Insulin for Dogs Interchangeable with Human Insulin?


Q: My Welsh Corgi was diagnosed with diabetes earlier this year, when he hit 44 lbs. My previous vet scared me to death about this, prescribing Vetsulin (insulin) and Hill’s Science diet W/D prescription food (wet and dry), not to mention syringes. All of this treatment cost a small fortune.I switched to a different veterinarian. Also, a friend told me to go to Wal-Mart, where I switched to a human insulin called Novulin N. I get needles there for much less money. I’ve also started making my own dog food from ground turkey, vegetables, barley and eggs — and my dog eats it like candy. The veterinarian thinks this is a good idea since there are no preservatives in the food I prepare. The great news is, my dog is down to 39 pounds. My question is about dry food: Is there one you’d suggest? I’ve tried several low fat diets, but they give my dog loose stools. — P.R., Las Vegas, NV

A: “Diabetic management is multi-faceted, but it can certainly be achieved,” says Dr. Wendy Hauser, a board member of the American Animal Hospital Association. “Vetsulin would be ideal because it’s designed for pets, but I do have clients whose dogs do fine on human insulin, though some don’t. What’s important to know is that if you switch insulin, you should talk to your vet about the dosage. Insulin brands are not necessarily interchangeable.”

Making food for any pet doesn’t always go as planned, as many recipes on the Internet aren’t adequate. It’s important to follow the directions of a veterinary nutritionist, not just some stranger on the Internet who says, “I know pets,” or even a human nutritionist. What’s more, diabetic animals have special nutritional needs.

Hauser, of Parker, CO, says she goes to the supermarket, too, and knows beef, chicken or turkey are not cheap, and adds, “It’s hard to believe there’s a significant price difference between preparing your own dog food and buying a manufactured food.”

Hauser adds, “It’s wonderful, and really significant that your dog has lost weight. Your veterinarian can suggest a (wet or dry) diet. Perhaps, you’d consider going back to what worked previously (the Hill’s prescription diet), and consider the savings on human insulin as a kind of compromise.”