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On the Vetsulin “Recall”

DSC00084First let me say that there is no recall of Vetsulin (often used to manage the diabetes of dogs and cats) as of today.

Somewhere between six months and a year ago, I noticed that there was a difference in effectiveness of Vetsulin from bottle to bottle. Violet's dose, twice each day, is either nine or ten units, depending on how active she is. But sometimes I'd have to go up to 13 units, and you should increase one at a time, so that means about five days of high blood sugar to get to the 13, and that can't be much fun for Violet.

Other times, nine was too much and Violet would come close to crashing.

I alerted my regular (non-specialist) vet of this and though he didn't treat me like a crazy person, he didn't do any research, either. He just figures I know what I'm doing.

Then, I believe in November, it was Connie who first sent me the FDA "alert," which was just that and not a recall. It was updated in mid December and is still not a recall. So what is it? What does it mean? That if you have a diabetic dog or cat and you use Vetsulin, you have to be diligent. For me, that means that each time I open a new bottle, I check Violet's blood sugar before she gets her dosage, alter it or not accordingly (if it's under 100 I give her one unit less and if it's over 170 I give her one unit more), and then check it an hour or two after to make sure it hasn't moved too quickly or slowly.

Every animal is different, so what I do with Violet won't be the ideal strategy for everyone.

Last night, my vet called to update me. He he had just gotten off the phone with Intervet/Schering-Plough and so far, a recall of Vetsulin isn't planned, but it also hasn't been ruled out. Supply is limited.

Here's my recommendation as someone with six years of experience, not as a veterinarian: Insulin for humans (Humulin N/NPH) is just fine for most dogs, plus it's synthethic and more in line with veganism–animal cells are used in the production of Vetsulin. Violet had a "reaction" (not an allergy, technically) to NPH, however, and only the long-acting insulin (Humulin U) worked for her. It was also great for most cats. Eli Lilly stopped making it though, which sent me in the direction of Vetsulin, and many cat owners in the direction of Lantus (insulin glargine) made by Aventis. There is no alert with Lantus. Some cat owners went to Vetsulin. Lantus might sound like a solution for Violet, but apparently it doesn't work well in dogs, plus much more would be needed even if it did, increasing the cost by 300%.

Now, it is entirely possible that Violet's reaction to Humulin N was due to a combination of things, including that she was in a new home (her fourth). Maybe she will react differently to the insulin now. I just hope I don't have to find out.

And yes, I am stocking up on Vetsulin.

50 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sherry Huber #

    As you shop on the internet for Vetsulin, you will see that many places have discontinued it and cant get it. I have found a company called that still has it for a great price. They also have a preferred insulin program (PIP) where they let you just schedule the shipment of your insulin and it shows up at your door. I highly recommend it.

    February 24, 2010
  2. My vet just called (it's April 29th, 2010) and said that they just got notified that they're supply of Vetsulin is being discontinued and we need to transition to human insulin. She indicated it was an FDA thing and was really sorry.

    Did something new happen and Vetsulin is being discontinued?

    April 29, 2010
  3. Fill Fill,
    I don't think there is anything new. There's still the class action lawsuit and there's still no actual recall, but they are discontinuing it. Humulin (the human insulin) has been great for Violet. She didn't take long to transition and I don't have to take her blood glucose every day. The product is so much more stable, inter bottle as well as intra bottle. I was understandably wary due to our experience in 2004-5, but she's just fine.

    Good luck!

    April 29, 2010
  4. Hey Mary,

    OK, sounds good! I'll talk with the vet and see what the plan is. My cat was just put on insulin about 5 weeks ago (still have over 1/3 of the first 10ml bottle), so it's a little annoying to do all these tests and stuff and get him settled on Vetsulin just to find out that it shouldn't have been used in the first place! The vet said she only just found out about it today.

    Anyways, glad Violet is doing well! Thanks for the info!


    April 29, 2010
  5. Fill,
    I do know that cats are a bit different and there is at least one (I think 2) types of insulin–not human based–that are great for cats. So I believe you have 3 choices: Humulin, PZI and Glargine.

    April 29, 2010
  6. One of my cats is on Vetsulin and I'm wondering if the NPH could be an option for her?

