On the Vetsulin “Recall”
First 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.