A reader commented on this post about The True Cost of Having a Diabetic Dog. After reading the article I thought I should make a few updates.
It has been over a year and a half since I wrote that article, a lot has changed and I’ve learned a lot. Diabetes will be different for every dog. There are so many variables. Food, insulin production, metabolism, weight, etc… It is about finding the right combination of food, insulin, and exercise that works for your dog. Plus getting them down to the right weight.
When I posted The True Cost of Having a Diabetic Dog Bender was overweight and my costs was roughly this for TWO months.
2 bag of W/D food 30lbs – $124
4 Vetsulin 10ml – $100 ($25/each)
124 needles – $14.26 (11.5 cents each)
10 testing strips – $10 ($1 each)
Total: Roughly $250 for TWO months.
As I became more aware of Bender’s diabetes and researched it I found ways to improve Bender’s diabetic regiment and cut costs without sacrificing. I learned that exercise plays a major role in managing diabetes. And also getting your dog down to a healthy weight.
I learned that Hill’s Science Diet W/D was not the best food for diabetics (Many posts about it here). But at the time there wasn’t a good commercial food that didn’t cost the same or more as W/D so I started to make his own food. When that started to cost even more I searched for a good commercial food and found several natural foods, Wellness and Blue Buffalo (both healthy weight). With the switch I cut my cost down to $50.
The next thing I found was Vetsulin was not stable, which is why it was pulled from the market. Since I’ve switched Bender to Humilin N I feel that it works much better than Vetsulin. He receives less insulin. His numbers are better and more constant. With Walmart’s ReliOn I was able to cut insulin costs.
Now my cost for TWO Months
2 bags of Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight – $100
1 Humilin N (Walmart’s ReliOn N) 10ml – $25
124 needles – $14.26 (11.5 cents each)
10 testing strips – $10 ($1 each)
1 teaspoon of fiber (generic kind of Benefiber powder)
Total: Roughly $150-160 a month.
Combine this with daily structured exercise (3-3.5 mile run) and I think Bender is on a good combination of food/insulin/exercise. My cost is manageable and Bender is regulated.
But will the same combination work for your dog? Maybe, maybe not. You might find that Humilin N doesn’t work for your dog but Vetsulin did or another kind. Blue Buffalo might not work but Wellness might or some other brand. Exercising Bender once a day is good but I really should run him twice a day. Still exercise is always good to help regulate diabetes. Maybe you need to just walk your dog twice a day.
My point is that until you find the right combination of food/insulin/exercise you will probably spend more money. The wrong food or insulin will require more insulin and cause glucose spikes and more health problems. Lack of or not enough exercise will require you to give more insulin. It might not seem like much but a few units of insulin a day can add up. Plus it will always get worse if you don’t correct it.
What food/insulin/exercise regiment is your dog one?
There are a lot of insulin brands out there. I personally use Walmart’s ReliOn N (Novolin N). It is $25 a bottle. You can get it at Walmart or Sam’s Club. Might be worth checking into. Also, if you don’t have a meter, check out the supplies page: http://www.diabeticdogblog.com/canine-diabetic-supplies/
Having a meter at home will help keep your dog regulated.
My dog Havana came down with an auto-immune disease about 3 years ago. She was hospitalized in intensive care for 3 days at a cost of $10.000 dollars. She was sent home with 9 medications. She took 4 in the morning & 5 at night.
She then contracted diabetes from all the medications. We now had to give her insulin 2x a day. The Dr. Had told us that she might go blind from the diabeties. Well, sure enough, Havana went blind.
My husband & I could not deal with her blindness, so we gave her an operation that gave her back her sight.
To date we have spent over $53,000 dollars in the course of 3 years.
Havana now takes 1 Atopica every other day and then 1Mycophenalate every other day. She also takes eye drops 2x a day & of course her Vetsulin (insulin) 2x a day.
I am fearful to put her on the insulin that they sell at Walmart. Has anyone switched their dog from Vetsulin to Walmart brand? I really would love me to save some money. Any advice would be welcome.
Every dog is different. While most insulin is pretty much the same, some insulin brands will work better for your dog over others. Also there is no generic insulin. Walmart’s ReliOn N is Novolin N.
Bender has been on Walmart’s ReliOn N (Novolin N) since they switched from Humilin N back a few years ago. He has done just fine. But like I said, every dog is different.
Also check with your Vet before making changes.
My Maggie is also diabetic, going on 2 yrs now. Our vet charges $55 for Vetsulin for 10ml. I recently thought I found a deal at Lambert Vet supply.com for +/- $40/vial/10units. Your initial post says you paid $25!! for a vial. Where on earth did you find such a great price? It’s getting really spendy for me so any additional cost savings to keep my Maggie alive would be stupendous.