    I thought PZI was also discontinued?

    May 4, 2010
  7. susan #

    My Vet notified me today that Vetsulin should be discontniued and to use NPH. I call my pharmacist and he says there are two types of NPH (Humulin and Humalog). Call the Vet again and she is unaware of two types.

    May 7, 2010
  8. First, I received a message regarding cats, part of which is:

    "A friend of mine, Megan Hamilton, is very experienced with diabetic cats and routinely gets them into remission. This is a link to the vet clinic’s “Feline Diabetes” brochure for more info and contact numbers: Megan will provide info over the phone. One caveat, however: she will not support a vegan diet for cats. Her goal is to get cats off insulin. She is amazingly successful."

    Next, Johny Angell, there is PZI around, but to start on another discontinued insulin is kind of silly. Glargine, from what I hear is the best option for most (but not all) cats.

    @susan – humulin is probably what you need. humalog is a faster-acting insulin usually administered 3x/day (humulin is 2x). HOWEVER, every person, dog and cat is different, so I can't say what any person's dog needs (e.g., Violet needed Humulin U, which was discontinued and hardly anyone used it).

    May 7, 2010
  9. Does anyone know about Humulen R? I started my 19-year-old kitty on Humulen N; what they say about it being "too fast acting" is absolutely off in this case. His blood sugar was 479 and only dropped to 419 after an hour. I am hydrating him and feeding him; it is extremely difficult to regulate with Humulen N. He was on Ultralente for years and simply thrived. I don't know why everyone slams Ultralente; I never encountered any problems with regulating him on it. There are many complicating factors in his case, and I'm praying that he makes it through the night so I can switch to Humulen R, since it apparently acts within 15 minutes and you give it every eight hours. With the N, I'm having to give it every 9, or else he shoots up into the 400s.

    May 13, 2010
  10. lesley,
    That sounds so heartbreaking! I'm so sorry.
    I'd also ask your vet about Glargine, which is great for cats. Best of luck!

    May 14, 2010
  11. Betsy Lemkin #

    i just switched my dog who has been diabetic sice July 2009 from the Vetsulin to the Humulin N. It has only been 2 days but they told me to start with half his dose-vetsulin was 20 units twice a day and Humulin is 10 units to start with and then I increase every 2 to 3 days. My lab mix Mickey is 11 and has been thriving on the Vetsulin for almost a year.At first my moblie vet prescribed me the wrong needs, U -100 for U-40 Vetsulin. He went into Ketonic shock and was hospitilized for 3 days. I got the right needle and he got better, but I don;t want enything to happen to him with th switch to Humulin. He runs around like a puupy , is maintaining is 27 lb weight loss(he is stable at 80lbs now), has no signs of cataracts and is doing great. In the past couple of says I have seen him regressing and drinking and urinating every hour, what is the differance in the doasge, why to I have to start so low, I hate to see him suffer through the old symptoms while waiting 2-3 days to increase th dosage. Someone please let me kmow

    May 19, 2010
  12. Betsy Lemkin #

    If anyone can tell me the differance in the dosage of the Vetsulin and the Humulin that would be great

    May 19, 2010
  13. Betsy,
    I was not told to start at half. That would be way too low. With a good quality bottle of Vetsulin, the dosage of Humulin was the same. With a good bottle Violet needed 9 units of Vetsulin and she needs 9 of Humulin. With that said, I did get up to 14 with Vetsulin sometimes (I check her blood glucose often), and 14 units of Humulin would be fatal if I didn't keep administering food or glucose.

    You can't go up more than one unit at a time, though, as that can create a crash. But you can go up each day (rather than 2-3 days). If you don't check blood glucose, I suggest doing that to keep on top of things.

    Finally, remember that although high blood sugar is uncomfortable and dangerous to long term health, very low blood sugar is deadly if it isn't caught in time.

