The FDA has warned that a common diabetes treatment for cats and dogs may have varying amounts of crystalline zinc insulin in the formulation. The insulin zinc suspension called Vetsulin® has been used for treatment of diabetes in cats and dogs in more than 15 years in 30 countries across the world, and it’s manufacturers have been unable to satisfy the FDA of the product’s stability. Inconsistencies in the product’s formulation could cause either a delay in insulin action or an overall longer duration of insulin activity. These unexpected scenarios could lead to unpredictable fluctuations in the glucose levels, resulting in hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia depending on whether the batch has a higher or lower amount of insulin than expected, leading to problems managing this chronic condition in the long-term.
The FDA has asked pet owners and veterinarians of animals that use Vetsulin® to closely monitor the animals for any signs of either hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. Hyperglycemia is characterized by increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss and lethargy, while the classic signs of hypoglycemia include disorientation, unsteadiness, weakness, lethargy, and possible seizures. It is expected that supplies of Vetsulin® will become limited, and the FDA is advising veterinarians to transition their diabetic patients to other insulin products.