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# A question on CCs units, insulin, and diabetic cats.

Tue 2 Oct, 2012 07:14 am
My roommate has a diabetic cat. Her vet ran out of her cat insulin medicine so she prescribed human insulin. The vet isn't sure about the exact amount for each daily pair of shots. So, she's been told to start at 1cc of the human insulin per of the shot (twice a day) and then work up from there with each successive blood test.

With the cat insulin, it's 3cc's twice a day. With the human insulin, I think if I understand it correctly, 1cc twice a day. Does it matter that we have to use completely different type of hypodermic needles (different size wise: gauge wise is 30 to 29 in the old needles, and the new needle's capacity is slightly bigger as well) in determining the dosage?

1cc is 1cc no matter the size of the needle's capacity right? That's my thinking but I can't get the concept across if that's indeed true. Could someone explain these measure of units if that is the case or tell me what's the best way to convert and figure the dose of the medicine?

Best embarrassed regards,
Tsarsie!
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Type: Question • Score: 6 • Views: 2,796 • Replies: 19

roger

3
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 09:51 am
@tsarstepan,

Your vet sounds a little dumb. By the time he, she, or it runs you through the rather dangerous process of determining a safe but effective dose, s/h/it could have had the proper drug a dozen times over. Alternatively (gasp) there are other vets and suppliers that will surely have the right stuff.
0 Replies

firefly

2
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 10:50 am
@tsarstepan,
Quote:
1cc is 1cc no matter the size of the needle's capacity right?

Right--I think.

The gauge just refers to the thickness of the needle itself, it has nothing to do with the size of the syringe.

Quote:
Her vet ran out of her cat insulin medicine so she prescribed human insulin. The vet isn't sure about the exact amount for each daily pair of shots.

http://www.felinediabetes.com/insulin-conversions.htmb

I don't think the Vet is being responsible about this at all. The Vet should provide you with all the information of this sort, and not leave your roommate to try to sort it out.
.
To stabilize the cat on a different type of insulin, the Vet should administer the new insulin and do a blood draw every two hours to determine the blood glucose curve in response to the new type of insulin--that's the only way to know what's going on inside the cat. Based on the response to the new insulin, as determined by that blood glucose curve, the correct dose of that insulin can then be determined.

If I were your roommate, I would call around to other Vets in the area and see who has the cat insulin and if they will sell it to you. The cat's regular Vet should be willing to do that as well. Shifting from one type of insulin to another can destabilize diabetes control, and it's better to keep the cat on one type of insulin if the cat has shown a good response to that type. I'd try to obtain the cat insulin from another Vet rather than create new problems.
Quote:
Human insulin, in general, does not successfully replace the cat's own insulin, and diabetes is not well-controlled in most cats when human (e.g. Humulin) insulin is used for treatment. Bovine (beef) insulin is most similar in molecular structure to feline insulin, and it is thought for this reason, to be most effective for these cats.
http://www.felinediabetes.com/pzi.htm

I think your roommate should consider looking for a new Vet.
tsarstepan

1
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 10:59 am
@firefly,
Thanks Firefly. I emailed that link to my friend to see if its applicable. One thing I didn't mention is that the cat's vet is away to Wednesday. My roommate had to ask another vet in the office regarding these issues. This other vet is the antithesis to helpful.
Reyn

1
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 11:01 am
@firefly,
firefly wrote:

I don't think the Vet is being responsible about this at all. The Vet should provide you with all the information of this sort, and not leave your roommate to try to sort it out.

[...]

I think your roommate should consider looking for a new Vet.

I agree with this 100%!
0 Replies

roger

2
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 11:02 am
@firefly,
firefly wrote:

I think your roommate should consider looking for a new Vet.

^^^^^^^^
0 Replies

firefly

1
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 11:03 am
@tsarstepan,
The best thing your roommate can do is to locate another Vet who has the cat insulin on hand and will sell it. I wouldn't fool around with a new type of insulin without having a 6 hour glucose curve done, and that's expensive, and a needless expense if your roommate can just obtain the cat insulin elsewhere.
Quote:
One thing I didn't mention is that the cat's vet is away to Wednesday. My roommate had to ask another vet in the office regarding these issues. This other vet is the antithesis to helpful

You can't have faith in a Vet who has associates who are less than competent, or helpful, in managing a pet's health problems. Your roommate should find another Vet.
Diabetes is a serious illness, and insulin control is not a matter of guesswork--it requires a lot of blood work to determine the correct dosage. Without that blood work, you risk either leaving the diabetes poorly controlled, or possibly sending the cat into a severe state of hypoglycemia which can be life-threatening.

Finding the cat insulin elsewhere solves the problem.
ossobuco

1
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 12:14 pm
@firefly,
right.
That was about the cc's. (I spent a lot of years as a lab tech).
I'll add that larger gauges (actually, those have smaller numbers) tend to fit smaller syringes. Thus a whopper syringe, say 50 cc., uses a big gauge needle (I don't remember, 14?). This is probably explained somewhere..