    May 19, 2010
  14. Betsy Lemkin #

    Hi Mary,
    Thanks for your comment. I just left a message with my vet. I am totally confused. Some web sites say that the Humulin is 2.5 times stronger than the Vetsulin so that is why you give them a lower dose. Your post actually just scared me , I do not want to give my dog a fatal dose of Humulin. He did fine today at 13 units, he drank minimal water and did not urinate that much, Althoug 6 hours after the shot he seemed real tired, but when I asked if he wanted to go outside, he was alert and awakeand wanted to go. I have a call into the vet now as I am confused about the dosage. They told me to go up 2 units every 2-3 days if he stilled showed signs of diabetes. I am afraid because he was showing signs so I upped the dosage and now I he is showing signs of low blood sugar. It may have taken a few days for the insulin to work. I only have a urine glucose and ketone stick to monitor the sugar and right nowit is in the middle. Ok, whatever, I am babbling on. Anyone who has any advise , please let me know

    May 19, 2010
  15. Hi Betsy,
    I'm actually glad you got scared because low blood sugar is very, very serious. Deadly.

    And the urine monitors/sticks don't give you an accurate reading at all because the urine could well be from hours ago. That's something I was told early on. Get a glucometer.

    Low blood sugar and high blood sugar often look the same, symptom-wise, which leaves you in a difficult position of having to guess and react accordingly. And that's not a position you want to be in.

    I'm surprised anyone told you to go up >1 unit at a time. But I'm not a vet.

    You're probably close to where you need to be with the dosage, but I still strongly suggest a glucometer as it's the only way to tell at any given moment what his blood glucose is. I have seen Violet act lethargic and then pee a lot and I swore–SWORE–that her BS was well over 300. It was 15 and she was about to seize. So symptoms alone aren't as helpful as they seem (unless he's seizing).

    May 19, 2010
  16. Betsy Lemkin #

    my vet called back and said go up 2 every day until i am close to the 20 or 21 units. i went up to 15 today. i have a blood glucose meter that i use for myself, as I have just been diagnosed with borderline diabetes, but this is for humans. Is there a different one for animals. Please post again as I am even more confused after talking to hi doctor. He basically blew me off saying, just test the urine , if you are at 1 or 2 then go up every day until he stsops drinking or peeing. I am just scares. Last year I had the wrong needle , was giving hime to little ane he went into ketonis or whtever you call it. Let me know where I can find the glucometer or if I can use the one I have


    May 20, 2010
  17. Betsy,
    It's great that you have a glucometer! You can use the same one. I test on the black part of Violet's lip, over where her canines are, and she doesn't even flinch. Rub the lip beforehand or test after a walk so the blood is flowing and you don't have to "milk" his lip.

    If going up 2 units a day means one in the morning and one at night, that seems fine as long as you test before you give him the insulin. If his BS is over 270 go up a unit, if it's under 160 go down a unit, and in the middle don't alter it at all. Write everything down–Date-Time-BS-#of units.

    I recommend also testing 6 hrs later for the low point. You're looking for about 100.

    Again, forget about the urine strips–they are very deceiving. Plus you already have exactly what you need so you're in the perfect position to figure this out within a week or less.

    May 20, 2010
  18. Betsy Lemkin #

    Hey Mary,
    I actually just tested him before I got your post. It is 725 and his blood is at 342 which is pretty high. I had gone up to 15 units so hopefully in about 5 hours his sugar will have gone way done. I have to go to work now and will not be able to test him until aft 500 . I will test hem before his shot at 600. I don;t know if it will still be that high. I did not know I could use this glucometer. They toldm eto go up 2 units at night and keep the same in the morning. At least I know that he does not have low sugar and I can go to work not afraid that he will crash. I will try and make it home in the middle of the day to check to see if it went down to 100. Is that possible to go from 342 and then to 100 in 5 to 6 hours. Or should I co up again on his dose tonight. Let me know
    I knwo you are not a vet but you are the only one I am gettting good avise from

    May 20, 2010
  19. You're getting there, Betsy!
    342 is high, yes, but it depends on where you are in your cycle. Did he just eat? If he ate 30 minutes prior to 342, it's not that high–it's the highest point of the day (yes it's higher than you want, but not dangerous).

    It's absolutely possible to go from 342 to 100 in 5-6 hours. It all depends on the dose and the one prior and the amount of exercise. Tonight, if before he eats it's still in the 300s, go up one, but not 2 units. You're not going for having him at 90-150 all day. They call that "chasing the perfect curve" and it's dangerous. I promise you're close.

