turn, making the injections easier on your pet. Be sure to dispose of syringes that you have used for practice.
Remember, insulin needles are thin and sharp. Your pet will feel very little pain, if any, during injections. If you set up everything you need before grabbing your pet, and give them shots quickly, they may not even notice when it happens.
How To Prepare Insulin For Your Pet
Your veterinarian will show you how to store, prepare and administer your pet’s insulin. Your vet’s advice should supersede any instructions you find on the internet. If you’re unsure, give your vet’s office a call.
Most insulin for pets should be refrigerated. You may want to leave it out for a few minutes before a dose to bring it back to room temperature, as cold insulin can feel uncomfortable when injected.
Slowly roll the insulin in your hands to mix it. Some types should be shaken, not rolled. Ask your vet if you’re unsure.
Pull back the plunger on the syringe to your pet’s prescribed dose. Holding the vial upside down, insert the needle into the rubber stopper. Depress air into the bottle, then pull the plunger back again to the correct dose. Cap the needle and set it aside while you retrieve your pet.
How To Give Your Pet An Insulin Shot
You should give an insulin shot while your pet is eating or no more than 30 minutes after a meal.
Massage your pet before insulin shots to help them relax. In time, you’ll learn to seamlessly go from massaging, to giving an injection, to massaging again without your pet noticing that they’ve been injected.
The loose skin between your pet’s shoulderblades is ideal for giving injections. Tent the skin and swab the injection site with an alcohol wipe if your vet has advised you to sanitize your pet’s skin.
With the syringe at a 45-degree angle, insert the needle into your pet’s skin at the base of the “tent.” Pull back slightly on the plunger to see if you’ve hit a blood vessel. If you have, you’ll see blood enter the syringe. Start fresh with a new syringe if this happens. If not, proceed to inject the full dose.
Avoid allowing the needle to stick out the other side of your pet’s skin. If this happens, or the insulin otherwise spills and does not get administered correctly, call your vet.
Always discard of needles in a sharps container. If you do not have one, you can get one at any pharmacy, or use a puncture-resistant plastic container such as a laundry detergent bottle.
Monitoring Your Pet’s Symptoms
If your pet’s insulin is working correctly, their condition should improve.
It’s always better to miss a dose than to overdose. Overdosing leads to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, which can put your pet in a coma. Shivering, drooling, weakness, and seizures are all symptoms of hypoglycemia.
Continued symptoms of diabetes, or worsening symptoms, may indicate that your pet’s insulin is not working. Monitor your pet’s water intake, urine output, appetite, and energy levels.
Never change your pet’s dosage without your veterinarian’s permission. Stick to your pet’s recommended or prescribed diet, and let your vet know if your pet gets into food that they shouldn’t eat.
Test your pet at home with the At Home Wellness Test for Dogs or Cats
With the At Home Wellness Test for Dogs or Cats, you can easily check to see if your pet has a common health issue. In just 60 seconds, you can test your pet’s urine for high glucose levels, urinary tract infection, kidney failure, and blood in the urine. The At Home Wellness Test for Dogs or Cats includes everything you need to cleanly collect and test your pet’s urine in a non-invasive and stress-free manner.
The At Home Wellness Test for Dogs includes a urine cup with a reusable telescopic pole for easy urine collection and the At Home Wellness Test for Cats includes a special hydrophobic litter that causes the urine to puddle atop the litter for easy collection. Both testing kits include 2 testing strips, one sample collection vial, one sample collection pipette, and a results card that quickly indicated positive or negative results