On the alternate vet, I agree with everyone else. I've dealt over the years with alternate vets, but they were quite good, which fit, given the main vet.
ossobuco

1
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 12:44 pm
@ossobuco,
Well, that was confusing - larger gauges of needles (those with smaller numbers) tend to work with larger syringes. So a giganto syringe would take, say, a 14 needle so it could suck up blood (et al) fast enough, and a small one would have, say, a 22 needle.
firefly

2
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 01:04 pm
@ossobuco,
When you give insulin, the smaller the gauge of the needle, the less the size of the puncture it makes, and the less pain it causes the animal.

When I gave my dog insulin, I purchased syringes with the finest gauge needles I could get at the drug store--they were thinner than the ones the Vet used, and they turned out to be also less expensive than buying syringes from him.
tsarstepan

1
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 01:08 pm
@firefly,
Well one reason why she has stayed with this vet is because she can afford the health insurance program that comes with one of the major pet superstores. Can't remember right now which one it is. I think the insurance program limits her choice of vets.

And that's what I too assumed for the gauge of the needle. The smaller/finer the size, the less the animal notices it since its a twice a day routine.
0 Replies

Miller

1
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 01:20 pm
A special kind of a syringe called an "insulin syringe" is used to administer insulin to animals and humans. It can be obtained at the pharmacy, but you need an Rx from your doctor.

For low doses, the most accurate syringe is the small capacity syringe. For very large doses of any medication, the larger capacity may be preferred.
tsarstepan

1
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 01:26 pm
@Miller,
The pain in the ass thing is that we went to the pharmacy yesterday evening to fill out the prescription needles. We believe the pharmacy screwed up that order. Have to work that out with them and hopefully correct that (along with store credit) correct prescription.
0 Replies

littlek

2
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 06:33 pm
Hi Tsar - it sounds like you got some good advice already. My cat was started on human insulin - I'd recognize the name, but can't recall it now. He was moved to pet insulin many years after that. The animal insulin was much more expensive than the human stuff. Maybe that's why they 'ran out'.

1 cc is 1 cc no matter what the scale of the syringe is. Starting low is the safest way to be sure the cat doesn't get too much insulin which is more immediately dangerous than too little. Of course too little over longer periods of time is very dangerous as well.
0 Replies

ossobuco

2
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 06:58 pm
@firefly,
Yes, sure - but fine gauge needles have higher numbers - which you need to know if you are just picking out needles by numbers.

As I think I conveyed, fat needles have numbers like 14 and thin ones, numbers like 21.

BillRM

0
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 07:02 pm
@firefly,
Cat insulin is a strange concept to me as my vet have me picked up insulin not cat insulin.

Next in theory you can do home monitoring with the same meter as human use however getting blood from the ears of a cat is not an easy task.

roger

1
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 07:49 pm
@BillRM,
I'm sure the second time is much more difficult than the first.
ossobuco

1
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 08:05 pm
@ossobuco,
To be bald, I have bled people to a 50 cc syringe and many smaller ones. Get your syringes and needles right.

On your side, I suppose there are cat syringes as such, that I know nothing about.
Maybe they even have pharma names and companies.
0 Replies

BillRM

1
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 08:11 pm
@roger,
Quote:
I'm sure the second time is much more difficult than the first
.

Given that all my cats have their claws yes the second time is harder in doing anything they do not like.
0 Replies

firefly

2
Tue 2 Oct, 2012 10:26 pm
@BillRM,
Quote:
Cat insulin is a strange concept to me as my vet have me picked up insulin not cat insulin.

The insulin for cats is relatively new, in the last 4 or 5 years, I think. It's supposed to offer more effective control than human insulin for cats.
http://www.prozinc.us/

Quote:
Next in theory you can do home monitoring with the same meter as human use however getting blood from the ears of a cat is not an easy task.

I think for home monitoring you are better off using the Abbott AlphaTRAK--which is made to be used on cats and dogs and gives more accurate readings than the glucose meters intended for human use.
http://www.abbottanimalhealth.com/static/cms_workspace/pdfs/ALPHA-294_AlphaTRAK_Fact_Sheet_EDELMAN.pdf
Quote:
Humans, dogs, and cats all have different makeups of blood, specifically the difference in the ratios of glucose in plasma and red blood cells. While dogs have 87.5% of glucose in plasma and cats have 93%, humans only have 58%. This is significantly lower. If you use a human meter on a dog or cat, it assumes human glucose distribution in blood to calculate glucose levels, which may result in underestimation of blood glucose concentrations and inaccurate readings.
http://www.alphatrakmeter.com/alphatrak2-species-specific.html

0 Replies

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