    May 20, 2010
  20. Betsy Lemkin #

    yes he ate about 45 monutes before that. I will test him at 630-645 that is whn I gave him the shot this morning. If it is in the 300,s I will go up to 16. My doctor said that when he is regulated, I shoueld be around the same as the Vetsulin around 20 to 21 units 2x a day. He just drank a gallon of water, which worries me but I will have to calm down I guess. Thankyou Mary for all of your advise. It is nice to have someone to talk to . I just kicked my boyfriedn out 2 weeks ago so I kind of felt alone in ahandling this but you are helping me out.
    Ths so much,

    May 20, 2010
  21. Great!
    The gallon of water is worrisome, yes, but I can't imagine that he'll be at 21 units twice a day when his high point now is in the mid 300s.

    Now, because you're not doing a real curve, where you test every hour, you don't know for certain that 342 was his high point, so the test in 5 hours will help a lot, as will the one this evening. Let me know what the afternoon test is and also the evening. Again, I'm not a vet, but I have been doing this for 5 years after completely screwing up for a year and then meeting an internist who basically saved Violet's life so I do have some experience and if it can help you, I'm happy to share.

    May 20, 2010
  22. Joel A. Hunt #

    My miniature pinscher has been on Vetsulin about 4 years. He is now 12 years old. Do you have any idea how diabetes affects longevity in this breed? He also has cataracts leaving him almost blind and is on medicine for hypothyroidism.

    May 21, 2010
  23. Joel,
    As far as I know, the life span for minipins is 12-14 years. I also know that they are prone to developing diabetes (which I suppose isn't news to you). Diabetic dogs in general have shorter life spans than non-diabetic dogs. A veterinary opthamologist might refrain from cataract surgery because of his age, but if that's financially possible you might want to check it out. I do know that a supplement called Ocu Glo has been getting great results in support of vision in dogs.

    Violet too is now in the end of "life span" statistically, given her diabetes and her 2.5 years of racing. I make it a point to enjoy each day with her and make sure she is enjoying her life because I'm acutely aware of my limited time with her.

    May 22, 2010
  24. Pat Slice #

    Hello. My Collie, Bailey, has been diagnosed as a diabetic since January 2009. We have been using Vetsulin and after about 6 months. Yesterday, got the message from our vet that Vetsulin is being discontined. We still have a bottle and a half left. Bailey's blood sugar was 186 this a.m. which is kinda good. So I increased the Vetsulin by about 2 units and will check again tomorrow (I am a hospital phlebotomist). Vet said to use up the Vetsulin and then plan about a two week transistion to HNP. She said to decrease the insulin dose by 20% when we do the transition. So, here we go again. Now I have a box and a half of U-40 syringes that I won't be able to use. I think that the Vetsulin manufacturer should offer to take the syringes back and pay me. I just consider myself lucky in that I can monitor Bailey's BS at home….. I hope other folks are doing okay…. – Pat

    June 3, 2010
  25. Hi Pat,
    I'd recommend checking Bailey's BS as soon as possible. I agree that 186 is good for a morning level. Therefore raising insulin by 2 units could easily result in a crash as you seemed to already be at a great level (if it was before food. and if it was after, you could even be above Bailey's best dose). I will e-mail you in case you don't come back soon. I have a box of syringes and a bottle of Vetsulin. I'm not sure why I'm saving it . . . but I agree that after all of the headaches and heartaches, they should offer to buy them back.

    June 3, 2010
  26. Pat Slice #

    Thanks for responding…. Tonight we will give him 23 again… and recheck in the a.m. to see how it is going. Working at the hospital I seem to get a bit antsy with any BS over 120…. Thanks for the advice. With Bailey's age (9 years) he moves a bit slow to get up and down, but when he is out and about, he runs with the rest of the doggies (a Border Collie and a young Sheltie). I'm gonna go with the Vetsulin I have right now and plan on the switch over during a 3 day weekend, which I have every week now with my new work sked. I want to be able to manage this switch in a very cautious manner. What a pain….. The Vetsulin manufacturer has really dawdled on this one. Now that I do my research I see that they have been fooling around with this since Nov. The vet said that they have been putting new Diabetic patients on the HNP right from the start. I just hate to go through all this business again. It took us about 6 months to get Bailey stable in the first place. Thanks for your support.

