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Protamine zinc insulin (PZI) is a long-acting insulin combination. Protamine zinc is added to insulin as a means of slowing insulin absorption. PZI once was made with beef and pork insulin but the PZI described in this monograph is made with human recombinant insulin.
Diabetes mellitus is a relatively common metabolic disease seen in middle-aged cats and dogs. Most dogs suffer from Type 1 diabetes, while cats usually have Type 2 diabetes. Type 3 diabetes may occur in either cats or dogs.
In addition to insulin, the veterinary management of diabetes requires owner education, dietary management, and regular glucose testing. With appropriate management, most animals can live a normal-duration life. Human recombinant insulin found in PZI is acceptable for use in dogs and most cats.
When administered subcutaneously, the onset of action is between one and four hours; the peak is between four and eight hours; the duration of action is from six to 24 hours in the cat and six to 28 hours in the dog.
PZI generally is given once a day. There are oral hypoglycemic drugs that may be used in addition to or in place of insulin in some cats.
Hypoglycemia: The initial signs of hypoglycemia include nervousness, vocalization, anxiety, muscle tremors, ataxia, and pupillary dilation. The alert owner may be able to offer the patient some food or oral dextrose to counteract the hypoglycemia. Positive response should occur within one or two minutes. More severe signs of hypoglycemia include seizures, shock, and coma. These animals require prompt veterinary intervention.
Overdose with insulin will lead to varying degrees of hypoglycemia. Description of mild hypoglycemia is included with the side effects. More severe hypoglycemia can lead to seizures, blindness, cerebral edema, permanent brain damage, coma, and death.
Dogs and cats
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Barbara Forney, VMD
Dr. Barbara Forney is a veterinary practitioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She has a master's degree in animal science from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982.
She began to develop her interest in client education and medical writing in 1997. Recent publications include portions of The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat, and most recently Understanding Equine Medications published by the Bloodhorse.
Dr. Forney is an FEI veterinarian and an active member of the AAEP, AVMA, and AMWA.
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This content is intended for counseling purposes only. This content is informational/educational and is not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or patient. No claims are made as to the safety or efficacy of mentioned preparations. The compounded medications featured in this content have been prescribed and/or administered by prescribers who work with Wedgewood Pharmacy. You are encouraged to speak with your prescriber as to the appropriate use of any medication. Wedgewood Pharmacy’s compounded veterinary preparations are not intended for use in food and food-producing animals. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.