Learning that your pet has Diabetes can be overwhelming for many pet owners. You will need to learn how to manage your pet by keeping his or her blood glucose regulated to avoid spikes and drops. Diabetes typically occurs in older pets yet can still occur in younger pets. The disease itself can’t be cured but it is manageable and with proper monitoring, treatment, exercise, and diet, your pet can live a long, happy, and active life.
While many owners become anxious about giving daily insulin injections, it is much easier than you think. The following tips will help to ease any fears you may have and will help to build confidence in administering.
1) Keep Insulin Refrigerated, Never Freeze. Extreme temperatures in either direction will cause the insulin to break down and become unusable. If you’ve accidentally left a bottle in the summer sun or put in the freezer, simply throw it out. Roll, Don’t Shake! Insulin is not a sturdy substance therefore, you will need to carefully roll the bottle between your palms to ensure that the hormone is mixed. Don’t shake it because this could cause air bubbles (even tiny ones that aren’t visible) which causes the volume of the insulin to expand so that, when drawn into the syringe, it is actually less than the dose your pet needs.
2) Prepare To Fill The Syringe With Insulin. Remove the needle cap and pull the syringe back to the correct dosage for your pet. Filling the plunger with air will prevent the formation of a vacuum when you fill the syringe with insulin. Now tip the vial upside down and insert the needle through the middle of the rubber cap. Depress the plunger, forcing air into the bottle, then draw it out again to the dose you need, measuring from the needle end of the syringe to the plunger stop. If you notice or suspect any air bubbles sneaking into the syringe, draw the plunger back a bit further to draw in more insulin and remove the needle from the vial. While still holding the syringe with the needle pointing towards the ceiling, flick the syringe until the bubbles rise, then depress the plunger to the actual dose, pushing out the air and extra insulin.To make the injection more comfortable for your pet, hold the syringe barrel between your fingers for a bit to warm the insulin.
3) Avoid Blood and Muscles. Now you’re ready to inject your pet! A good place to inject insulin is between the shoulders. Hold the syringe in you dominate hand and with the other hand, pinch the skin between your fingers and thumb (gently, of course). Pull the skin up away from the muscle and make a tent like fold. Insert the needle into the center of the fold to avoid it popping out the other side or hitting your finger then gently push the plunger all the way down until the full dose has been administered.
4) Carefully Remove the Needle from the skin once you’ve administered the insulin and immediately replace the cap. Dispose of the needle in a closed sharps or other puncture resistant container. When you are finished, replace the insulin back in the refrigerator. If you missed giving the full amount or some shot out early, do not give your pet more insulin. An occasional dosage of less is tolerated but an over amount of insulin could be dangerous.
Keep in mind to rotate your injection site. Make it simple to remember, such as, the left side in the mornings and the right side in the evenings. It’s also important to remember to remain calm. Your pet likely won’t notice the needle going in. But he will likely react to your bad acting. Don’t cast a shadow of ominousness over your pet as you approach him, needle in hand.
Afterwards, step back and give yourself a pat on the back! Give your pet lots of love for his “good-boy-ness” and then follow up with a low carb, healthy treat.