    June 3, 2010
  27. Terry Teperman #

    I was just told today about Vetsulin being "discontinued" I have a very old dog and we were planning to board him next week as we are going away. I am very concerned about transitioning him to the Humlulin- especially when we will not be around. The Vet gave Me two samples of Vetsulin but we still have to either find Vetsulin or transition him and I am worried it could be fatal.
    What to do??

    June 3, 2010
  28. Terry,
    If you transition him now it won't cost anything but if the vet does it they'll charge you for monitoring him and doing the blood curves, which could be very pricey.

    I'd send you the unopened bottle I have with the syringes, but the problem is I cannot attest to the quality and I would never forgive myself if something happened. I say begin to transition him now, and if the vet has to continue, so be it. Perhaps the vet will give you a break on price (for monitoring during the transition) given this debacle. The upside is that the vet is a great place for him to be (assuming you trust your vet) during this time. It shouldn't take more than a week to transition him.

    June 3, 2010
  29. Cheryl #

    HI Mary: Hope you can HELP! I'm down to my last dose of Vetsulin, which my 12 yr-old tabby was started on in Sept.'09. It has been working great for him…I mean, he looks & acts 5 years younger, healthier. I received no warnings from my vet to stock up or even to consider changing…and now have to scramble on a Sat. to make the big change…oh, he offered me ProZinc, but it costs 4x as much. Then he wrote a script for Lantus, which I took to the pharmacy…he said since I'm using only 3 units/twice daily, the extra cost would balance out because one vial would last 6 months. But, then the pharmasist said Lantus (& actually ALL insulins) EXPIRE AFTER 28 days! so I would end up paying $100 for a vial that would be useless after only using 1/6th of it! What do I do??? The pharm. tech said humulin is in the same price range, but is it safe to transition to? In reading the Vetsulin insert, it said most cats did well with twelve hour intervals, as it is a broad range slow-acting insulin & I don't blood test. I'd really appreciate a quick answer, as the clock is ticking to when he'll have none. (can you tell, I'm feeling desperate? Anyone know where I can get some Vetsulin???) I wish they would just leave well enough alone!!! Thanks.

    June 5, 2010
  30. Pat Slice #

    Got an email from the maker of Vetsulin. They are offering $25 for a partially used bottle of their product. I have also talked to our Vet about Humulin and I guess they have been putting their new patients on Humilin and Dr. Cranfill said that they have found the Humulin to be better at being regulated than Vetuslin. So, we bought a bottle and bought a box of 100 syringes from WalMart (on our Vet's suggestion). I plan on making the switch next weekend, when I have 3 days off. Checked Bailey's BS this a.m. and he was at 128, which I am happy with. So a bit closer monitoring for the next few weeks. I really dislike starting all over but that's what needs to happen. I hope other folks are getting settled with the Vetsulin situation.

    June 5, 2010
  31. Thanks, Pat. I wonder how much it'll cost to ship the Vetsulin or if I can do it through the vet. I'll look into it.

    Humulin was easy to regulate with for me, but others had more difficulty. Testing BS makes all the difference. I'd start a couple of units lower than your Vetsulin dose. I hope it all goes smoothly!

    June 7, 2010
  32. Cheryl #

    Well, at the eleventh hour Sat., I called my vet to ask for a Humulin script & was told that they don't 'feel comfortable' transitioning cats to Humulin…& said to go ahead & fill the Lantus script & don't worry about the 28 day expiration date…they referred me to a website, (which I had also come across by surfing the net) which states that "Lantus insulin can be kept for up to 6 months if refrigerated" & it is a long-acting insulin (which is good because you don't get a sudden drop in glucose levels – good if you're not blood testing). I'm just hoping this is a valid statement, because even the box says 'discard after 28 days'.
    I started my boy on it yesterday & so far, so good.
    Hope this gives some clarity to others who are faced with this confusing choice!!
    PS-thanks to Mary for responding by email)

    June 7, 2010
  33. I've noted previously that glargine (Lantus) is best for cats according to my vet, as well, but that it's cost prohibitive in addition to absorbed differently by dogs. I never had to get that much into the difference because I didn't have a diabetic cat. thanks again for writing and I hope all goes well with the transition. My vet friend whose cat is on glargine has had no problems with it and his dose is tiny, so I assume that it can indeed be kept much longer than 28 days.

