Government approves first insulin for diabetic dogs

Posted: Sunday, July 11, 2004

WASHINGTON (AP) Diabetic dogs are about to get their own insulin.

In May, the Food and Drug Administration approved Vetsulin, a brand of insulin derived from pigs that is the first canine diabetic treatment to win government approval.

Veterinarians have long prescribed human insulin for diabetic dogs, but the FDA said human insulin is less compatible with a dog's metabolic system.

About one in every 200 dogs will develop diabetes. The disease usually strikes dogs when they're 7 to 9 years old, and is more common in females. Symptoms include excessive thirst and urination, excessive appetite, and weight loss despite good appetite.

Among the risks of insulin use is hypoglycemia, or dangerously low blood sugar which dog owners may face, too, if they accidentally inject themselves while giving pets their daily shots, FDA cautioned.

Vetsulin, made by Intervet Inc. and long sold under different names in 20 other countries, should begin selling here in late summer. It requires a veterinarian's prescription.

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