How Much Does It Cost to Treat a Diabetic Dog?

Notice anything odd about your dog lately? If your canine buddy is excessively thirsty, peeing too much, and losing weight inexplicably, then it is most likely suffering from diabetes.

Diabetes mellitus or simply diabetes, is a disease that occurs when one has difficulty processing glucose in the body, affecting blood sugar levels.

This condition is surprisingly not that rare – the most common form affecting 0.34% of dogs, with female dogs more susceptible than males.

It also affects mostly just the oldies, occurring in dogs ages 7 and up 70% of the time.

Dog Diabetes Treatment Cost

Treatment for dog diabetes may be overwhelming and that’s why we’ve compiled this list for you. There are various methods of treatment depending on the individual dog’s condition, so make sure to consult your veterinarian before making a move.

Oral drugs are not effective for canine diabetes unlike what humans do in the case of Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common type of diabetes among humans. The dogs, by contrast, never get Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is the most common among dogs, with Insulin resistance diabetes or secondary diabetes as the second and rarest type.

So insulin replacement therapy is the only way forward for dogs with diabetes, along with diet control and routine changes. 

1. Insulin Treatment

Since Type I diabetes or canine primary diabetes sufferers have a difficult time producing insulin in the pancreas, patients need to have this hormone injected into their bodies. 

Your vet will identify the type and dosage that your dog requires, depending on its condition.

The key here is everything in moderation – you don’t want to give it too much or too little insulin because that may cause hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends the following types and the corresponding cost of insulin for dogs:

  • Lente – with brand name Vetsulin, this is manufactured by Merck Animal Health. It is a porcine insulin zinc solution that controls glucose levels and lessens symptoms of diabetes. While it is currently the only US FDA approved insulin for dogs and cats, its instability caused the death of thousands of dogs after its release. Other side effects included kidney failure, anemia, blindness due to cataracts, and neurological disorders. However, it has once again been approved by the FDA in 2011 and is presently in the market. Note that the drug must not be taken by dogs allergic to pork and pork products. Vetsulin costs $53 for a 10ml vial.
  • Glargine – This insulin is manufactured by Sanofi with brand name Lantus. While it is designed for humans, it is also commonly used in cats. Recently, it has been used in dogs as well with highly positive results. It is also said to have longer lasting results (up to 16 hours) compared to other forms of insulin. Generally, Lantus should be injected twice a day, with a .1 unit/kg dosage. A 100ml vial ranges from $283 – 320.
  • NPH (Neutral Protamine Hagedorn) – NPH is manufactured by both Novo Nordisk (Novolin) and Lilly (Humulin). Both brands come in three variations: Novolin/Humulin R, Novolin/Humulin N, and Novolin/Humulin 70/30; with the first 2 consisting of the hormones insulin regular and insulin isophane, respectively, and the 3rd being a combination of both. They are all designed to control glucose levels in the blood and only differ in how fast they start working and how long the effects last. Prices range from $165 to $200 per 10ml vial for Novolin. Humulin, on the other hand, ranges from $145 to $170 per 10ml vial for Humulin N, $1,475 to $1,660 per 20ml for Humulin R, and $172 – $178 for Humulin 70/30.
  • Detemir – or Levemir; also manufactured by Novo Nordisk, is an artificial substance that is made to act like insulin. Like Lantus, it is said to produce a strong reaction in dogs, so only a small dosage is required compared to other insulins (0.1 unit/kg given every 12 hours, compared to the usual 0.2 unit/kg or 0.5 unit/kg). Levemir is sold at $336 per 10ml vial.

Choosing the appropriate syringe size is crucial when administering insulin injections. For instance, Vetsulin may only be administered via a U-40 insulin syringe which costs $26 per 100 pieces. The U-100 syringe, used to administer the remaining three insulin types, costs $21 per 100 pieces.

One crucial advice is not to inject on the same spot every day as it will cause lipodystrophy or bulges or dents due to loss of fat in the area. Lipodystrophy may sometimes render the injected insulin ineffective.

man giving insulin injection to pug dog

2. Lifestyle Expenses For Diabetic Dogs

Weight management and proper exercise could help control glucose levels. Shedding off weight will make insulin shots work better.

Make sure to feed your dog at a fixed schedule and regular intervals and concentrate on high-fiber and high-protein foods. Diabetic dogs must avoid foods high in carbohydrates and sugar as much as possible.

There is a wide array of dog food available for diabetics to choose from. For example, a 26-lb. bag of Wellness CORE Dog Food is made from turkey and chicken and costs $63. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Glycobalance Formula Dry Dog Food provides a complete and well-balanced diet for diabetics and offers its dog food for $33 for a 7.7-lb. bag.

If your dog is suffering from secondary diabetes and not type 1, the disease sometimes can be completely resolved by fixing the source of the issue. The reasons can be steroid usage, hypersomatotropism, and other medical conditions such as pregnancy, cushing’s syndrome e.t.c. 

Spaying female dogs is also beneficial in making the diabetes more manageable. Since progesterone tends to clash with insulin, removing its source, a.k.a, the ovaries, makes it easier to deal with diabetes. Pet Community Center offers spaying services for $70.

Tracking Their Progress

It is important to consistently monitor your dog’s progress by regularly checking its blood sugar level. Doing so will help you analyze whether the treatment is working or not.

You may either choose to buy a glucose test kit and check the sugar level in the comfort of your home or regularly visit the vet and have them perform the test.

For example, the AlphaTRAK 2 Blood Glucose Monitoring System Kit costs around $50 and includes a lancing device, 30 lancets, and 25 test strips. Meanwhile, a visit to the vet will cost you $10 per blood glucose test.

Types of Diabetes

There are two kinds of diabetes: Type I and Type II. Type I or insulin-deficiency diabetes happens when the endocrine pancreas is too damaged to produce enough insulin in the body.

Type II or insulin-resistance diabetes, on the other hand, happens when the body, while able to produce insulin, doesn’t have the capacity to properly make use of it. Type II hasn’t yet been noticed in dogs, according to studies conducted. 

A quick blood and urine test will identify whether your dog has diabetes or not.

Your dog could potentially develop cataracts which could lead to blindness if the diabetes goes untreated. The treatment cost for cataract could be unaffordable to some, with the range being $3500-$4500. 

With proper guidance, you would be able to find the best medical treatment for your beloved pet.

Final Words

It might be quite overwhelming dealing with this serious disease, but it gets easier once you get used to the routine. Take note that consulting with your veterinarian is the most important part of this challenging process.

They will provide you with the most appropriate options as the price of dog diabetes treatment may be overwhelming and that’s why we’ve compiled this list for you.

Diabetes is a chronic, lifetime condition. Unfortunately, your dog will have to endure this disease for as long as it is living. With a change of lifestyle through your help though, your dog could still lead a meaningful life.

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