    Also, Violet's dose means that Humulin is in our fridge for 1.5 months and that hasn't been problematic so far.

    June 7, 2010
  34. James Jefferson #

    My vet wrote my cat a RX for Humlin N since Vetsulin was no longer available. The good part, Sam's Club has Humlin N for 24.88 and Relio needles for 12.58. I was paying 65.70 for Vetsulin and 32.11 for UltiCare syringes. This is a big savings and I see no reason to ever go back to Vetsulin even if the FDA lets it back on the market. Plus, you do not need a RX to get it.
    What type of instrument do I need to be able to check the blood glucose level myself without having to rely on my Vet?.

    June 9, 2010
  35. Wow, your Vetsulin was very expensive, James! I agree that there's no reason to go back to Vetsulin even if they allow it. For vegans, using Humulin is an added bonus as the ingredients are not animal-based.

    I use the Accu-chek Compact (which is now Accu-chek Compact Pus: ). The most important feature, for me, is having a unit that has a drum of strips in it so you don't have to load the strips. It's a life saver to be able to check blood sugar at home. Good luck!

    June 10, 2010
  36. Big Mike #

    I'm getting ready to transition my dog to the humlin n and my vet said to start with 5 units of humlin vs. the 7 units of vetsulin that I have been given. I bought 3/10cc syringes and after looking at them, I can see it is difficult to be accurate measuring such a small dose. My pharmacist says that is the smallest size that they have for u100 syringes. Do any of you have any knowledge of any other syringes available or should I just buy a magnifying glass?

    I sure am glad I found this website. I feel much more confident making the transition after reading the posts here. Thank you.

    June 11, 2010
  37. Hi Big Mike,
    Those syringes sure are tiny. Good news for your dog, not-so-good-news for you. I use my reading glasses and make sure I have good lighting.
    5 units sounds great. You may or may not work your way back up to 7, depending on the quality of the bottles of Vetsulin. Violet's at the same dose she was at for a decent quality bottle of Vetsulin.

    I recommend everyone test blood sugar on their own, as that's the only way to know for certain what's going on. Urine strips aren't accurate so save your money.

    Good luck!

    June 11, 2010
  38. Pat Slice #

    We started Bailey on Humulin yesterday. Wow, such small syringes…. WE checked his blood sugar and I drew a tube of blood for further testing. BS was 240 and when I had the tube tested, his HA1C was 5.3. Overall, I think we've been doing okay, but have yet to find out what is normal for dogs on the HA1C. This a.m. will check BS again. Gave him 18 units of Humulin yesterday after breakfast and after supper. Would rather it be a tad higher at this point and then give more Humulin to get it down, rather that going down and then trying to get it up….I'm just nervous about how Humulin actually acts on a dog. Is it long lasting as Vetsulin was supposed to be or is it short term. Thinking to leave him at 18 again thru today and then if his BS is still high tomorrow, then giving him more…. Bailey is very patient for all of the testing, I just don't really like sticking him too much…. Hairy legs are a lot harder to test than human arms and their veins… it's a challenge…

    June 13, 2010
  39. #

    It's important to know that when you change from vestulin to human insulin that you need to change needles. We weren't told that and had to hospitalize our dog. If you use the same needles, you will be giving your pet much more insulin and it could be fatal.

