How To Give Insulin
Handling of Insulin
1. Wash your hands.
2. Get the insulin from the refrigerator.
3. GENTLY roll the insulin bottle in your hands several times to mix it. DO NOT SHAKE the bottle.
4. Remove the needle cover from the syringe.
5. Insert the needle through the rubber top of the insulin bottle.
6. Turn the bottle and syringe upside down in one hand. With your other hand, SLOWLY draw back on the plunger to obtain the correct dose.
7. Check the syringe for air bubbles. To remove air bubbles, tap the syringe barrel gently. Once they have risen to the top, slowly push the bubbles back into the bottle by depressing the syringe plunger. Then, measure the correct dose of insulin.
8. DOUBLE CHECK YOUR DOSE.
9. Remove the needle from the bottle Carefully cover the needle with the cap.
Giving the Insulin
1. Locate kitty. Initially, you may need to do this in a smaller room to decrease chances of escape. A distraction may prove invaluable; if kitty normally gets a small amount of canned food, now is the time to offer it.
2. Place kitty on a surface that will help you inject easily; e.g., a bathroom or kitchen counter. Once you are proficient, kitty probably will not notice the injection, or not care, and you can administer the injection while she is in her favorite chair or on the floor.
3. With one hand, gently pinch a fold of skin between the shoulder blades and pull upward to form a peak. This will create a surface away from your fingers in which to administer the insulin.
4. With your other hand, pick up the syringe and remove the cover from the needle.
5. Insert the needle through the skin, aiming below your fingers but above kitty’s body wall, keeping the syringe parallel to her spine.
6. Inject the insulin by depressing the plunger completely into the barrel of the syringe.
7. Pull the syringe straight out and release the skin.
8. With a dry finger, check for a damp spot on the fur. If you find one, you have likely put the insulin on kitty rather than in kitty. DO NOT REPEAT THE DOSE. You have no way of knowing how much, if any, went into kitty. It is safer to wait until the next dose and continue as normal. If the spot is dry, congratulations! You have given kitty her necessary insulin.
9. Dispose of the syringe in a proper container. For home diabetics, it is acceptable to place used needles in the sharps container in the household trash. A sharps container is included with the purchase of the U-40 Low dose syringes. DO NOT throw used needles loose into your trash; your trash service will be very unhappy. Alternately, we can dispose of your containers for you with our medical service, but since they charge us per container, we will need to charge you, also.
Signs of Hypoglycemia
- If kitty is not eating normally or is vomiting, call before giving any insulin, as this could create a diabetic crisis.
- If you are buying insulin at a pharmacy, (Glargine) always check the expiration date, keeping in mind that your insulin will likely need to be replaced every 30 days. We are not using this type of insulin commonly at this time.
- DO NOT change the type of insulin unless instructed by your veterinarian. You risk putting kitty into a diabetic crisis.
- We will periodically have to bring kitty in to the clinic for the day to run a glucose curve. This is to establish/confirm an appropriate dose of insulin for her. Each cat responds differently to different types of insulin, so each cat is treated as an individual. There is no set insulin dose per pound of cat. We will advise changes in insulin types and dosing based on these curves and information from you on how kitty is doing at home.
- If your cat is treated outside of our clinic for any reason, be sure to notify the doctor that kitty is diabetic; it can alter the prescribed treatment in some cases.
- Keep kitty on as stable a schedule as possible for insulin dosing, feeding and activity. Changes in these areas can affect how much insulin is needed. For example, kitty needs to be confined away from parties; excitement and food tidbits can affect her glucose levels and insulin needs.
- Keep the insulin in the refrigerator.
- DO NOT keep or use old or outdated medication.
- Keep this medication in its original, labeled container and out of reach of children.
- Call us if kitty seems to develop signs of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Hypoglycemia can be life-threatening, and hyperglycemia will result in behaviors similar to your pre-diagnosed diabetic.
Signs of Hyperglycemia
- Anxiety, confusion, drowsiness, excessive hunger, unusual tiredness or weakness or seizures. This can be caused by too much insulin, a missed meal, sickness, too much exercise or excitement or taking certain medications. Alternately, kitty’s insulin needs may be changing and a new glucose curve may be needed to reestablish a proper dose.
- THIS IS AN EMERGENCY! CALL (616) 241-6369 NOW! After hours, call (616) 242-8627 for the answering service or call the Animal Emergency Hospital at (616) 361-9911 or Michigan Veterinary Specialists Emergency Service at (616) 284-5300.
- If these symptoms occur, you may be able to start home treatment by administering corn syrup or honey to kitty. With a syringe, place 0.5-1.0 ml of syrup on kitty’s gums, as they can absorb the glucose across the tissues in the mouth. DO NOT place your fingers inside kitty’s mouth; if kitty seizures, you risk a very serious bite.
- Excessive thirst and/or urination, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing or weakness in the rear legs.
- These signs are the same as what you were probably seeing at home before kitty was diagnosed with diabetes. This is not an emergency, but kitty probably will not feel well.
- This can be caused by missed insulin doses, overeating or if kitty has a fever or infection. Alternately, kitty’s insulin needs may be changing and a new glucose curve may be needed to reestablish a proper dose.