I was getting Vetsulin from my vet but that was at least 6 years ago. I doubt it is that price any more. I get Novolin N (Walmart’s ReliOn N) 10ml for $25. You should also be able to get it at Sam’s Club for the same price.
My dog was just diagnosed a few weeks ago. I was under the impression that the insulin from my vet is not the same as the one for humans? is Walmart’s ReliOn N for pets or does it matter?
There is insulin specially for dogs/cats such as Vetsulin. Humilin and Novolin (or the rebranded Novolin as ReliOn N) insulin will also work for dogs/cats. Bender has been on all three and has done just fine. Many of the readers/commenters on my blog also use Novolin and Humilin.
Please note that each brand is a little different and one might work better for your dog over another.
And of course, before switching, consult your Vet.
Hello, my dog Piper was diagnosed with diabetes. She remains hospitalized until the ketoacidosis is under control, hopeful her kidneys were not too damaged for her to survive and come home on insulin. Would think vet will want to start her on insulin they dispense but I will think about the Novolin once she is stabilized. We are a six dog household so cost is a factor. Would also like advice on food selection. She is a 7 yrs old Brussels Griffon and must gain at least 5 lbs.
Walmart/Sam’s Club has Novolin N under their ReliOn Brand for $25/bottle.
For food, check out Getting Started, http://www.diabeticdogblog.com/getting-started/ I have a bunch of food recommendations in that post.
Does DeliOn need a prescription? Does it come with dose/conversion info? 30 units of vetsulin in U100 syringes 2x daily is so expensive.
ReliOn doesn’t require a prescription. No insulin should.
If you do end up switching, you can buy 4 bottles at a time, keep them refrigerated and they will last. You also have to go into Walmart or Sam’s Club, you can’t use the drive through.
If you are using a U100 needle now, then there won’t be a conversion if you are using a U100 needle for ReliOn.
Check with your Vet before switching and dosing. When I switched Bender, I gave him 5 less units, then checked his glucose levels 2-3 times a day for the next few weeks. Adjusting as necessary.
My Chase is newly diagnosed diabetic who is 10 1/2 years old. He was losing weight, had unquenchable thirst and the vet states ketoacids were making him sick. He is now on 22cc of Vetsulin x2 daily and will be going in for the “Glucose curve study” where he stays at the Vet all day and the perform testing. They are charging 63.00 dolalrs for a bottle that isn’t lasting much over a week.
I am going to talk to the vet about changing Chase to this over the counter insulin. Would you recommend the Novalin R2 or the Novalin 70/30? I would like to be prepared when I talk to the vet. Thank you so much for all this great information for our diabetic pets.
You should use the N type, Novolin N. At least that is what my Vet told me. The R, N, 70/30 all have to do with how fast the insulin starts to work and how long it takes to peak.
R – Is quick to start but peaks after a few hours.
N – Takes a little longer to start and a longer duration to peak.
70/30 – Is a mix between the two.
My Vet told me since I feed every 10-12 hrs. It is best to use N type as it fits better to my dog’s schedule.
Hello Jeff, I stumbled across this article, looking for a lower cost alternative to Vetsulin. My 5 yr old lab was diagnosed diabetic last week. He has always been heavy, and a typical lab always wanting to eat. He lost 35 pounds in 8 weeks, I didnt catch on til late because we had put the dogs on diets and expected weight loss. Sam was just all of a sudden skinny!
After his evening injection, he gets restless and pants. I am worried he is hypoglycemic and give him food. His blood work curve will be soon, for now I am guessing. Do you use Reli-on strips and monitor that is for people? We have those, but the vet said would mot be accurate, so we havent tried.
Hi Jeff! We recently had our dig Sam diagnosed by vet with diabetes. She put him on vetsulin at only 2 units. His level started at 462. Each week she had us come back to test blood. 2nd visit it came down to 405, she increased him to 3, then it went up to 489, increased it to 4, it went up again to 589, finally she switched us to novolin n. But wanted to send me to riteaid stating it could cost 150.00 , spoke to a man in vets waiting room. With a diabetic dog. He said “Walmart” 24.88..I went there and started our keeshond 45 # at 5 units. Twice a day. Wish me luck. And any advice is welcomed. Thank you. Ginny in PA
Our Shih Tzu 11 just diagnosed
6 weeks ago. She is on Vetsulin.
After reading the blog will ask to put
to be on Humulin N. Was told by vet
That Humulin N wasn’t approved for
animals. My Lucy doesn’t like any
Of the dried or wet we have tried.
I have started boiling chicken and
Beans or carrots. 1 cup twice a day.
In 6 weeks she has lost 2.5 pounds.
I am not sure what I am feeding
Her is good, but at least she eats.
We give her 4 ml twice a day. 17
Pounds she is.