    June 18, 2010
  40. Pat Slice #

    Hi…. It's been a week on Humulin N….. His Vetuslin dose was 23unit q2 day. So we started on the low side with Humulin, going with 18u q2 day. His blood sugar bounced to 253. We increased the dose to 20u, then 22u. This a.m. his blood sugar was 192. So I bumped the dose to 23u q2 day. We'll see in a couple of days whether this brings it down a little bit more…. I think the only $$ savings is this deal is the cost of the syringes…. Can buy U-100 1/2cc syringes at WalMart for $12.95/doz. Of course, Bailey is a big dog, 95lbs…. He's a big collie. Another week and I will do a BS curve…. I really dislike going through this again. It took nearly 6 months to get him settled on Vetsulin. I just wonder if they react to the different insulins in a different matter. Also wondering if there is a difference between Humulin N and Novalin N….. Anyone have an idea??? Thanks – Pat

    June 20, 2010
  41. Hi Pat,
    I've actually never been in a WalMart, so I don't know. If I were a betting person, I'd bet that you end up with 23 as the dose. The insulin types are:
    Humalog/Novolog which are very fast acting (within minutes);
    R Insulins are fast acting;
    N or NPH (intermediate acting);
    L (Lente)-a bit longer acting
    U (Ultralente)-very long.
    Lantus (glargine)-the longest.
    Violet was originally on Humulin U, which Eli Lilly stopped making, and for whatever reason she's find on N. If the ratio of fast to medium acting is the same (70/30 or 50/50), then the insulins should react the same way.
    I hope that helps.

    June 20, 2010
  42. T. West #

    I am so confused. My dog was on Vetsulin. He was 20 units 2x a day. I did not know Vetsulin was recalled until 6/16/10 when I needed a refill. My vet put my lab on ProZinc. Very expensive!! I did not know what else to do and needed his insulin so I got it that day. I can't afford $240 a month for just insulin so research got me here.

    I called my vet to ask about the conversion to Humulin N. He said that was not a good a option. ?? I'm reading alot of people disagree and still wanted to try the Humulin N. I got a glucose meter and test strips and found with a 30 gauge lancet (the thin – not the ultra-thin) I can get enough of a "blood beed" to run a test off the inside of his ear. Were on ProZinc since 6/18/10 at 20 Units 2x a day. His moring reading are 360's before food and 340's in eveing before food. To convert him to Humulin N (with U-100 needles not the U-40 with ProZinc) how many units should I give him?

    My vet says he may "crash" during the day since it it fast acting? Does anyone know about that?
    I plan to convert him on the weekend so I can check him every hour is necessary.

    June 21, 2010
  43. @T. West,
    I'm not sure why the vet said Humulin N wouldn't be good for a dog. I know that Lantus (glargine) is better than Humulin N for cats, but as far as I know, dogs do fine.

    I'm not a vet, but because you can test hourly, I'd recommend starting at 18 of Humulin N, as long as his glucose isn't low. So, over 150. Most people have found that the optimal Humulin N dose is close to the Vetsulin dose, assuming the dog was well-regulated and there weren't problems with the Vetsulin. But just in case, start a bit low (18). If he's at 360 and you start at 18 you'll likely be high for a couple of days.

    Humulin N isn't fast-acting, technically. It's intermediate. However, that doesn't mean there's no possibility of a crash. If you know what a crash looks like and you know what to do, plus you're around, you should be fine.

    June 21, 2010
  44. Sharon #

    I seem to be in the same situation as everyone—I have a Maltese, 12yrs old, that was diagnosed with diabetes in dec.'09–he has been on Vetsulin since, 5units twice a day–he is doing well—eats well, energy (for a 12yrs old) however has bad cataracs–, & his sight is poor. I received a call from my vets that they are switching over to "NPH" & that I should bring in "TOBY" for observation while he is switched over–while he was Vetsulin we could never stabilize his blood sugar—always high—so I hope NPH will be more stable—
    Any comments???? or suggestions???

    Sharon & Toby

    June 25, 2010
  45. Hi Sharon & Toby,
    I'd say if his blood sugar was always high, 5 isn't the correct dose for Vetsulin.
    If you test at home, I strongly recommend transitioning him yourself under close supervision and here's why: being at the vet affects their blood sugar because it affects them emotionally. Now, I'm not saying this is always true, but in my experience it is and the expert internist who ultimately saved Violet gave me the best advice after $8,000 of vet bills: Stop going to the vet.

    My experience so far is that Humulin is about the same as a good quality bottle of Vetsulin, which I rarely had, but since I test at home it was never a problem. The vet will do whatever s/he thinks is best, and please know that transitioning will likely be a fairly expensive venture. When we were trying to regulate Violet 6 years ago we paid $365/day (w/out an overnight), for 4-6 days at a time. I've yet to hear of a case where the dog didn't eventually become regulated or had any serious problems as a result of the transition. And if the vet does it, it will be done for you and all you have to worry about is the expense.

    With that said, I urge everyone to buy a glucometer (I use the Accu Chek Compact) and test for themselves. The more information you have about Toby's condition at any one moment, the better for both of you.

    June 25, 2010
  46. Pat Slice #

    Hello, Bailey has been on 23 units of Humulin N for about two weeks now and I checked his BS yesterday before breakfast…. 166. I am happy. I need to do a curve, but am thinking I will take him to the vet for that…. What's interesting is that the vet said that the Humulin would be 20% less in dose than the Vetsulin and I'm finding out that the same dose of Vetsulin is the same units of Humulin. Is the actual liquid used the same in Humulin as in Vetsulin, or is there a greater concentration of Humulin than Vetsulin. I'm still on the 1st bottle of Humulin and it seems to be doing down a lot slower. Found Humulin N at WalMart for $48 and at the vet it was $56. So saving on both medication and syringes at WalMart. What surprises me is that you really don't need an RX here for insulin…. By the way, you won the bet!!!~

    June 29, 2010
  47. Chris #

    Hi, my diabetic dog is Jesse. He was diagnosed a year ago, went blind shortly after starting vesulin. His blood sugar was never regulated on vetsulin. Starting a new bottle, he was at 7 units two times a day and after about two weeks, he needed to go up, by the end of the bottle, he was at 9 units twice a day. I heard about the trouble with vetsulin in Nov/Dec 2009. We insisted to our vet that we wanted to switch his insulin. Finally in April we did the switch. Surprise! She put him on Lantus 🙁 Way too expensive for us and he doesn't appear to be 'normal' yet, but almost there, but better than vetsulin. We have him at 7 units twice a day on Lantus. His bottle is almost gone and tomorrow I am going to get him humulin, like he should have been tried out on after vetsulin. From what I read, I should start him at about 3 to 4 units twice a day for several days and increase one unit twice a day every 3 to 4 days. If this is wrong, let me know, I will continue the Lantus until gone, which will be any day now. If I run out of Lantus after the morning dose, should I give the evening dose as humulin, or wait until morning to start the new insulin? Should humulin be given right after eating, like I've done with the other two insulins? I am not going thru the vet for humulin because we already did the curve in April and she put him on Lantus, which doesn't work as good with dogs and is too expensive. My dog is a rat terrier at about 18#. We do have a glucose monitor and I will try to test him with it, otherwise I go by his pottying, drinking and eating habits. Thanks

    June 30, 2010
  48. Hi Chris,
    I'd start at 6 because you'll be testing him. I would not recommend monitoring by way of drinking eating and potty. The last time Violet crashed she drank a lot and looked lethargic, just like when she has high blood sugar.

    It really is true that, with the exception of what happens once blood sugar is way too low, low blood sugar and high blood sugar can look remarkably similar. The only way to know for sure is the monitor.

    I hope that helps.

    July 1, 2010
  49. Tiffiny L. Adams #

    Hi, my 12 year old dog Ripley a Boxer-Mastiff mix has been diabetic since Dec 2008. She has signs of cataracts and is losing some of her vision. We just made the switch from Vetsulin to Humulin N this morning. She takes 38 units twice a day with the Vetsulin and my vet is starting her out the same with Humulin N. I do not have a meter but I will be checking into one. I had a scare in the past thinking she was high but actually she was low, luckily not dangerously low. I get my insulin ($24.88) at Wal-Mart along with the syringes ($12.58).
    I went through Vetsulin in 5 to 6 days and I am hoping that with Humulin N it will last longer. I guess what they say is true "No dog is free." Well, what she has given me in return is priceless.
    Luck to all, Tiffiny.

    July 9, 2010
  50. Hi Tiffany,
    I highly recommend the surgery for cataracts. You can even do just one eye. And I recommend testing at home with a glucometer. That's quite a hefty dosage! I hope the transition goes well.

    July 10, 2010

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